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Questions about the meaning, the origin, and the usage of multi-word expressions with more or less idiomatic or metaphorical meaning.

2
votes
3answers
114 views

Why was “что ты думаешь” deemed incorrect?

I mostly use the following for "What do you think?" как ты думаешь? I understand there can be many variants of the aforementioned question, and I have seen a few of them. I was recently following ...
3
votes
2answers
94 views

Where does the word “пруди” in “пруд пруди” come from?

Таких театров повсюду – пруд пруди. It seems this expression as a whole is used to refer to an extremely large quantity of something, but I'm not sure how to interpret it more literally. Is "пруди" ...
2
votes
4answers
109 views

Is this a Russian equivalent of the expression “It’s not in someone's nature to do X”?

Не дворянское это дело тратить на поход в магазин или фитнес-клуб массу времени. =??? It’s not in a nobleman's nature to spend much time going to a shop or a fitness club. I assume "дворянское" is ...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

How do I infer the meaning from “Стол на месте”?

I am learning Russian using Duolingo as a resource. One of the questions in an exercise was to translate the following into English: Стол на месте I (maybe naively) interpreted it as Table/Desk ...
4
votes
3answers
157 views

In Russian, how do you say “she’s at it again”?

Anna... she's at it again (doing something / with something)? Anna fait encore des siennes ? We colloquially use these expressions in English and French when we catch someone (with a bit of a ...
4
votes
2answers
91 views

In Russian, how do you express “take after” in “I wonder who he takes after with his obstinacy”?

Не понимаю, в кого он такой своевольный. I saw this phrase in an IM, and I assume it is roughly an equivalent of "take after" in English. I find this turn of phrase curious, though: how should I ...
7
votes
2answers
106 views

«повести бровью» vs. «повести бровями»

С английским выражением «he raised his eyebrows / he didn't even raise his eyebrows» обязательно следует, строго говоря, поставить существительное «eyebrows» во множественное число. С точки зрения ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

What is the meaning of the proverb “И рыбку съесть, и в воду не лезть”?

The English proverb "You can't have your cake and eat it" is apparently equivalent to the Russian one "И рыбку съесть, и в воду не лезть". What's the exact meaning of the proverb "И рыбку съесть, и в ...
1
vote
4answers
132 views

In Russian, how do you say “no, scratch that!”?

Perhaps, (blah blah blah) – no, on second thoughts, scratch that. In English, this particular use of the verb "scratch" comes in handy in conversation when you suddenly realise mid-sentence that a ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

In Russian, how do you say “Old habits die hard”?

Старые привычки дают о себе знать, да? I wonder if this is a commonly used expression to convey the idea of "Old habits die hard"? If an automatic translator is anything to go by, however, it doesn't ...
3
votes
3answers
107 views

Breaking down the expression “из рук вон плохо”

разбираться в чем-то из рук вон плохо This entire phrase is a hyperbolic expression used to emphasise the idea of "how badly someone does something", correct? Its grammatical construction eludes me, ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Russian equivalent of the idiomatic expression “It's all very well doing …”

Делать что-то – дело хорошее, но бывает, что ... To express the idea of "it's all very well doing A, but sometimes it's best to do B", I wonder if the phrasing above sounds idiomatic enough. In ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

“Published computer scientist” in Russian? [closed]

How to say in Russian "published computer scientist"?
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Не справиться as an idiom

"Только силой с этим явлением [terrorism] не справиться, тем более, что смерть террористов не пугает". I was intrigued at the usage of the infinitive справиться here. Normally the third person plural ...
3
votes
4answers
154 views

How to parse the expression “уж тем более …”

Don't do X. Уж тем более теперь. While I understand the meaning of the entire phrase... What is the function of "уж" here? And is it impossible to say "уже тем более теперь" instead? Is "тем" the ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the closest equivalent to “Armchair <profession>”?

In English there’s the use of armchair as a modifier with a profession or occupation to ironically indicate that the person in question has mostly theoretical (and not necessarily expert) knowledge on ...
1
vote
4answers
169 views

“во сто крат” vs “во сто раз”

ненавидеть что-нибудь во сто крат сильнее {vs}: ненавидеть что-нибудь во сто раз сильнее I wanted to use "во сто крат" to hyperbolically express the idea of "гораздо + comparative", but I wonder ...
5
votes
3answers
169 views

Is “надо же” shortened from what?

Надо же, кто бы мог подумать? Wiki says that "надо же" is used to express surprise, so I'm assuming an expression like "кто бы мог подумать" can be coupled with it. Can you give some other examples ...
2
votes
4answers
184 views

What do these mean: pupushik and pupushonok?

A man used the first and a woman used the second, to each other. What exactly do they mean? Are they naughty terms of endearment or harmless, cute ones? :-) Context: Armenian man and Ukrainian woman ...
5
votes
3answers
81 views

What verb is considered omitted in the expression “Я вообще-то про X и Y”?

Я вообще-то про X и Y... The speaker used this expression to set her interlocutor straight on who she was actually referring to. I'm assuming this is an equivalent of: Actually, I was talking/...
3
votes
2answers
279 views

“Plan B” in Russian

Plan B is a secondary plan that you could fall back on in case Plan A, so to speak, didn't pan out as expected. The notion of "switching to Plan B" exists in English {Plan B}, French {le plan B}, ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

'По окончании этапа' или 'по окончанию этапа'

Как правильно? В коммерческом предложении компании стоит пункт: По окочанию этапа: будет разработан веб сайт компании и разработан фирменный стиль. По окочании этапа: будет разработан веб сайт ...
4
votes
4answers
145 views

The adverb “впустую” is made up of “в” + “пустую” + “what feminine noun”?

Пока ты проводишь свое драгоценное время впустую и занимаешься бесполезными делами, ... The accusative feminine construction "в + пустую" leads me to think that some feminine noun is theoretically ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

Is it common to omit part of a year in Russian?

For example, can I rewrite the following sentence: я живу в Берлине с тысяча девятьсот семьдесят третьего года as я живу в Берлине с семьдесят третьего года If so, is this considered informal?
4
votes
0answers
137 views

What are some Russian shibboleths? [closed]

I just read about shibboleths and I was wondering: what are some Russian shibboleths used today or in the past? A shibboleth is a phrase (or a custom/tradition) that is used to distinguish between ...
7
votes
2answers
865 views

Russian equivalents of English idiom “what a …”?

E.g. What a beautiful day! or What a jerk!. The phrase doesn't have in general any positive or negative connotation, but is just a general exclamation about the perceived (large) magnitude of ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Meaning of Russian phrase “как ходит за кошкою кошка”

I'm trying to understand this section from a humorous song. ... бабушка Света Пьёт кофе с морошкой, Любуясь в окошко, Как ходит за кошкою кошка. Based on my limited knowledge of Russian, ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Best translation for “Quality over quantity”

What is the best translation into Russian of the common English expression "Quality over quantity"? I have not found any answers on the internet. (Bear in mind that I'm a native Russian speaker.)
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to say “slam a door open/shut” in Russian?

I would like to translate this sentence to Russian: The doors of the [beduin] tents slammed open and shut in the wind. I found the verbs хло́пнуть and захло́пнуть for shutting or slamming a door. ...
4
votes
6answers
235 views

“малое сведение его в рос­сийском языке”

In A.A. Istomin's article Проблема участия Антипатра Баранова в экспедиции на «Иль­мене» у калифорнийских берегов в 1814-1815 гг.: О том, что Волков - "креол", к тому же плохо знающий русский язык (...
8
votes
4answers
252 views

Have your cake and eat it too - Equivalent Expression in Russian

Wikipedia claims that the expression И рыбку съесть, и в воду не лезть is equivalent to "having your cake and eating it too", literally translated to wanting to eat a fish without first catching it ...
4
votes
2answers
214 views

Is “культуры Энергетик” a set phrase based on the German “kulturelle Energetik”?

I recently found out that Pripyat has/had a place called Дворец культуры Энергетик (Palace of Culture Energetik). The phrase reminded me of the German term "kulturelle Energetik", which was used by ...
4
votes
2answers
348 views

“Норм чувак” meaning

I had known "чувак," but recently ran into "норм чувак" and was a bit lost, and neither Multitran nor russki-mat.net helped. It sounds to me like some kind of stoner cri-du-coeur. Could someone ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

What are Russian equivalents of the English idiom “spread yourself too thin”?

What are Russian equivalents of the English idiom "spread yourself too thin", which is often used in: "Try not to spread yourself too thin." From The Free Dictionary: spread yourself too thin ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

Понимаешь по-английски? [duplicate]

Is it Ты хорошо понимаешь по-английски? or Ты хорошо понимаешь английский? I have seen (1) in some Russian books I came across through an online search, but literally it does not make sense (...
7
votes
1answer
182 views

What does the phrase “увидеть небо в алмазах” mean?

I understand the meaning of the component words, but what does the phrase mean and how is it used? From an internet search it seems to mean something akin to we will find our reward in heaven.
-1
votes
1answer
188 views

What does this image say? [closed]

Can someone please explain to me what this meme is saying? I know it's not very serious, but I genuinely want to know.
4
votes
1answer
226 views

What does “bserossijskij” mean?

I found "bserossijskij sunod" and I know that sunod is an old russian word for synod. Today it seems to be sinod. But what does that "bserossijskij" mean?
5
votes
2answers
210 views

Meaning of “выдавить на мороз”?

I have seen somewhere they use it not in terms you could think you would do with tooth paste.. or in Siberia, related to a physiological process.. No, the example is: "А конкурентов выдавят на ...
6
votes
4answers
343 views

Is this how to say “every other day” in Russian?

There is a dialog in my workbook, which goes -Ты каждый день ходишь в бассейн? - Нет, я хожу через день. I get the first sentence, and why one should use the abstract ходить instead of the concrete ...
8
votes
2answers
250 views

Что есть “хляби”?

What does mean "разверзлись хляби небесные?"
3
votes
1answer
198 views

What does “skol'ko ya dolzhen” mean (I'm not sure how to spell this using the Cyrillic alphabet)?

I'm using Pimsleur to teach myself Russian and I've had "skol'ko ya dolzhen" stuck in my head. I can't remember what lesson I heard it in. All I know is that "skol'ko" means "how much." Does anyone ...
5
votes
4answers
348 views

Expression that means “sorry”

I used to speak with a Russian speaker and she used to repeat something 3 times after she said something bad, it sounded like "steraï steraï steraï". If you see what I'm talking about, can you help me ...
8
votes
2answers
134 views

Which is better to use: “добраться к” or “добраться до”?

As far as I can tell добраться means "to get to (somewhere/place)". However, since it's a reflexive verb, in order to take an additional "object", it needs to have a preposition following it. (...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

In “по-русски” - what does “по” mean?

In Russian you say "я говорю по-русски" (ya govoryu po-russki) to say "I speak Russian". What does the "по" mean there?
9
votes
3answers
230 views

What did крестьянин из государственных mean in the 1897 census?

What did the phrases крестьянин из государственных and крестьянка из государственных mean in the Russian Imperial Census of 1897? State-owned serfs had been emancipated long before, in 1866. If I ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

What could be meaning and translation of the word “vivid” in this context: “Vividness is self-selecting” [closed]

There are following lines in a poem: "Observe what’s vivid" and "Vividness is self-selecting" Word "vivid" is usually translated as "яркий", "ясный". What could be meaning of "vividness" in this ...
5
votes
1answer
246 views

What does “на” mean in expressions relating to time?

This is somewhat related to a previous question of mine. Question: What does "на" mean in expressions relating to time? My guess had been that "на" used in expressions related to time somehow ...