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I don't speak or read Russian myself, but I'm trying to find some genuine and natural-sounding Russian equivalents of a couple of English phrases.

The first is "keep your shirt on," a colloquial and slightly irritable way of telling someone "calm down" or "don't worry". I found a phrase on a couple of informational websites that seems close: "В ус не дуть". I understand it translates literally as "not blowing into one's mustache", and is meant to convey a sense of calm and ease, though it isn't clear if it is meant in the imperative sense (i.e., "not worried" vs "don't worry"), which is what I'm after.

The second is a term of endearment with a sarcastic inflection, such as "slick", "sparky" or "sunshine" (e.g., "when I want your opinion, I'll ask for it, sunshine"). Interestingly, I found a reference to a diminutive term "лучик", which apparently translates as "little ray [of sunshine]" and is typically meant affectionately. Practically any English term of endearment originally meant affectionately can be delivered with sarcasm, and I was hoping the same was true in Russian. Can anyone confirm this for "лучик", or suggest an equivalent term of endearment more often used sarcastically? Preferably one in the common parlance, of course.

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  • please, tend ask one question per post
    – shabunc
    Mar 15, 2023 at 11:04
  • I didn't realize we were providing translations now.
    – CocoPop
    Mar 15, 2023 at 16:42
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    @CocoPop we don't - this particular question is in grey zone but what makes it still on-topic is mainly 1) OP seeks for a phrase in Russian (the opposite is in 100% off-topic) 2) OP provided evidence of research effort and basically asks "keep your shirt on" and "в ус не дуть" are interchangeable.
    – shabunc
    Mar 15, 2023 at 17:23
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    @CocoPop: they describe a meaning in great detail and ask for an idiomatic Russian way to convey that meaning. That's a long way from "translate this for me", and I wish we had more questions like this.
    – Quassnoi
    Mar 15, 2023 at 19:39
  • Good to know!))
    – CocoPop
    Mar 15, 2023 at 19:46

3 Answers 3

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Keep your shirt on can be translated as He кипятись! or Не выходи из себя! or Придержи коней! or Остынь! And as for the second one, you can say sunshine as солнышко, which can be used sarcastically. Hope this helps.

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The first is "keep your shirt on," a colloquial and slightly irritable way of telling someone "calm down" or "don't worry".

Depending on the shade of meaning, that would be не парься ("don't worry"); obscene не ссы and its family-friendly version не дрейфь ("don't be afraid"); не кипятись ("don't be angry").

  • ― Я пошла, ― сказала она и стала собирать сумку. ― Да ладно тебе, не парься. ― Он схватил ее за ногу. [Маша Трауб. Ласточ…ка (2012)]

  • Они получили то, что заслуживают, и если в дальнейшем они захотят развязать с нами войну, мы готовы постоять за наши интересы! ― резко закончил Джино. ― Подожди, сынок, не кипятись. Вот что значит молодая, горячая кровь. [Андрей Ростовский. Русский синдикат (2000)]

  • ― Ладно, не ссы, достану я тебе твою мелочь, ― зевнув, сказал Витек. [Алексей Грачев. Ярый против видеопиратов (1999)]


The second is a term of endearment with a sarcastic inflection, such as "slick", "sparky" or "sunshine" (e.g. "when I want your opinion, I'll ask for it, sunshine")

Lots of terms of endearment work this way. Some of them (голубчик, соколик, дорогуша) are more often used in the sarcastic sense than not:

  • Клинобородый строго посмотрел на вертлявого и вдруг улыбнулся, обнажая лошадиные зубы, которых было раза в три больше, чем положено нормальному человеку. ― Со свиданьицем, дорогуша! ― каркнул клинобородый. ― Чем отличился этот соколик? ― обратился он к коллегам. [Е. Ю. Каминский. Чудотворец (начало) // «Волга», 2000]

  • Ничего, голубушка, никуда ты не денешься, я из тебя выжму правду-матку. [Александра Маринина. Ангелы на льду не выживают. Т. 1 (2014)]

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    Fair warning about "не ссы", it is considered moderately vulgar (literally means something like "don't piss" or even "don't piss yourself"). It is not as bad as the common swear words but is neither polite nor kid-friendly. Mar 14, 2023 at 13:09
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    One could use "не дрейфь" as a non-vulgar alternative with the same meaning.
    – Dan M.
    Mar 15, 2023 at 10:57
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The idiom "в ус не дуть" is used differently. "He doesn't blow into his mustache" means that someone is too calm.

As for "keeping one's shirt on", quite often Russian people say: "[Alexander of Macedon is a hero but] why breaking chairs?" It is a quote from the play "The Government Inspector" by Gogol.

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    It'd be helpful to actually see that quote in Russian.
    – CocoPop
    Mar 16, 2023 at 16:04

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