What is the difference between



"драка с ножами" ?

  • 1
    Welcome to Russian SE Anthribar - please, for future reference, don't create similar question to substitute a closed one - just edit existing - my bad I hadn't explained it actually.
    – shabunc
    Jan 30 at 20:21

I disagree with @V.V on this. - in my opinion there is difference, both in meaning and stylistic one. To start with, "драка на ножах" (which is a bit more correct that "драка с ножами") implies that all sides of the conflict are using knives, while "поножовщина" is an act of violence that involves stabbing - not necessarily all people involved possessed knives, moreover, not necessarily that all were aggressive.

Check out this (sad, alas) excerpt from real news:

В ходе ссоры женщина схватила кухонный нож и ударила им в ногу брата.

This is definitely "поножовщина" (actually, the title for this article is "Ссора между братом и сестрой в Мурманске закончилась поножовщиной") but it's by no means a "драка на ножах" (or "c ножами", whatever).

  • You disagree with Ожегов and Ушаков, not me.
    – V.V.
    Jan 31 at 10:27
  • 1
    @V.V. I'm disagreeing with attempt to deduce current state of things solely from dictionaries that do not cover (and actually can not cover) modern language.
    – shabunc
    Jan 31 at 12:03
  • "Драка на ножах" implies that both sides use knives. "Драка с ножами" (is colloquial for "драка с применением ножей") means that knives were somehow used by some participant(s).
    – Alexander
    Feb 1 at 19:40
  • @Alexander множественное число тогда подразумевает что ножей как минимум два :P иначе - если уж придираться - это была бы драка с ножом ) а поножовщина бывает с одним ножом.
    – shabunc
    Feb 1 at 21:18
  • @shabunc - тут оно верно, но эти ножи могут быть все на одной стороне, и тогда "на ножах" никак не получится.
    – Alexander
    Feb 1 at 21:21

First, let's be correct: there is no "драка с ножами" but "драка на ножах". Despite every native speaker will understand the meaning you want to say in both examples, the second one is more "true".

Second, "драка на ножах" sounds like both sides (or many people) agreed in advance for a fight using knifes. Do you want to say this is a real situation which can happen in our world?

Commonly, when people use knifes in a fight it leeds to death(s) or severe injures.

It's a very hypothetical situation when more then 2 humans agreed to fight using deadly weapon.

So I want to say that "драка на ножах" is never used in "common life", if I can say so.

More real situation is then two persons who are knife masters a fighting each other using dummy (муляж), because a knife battle mastery is existing discipline but nobody dies there.

So this can be called "knife duel" (дуэль на ножах). And commonly this is a professional competition because old times when people agreed for a deadly dual are gone.

So first results. "Драка на ножах" can be used when more then 2 people agreed for a fight and are using knifes. Most probably there are only two men, so it's a duel and knifes probably are not real.

Word "драка" are used for a "not official" collisions. "Драка" is then boys from one yard are fighting with boys from another yard. "Драка" can be called drunk fight outside the bar. In other words when somebody want to "win" (deflecting his interests) using brute force. Unfortunatly such things are happen not as rare as we would like.

But I must say commonly "драка" is not leading to a prison term. In Russia "драка" more usual is leading to a new and strong friendship.

So "драка на ножах" does not fit to a thing that's called "драка" itself. "Драка" is something not so serious, so I want to say "драка на ножах" is not a termin that somebody use.

"Дуэль на ножах" if there are two fighters or "сражение на ножах" if there are more or still two but it's something spontaneous. And it must be something beautiful, spectacular and all sides prepared.

And now let's talk about "поножовщина". I must say this sounds like more as slang then an official termin.

We use to use it when we are talking about crime actions when someone (more often drunk) suddenly used a knife with a clear intention to kill or cause grievous harm.

So let's summorize.

  1. "Драка на ножах" can be used so rarely so I would decided not to use it at all. "Драка" is soft termin. Real knifes are leading to death. It doesn't stack with each other.
  2. "Дуэль на ножах" is when two masters are fighting. It's absolutely safe nowadays. In old times people used to fight to death but they are gone. And I don't heared they used knifes.
  3. "Сражение на ножах" is more likely to use to discribe massive battle in a online game, there participians were only assassins (who uses knifes).
  4. "Поножовщина" most probably is a cruel crime when knifes were used to kill. But I asure you I don't believe somebody planning "поножовщина" today evening. It's more like spontaneous event when one ore several participations had knifes with themselfes.

If somebody during the fight (драка) suddenly pulls out a knife it's not "поножовщина" yet. Usual it's just a threating. But If he strikes and make harm - it's not "драка на ножах", it's "поножовщина".

I never heard about event that could be described as "драка на ножах". Becouse nobody sane and sober will never agree to lose his life for just a common fight. We have judgement system, so even if in old times people didn't value their lifes, today some expressions is hardly to use. "Драка на ножах" is such an example.


ПОНОЖОВЩИНА — ПОНОЖОВЩИНА, поножовщины, жен. (разг.). Драка, во время которой пускаются в ход ножи. Толковый словарь Ушакова. Д.Н. Ушаков. 1935 1940 … Толковый словарь Ушакова

ПОНОЖОВЩИНА — ПОНОЖОВЩИНА, ы, жен. (разг.). Драка с применением ножей, холодного оружия. Дело дошло до поножовщины. Толковый словарь Ожегова. С.И. Ожегов, Н.Ю. Шведова. 1949 1992 … Толковый словарь Ожегова

Most dictionaries mark поножовщина as a colloquial synonym of драка с применением ножей.


Well, I'd argue that in modern Russian the word 'поножовщина' usually implies that there is more than one person involved and is often used in news and other official reports, literature and that kind of stuff, than in everyday Russian. For example 'Драка в местном баре закончилась поножовщиной, три человека ранены' (a brawl in a local pub ended in stabbing with 3 people wounded'. Драка с ножами is less formal and implies that knives weren't necessarily being used, it is more like 'a fight where some people having knives' (and possibly not using them)

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