For a multilingual web-site (http://map.project-osrm.org/), I am looking for the optimal translation of the word fastest into Russian. They currently call it быстрейший, which seems to me not really fitting here. I suggest translating it as самый быстрый claiming that there is no proper translation of fastest into Russian with one word. However I am in doubt. Would you agree or prove me wrong?

Update: Actually, I think the Russian word that would be more appropriate here would be based on скорый rather than быстрый, since they are probably talking about the arrival time rather than about a car going as fast as possible. I do not see the difference in English, but I do in Russian. Hope I am not the only one :) Anyway, I am afraid скорый is definitely not the word to be proposed to the site authors.

Update 2: Data from http://ruscorpora.ru:

No clear winner, though быстрейший seems to be more or less as popular as самый быстрый.

  • 1
    Why быстрейший does not satisfy you? – Anixx Sep 29 '14 at 8:08
  • Самый быстрый (способ) – Artemix Sep 29 '14 at 8:18
  • @Anixx, while fastest is used regularly in English, I am struggling to find many examples of the use of быстрейший in Russian. When I saw it in the site, I immediately thought of the translation done by a foreigner. You don't have the same feeling apparently? – texnic Sep 29 '14 at 8:29
  • @texnic can you please better specify the context? – Anixx Sep 29 '14 at 8:32
  • @texnic well, I think I found what confused you. In the context of the site one needs an adverb better rather than adjective I think. – Anixx Sep 29 '14 at 8:36

"Самый быстрый" is the most appropriate variant. It is used much more often than other forms like "(наи)быстрейший" or "(наи)скорейший".


You stats are not applicable to your case, Ruscorpora doesn't return any results for "самый быстрый маршрут" or "быстрейший маршрут".

Statistics from Google/Yandex:

  1. "самый быстрый маршрут" - 432000/43000 results;
  2. "быстрейший маршрут" - 2150/335 results;
  3. "скорейший маршрут" - 60/84 results;
  4. "наибыстрейший маршрут" - 61/58 results;
  5. "кратчайший по времени маршрут" - 40/24 results;
  6. "наискорейший маршрут" - 24/17 results;
  7. "самый скорый маршрут" - 17/15 results.
  • 1
    Though personally I tend to agree, the commonly used word кратчайший (as for routing) makes me wonder, why we don't have a similarly accepted term for the shortest time route. – texnic Sep 29 '14 at 19:39
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    @texnic кратчайший по времени is also appropriate. – Anixx Sep 30 '14 at 11:09
  • @Anixx: yes, but it makes the whole story even longer. I am lost so far :) I'll wait a bit longer and then write to the authors of the web-site. – texnic Sep 30 '14 at 12:48
  • @kotlomoy: My statistics is not invalid :) You may doubt its significance or applicability. But please do not call it invalid. I wanted to check/demonstrate the historic progress of the word use, to prove or disprove my idea of some words sounding archaic, not to find the optimal expression. Therefore I didn't search for маршрут. – texnic Oct 15 '14 at 19:22
  • @texnic Yes, I meant not applicable to this case – kotlomoy Oct 15 '14 at 20:27

fastest = быстрейший, наибыстрейший.

  • Наибыстрейший is the word I'd use if I wanted to give a feeling of an old, archaic language. However I would struggle to explain to a foreigner who doesn't distinguish between автомобиль and автомобиля the difference between быстрейший and наибыстрейший – texnic Sep 29 '14 at 8:32
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    @texnic no, it does not look archaic in any way. – Anixx Sep 29 '14 at 8:33
  • 2
    It does sound a little bit archaic - such forms always do, Russian tends to have analytic superlative. – Viridianus Sep 29 '14 at 20:01
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    @texnic may be the trouble is in that быстрейший usually means "fastest" (in physical sense) while u need "shortest in time". While скорейший rather could mean "closest in time to present moment", soonest. But I think быстрейший is appropriate in your case. – Anixx Sep 30 '14 at 10:58
  • Correct, see my update. But I am still struggling to accept the words быстрейший / скорейший as commonly used modern ones. – texnic Sep 30 '14 at 12:57

"Автомобиля (быстрейший)" I'd change to "Автомобилем (кратчайший)".

Fastest speed = shortest time.

  • 2
    Unfortunately, though it sounds good, it would be incorrect in this specific context: The fastest root is exactly not always the shortest one. Quite typically, you can go the slow village roads with the maximum speed of 70 km/h reduced to 30 km/h in densely populated areas; or you can take a motorway, which will be longer (since you need to get there and from it), but you will then drive at >100 km/h. The motorway route can turn out to take a shorter time while being longer. – texnic Sep 30 '14 at 7:59
  • Please take a good look at my equation. The shortest time, not route. – BrainsFeeder Sep 30 '14 at 8:12
  • no offence, but you suggested "автомобилем (крайтчайший)", and my comment relates to that. I didn't comment on the equation because I was not certain what you wanted to express with it. It's actually in general incorrect, because you can take a long root, go at a high speed and it will take a longer time than a shorter root with a lower speed. Besides, a speed cannot be fast :) What I did like in your answer was the suggestion of the word "кратчайший" and that you also seem to agree that "быстрейший" is suboptimal. – texnic Sep 30 '14 at 12:46

Besides "[Наи]быстрейший" it's also possible to say:


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    I like it! Скорый refers to time rather than speed, which is exactly what is needed here. We use скорая помощь and скорый поезд to emphasize the arrival time rather than the actual vehicle speed. However, the word скорейший as such sounds even more archaic to me than быстрейший. It's like a name of a king in the Middle Ages :) – texnic Sep 30 '14 at 12:54
  • @texnic Nice comment! – Ruslan Gerasimov Sep 30 '14 at 22:07

I would say that words "наибыстрейший", "быстрейший", "наискорейший" and "скорейший" are fine, It's OK to use them sometimes. Moreover, you can use the first two words ("наибыстрейший" и "быстрейший") if you talk about speed; as for the last two words, we use them when we want to mean time. However, if you want to sound more Russian and colloquial, you better use "самый быстрый". Because "(наи)скорейший" and "(наи)быстрейший" means something like "super fastest".

Examples: 1) Этот путь к успеху кажется мнe наибыстрейшим. (This way to success seems to me the fastest one.)

2) Желаю Вам скорейшего выздоровления! (Wish you get well as soon as possible!)

Hope my answer helped you! Good luck!


I would use скоростной. It has a slightly different meaning than быстрейший (something is faster than usual), but in my opinion it sounds much better (more natural).

  • 2
    You wouldn't call the fastest route скоростной путь, would you? The Russian скоростной seems to me to be an equivalent of the English high-speed as in high-speed train. – texnic Jan 21 '16 at 16:58
  • No. If you are talking about a route, I'd say оптимальный маршрут. – Mentiflectax Jan 21 '16 at 17:08

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