I'm working on translating a piece of fiction into English, and sometimes even when I generally know that some phrase is insulting, dismissive, etc., I don't actually understand precisely what the "flavor" of it is...can I get a native speaker to weigh in?

Also, how does "послан за вином" compare to "послан в зад"?


  • 5
    Can you provide context of the phrase? Currently I don't see any mood in "послан за вином". There is no hidden meaning in it.
    – Artemix
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:49
  • Yeah, so the main character is saying that if he tried to offer money to a particular poor person, он "был бы послан за вином"-- sort of something like "fuck off" I think, because he is describing her as proud and having "сильные понты"...but maybe I'm completely misinterpreting?
    – AbbYoyo
    Feb 21, 2014 at 20:35
  • I don't feel it like this. I think that that particular poor person doesn't want a money, but the wine. Many workers would ask for a bottle of vodka as a sign of a grattitude. Sysadmins prefer a beer. Maybe that person prefers wine, so it may be some kind of "aristocratic" feature of this character.
    – Artemix
    Feb 21, 2014 at 20:55
  • 3
    From the context it seems the wine thing is literal--the "go to hell" (I wouldn't translate it as "fuck off", it's a weaker swear) is an alternative to "go buy some wine", so it can't mean the same. However, it is still somewhat unclear, so bigger context may be influencing the meaning.
    – jwalker
    Feb 21, 2014 at 22:24
  • 1
    I think I found the piece in question (magazines.russ.ru/october/2011/4/sa5.html) and from a larger context I'd be inclined to agree with @jwalker that "послан за вином" should be understood literally in this case. The lady in question is still too proud to accept money but won't say "no" to booze.
    – mustaccio
    Feb 21, 2014 at 23:11

5 Answers 5


First of all, I've never heard that phrase as a slang phrase. Using the word "послать" here seems to having nothing in common with "послать в зад" and similar phrases.

When Russians say "послать за вином" they usually mean two things -

  1. We have no wine, so let's ask someone to get wine.

  2. We have some in common to "celebrate" together so, let's get some wine = let's ask some one to bring us wine.

From the context of the original text I can guess that second meaning was right in this case - I'd understand it as -" One person gave money to another to buy wine and drink together."


Из-за этих понтов я, например, больше не решаюсь предлагать ей денег (уже пробовал), поскольку могу быть сразу послан в зад или за вином. Тогда, скорей всего, я тоже захочу ее послать.

Because of this attitude^1 I, for example, will not be offering her money(already tried), since I may be suddenly sent to hell^2 or to get wine. Then, probably, I too will want to send^3 her.

^1 must be discussed earlier in the piece.

^2 closest translation is "sent to hell", literal is "sent into the ass", but this is not talking about anal sex.

^3 meaning retort the insult earlier 'send her to hell' or may even mean that he will not associate with her.

Basically this is an individual(she) who views gifts of money as insulting and prefers actual gifts, the person speaking is most likely of upper class with excess of money and no understanding of Russian culture.

  • I feel that the author of the passage used "за вином" in wrong context. Thus, we can understand what he meant but the usage seems to be mistake.
    – user3575
    Feb 23, 2014 at 19:54

Given that the narrator talks about a street bum in denial (see the full context), I think the meaning is

"If I offer her money, she will either tell me to fuck off or send me to spend the money on wine that we will have to drink together as a "celebration" (she thinks accepting money is low). Then I'm probably going to tell her to fuck off"


Another thing.

In the university where I studied, students in dorm have a conception послать за водкой, сбегать за водкой. Older students ordered younger (inexperienced) ones to go and buy them vodka. They even gave all the needed money, no cheating. But this was treated as an insult among students because a person is asked (or ordered) to serve. So, first advice to novices was: "Don't go for vodka".

So, maybe here is also some sense of insulting.

  • Ah, so maybe if you're "послан за водкой", this has the meaning of the slang English phrase "being somebody's bitch"--it refers to a person who will be ordered about because they are in a position of inferiority to the other person, whether formally ( e.g. older/younger students) or informally (e.g. girl who has crush on guy and tries to impress him).
    – AbbYoyo
    Feb 24, 2014 at 13:04
  • Please note that this may be very local – I didn't hear of another examples except in my city (Vladivostok) and university. I'm not even sure if this practice still exists (I graduated more than 10 years ago). Feb 24, 2014 at 19:30

"послан в зад" (обычно говорят: "пошел в жопу", это довольное грубое оскорбление) - the best translation is "go to hell"

The person who "послан за вином" was insulted because no one wants to serve others by bringing them drinks. That kind of insulting has hidden meaning in a way that person is rejected in a polite manner. It is like trolling on the Internet if we are talking about attitude towards that person. So, the translation, according to the context, is "was rejected".

Good luck!

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