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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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2
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3answers
337 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
178 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 ...
6
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6answers
283 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
242 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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3answers
189 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
303 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
215 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
450 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
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2answers
236 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
353 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
298 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
186 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
128 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
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1answer
116 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
402 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
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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
160 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
176 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
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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
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3answers
290 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
261 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
220 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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5answers
234 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
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2answers
286 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 ...
4
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2answers
142 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
200 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 ...
4
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1answer
165 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
904 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, ...
4
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3answers
123 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, ...
4
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3answers
209 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 ...
4
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3answers
266 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
821 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 ...
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3answers
91 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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2answers
1k views

“Отведать тунца” - what does this idiom mean?

I frequently play gomokunarabe, a Japanese strategy game, on an international server and sometimes face Russians as opponents, as a variant of this game is apparently popular in Russia and known as "...
5
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4answers
197 views

Russian equivalent of the ironic French “Il ne manquait plus que ça!”

D’abord on travaille deux fois plus selon un horaire très serré, puis la commission à Tokyo pour laquelle on galère tant est reportée au mois prochain. Il ne manquait plus que ça ! First, we were ...
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3answers
169 views

Subtleties of making a request in Russian

In my university I was explained various grammatical means of making a request, but find it very difficult to understand their connotations. Your language is so rich and nuanced in this regard. Let's ...
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2answers
252 views

How can “научись” mean “take it and keep trying”?

I recently watched an excellent Russian movie "The Horde" in Russian with English subtitles and got totally confused by one scene in it. The scene is as follows. The Khan tells a European ambassador, "...
14
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7answers
2k views

Russian equivalents of “no love lost”

You say, for instance: A mere month ago, it seemed they couldn't get enough of each other. My, how things have changed after one big falling-out. Now there is no/little love lost between them. ...
4
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3answers
389 views

Russian equivalent of the French expression “broyer du noir”

During a conversation in French, I was wondering how I'd express the same idea in Russian: Elle peut pas se morfondre et broyer du noir éternellement. {or: se morfondre dans le noir} The "broyer ...
4
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3answers
145 views

Russian equivalent of the French expression “C'est plus fort que moi”

Go shopping with a broken heart in tow, and you'll wind up buying everything in sight on a spending spree. And this is where you might say "C'est plus fort que moi {It's stronger than me}": Aller ...
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7answers
1k views

What are the words for people who cause trouble believing they know better?

Update: To put it simply, what I am looking for is a Russian word or expression that combines three things together: (1) inconsiderate (that is, not careful to avoid harm to others), (2) meddlesome (...
4
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3answers
182 views

Etymology of “чёрта с два”

I believe I understand the meaning of the expression чёрта с два, but I don't understand its origin or grammar: Why is чёрта in the accusative/genitive case? Why is два in the nominative case after с?...
3
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2answers
346 views

How to express the idea of “Ce n’est pas donné à tout le monde de …”?

Tu as vraiment de la chance, XXX, c’est pas donné à tout le monde d’être amie avec un joueur de tennis mondialement connu. We were having a conversation in French, and I was wondering how I'd express ...
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2answers
112 views

Equivalent of the French expression “Mais de là à …”

In conversation, you can say, for instance: Elle était du genre à se jeter sur les horoscopes. Mais de là à se faire refaire les lignes de la main... "She was always one to blindly believe in ...
6
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4answers
594 views

When and why did Asian and Southern people start to be called “чурки”?

Wiktionary gives eight different meanings as well as the etymological origin of the word "чурка": Meanings 1-4 are various small pieces of wood or metal, Meaning 5 is a simpleton or uneducated person, ...