"But then you find yourself unchallenged by..." - what would be the best, possibly one-word, translation for "unchallenged" in the context of "nothing else challenges/excites/arouses my senses, other than killing"?

The "unchallenged" I need is a bit out of the actual context of the text below, I apologize for the confusion.

Full text:

— Tell me about the first time. What was it like?

— It made me sick. The smell disgusted me. The first was the worst and hardest to get over. But a switch had been flicked, a line crossed. Something was done that couldn't be undone. Something that separates you from the common herd. I was ill for four days after. You're in a state of existential shock. But then you find yourself unchallenged by divine and secular power.

— OK So why not do it again? But better.

  • What does it mean? Maybe “unchallenged by divine or secular power” Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 21:05
  • I don't think the meaning here is "not challenging enough". I believe here it's more in the meaning of "confronted". Can you provide a larger context? Maybe the whole paragraph?
    – Aleks G
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 21:53
  • @Jacob:Yes, I've edited, it is "power".
    – Lola Tink
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 3:04
  • @Aleks: I think, unchallenged, as in he is no longer challenged by anything else but the act of murder; nothing else is challenging enough to him. So, I need a russian word (adjective, probably) that would fit in the context well.
    – Lola Tink
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 3:13
  • 1
    @LolaTink By findind the adjective, you probably want to make some kind of calque of the whole expression 'find yourself unchallenged'. Although it's possible, like, for example, 'находишь себя не связанным/не стеснённым [никакими законами, обычаями и т.п.]', it sounds quite awkward. It's better to choose one of the answers under, although they differ much.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:18

4 Answers 4


I would translate this as something like

И тут вдруг ты оказываешься вне власти богов и людей.


Ни боги, ни люди над тобой уже не властны.


I found the original text and this is what the speaker, a murderer, says a few sentences before:

'The outside world means nothing, only the interior world is real. It is utterly compelling, compulsive. Nothing can pull you back from the edge. Not laws or threats of punishment, morality, religion, fear of death. All of those things are as meaningless as the life that you're about to extinguish.'

This seems to confirm the idea that this is about not being challenged in the sense of something requiring your best abilities and being a potential respectable achievement, but in the sense of having the challenge to you from those who object (or have the potential to object) to your actions. In my dictionary it gives a good and concise definition of the verb 'challenge' in this sense as 'to invite to prove or justify something' and of the noun 'challenge' as 'a summons to prove or justify something'. That nuance, 'summons' is good in pushing it beyond 'invite' to something more authoritative, cooercive or just dictated by circumstances.

He has crossed that line of murdering someone and now feels unrestrained by any appeal to him from any law, morality, religion, fear, whatever, i.e. 'unchallenged by divine or secular power'. So something with the idea of 'unlimited' or 'unrestrained' might be reasonable, but loses some hue of meaning. Creating a phrase to convey the idea seems necessary.

Maybe something like:

Но тогда найдёшь, что больше не сдерживает тебя божественная или светская сила.

If you're really just looking for the other meaning of 'challenging' or 'unchallenging' as I mentioned above, then in all my time in Russia I've never encountered a complete translation of it without some kind of explanation seeming necessary to be absolutely precise. Like 'unchallenging work' would just perhaps be 'нетрудная и неинтересная работа' maybe too you could say that such work 'не соответствует моим способностям', i.e. 'is not in accordance with my capabilities'.

But it's clear to me, as a native English speaker with a lot of experience in making precise sense of texts, that in this text it really isn't that meaning, but the one of no longer being asked to justify himself, no longer being called to account by, being held back by, any divine or secular power.

Maybe in fact those concepts could be used, i.e. to no longer have to answer for or account for yourself before any divine or secular power; like:

Но тогда найдёшь, что уже не приходиться отчитываться перед божественной или светской силой.

  • Thank You for such a thorough explanation, in the sense of the whole story. Now I see how, with the full text, I've confused everyone by what I need. What I am looking for is out of context of the story, separate even from that sentence, and is probably different from its primary meaning... What russian word would You use when, if at all possible, 'unchallanged' would mean 'nothing much else challenges/excites/arouse your senses anymore, other than...' (i.e. killing)? The word may be archaic, as well.
    – Lola Tink
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 16:13

I guess, неподсуден is a closest you can get with a single adjective in this context.

и вдруг чувствуешь, что уже неподсуден ни небесной, ни земной власти.


With the full context, I still believe that unchallenged here is used in the meaning of not confronted or even not stopped. Normally, the "divine and secular power" will stop a person from committing a murder, however here the narrator says that after he's done it once, the divine and secular powers are not stopping him any more. Hence I would translate the sentence as:

[Сначала] ты жишешь в состоянии шока. Но после этого ни божья сила, ни людские законы тебя уже не останавливают.

  • I'm positive, he means 'not satisfying/challenging/etc'. Regardless, I'm pretty sure there is a good word in Russian, equal to 'unchallenged', in the context of 'not challenging enough' - that's what I actually need.
    – Lola Tink
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 13:26

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