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As the title says, what's the difference between these two verbs? I've seen the latter used in this sentence: Он таким уродился. Couldn't one use the verb "родиться" in this case as well? What would be the difference in terms of nuances?

4 Answers 4

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Уродиться

  1. It can be used to talk about fruit, harvests, corn with the meaning "good harvest","cropped well" Ячмень хорошо уродился в этом году. — The barley cropped well this year.

  2. to take after: Он уродился в отца (родился похожим на отца). He turned out like/takes after his father. (resembles his father)

  3. to be born (colloquial)

The third meaning is used in your example, although they're not always interchangeable.

Он таким родился. (sounds neutral) Он таким уродился. (vernacular)

Can be negative or positive depending on the context.

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  • Here as well, the negative connotation comes entirely from the context. E.g. you can be born lame (negative), or you can be born tall and strong (positive). Just saying "he is born this way" does sound negative, but it's not because "born" has a negative connotation. Mar 9 at 8:09
  • The difference is in style. What I meant is that the second is просторечие.
    – V.V.
    Mar 9 at 9:56
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    I think the fact that it's vernacular and can have a positive or negative connotation are the most interesting and important takeaways here. Great answer as always! We also have a form like this in English — come out: He came out like his father. She came out sensible — like her mother.
    – CocoPop
    Mar 9 at 12:36
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Couldn't one use the verb "родиться" in this case as well?

Yes, one could.

What would be the difference in terms of nuances?

When applied to people, уродиться means "to be born with a certain trait or characteristic".

Unlike родиться, this word requires a complement: уродиться каким-то, уродиться кем-то "to be born with a certain trait", уродиться в кого-то "to take after someone" etc.

  • Папаша же, вопреки генам, уродился человеком мыслящим, тонко чувствующим и смирным.

  • ― Парень-то крепкий уродился, ― сказал отец страдальческим голосом

  • ― А моя, не знаю уж, в кого умная такая уродилась, академию кончает в Москве.

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Aside from level of formality and possible connotations, "Он таким родился" and "Он таким уродился" have slightly different meanings.

"Он таким родился" is talking about what someone was like at birth. A sentence like "Он родился слабым и маленьким" is talking about a weak, small baby, who may have grown up to be big and strong.

"Он таким уродился" is talking about what someone was like from birth or from a young age. For example, https://www.goodhouse.ru/stars/zvezdnye-istorii/kak-shavarsh-karapetyan-stal-chempionom-mira-a-potom-chempionom-po-spaseniyu-lyudey/ has the sentence

Просто таким уж он уродился: свободным и честным.

The athlete in the article wasn't literally born a "free and honest" baby. Rather, the article is saying that from a very young age, he had these characteristics.

People don't always use languages according to the "instruction manual". If you come across the sentence "Он родился высоким", you may have to take clues from the context to figure out if it's talking about someone who was born a tall baby, or someone who grew up to be tall. On the other hand, "Он уродился высоким" is unambiguous — it's about someone who grew up to be tall.

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  • @CocoPop I do not necessarily object to the edits, but could you please explain the rationale behind them? Mar 10 at 18:43
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    Just to make the English that appears on this site the most exemplary and natural it can be for the sake of learners. And, as a professional editor, sometimes I just can't help myself :)
    – CocoPop
    Mar 10 at 19:26
  • But if you do object to any correction, please reverse it and I'll get the message ;)
    – CocoPop
    Mar 10 at 19:28
  • Word Lie 5/7 ⬜🟩🟩⬜🟩 ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ ⬜⬜⬜🟨⬜ (LIE) ⬜🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
    – CocoPop
    Mar 10 at 21:36
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    +1, the only answer so far that captures perfective essence of "уродился".
    – Alexander
    Mar 10 at 21:56
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The verb родиться is applicable here, but the connotations are slightly different. The verb родиться is neutral, while уродился carries a meaning of regret and apology: he was born this way — it's unfortunate, but not his fault.

In general, "родиться", unlike "уродиться" can be used in a neutral context - "я родился в январе" is fine, but "я уродился в январе" makes no sense.

Notably, the word "урод" (literally "freak", but also a general-purpose derogatory word for an unpleasant person) is directly related to "уродиться".

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    I disagree. "Он уродился в отца / He turned out like his father" does not have a meaning of regret, unless e.g. we know from the context that his father is a criminal. Mar 9 at 8:01
  • Hm, good point. Mar 9 at 14:48

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