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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130 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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7answers
918 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 ...
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7answers
575 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 ...
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0answers
110 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.
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6answers
363 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 ...
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2answers
205 views

What does “тоже мне” mean? [closed]

What is the best way to translate these? Тоже мне! Тоже мне герой. Тоже мне новость. -
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3answers
177 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, ...
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4answers
419 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: ...
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1answer
158 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 ...
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3answers
363 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?
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0answers
40 views

Coбака на сене — What does it mean? [duplicate]

What does it mean? Is this a Russian idiom?
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3answers
491 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 ...
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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 ...
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0answers
228 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 ...
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8answers
499 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 (Source) (2)...
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2answers
272 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" ("of the morning"): Я проснулась в три часа ночи. (Literally:...
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4answers
216 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’...
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7answers
316 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 ...
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4answers
236 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", "...
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3answers
461 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 ...
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2answers
251 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 ...
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6answers
390 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
335 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 ...
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4answers
193 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,...
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2answers
133 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 ...
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1answer
118 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 ...
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7answers
437 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 ...
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3answers
179 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. ...
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2answers
170 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 ...
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2answers
206 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 -...
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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 ...
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3answers
321 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 ...
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5answers
492 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. However simple and ...
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2answers
226 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 ...
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6answers
322 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 ...
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3answers
386 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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2answers
153 views

Russian equivalents of the hyperbolic “je ne sais combien/quel/etc” in French

We were having a conversation in French, and I was wondering how I'd express the same idea in Russian: En arrivant à l'aéroport, on est passés par je ne sais combien de contrôles de sécurité tous ...
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7answers
4k views

Russian equivalents of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

On this SE there have been many interesting questions about Russian equivalents of various idiomatic expressions and proverbs of the French language and other languages, and I decided to make my own ...
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3answers
229 views

“Выиграть соперника”: Is it correct, or why do many journalists write in this way?

Playing gomokunarabe on an international server, I saw a couple of Russian players saying "выиграть его," and the intended meaning apparently was "to win against him" as far as could judge from the ...
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1answer
169 views

How is the idea of “treat X with kid gloves” naturally expressed in Russian?

We were having a conversation in French, and I was wondering how I'd express the same idea in Russian. Tu es sans pitié, dis-moi... En même temps, elle n’aurait pas autant envie de nous rattraper ...
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4answers
969 views

What is the precise meaning of “я считаю, что”?

I am puzzled by the Russian phrase "я считаю, что," which is used very frequently. I know that an approximate translation is "I think that," but I strongly feel that there is some special idea, ...
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3answers
129 views

Russian equivalents of the French expression “pour un oui ou pour un non”

Tu ramènes toujours tes complexes ethniques, pour un oui ou pour un non, dans toutes les discussions, même les plus anodines. {literally}: You always dredge up some complex about your ethnic origin, ...
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3answers
222 views

How is the idea of “it's a boys' thing” naturally expressed in Russian?

Mon frère a vraiment envie de parcourir le monde entier. J’imagine que c’est un truc de garçon. То express the idea of "It's more of a boys' thing (than a girls')" in the sense of "It's one of those ...
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7answers
3k views

How is the idea of “girlfriend material” naturally expressed in Russian?

Elle n'est pas de l'étoffe dont on fait les copines... {literally}: She's not of the material from which we make girlfriends. То express the idea of "she's not (X)girlfriend material", "she's not ...
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3answers
308 views

What is the logic of the expression “только и всего”?

Some time ago I watched the excellent Russian movie "The Horde" with English subtitles and got intrigued by a few expressions from there, with one of them being "только и всего." The movie is on ...
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3answers
874 views

What is the precise meaning of “подсел на мак”?

Some months ago I saw a Russian gomokunarabe player saying in an online chat to his compatriot, А я подсел на мак. I cannot recall the context. I can only recall that their chat looked highly ...
5
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3answers
93 views

Russian equivalents of “À peine le temps de dire ouf” in French

À peine le temps de dire ouf qu’il est tombé comme une brique sur le lit... Literally: (He must have been dead tired.) No sooner / Hardly had he said phew than he fell onto the bed like a bag of ...
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2answers
2k views

The origin of “за двумя зайцами погонишься”

За двумя зайцами погонишься, ни одного не поймаешь. We have the same proverb, 二兎を追う者は一兎も得ず, which is considered borrowed from somewhere, so I am curious whether we borrowed it from the Russians or ...

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