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I've seen this phrase recently: на проводах в армию

I don't know what it means. Is it literal or an idiom, or...?

Example

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The word Проводы means 'going away party', 'farewell', and may be translated as 'send-off'. As @Nikolay Ershov mentioned, Проводы is any farewell party for someone going away, not just to the army.

Проводы мужа в командировку.
Проводы детства.

In your example it matches another word — Провод (a wire), so it might confuse you. This word is spelled the same, but has different meaning and sounding (homograph?). In speech you can distinguish them by accent.

прОвод, проводА (a wire, wires)
прОводы (send-off)
на проводАх (on wires)
на прОводах (at send-off party)

(The stress is on capital letters.)

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  • 1
    Intriguingly, no-one has mentioned the verb "провожать" (imperf), "проводить" (perf) - to see off, from which "прОводы" stems.
    – Avi Gordon
    Dec 8 '14 at 19:25
  • "прОвод"/"проводА" also stem from "проводить" (to pass [electric current]).
    – Ark-kun
    Dec 19 '17 at 0:52
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There are basically 2 meanings:

  1. На прОводах - kinda on farewell party - in this context farewell to military service
  2. На проводАх (plural) or на прОводе - means on wires or just connected, on line
0

It doesn't means something related to wire (провод). Проводы means party (usually with family and some friends) when a young man is going to army. So "на проводах" means "at the party".

It's WRONG: You should read it as проводЫ with stress on last syllable. See comments below.

Your example: student stabbed his brother at the party.

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  • 13
    You are absolutely wrong about the stress, the stress is on the 1st syllable: прОводы, на прОводах: http://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/проводы.
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 6 '14 at 19:14
  • 6
    Also, проводы is any farewell party for someone going away, not just to the army. Dec 6 '14 at 21:29
  • 1
    Stress falls to the first syllable, -1
    – Anixx
    Dec 6 '14 at 23:57
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    «...проводы́ with stress on last syllable» — весьма любопытно. Говорите, вы харьковчанин? Если не секрет, коренной? И просклоняйте (с ударением), пожалуйста, по падежам; если считаете возможным, то и в единственном числе тоже. Dec 7 '14 at 1:24

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