I understand that questions that could potentially be answered by using the dictionary are frowned upon however there are multiple words that I see for cheating, which have overlapping meanings because English isn't very precise.

enter image description here

I've included this picture mostly because this comes from a Russian-English Telegram channel and it doesn't appear to be right. In the video, the man is using the dog to read the newspaper and beneath that, it says, обманывать. обманывать to my understanding means to deceive someone through lies. Cheating also can be breaking rules in a game to gain an advantage which seems like жульничать.

In English, we may even call this a life-hack. Alternatively, it seems like I could use изменять as well. Is this correct?

  • 3
    I'm afraid I don't fully understand what your question is. обманывать, жульничать, изменять are all possible translations of "to cheat", but I don't see how any of the meanings of "to cheat" apply to this picture.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 12:54
  • @Quassnoi It's not cheating in the literal sense though it's still used quite often particularly with younger people. As I said, people may say it is a lifehack. He is using the dog to read the newspaper instead of holding it himself. Sometimes you may say, "cheat codes". It's not the proper use of the dog, so it's cheating.
    – user14825
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 13:09
  • @Quassnoi if there is another word you'd suggest instead of 'cheat' that you feel makes more sense, please do. The question was mostly to figure out what you may call this изменять seems to mean to do something differently which could be cheating.
    – user14825
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 13:19
  • 3
    (Looking at the picture) C is not for Cheat. C is for Collaboration!
    – DK.
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 17:41
  • Maybe they meant that the dog is being cheated? It fetched the newspaper and is waiting for the master to take it, but he is reading it instead. Looks like quite a stretch - would the newspaper be unrolled/unfolded? would it be hanging at the right angle? would a well-behaved dog jump on a kitchen table with it? - but who knows...
    – Headcrab
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 15:17

6 Answers 6


The situation in the picture can be described with different Russian verbs, but обманывать is definitely not one of them. For a native Russian speaker the combination of the picture and обманывать looks weird and practically inexplicable, it is like one of difficult IQ test puzzles, barely to be solved without the knowledge that it was an English speaker that associated the verb with the picture and that the connection of обманывать and the picture lies in a partial overlapping of the meaning of обманывать and an English verb that the author of the picture used to call the situation. It looks like to trick is the English verb.

A Russian verb that fits well the situation in the picture is изворачиваться, particularly the meanings

  1. (figuratively) to find a way out of a predicament, to be resourceful


  1. (figuratively, colloquial) to use cunning or trickery, to contrive.

Обманывать means

  1. to deceive, to cheat, to trick, to swindle
  2. to disappoint, to let down

As for me, the best verb I would use for the picture is выкручиваться, especially in the expression выкручиваться из сложного положения. Note, that both изворачиваться and выкручиваться are associated not with deception, but with twisting and turning around in order to find a way from a complicated situation, these two verbs do not have connotation as negative as обманывать has.

  • 2
    Изворачиваться, also I'd add хитрить, ловчить, проявлять смекалку, хитроумие, изобретательность - all these hit somewhere in the area of savvy-cunning-lifehack.
    – DK.
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 17:38

I am not really sure what the "proper use of a dog" is, and how exactly it is improper to train it to hold the newspaper.

Russian has лайфхак which is a loanword from English.

Russian also has смекалка ("practical wit, ability to think outside the box and find unorthodox solutions to everyday problems by using available resources")

I would also note that it's not a common trope in Russian memes to provide fake dictionary articles, complete with pronunciation.

It's much more common to use the first letter of a word, similar to the way they do this in the children's books: Л — лайфхак, С — смекалка etc., as if the picture were an illustration of the word starting with this letter.

  • 1
    Thank you, you're probably right that it isn't improper to train a dog to do this, however, it is unorthodox and смекалка seems like a good fit.
    – user14825
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 13:48

Maybe they used the word 'обмануть' because the boy in the picture didn't want his meal to be eaten by the dog and gave him a newspaper to gag his mouth) If it's true 'обмануть' is ок, but I would use a synonym 'обхитрить' here. Because 'обмануть' is stronger and has a more negative meaning. Обхитрить is a derivative from хитрый (sly) and closer 'to trick'.


Another word that wasn't mentioned is мухлевать, мухлёж, which means "to cheat in games", it mostly applies to card games and such though. Although the format is unusual for Russian meme styles, so Russians seeing the picture and the word together might not immediately get what's going on and who is cheating in what.

A more common way to present this would be with words like находчивость, смекалка, хитрость, etc.

Alternatively, if you wrote читер there, most people would also immediately understand what you meant. Читер is pretty well established term used to refer to people who cheat at computer games and writing it as a caption to that photo would have a similar concept to writing cheat or something like hax in English.


"Cheat" in picture falls to case

avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill 

Usually translated as обмануть. See :

He cheated death.   
Он обманул смерть.

Closest Russian word for a noun to that exact meaning of "lifehack" would be "уловка" - "trick", but word also got meaning of "deception". "смекалка" also seem appropriate, but it's common "cunning".

In slang we literally use transliterated "cheat" and "lifehack" today sometimes, in appropriate context. "Lifehack" became more formal thanks to media. Spelled "чит" and "лайфхак".

 be sexually unfaithful.

Is replaced by "betray" - "изменять" used with dative case in relation to partner and with comitative case in relation to illicit partner:

Оливер изменял своей невесте с ее сестрой.
Oliver cheated his fiancée with her sister.

Rest meaning are pretty straightforward and there are numerous synonyms and expressions parallel to english ones.


I'm surprised nobody mentionеd "обдурить". Being closer in it's meaning to "обхитрить" and "обмануть", however it differs from a lie because in some cases it's just not about lying and, as such, in some cases it is a decent choice for translating cheating.

Other word I can think of - "наколоть"/"накалывать", like in - "наколоть систему" - wiktionary doesn't mention it but it has additional meaning "to trick someone/something".

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