Questions tagged [выражения]

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

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3
votes
1answer
176 views

После нас, хоть потоп - why is there хоть?

So I was searching the translation of the famous expression "Après nous, le déluge" and saw on Wikipedia that it's translated as После нас, хоть потоп. Having not seen хоть used in this way ...
2
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1answer
138 views

When was the expression фунт презрения introduced?

I am wondering when the expression фунт презрения was introduced. On Google Books, the oldest occurrence of фунт презрения seems to be in Slezkin's Козел в огороде (1923): Но только в силу моего ...
2
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2answers
160 views

Please explain the phrase “Тоже мне новость!”

I saw this example sentence on LearnRussianWords.com: То́же мне но́вость! Об э́том бы́ло изве́стно уже́ неде́лю наза́д. The suggested translation was: That's not news! It was known a week ago. ...
0
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2answers
147 views

What does “всякий взор” mean in this context? Is it a phrase?

So this is from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, so I'm not sure if this an archaic 19th century expression, because I don't see how the word взор is being used in this sentence. Does it just mean &...
1
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3answers
204 views

How do I tell the waiter I want another drink: “Я повторяю это” or “Повторите это”?

When I finish my drink, I've often heard waitresses ask me: "Вы повторите это?" or something like that (maybe I heard wrong). The problem is I don't know how to ask for another drink. Do I ...
28
votes
4answers
14k views

If a Russian girl calls herself a thawing pike (тающая щука), what could it mean?

I recently had a video call with a Russian girl, and in the middle of the conversation she called herself тающая щука. That made no sense in the context, so I used a mirror to try to understand what ...
8
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10answers
2k views

Are there Russian words for “close-minded” and “open-minded”?

I'm translating an English text into Russian and got stuck trying to find a Russian word for "close-minded." None came to my mind, so I looked in Reverso and I saw the following translation ...
21
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4answers
5k views

Is there a Russian equivalent of “red flag”?

In English, the term red flag is used as a metaphor to mean a sign suggestive of a possible danger or problem: (1) Boyfriend not showing you his home is a huge red flag. (Link) (2) I've just spent ...
1
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3answers
257 views

Why is this Russian expression an idiomatic example of mutually exclusive things?

The Russian idiom "и рыбку съесть, и на хуй сесть", whose literal meaning is "to eat fish and sit down onto a dick too," is an idiomatic way to say that your interlocutor is ...
6
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8answers
2k views

How should I understand and translate “закатить истерику”?

Some time ago I took a test in which I had to translate some short texts from Russian into English. One of them contained the following sentence: По приходу домой она закатила истерику. My solution ...
3
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1answer
194 views

Нормально ли спросить “сколько время”?

Пусть неправильно по грамматике, но, если хочешь узнать где-то время, то нормально ли спросить "сколько время"? Меня не столько волнует граммотность, сколько естественно ли это звучит в ...
25
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4answers
2k views

How can I understand this puzzling dialogue with “ну я имею в виду вообще”?

My Russian teacher recently had us, his students, listen some audio recordings of what he called "authentic everyday communications of Russians." We had to understand the dialogues and ...
6
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2answers
251 views

Figurative meaning of в полосочку

I have read in various sources : «жизнь в полосочку» or «через полосочку в клеточку» Is this roughly equivalent to saying “life is up and down?” I’m having trouble finding an explanation of this ...
4
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2answers
238 views

What is the meaning of “ищущим людям” in this text?

The context is the following paragraph (from https://baaltii1.livejournal.com/198675.html): Этот разговор мы начали в Принстоне, прогуливаясь по тамошней жизни и красивому закату. Показалось, что ...
32
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3answers
3k views

What's the meaning of “у нас” in phrases like “он у нас умный”?

The grammatical construction у меня, literally at/near me, is the Russian way to express possession and is also used to express proximity: У меня хорошая подруга. (I have a good friend.) Она сейчас у ...
12
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7answers
973 views

How should I translate “the fighting boar” in Grenfell's poem into Russian?

My Russian teacher, whom you know by his tough approach to teaching the language, strongly pushed me to try to translate English poems into Russian, and we agreed I'd have a look at Hymn to the Wild ...
3
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7answers
695 views

Why do Russians say that all men are billy goats (все мужики козлы)?

I was given a Russian song as a listening exercise, and, as far as I could discern, its chorus is: И мы не устаем, и с ночи до утра Мы можем говорить, говорить о мужиках. Бокал до дна в трудные ...
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0answers
116 views

How to translate “окающие и акающие, секающие и шекающие” correctly into English language? [closed]

I've tried versions like "retaining the unstressed “o” and “a”" and it seems to be wrong.
4
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6answers
389 views

Is it a mistake to say, “Oвчинки выделка не стоит”(sic!)?

In a recent essay of mine, I accidentally mixed up the grammatical cases in an idiom. Namely, I wrote: овчинки выделка не стоит The most common variant of this idiom is: овчинка выделки не стоит ...
2
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2answers
256 views

What does “тоже мне” mean? [closed]

What is the best way to translate these? Тоже мне! Тоже мне герой. Тоже мне новость. -
2
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3answers
192 views

Поиск идиомы со значением “близко к друг другу”, “телом к телу”, в идеале с намёком на половую связь

В песне группы Faun "Tanz mit mir" поётся: Ich schenk' dir ein nur wenn du tanzt mit mir, Wenn du tanzt mit mir, und zwar jetzt und hier Ich schenk' dir ein nur wenn du tanzt mit mir, Ich ...
1
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5answers
508 views

What is the meaning of: “Войну ждали. Но она пришла неожиданно.”?

I recently read an article in Russian written by a doctor of art science for the journal Живая история, and that article is about the Soviet-German war and starts with the following two sentences: ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Можно ли говорить “это очень жаль”?

Слушаю Вертинского: Увы, на жизни склоне Сердца всё пресыщённей, И это очень жаль... (автор стихов - В. Инбер) Мне последняя строчка режет ухо. Хотелось бы понять: это я ошибаюсь, или ...
4
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3answers
398 views

What does “я сейчас в неадеквате” mean?

I just sent a message to a language exchange partner and instantly received the following response: давай завтра, я сейчас в неадеквате What does this expression mean? Has he tied one on?
2
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3answers
553 views

Origin of the Russian idiom “like a grass snake on a frying pan”?

When Russians say that you are like a grass snake on a frying pan ("как уж на сковородке"), they often mean that you are grilled by tough incriminating questions and desperately trying to save your ...
13
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6answers
4k views

“Cобака на сене” - is this expression still in use or is it dated?

As I understand it, it describes a person who doesn't let others enjoy a resource / service while he himself doesn't utilize it either: Собака на сене — ни себе, ни людям. Смысл поговорки ...
1
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0answers
244 views

Meaning and usage of the Russian proverbs that seemingly discourage proactiveness [closed]

The Russian language abounds in wise proverbs, but I am very much confused by some of them, specifically by those that appear to discourage proactiveness. I am at a loss as to how such a good thing as ...
8
votes
8answers
603 views

What does the idiom “что уж там” mean?

I am very much puzzled by the idiom "что уж там" and its sister "чего уж там". Let me show you a few sentences: (1) Давайте везде курить, что уж там, детям в лицо: депутат Госдумы ...
2
votes
2answers
284 views

How long is the night from the Russian language standpoint?

When Russians tell what time it is, they often add "дня" ("of the day"), "вечера" ("of the evening"), "ночи" ("of the night"), or "утра&...
1
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4answers
218 views

How to emphasise the insignificance of someone/thing in Russian?

We were having a conversation in French about asteroids, and I said: Je ne suis peut-être pas expert en astronomie, mais... Qu’est-ce qu’un petit humain de rien du tout peut contre quelque chose d’...
2
votes
7answers
326 views

Russian equivalents of “have ideas above his station”

In conversation, one of my colleagues said: He's thinking of making advances to the hospital director's daughter. If you ask me, he's got ideas above his station. He's not set up for life or ...
2
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4answers
244 views

Контекст возбуждения - (не) только сексуальный?

Если человек, получив интересную информацию, не разволновался, а эмоционально вовлекся и заинтересовался, стал активно размышлять на эту тему - какими словами это лучше описать? "Возбуждающая тема", "...
4
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3answers
464 views

Russian equivalents of “We would never hear the end of it”

We were talking about ... My girlfriend whipped up a mousse-like cold dessert with some fresh fruits, but the thick slices of apple inside turned out a bit too frozen to eat as is. And here I wanted ...
3
votes
2answers
258 views

What is the actual origin of the aphorism about intentions and capabilities?

UPDATE: It turns out that even Russia's president Vladimir Putin himself quoted Bismarck as saying that phrase! (Source1, Source2). It thus seems unlikely to be a made-up quotation, because it is ...
4
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6answers
402 views

What is the Russian equivalent of the proverb 水清ければ魚棲まず (if the water is clear, fish won't live there)?

The proverb's meaning is that just as fish prefer muddy waters and avoid clear streams, people generally do not associate with those who are too ideal in terms of ethics, manners, and habits. In other ...
5
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13answers
3k views

How can I say in Russian “I am not afraid to write anything”?

The question is in the title of my post. Somehow this simple idea made me really confused as to how I can express it in Russian. My first attempt was: (1) Я не боюсь писать всё. But I guess ...
1
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5answers
398 views

How can I say in Russian “they cannot make the tournament attractive by itself”?

The question is in the title of this post. A couple of explanatory points: Context: The organizers of a certain tournament cannot provide a big cash prize that would attract a lot of participants, so ...
1
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4answers
196 views

How is “have half a mind to do X” commonly expressed in Russian?

e.g.: I’ve half a mind to quit my job right here and now -- only if I'm already set for life, that is... or: I’ve a good mind to quit my job right here and now -- only if I'm already set for life, ...
3
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2answers
136 views

Russian equivalents of “X puts the smile back on her face”

We were having a conversation in German, and I was wondering how the same idea is commonly/idiomatically expressed in Russian. Sie lässt sich nichts anmerken, aber so viel muss sie durchmachen. Mit ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

How is the idea of “Dahergelaufen” commonly expressed in Russian?

Doch wir verteilen die nicht einfach an jeden Dahergelaufenen. But they are too valuable for us to just dish out (left and right) to anyone who happens to come along. We were having a conversation ...
1
vote
7answers
491 views

What is the Russian equivalent of 干物女 (dried fish woman)?

Literally meaning dried fish woman, the popular slang 干物女 is used to call a woman in her twenties or older who, as nicely summarized in Wikipedia, has many of the following traits: Her text ...
4
votes
3answers
180 views

How is the idea of “X comes a distant third” commonly expressed in Russian?

We were having a conversation in German. Citing, one by one, three reasons why I think my friend has been hired for a job, I said jokingly: Die Antwort ist denkbar einfach. Erstens X. Zweitens Y. ...
3
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2answers
172 views

Russian equivalents of the ironic German expression “Du beliebst zu scherzen!”

Du beliebst zu scherzen! Nichts liegt mir ferner! You just love to joke! {/ you've got to be joking!} Nothing is further from my mind! We were having a conversation in German, and I'm wondering how ...
3
votes
2answers
209 views

Meaning of the negation in phrases like “не должен прочитать”

I am often confused by phrases like "не должен прочитать," "не должен сделать," "не должен работать," "не должен платить" and so on. Sometimes the negation appears to refer to "должен," and sometimes -...
8
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6answers
3k views

What are the original Russian words for a prostitute?

Prostitution is referred to as the oldest profession, but the modern Russian word for a prostitute, "проститутка," is a relatively new borrowing, which started being used in the Russian language just ...
4
votes
3answers
337 views

What does “мы натешимся с козой ” mean in Bryusov's poem?

Here is an excerpt from a poem by Valery Bryusov, a classic Russian writer: Повлекутъ меня съ собой Къ играмъ рыжіе силены; Мы натѣшимся съ козой, Гдѣ лужайку сжали стѣны. Всѣмъ настанетъ череда ...
6
votes
5answers
701 views

What is the meaning of “то, что он пишет”?

I am confused by the phrases like "то, что он пишет" and by the construction "то, что" in general. For example, let us consider this sentence: (1) То, что он пишет, и так ясно. ...
4
votes
2answers
229 views

How to interpret the construction “пил бы и пил”?

Кофе с молоком в Старбакс - пил бы (его) и пил. Кофе с молоком в Старбакс - такой, что пил бы (его) и пил. I was looking for colloquial idiomatic Russian expressions roughly corresponding to "X ...
4
votes
6answers
371 views

What is the Russian idiomatic term for Western hypocrisy?

There is a view in Asian countries that the Western culture is hypocritical, and there is even a special term for this - "Western hypocrisy." Roughly speaking, the view is that whilst the Westerners ...
3
votes
3answers
410 views

Is there an idiomatic way to tell a Russian to talk quietly?

The short version of my question is: How can I idiomatically ask a Russian to talk quietly, regain his composure and calmness, stop being emotionally intrusive and domineering, and think in terms of ...

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