At first sight, it looks like "none other than," but in this context that can't be correct:

Что-то у меня голова болит – не иначе как простудился.

2 Answers 2


"I must have caught a chill".

Much like the English expression, it's a colloquial overstatement — using a categorical claim (must, не иначе) to express what's really just a high likelihood.

  • So in light of this example: Его история может быть описана не иначе как удивительная. which I would translate as His story can only be described as nothing short of miraculous, is it safe to say that this express has a concrete meaning (nothing short of, no less than), and a "parasitic" usage ("must" in your example)?
    – CocoPop
    Apr 4, 2015 at 12:15
  • @CocoPop Essentially, yes. But in that example, I'd rather say "Его историю не назовёшь иначе, как удивительной"; не иначе как can float apart like that in a sentence when used literally, whereas the "parasitic" usage is a set phrase (except как may be dropped occasionally: "не иначе, простудился"). Apr 4, 2015 at 12:34
  • Thank you, so is it safe to say that Андрей не иначе как придумал эту историю (if that can even be said) is close in meaning to Андрей наверняка придумал эту историю, both being very assured assumptions?
    – CocoPop
    Apr 4, 2015 at 23:31
  • 1
    @CocoPop yes, that's correct. Apr 5, 2015 at 23:59
  • 1
    @CocoPop A curious thing about this usage (which I never noticed before) is that it doesn't behave like a proper negative (i.e. a double one), not requiring a не to go with it: никак женился?, никак дождь собирается, etc. Apr 6, 2015 at 19:51

Что-то у меня голова болит – не иначе как простудился.

is broadly equivalent to

Что-то у меня голова болит – должно быть, простудился.

Что-то у меня голова болит – вероятнее всего, простудился.

Что-то у меня голова болит – кажется, простудился.

  • This is extremely interesting - thank you :)
    – CocoPop
    Apr 6, 2015 at 12:43

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