What does "терпячка" mean? I know that it's connected to suffering and bearing.

But I need exact meaning, the possibility to say what can be called this word and what can not.

  • Could you also elaborate more about your question. What is your exact problem? How did you come about that word? Any specific usage example got you confused?
    – theUg
    Feb 22, 2013 at 6:39
  • As a very well-educated native speaker who has read a lot, I have never come across this word. This sounds as either Ukrainian or XIX-th century Russian.
    – osa
    Oct 12, 2013 at 22:27

3 Answers 3


This word is created from word терпеть, which in English approximately means tolerate or put up with or hold on.

In the Ukrainian language, which has the same roots as Russian, word терпячка means patience or tolerance, depending on context, albeit in a colloquial manner. In the Russian language, the meaning is somewhat different.

In Russian, word терпячка refers to a scenario where a person is holding on and pretends that everything is fine despite it really not being fine, usually this is done to save face or to look cool, or to show off, ... you get the idea. And this person believes that this is the right thing to do.

For example, you may be holding on and pretending that you are perfectly fine despite being in severe pain after being hit by bus. I don't know why one would do so, but if one did, this would be referred to as терпячка.

This does not have refer to physical pain; it may also refer to emotional state. For example, a person may pretend at work that everything is fine at home despite the fact that a close relative has died.

Or, for example, if two kids went on their own to the forest and one of them admits to being scared, the other one would almost certainly pretend that he's not scared, just to show off, although, most likely, he'll be just as scared.

These are just some examples, but they should be enough to convey the meaning of the word. If you can read Russian reasonably well, I recommend that you read these posts:

  1. http://knjazna.livejournal.com/380576.html
  2. http://knjazna.livejournal.com/380849.html
  3. http://knjazna.livejournal.com/381159.html

I do not know all the intricacies of the usage of this word, and the changes in it over time, but to provide some background, and to clear up some misconceptions, here are some additional information and usage examples (of which I was not able to find many).

The word in question is not new, and was included in Dahl’s explanatory dictionary in its first edition (1866, p. 367):

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That definition simply equates the word with терпение, which translates as “patience” or “endurance”, without any notes on special usage. Notably, the dictionary of Ukrainian language by B. Hrinchenko (1907‒1909) gives exactly same definition.


  • Yury Trifonov’s 1978 novel The Old Man in which the hero remembers Russian Civil War:

    Когда Данилов уехал, он пришел крайне подавленный и сказал: «Если у каторжного терпячка лопнула, то мне что же остается — пулю в лоб?»

    Here it seems to be used the same way someone would use the common phrase терпение лопнуло (one’s patience was lost). However, it has some leaning towards the “endurance” sence. That is, if Danilov, former labour camp convict, could not bear or endure certain event, how could others?

  • contemporary Kazakh writer and Ural region and Cossack historian A. Yalfimov used the word in the novel that is still in progress, but with few chapters published in some regional literary magazines:

    И вот, когда терпячка совсем кончилась, сна не было и кусок не лез в горло, вздрогнули казаки на ранней заре от могучего, протяжного гула.


This word is a new coinage, a cross-breed of терпение ('patience') and болячка ('sore place'), meaning 'to hide one's [chronical] pain'.

  • How do you define “new” if 1866 edition of Dahl’s dictionary has that word?
    – theUg
    Feb 21, 2013 at 16:08
  • @theUg By the usage gap. E.g. Hebrew having a thousands of years of history is still a new language, not an ancient one.
    – Manjusri
    Feb 25, 2013 at 10:08
  • Thus, any Russian word would be a new coinage, since Russian is much younger, is that right?
    – theUg
    Feb 26, 2013 at 7:19
  • Let's define what is 'modern Russian' first.
    – Manjusri
    Feb 26, 2013 at 14:39

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