Could you please explain what this means, and why?

Руки не доходят посмотреть.

  • 1
    BTW, I'm interested in English equivalent of this idiom, if exists Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 18:45
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    @RomanPetrenko: "Ain't nobody got time for that" I think would be the closest thing!
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 19:21
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    From the other answers, it sounds like an English equivalent might be, "I'd like to [do x], but I've only got two hands."
    – EtTuBrute
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 11:14
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    @Quassnoi it is not even close
    – hazzik
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 20:42
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    @RomanPetrenko: the closest idiomatic expression to this, given the context you described, is: "there (just) aren't enough hours in the day"
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 23:10

9 Answers 9


Generally,the Руки не доходят idiom means "Cannot find time to do [something]".

So, your phrase can be translated as "Cannot find time to view/read/watch [something (a movie, an article, a leak in the plumbing etc.)]"

By the way, the given phrase (with посмотреть) is an oxymoron often referenced as an example of collocation, which non Russian-speaking people find hard to understand.


As was written above, "руки не доходят посмотреть" means "Cannot find time to watch", but there is an accent like "Well, I want to watch it, but when I have the time, I have something with higher priority to watch, or something distracts me" not "I Can't find the time to watch anything, so I didn't watch this thing."

So in general it's used when you have time to watch movies and rest, and you want to watch this movie, but somehow you didn't yet.

And as to "walking hands," first of all "доходить" is the perfective form of "ходить," so it is closer to "get to." And "доходить" has a rather wide range of meanings: in different cases it can be translated as "to understand," "to be done," "to rise" (to an amount).


Everyone here is making the translation too quirky and context specific. It translates to— "I (my hands) haven't gotten (around) to do(ing) it" доходить--to reach, get to X. We say exactly the same thing in English, minus the hands.

  • very nice explanation
    – shabunc
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 6:51

As @roman-petrenko said, Руки не доходят [сделать что-то] means "Cannot find time to [do something]".

Why "руки"? Generally you use hands to do something.

Why "дошли/доходят"? "There were too many things I had to do and I haven't got to some job."

Later the phrase generalized to the actions that don't involve hands (e.g. reading).

  • Reading involves hands, arguably.
    – Anixx
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:03

"Руки не доходят" is not walking by hands. For example. You have to do ten home-made pies. You can't do the sixth pie before the fifth pie. If you doing the fifth pie and somebody ask you about the sixth pie then your answer is "Руки не дошли". "не дошли" mean "not a turn".


It's one of oxymoron phraselogism. Meaning is "No free time to do something"


Can't find time for it, but there is an english equivalent phrase:
"Can't get my hands on it".


Why hands?

The idea is: "I'm so overwhelmed with stuff to do, that I'm just grabbing next closest things and that particular thing lays too far from my hands (its turn still not come)".


It means no possibility of doing something planned due to whatever reason.

  • The answer is too short but I agree with the gist of it: why so many people srtess "no time". There is no direct reference to time in this idiom. You may have had plenty of time but were procrastinating and did not do the thing.
    – farfareast
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 3:32

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