The British music group Clean Bandit take their name from the Russian 'чистый бандитка'. Grace Chatto, one of the band's members, says that a Russian lady used it to mean 'total rascal'. She mentions that it's not common slang, however:

"It is not actually a common phrase that Russians use," Grace explains. "There was a lady who was quite inventive with language who said it. And she described my sister as a 'clean bandit,' like, a 'total rascal.'"

The only mentions of 'чистый бандит' I can find are in relation to the band. Would an average Russian speaker understand 'чистый бандит(ка)' to mean something like 'total rascal'?

  • бандитка is feminine, чистый is masculine, this is ungrammatical.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 5:02
  • What is the feminine form? The ABC News Radio article has the transliteration 'chistiy banditka'.
    – Quppa
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 6:53
  • 2
    Maybe the original Russian phrase sounded like "чистой воды бандитка", which literally translates as 'pure/real lady bandit' and is sometimes said idiomatically of a child's behaviour or temper, etc.
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 7:09
  • 1
    @Quppa feminine form is чистая (chistaya)
    – Anixx
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 7:33
  • never heard anything like that
    – el Dude
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


There are two variants of what they say.

  Чисто бандитка.
  Чистая бандитка.

чистый it's not something that we talking about the feminine.

Чистый sounds very similar to чисто, people seem to have confused the words.

I suppose it is чисто бандитка.

Чисто is adverb. A full sentence is abbreviated as Чисто бандитка. The full sentence is:

          Она есть чисто бандитка. 

  She is clearly a harum-scarum child, wanton.
  • Thanks. So it's not just a phrase coined by one Russian lady.
    – Quppa
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 5:21

"Чисто" is an anverb, as had been said already.

"Чисто" doesn't mean "clear" (without stains or flaws) here. It is quite specific to the slang of bandits from 1990s. So it's meaning and connotations are

  1. 50% "truly, absolutely, definitely"
  2. and other 50% "I'm a bandit from Russia's 1990s, yo, moth****cker!".

"Чистый" is not a slang word, but it belongs to spoken language too. It also means "true, total". Possible alternatives to this word are:

Форменный бандит
Настоящий бандит

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