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Recently I discovered the word склока and I was very surprised that its main meaning was "to squabble". For squabble, I would have felt that ссора or драка would be more appropriate.

So is склока in any way, shape or form in current usage in Russian society? If two kids were squabbling, would the parents describe it as a склока? Or is this term more relevant to some book by Tolstoy or Dostoevski?

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  • "Деньги - склока, а без них плохо" Sep 19, 2014 at 8:41
  • I'm a native speaker born in 1990, and this is the first time I've seen this word.
    – Ruslan
    Dec 4, 2015 at 17:42

7 Answers 7

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While the noun "склока" is not widely used in everyday speech, the adjective "склочный" and, to a lesser extent, the noun "склочник", are quite common.

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    Is it from personal experience? They are all pretty rare (of a "never spoken it in my life kind"). Any proof I could find (corpus, Yandex, Google ngrams) shows both of them being even more rare than the original "склока". Obviously, as no one anywhere near me speaks like that, I cannot directly observe the frequency of any of these (it is exactly zero).
    – Shady_arc
    Aug 11, 2014 at 4:34
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    @Shady_arc I second Alex, even if also just from personal experience. "Склочный" and, to a lesser degree, "склочник" and "склока" actively used. Might be a generational thing, though, now that I think of it...
    – P_S
    Aug 11, 2014 at 7:21
  • @P_S I mean that the words are certainly in passive vocabulary, and people use it in media. But I have never heard a real person use the word in everyday speech (speech that is not prepared or intended to produce some certain effect).
    – Shady_arc
    Aug 11, 2014 at 12:36
  • I have nothing against personal experience. It just was not clear from the post (objectively the word is not muvch more popular than "терем", "приданое" or "славянофил" — a moderately rare word for a specific purpose)
    – Shady_arc
    Aug 11, 2014 at 12:48
  • @Shady_arc It is indeed from personal experience as I regularly communicate verbally with dozens of native speakers on both sides of the ocean.
    – Alex
    Aug 11, 2014 at 13:46
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It is used, although perhaps not as often. Ссора is a synonym, but with different connotations — it's generally more dignified. Friends can be said to have поссорились, for example, without their ссора escalating into a склока. A cклока is never dignified — for either side.

Indeed, склока may be translated as "squabble", while a ссора is more like a "break-up".

And драка isn't even a synonym since it invariably involves violence. English "fight" may or may not imply actual violence, but драка always does.

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The word "склока" isn't used much in speech; I think currently, it's a word you could sometimes use in a book or a public speech, but not on an everyday basis. But yup, definitely a part of native speakers' passive vocabulary.

Judging by the Russian National Corpus, "склока" is primarily a 20th century word, so it's unlikely that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky used it much in their work — the word existed before, but was rarely used until the end of the 19th century.

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  • N. B. ’Russian National Corpus’ is mainly consist of modern (post-1918) texts. So it is not a good tool to do statistical researches in time at all. Aug 7, 2014 at 22:19
  • I do not object though, that скло́ка is a word that you would hardly encounter in books of xix century. (+1) Aug 7, 2014 at 22:36
  • To be honest, for words like "склока" it is indeed not large enough before 1890. You can only see that the word was rare in the 19th century and that it existed. 3-5 books are not enough to accurately estimate the frequency beyond "quite rare". However they do have 26 million words for 19 century so one can be pretty sure that a word with an average of about 4-5 ipm would get much more results.
    – Shady_arc
    Aug 7, 2014 at 22:36
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It's a passive vocabulary word.

Also note that English fight could mean both ссора and драка, but these two are totally different in Russian.

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Adding a reference: Google Books chart

The word was never in major use and was mostly used from 1920 to 1950. After 1950, its usage dropped nearly three times and remains at the same level until now.

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A rare word, and an almost exact synonym to "ccopa", "склокa" arguably carries a slight additional lean towards "chaos" or "mess". Mandelstam had this connotation in mind in his lines

В этой вечной склоке ловить
Эолийский чудесный строй...

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скло́ка - от клок, клочок, - a small torn out part of some fur (клок шерсти), hairs (клок волос), grass (клочок травы), earth (клочок земли), clothes (клок от одежды). Вырвать клок.

Склочничать - намеренно противодействовать спокойному ведению беседы, внося эмоциональный раздор, часто с переходам на персоналии. non-constructive conversation/talk ~ active intolerance and aggressive position to other opinions, mutual offenses and reproaches, misunderstanding, non-acceptance and hostility.

Я думаю, что склочничать произошло от выражений вроде "рвать в клочки", that's why it sometimes has the meaning "to have quarrels, with light damage or another kind of negligible harm":

Народ теряет наконец терпение, бросается на аэростат, рвет его в клочки, а Миолан спасается бегством. Н. М. Карамзин. Письма русского путешественника (1793)

Рвать в клочки - not to destroy/kill/immobilize someone, but to cause moral harm, like tearing off a button from their jacket, or tearing off a piece of material - to make the affected person come under moral scrutiny. Like dogs barking and tearing the fur or clothes off of others, not to kill them, but to make them fearful.

Склочная ~ устраивающая скандалы. Склочница/склочник - one that engages in quarrel, usually a woman, because women will avoid the real fight. Склока~мелкая/мелочная драка, с акцентом "мелкая", мелкая ссора, из-за пустяка и с пустячными аргументами, когда не бьют, но волосы друг у друга рвут.

Типичная склока-ссора с мелкой дракой:

Один молодой мой слушатель, который был племянник богатой гражданки, кумы ратмана, донес о сем своей тетушке, которая, отчего-то взбесясь, прибежала к его чести, влепила несколько пощечин, вырвала клок волос и, уходя, сказала оторопевшему старцу: «Вот тебе, бездельник! В. Т. Нарежный (1814)

Для склоки важен не уровень физического урона, а сам жест - морально задеть, растоптать честь.

— Выговоря это, Густав изорвал в клочки письмо и присовокупил посланному: — Ступай! другого ответа не будет. И. И. Лажечников. Последний Новик (1833)

Склока - путаница, неразбериха:

Смута и склока была великая. А. В. Амфитеатров. Княжна (1889-1895)

Склока - беспричинное, непредсказуемое, неприятное, эмоциональное дело из-за ссоры. Ну и псы-собаки тоже тут:

— Туда ему и дорога, псу! — Это вот тайные шинки эти губят людей! — грозно кричит Лядов, размахивая ружьём. А Мозжухин грустно говорит: — Начнётся теперь, братья, великая склока нам; эх — житьё! Горький.

— ... и начнётся между ними неразберимая склока... Горький.

Никаких улик не было. Была тут общая склока. Человек сто дралось. Куприн.

Склочник - дезорганизатор, disruptive to organisation:

«Вы, товарищ, дезорганизатор, склочник, вам не место в партии» Б. Губер. Осколки (1927)

Also клеветник - detractor, сквернослов - slanderer.

Это будет очень большое достижение, когда из коллектива будет удален клеветник и склочник. Б. И. Вронский. Дневник (1954)

Молва пошла, и однажды инструментальщик Мокеев, склочник и сквернослов, обозлясь за что-то на Андрея, назвал его: «шлюхин выкормыш». В. Ф. Панова. Евдокия (1944-1959)

Склочница - хамоватая, крикливая женщина:

Галина — крикливая и вульгарная склочница. Сергей Довлатов. Наши (1983)

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  • @CocoPop - спасибо, но все же не понимаю, зачем ты правишь текст, а потом его сам же минусишь, оцениваешь результат своей коррекции? Aug 22, 2023 at 4:44
  • Потому что даже самая страшная чушь должна быть хорошо написана и грамматически правильно оформлена! Всегда пожалуйста!👍🏻🤩
    – CocoPop
    Aug 22, 2023 at 14:47
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    @CocoPop жаль, что ты не понимаешь, как это звучит по-русски, но я рад, что у тебя хорошее настроение, keep it up! Aug 22, 2023 at 16:10

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