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Questions about the meaning of words or phrases that you couldn't find in a dictionary.

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75 votes
7 answers
27k views

Why does "охуенно" mean "great" but "хуёвый" mean "bad"

I came across some words chatting with my friend (he's a native speaker). What's the difference between пиздато, охуенно, хуёво and пиздец? The first two words have a positive meaning but хуёво and ...
saq_423's user avatar
  • 767
41 votes
8 answers
4k views

The meaning of "давай" when saying good bye

I was always wondering: When at the end of the phone or other conversation people say "ну давай" meaning "see you later". Where does this come from? In terms of meaning, I always understood it to ...
JAM's user avatar
  • 1,316
34 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
31 votes
4 answers
15k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
29 votes
8 answers
5k views

How can I finally understand the confusing modal verb "мочь"?

The verb мочь is one of the most basic words, actually a central modal verb, but I am so much confused about it. I am often at a loss as to how to interpret it in particular sentences, and I avoid ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
27 votes
9 answers
19k views

Why do Russians call their women expensive ("дорогая")?

My question is in the title of this post, and I do not know what else to say. I am just puzzled. Okay, to avoid my post being put on hold for being too succinct, I will add a couple of naive thoughts ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
26 votes
5 answers
9k views

Why does "ебало" mean a face and "ебаться" mean to fuck?

I had been talking with my Russian friend which used such words like "ебало", "ебаться" and "ебнутый". As I understood, this words have completely difference meaning. It is very curious.
St.Antario's user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
25 votes
6 answers
2k views

What is the meaning of: "- Отнеси кота на веранду. - Да уж лежит там."

In a recent test I had to translate the following: -- Отнеси кота на веранду. -- Да уж лежит там. My translation was: "Bring the cat to the verandah." "It is already lying there.&...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
23 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why do Russians call a joke a stake (прикол)?

In modern Russian, прикол is a very frequently used word and means a joke, a funny incident, or just anything funny, but the original meaning of this word is very different: a stake to which a ship, a ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
23 votes
6 answers
16k views

The history and meaning of "ни фига себе"

I understand how the expression is used pretty well, but wonder where did it come from? What exactly does фиг mean?
JAM's user avatar
  • 1,316
20 votes
3 answers
2k views

What does the word "да" mean in "Иван да Марья"?

I read about a flower which is called "Иван да Марья". I am assuming, that "Иван" and "Марья" are Russian names, since they start with capital letters and "Марья" sounds like an English name "Maria". ...
L_Pav's user avatar
  • 1,049
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

What does "флуд" mean?

As a member of Charcoal HQ, I get to see a lot of strange messages from across the entire Stack Exchange network. Today, this 'answer' was posted on our sister site Русский язык: ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
  • 1,031
19 votes
10 answers
5k views

What does "ледяная рябь канала" mean, in Blok's famous poem?

I'm very fond of A. Blok's poem bellow -- which, by the way, yesterday became 100 years old. My Russian is very limited, and this is one of the little pieces I can almost understand; this "almost&...
c.p.'s user avatar
  • 3,093
17 votes
5 answers
4k views

On the meanings of the colors in Russian

It is sometimes the case that one attributes a second meaning to the colors, in poetry or just slang. It might be that this association is language-dependent (perhaps an exception is a connotation of "...
c.p.'s user avatar
  • 3,093
17 votes
3 answers
1k views

Certain words supposedly in Russian that I can't verify!

My late mother-in-law's story of her captivity in the Soviet Union as a German civilian forced laborer after WW2 contains a number of words which are apparently Russian, but for which I cannot find ...
Cyberherbalist's user avatar
16 votes
6 answers
2k views

Как назвать искреннего ханжу?

Определение ханжи таково: Тот, кто притворно набожен, добродетелен; лицемер. А как назвать человека, который непритворно, а искренне набожен, добродетелен? Он лезет ко всем с нравоучениями, ...
coverback's user avatar
  • 528
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

What does "терпячка" mean?

What does "терпячка" mean? I know it has to do with suffering and bearing, but I need the exact meaning.
klm123's user avatar
  • 263
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the meaning of my last name, Явтушенко?

I'm Argentine with a Ukrainian last name, originally written Явтушенко. My Russian father and grandmother are deceased (and they didn't have a clue as to its meaning — they weren't Ukrainian speakers)....
Alexis Jawtuschenko's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k 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 &...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
14 votes
12 answers
4k views

What is the meaning of "понаехать"?

Wiktionary defines the verb "понаехать" as follows: наехать, приехать во множестве, в большом числе This is obviously a single meaning, not a list of different meanings, because different ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
14 votes
5 answers
9k views

What does "Ой всё" mean?

What does "Ой всё" mean? My Russian friends use it a lot.
Viktor's user avatar
  • 385
14 votes
6 answers
2k views

What does "Больше ада" mean?

Больше ада seems to be a meme on the Russian internet, but what does it mean in practice? The literal translation of "More/better hell" does not seem to explain the context, and the random comment ...
lambshaanxy's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
2k views

What does "кося" in phrase "накося выкуси" exactly mean

These days I'm reading a book "История моего современника" by V. G. Korolenko (don't feel guilty for reading it online, you are not breaching any copyright laws in this case, since the author is ...
shabunc's user avatar
  • 38k
14 votes
1 answer
64k views

"С волками жить - по-волчьи выть" - каков изначальный смысл пословицы?

Каков изначальный смысл пословицы "С волками жить - по-волчьи выть"? Я смотрю на разные источники в Интернете и замечаю, что они предлагают разные толкования заложенного в эту пословицу смысла. Есть ...
AnT stands with Russia's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

What does "Я дежурный по апрелю" mean?

Here is a song by Bulat Okudzhava "Дежурный по апрелю": Ах, какие удивительные ночи, только мама моя в грусти и тревоге: "Что же ты гуляешь, мой сыночек, одинокий, одинокий? Что же ты ...
brilliant's user avatar
  • 5,752
13 votes
3 answers
556 views

Different expressions for "ten" in Russian: десять, десятка, десяток

In terms of expressing ten, what's the difference between десять, десятка and десяток? I understand the first is a numeral and the other two are nouns, but I'm curious to know in what contexts each is ...
ycele's user avatar
  • 2,827
13 votes
5 answers
489 views

Proper usage of "бедолага"?

The closest thing I could find out is that this means something like "poor thing", used when you are taking some sort of pity on someone. Is this correct? Also, what does the word actually translate ...
galois's user avatar
  • 319
13 votes
4 answers
638 views

Difference between "даже" and "аж"

I just encountered аж, which apparently means even. Any difference between this word and даже, or can I substitute one for the other?
ycele's user avatar
  • 2,827
12 votes
2 answers
557 views

Meaning of "Что ни день"

This is a comment I saw in a forum. Is it a typo, or does it actually mean something? Что ни день, то приключение!
CocoPop's user avatar
  • 8,290
12 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why "доброе утро" but "добрый день"

what is the difference between Доброе and Добрый? Both mean the same but when we say good morning we use the former instead of the latter , as per this site http://masterrussian.com/blday_greeting....
Debanjan Chakraborty's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

What's the meaning of the word "расходилась" in Tolstoy's story ''Прыжок''?

One of the phrases in Tolstoy's story ''Прыжок'' ('The Leap') is: Обезьяна эта корчилась, прыгала, делала смешные рожи, передразнивала людей, и видно было - она знала, что ею забавляются, и оттого ещё ...
ermatveit's user avatar
  • 641
12 votes
3 answers
456 views

When are diminutive forms of time words (e.g., часик, неделька, годик) used?

I was searching the Russian National Corpus recently and in the results I noticed that nouns referring to duration in time are sometimes marked with a diminutive suffix, as in the following examples: ...
Matt Menzenski's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

What does the phrase пойти в разведку mean?

I assume that in casual usage, it doesn't really mean to serve in an intelligence agency, or to reconnoiter an enemy position, right?
Young's user avatar
  • 393
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

What does it mean - "подняться на крыло"

Here is a quote from today news: "На прошлой неделе выпал первый снег, и серые журавли, обитающие на Белом озере, сразу поднялись на крыло и улетели", - рассказал представитель регионального ...
shabunc's user avatar
  • 38k
11 votes
7 answers
2k views

"Horse has gypsy in its teeth" - what does it exactly mean?

In the Neil Cornwell translation of Daniil Kharms' story "Clunk" I see the following sentence: The picture is a drawing of a horse, the horse has gypsy in its teeth. That sounds like a very ...
some user's user avatar
  • 355
11 votes
5 answers
2k views

What does “акция” mean in this sentence?

I am aware of two meanings of the word “акция”. It may mean a stock (a financial instrument), or a political, diplomatic or military act. When I was in Moscow a few months ago, I saw ads that read ...
Yury's user avatar
  • 1,604
11 votes
9 answers
1k views

What does the idiom "что уж там" mean?

I am very 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 (...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
11 votes
1 answer
506 views

Difference between Что and Почему?

What's the difference between "Что ты улыбаешься?" и "Почему ты улыбаешься?" or in some other similar cases?
brilliant's user avatar
  • 5,752
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the difference between "ещё" and "больше"?

I know they both mean 'more' ? But there useage seems to differ, is there a rule of thumb?
Dan's user avatar
  • 240
11 votes
2 answers
979 views

What does водолазовой mean?

My text editor tells me that водолазовой is wrong and suggests me водолазов ой or водолазной or водолазкой or водолазный or водолазка. Using Google Translator I was not able to decide what ...
Sigur's user avatar
  • 213
11 votes
1 answer
370 views

What is the meaning of "нигде так не любят русских туристов как нигде"

There are way too many negations for me to grasp the meaning of this phrase: нигде так не любят русских туристов как нигде
Trident D'Gao's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Difference between нужно и надо

Hello probably this is duplicate question but I still can't understand the difference in use between these 2 words? Надо и нужно Can you give me some examples please?
John's user avatar
  • 131
11 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the different between "возвратиться" and "вернуться"?

I have two flash cards giving imperfective/perfective pairs corresponding to the meaning "to return": возвращаться/возвратиться возвращаться/вернуться This was confusing me a lot, as well as making ...
Chill2Macht's user avatar
  • 3,071
10 votes
9 answers
1k views

выражение "жить можно!"

Could someone please explain how the expression жить можно is used and in what contexts? I heard someone say it in a movie, coming out of a store after buying lots of cool gadgets.
CocoPop's user avatar
  • 8,290
10 votes
5 answers
3k views

What people are called boars ("кабан") and why?

I discovered yesterday that the Russians often use the word "кабан" ("wild boar") or its Old Russian analogue "вепрь" to talk about people: (1) Что ещё раз доказывает, ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
10 votes
4 answers
8k views

Difference between "девушка", "девочка" and "подруга"

So, if I remember correctly, "девушка" can refer to both "girl" (of any age) or "girlfriend" (I'm not entirely sure of this, so feel free to call me out). But what about '...
Trey's user avatar
  • 2,067
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why is "мне хорошо" an odd response to "как дела"?

I was told that "мне хорошо" would sound very strange as a response to "как дела", and indeed I've never seen or heard in such a context, but I don't completely understand why. I've seen it in ...
Peter Olson's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Заканчивать versus кончать

Is there a difference between заканчивать/закончить and кончать/кончить? Or are they interchangeable?
ycele's user avatar
  • 2,827
10 votes
4 answers
6k views

What kind of "girlfriend" is meant by "подруга"?

Does "подруга" mean girlfriend as in "girl friend", ie a female friend, or as in "girlfriend", a romantic interest? Doing a google image search for подруга seems to be getting matches for both types.
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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