How to translate attitude / mind-set, when speaking about a person?

I'm looking for a term which fits best, when speaking about this inner attitude of one's heart. The term should not refer to one's mood or things which are more related to the collective outer appearance. See also the example below. It's not so easy to explain, but I thought with some more statements it's easier to get an idea of the possibilities that Russian offers here...

A corresponding German term is (Geistes-)Haltung.

It might be отношение, мышление, поведение или позиция, but I'm not sure.
Other terms I've found: ментальность, умонастроение

Here's a basic example of what I mean. Let's say a guy sits down in a train and takes a rather dingy newspaper which lies beside him to read it. Now another guy asks him: "Why you want to read such things?"

He might respond like so:

  • "Well, maybe there's something interesting inside."
  • "Ehm, never really thought about it. Why shouldn't I?"

or like so

  • "Does it make any difference?"
  • "Get a life."

So the attitude is reflected by words, behavior and deeds. Let's say the first answers testify to a good attitude and the latter to a poor. Let me also point out, that even a bad mood would not result in the latter answers if you have a good attitude (let's just assume that for now). So the attitude is more about something deeper. The attitude of one's heart. In the example, the answers may reveal whether the guy's heart clings to the newspaper (or things in it or the habit or reading it) or whether his heart is distant to it or just slightly leans to it.

What would be the Russian term for this understanding of attitude / mind-set?

It's not about adjectives describing a good attitude or bad attitude.

Here are some possible hints

Как говорит прп. Иоанн Лествичник (слово 24): «Кротость есть такое состояние ума, когда он непоколебим пребывает и в чести, и в бесчестии.... http://azbyka.ru/tserkov/duhovnaya_zhizn/osnovy/pestov_praktika_pravoslavnogo_blagochestiya_70-all.shtml

meekness - a disposition to be patient and long suffering.

Для чистых все чисто; а для оскверненных и неверныхнет ничего чистого, но осквернены и ум их и совесть. Титу 1:15

  • I would choose добродушный, беззлобный. Opposite: озлобленный Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 22:11
  • @jacobseleznev These apparently describe an attitude, but are no words for the term attitude.
    – user3538
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 4:49
  • In addition, you can say настроение, позиция. добродушное настроение, озлобленное поведение Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 5:01
  • Please specify what kind of word you seek. What is the style of the passage? In natural spoken Russian or the language of fiction literature there does not exist a single term for attitude (amorphous term as it is). In these texts you would use some generalisation of what happened and label it as "good", "inappropriate", "impartial" etc. You can use "отношения/позиция" in some other styles but that would come at a cost — that is, you are limited to formal or political contexts.
    – Shady_arc
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 0:37
  • I second Shady_arc’s request for explanation, what for do you need this. Are you translating something? What? It depends from that. In psychology for instance there is a term установка, which is used to translate attitude as far as I understood. But it will not be appropriate outside of special literature. Is mind-set a complete synonym for attitude for you? If so, менталитет is definitely relevant. Also there is a common phrase склад ума and quite pretentious word умонастроение (maybe, a calque from Geisteshaltung by the way). Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 15:52

11 Answers 11


Я бы в данном случае перевел attitude как настрой, соответственно good attitude = позитивный настрой, bad attitude = негативный настрой.

  • 2
    If I understood correctly настрой reflects a more current/present state, while отношение is more general. Is that so?
    – user3538
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 20:53
  • 1
    In this context отношение must be к чему-либо -- attitude towards something. Настрой on the other hand is a more general state of mind, which can be reflected in someone's отношение к чему-либо.
    – mustaccio
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 21:33
  • OK, I think I do understand. Anyhow, even if настрой is a more general term, isn't it somehow rather a present state which might change from one week to the other? склад ума seems to be more steady, but I'm not sure whether it's too broad. Really not an easy thing to understand these terms.
    – user3538
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 9:11
  • "present state which might change from one week to the other" -- but so can attitude, no?
    – mustaccio
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 13:57
  • It can change. However it's still rather steady in comparison to mood which might change quickly.
    – user3538
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 14:16

'Поведение' refers to visible actions, however, 'Холодное поведение' is not a common expression, usually 'вести себя холодно' is used. Actually, 'обсуждать поведение' is a bit formal, 'обсуждать как себя вести' is more common.

'Настроение' generally refers to internal, non-permanent mood, so 'У нее настроение быть сволочью' may be translated 'She is in a mood to be a bitch right now'

'Мышление' refers to the process of thinking or to internal view, so 'cynical attitude' would be translated as 'Циничное мышление'. However, it is not common to use the word in the second meaning, 'образ мышления' is usually used.

bottom up: no direct general translation, 'поведение' for visible actions, 'образ мысшления' (or more colloquial 'образ мыслей') for views and thoughts. Examples:

  • Он ведет себя холодно / Его поведение холодно (very awkward) / Он холоден. - He has cold attitude
  • Отставить пессиместичный образ мыслей / Отставить пессиместичное мышление - stop having pessimistic attitude.

Please note, however, that both 'мышление' and 'поведение' are words, used in formal situations and are rarely used in colloquial speech, unless they are part of an idiom.


I'don't know if you are still interested in this translation. It's difficult case and I also had troubles with attitude, translating philosophical texts from English (and Italian) to Russian.

Отношение means how you relate yourself with something, relations can change over time, like relations between people. Как ты к этому относишься? Means what do you think about it now and where you place yourself in the relation to the subject.

Состояние means state, in your quote "state of mind", something that can be changed. There is also other meaning of состояние - smth you've accumulated, like money

Поведение is definitely behavior Позиция is a position. I would use склонности, literally it sounds like "inclination" and means that you have a kind way of thinking, doing things, living, but it's not always conscious, cannot be changed only by will without being recognized.


For me it is отношение. Yes, it is a multipurpose word, but we use it in this meaning in Russian.

  • Is this word always used in connection with к чему-то or can it also be used in a general sense somehow?
    – user3538
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 20:50
  • Well, not always, but generally yes. «Он выразил своё презрительное отношение к собеседнику». Using отношение without object is more like relation. «У них хорошие отношения». Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 13:34

If I understood correctly the question, the word "мировоспрятие" is a good candidate for an answer.


In this context to translate "attitude" I would start from phenomenon of характер, though it's pretty far from literal translation. Probably would be needing to re-phrase something in the surrounding text according to the word, but it could pay off.


У него бойцовый характер. (He has a fighter's attitude / He's a figher)

Какой он бесхарактерный! (He's such a sissy!)

Его мягкий характер не даёт ему делать карьеру. (He can't make a career because of facile nature of his)


I would say образ мышления. Мышление is a bit more general term and it means thinking. The result of мышление is a thought.

Whether образ мышления determines our life priorities, purposes and its result is the way we act.


There are usually several words in Russian for every one word in English and yes, it's little frustrating sometimes.

1:отношение is relationship but it also is how one relates to the outside world = Relation Attitude

2:расположение just means disposition = Behavioural Attitude

3:мироощущение How one feels about the world in his insides.....world-feeling = Feeling Attitude

4:мировоззрение world-view = Vision Attitude trough your pink or dark glasses......

5:Attitude is actually the salad of all the above words put together = Attitude = Attitude


"Отношение" in the context of "what do you feel about something".

Как вы относитесь к животным? How do you feel about animals?

Attitude plays a significant role in literature, because it bridges the gap between the reader and the writer.

Example #1: The Catcher in the Rye (By J. D. Salinger)

“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” “If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late? Nobody.” “Goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.” “Catholics are always trying to find out if you’re Catholic.” https://literarydevices.net/attitude/

We say about this that author makes us относиться by one or another way to the things described. In other words, the author defines our attitude (by showing his own or a character's) to a something he wrote. Also, it is possible to say: "придерживаться тех или иных взглядов" on something. I.e. to have some attitude to.


"холодный нрав" (cold temper)... нрав (норов) - its like mnid-set, character, life position


When we say she has an attitude or he has an attitude it's always negative (negative behaviour) or (acting bad) for example " every time we get on the bus she starts to get an attitude, damn man, immediately she starts bitching about the life, blaming me for not giving her a good life" so I would say in Russian language it would be "плохое поведение".

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