Basically the title.

I have just had a discussion with some of my friends and we could not come up with the origin of this saying. The best we could come up with was that it sounded closer to "молодец" или "молодчина" but could not tie "молоток" to it.

  • 5
    I think you are right. "Молоток" is sounded close to "Молодец"
    – cha
    Jan 15, 2014 at 0:45
  • It's some kind soviet union legacy. Reference to symbol of working proletariat - hammer and sickle. Used as accordant to Молодец etc
    – Sugar
    Jan 15, 2014 at 6:28
  • Терпи молоток, выростишь кувалдой будеш Jan 16, 2014 at 16:28
  • 1
    Ну типа, лопата...
    – Karlson
    Jan 16, 2014 at 18:44
  • 1
    @stepan I am looking for origins. And I don't recall it ever meaning "You're done!".
    – Karlson
    Jan 23, 2014 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Молоток is a slang and jokey word for молодец, which is a noun in Russian corresponding to the English expression "well done". (Reference: Большой толковый словарь под ред. Кузнецова).

The reason exactly the word молоток is used is not explained in dictionaries I saw. But one could speculate with a rather high chance of hitting the point that

  1. the two words sound similar due to sharing the first two syllables and the same stress on the last syllable
  2. the word молоток literally means hammer i.e. an instrument used to accomplish a task requiring some skill.
  • The reason is what I was looking for. Speculation you have posted is unfortunately just that. :(
    – Karlson
    Jan 17, 2014 at 10:56
  • Actually it seems comparison appeared due to comparison with hammer nailing things. In english if one guy beat another you can say nailed. Especially if advantage was huge. So playing a little with the sense behind it you get same for молоток, guy that nail tasks or anything Jan 20, 2014 at 18:22
  • I understand that I am writing with a great delay for the discussion, but does it not seem to you that the phrase "Ты молоток!" has roots with the german phrase "Du bist ein hammer!" (absolutely the same translation and meaning), which goes back to the Middle Ages (see Markgraf Heinrich III)? Considering the influence of the German language on Russian in the 19th century, this expression could also leak out. Apr 20, 2021 at 10:18

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