Is there an equivalent expression in Russian (not a direct translation) of

"Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups" quote?

  • I can't think of a clever idiom with the same meaning. I would simply say: Предположение - мать всех ошибок – Vilmar Apr 1 '15 at 11:24
  • 1
    @Vilmar "предположение" is so vague here that the meaning is lost. – Nikolay Ershov Apr 1 '15 at 11:41
  • "Assumption" seems a little vague too. What the idiom usually stands for? – Matt Apr 1 '15 at 11:48
  • Nothing vague in original or translation - it means that quite often making an assumption instead of relying on facts leads to, well, fuck-ups :) E.g.: You are an owner of a jewelry store. A man in a dirty shirt and shorts comes in. You assume based on his appearance that he is simply window-shopping and you are reluctant to offer any help. The man goes into a nearby store and buys 100.000$ worth of jewelry for his wife. He was a rich guy coming home from a football match, and your assumption just cost you 100k. – Vilmar Apr 1 '15 at 12:38
  • @Vilmar The meaning is clear, but the preferred usage not. For your example, I'd say, probably, "Встречают по одёжке, провожают по кошельку" ;-) – Matt Apr 1 '15 at 12:50

Some variants on the subject (not sure which suits better):

Наперёд не загадывай

Наперёд не узнаешь, где найдёшь, где потеряешь

Человек предполагает, а Бог - располагает

or even

Гладко было на бумаге, да забыли про овраги

  • 2
    Last one is the best, I think, and should be the first. – Dmitriy Apr 1 '15 at 20:50
  • We have an equivalent phrase "Man proposes, God disposes" and it has a different meaning. The poster's original question basically means that when you assume something, you risk fucking up somehow... not the same thing. – CocoPop Apr 2 '15 at 13:37
  • @CocoPop Well, actually all mentioned proverbs have somewhat different meanings. – Matt Apr 2 '15 at 14:01
  • I see. I'm not too clear on the meaning of пиздец, but can it also mean a fuck-up? in other words a bad situation that resulted from an error? – CocoPop Apr 3 '15 at 16:06
  • @CocoPop It's an obscene word, so it can have different meanings including the opposite ones, much like "fuck" in English. But yes, usually that means "a really bad situation". It has no reference to "an error", though AFAIK "fuck-up" has neither too. But I'm in doubt whether "fuck-up" should be translated as "пиздец", because the latter seems to be much stronger. Also, sometimes people change it to "песец" ("polar fox") (or even the descriptive "белый пушной зверёк" - "white fur animal"). – Matt Apr 3 '15 at 16:58

A common Russian response to я думал... ("I thought that...") is индюк тоже думал, да в суп попал ("A gobbler was a thinker too but ended up in a dish of stew")

  • Quite close, though it can be used only post-factum, I guess (and as a response only, that restricts the usage as well). – Vilmar Apr 1 '15 at 12:56
  • what's a gobbler? – CocoPop Apr 3 '15 at 20:45
  • @CocoPop: a male turkey (индюк). – Quassnoi Apr 5 '15 at 10:22

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