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Questions tagged [идиомы]

Words or phrases that have a specific, figurative or non-literal meaning.

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7 votes
2 answers
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Is there a Russian exclamation that would fit the scene below?

I'm writing Russian subtitles for an American film. In one scene, a character says to another: "How ya' doin'?" The second character replies, kind of half-jokingly, "Beats the hell ...
Chris Carr's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
302 views

What does it mean to tell someone to take an implement в зубы and do a task with it?

I recently came across this line: [Father to son upon seeing how messy his room is] —Так, пылесос в зубы, и чтоб через час здесь был порядок как в казарме! Then, researching this idiom online ...
CocoPop's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
451 views

What is the etymology of phrase "морского извозчика"

In China, the Netherlands has a very popular nickname: 海上马车夫 (literally: carriage drivers on the sea or sea coachman), it's so popular that it's printed in Chinese high school textbooks. It's also ...
user2249675's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
338 views

What's the Russian equivalent of "This song slaps!"?

What would be Russian slang equivalent of "This song slaps!" in the sense that it's excellent, really cool, fire? The word "slap" for us native English speakers brings to mind the ...
AMDG's user avatar
  • 123
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

2 x 2 = 4 or 2 + 2 = 4 as an evident fact?

In Tolstoy's Исповедь one reads : Истина эта была всегда истина, как 2 × 2 = 4, но я не признавал ее, потому что, признав 2 × 2 = 4, я бы должен был признать то, что я нехорош. 2 x 2 = 4 is ...
Bruno's user avatar
  • 707
1 vote
1 answer
211 views

What is the Russian equivalent of 'perfect is as perfect does'?

I've encountered this saying multiple times in English, but even though I'm a native Russian speaker, I can't find an exact equivalent of this saying in Russian. Perhaps someone here knows?
Rusurano's user avatar
  • 213
1 vote
3 answers
1k views

Russian equivalents of some English idioms

I don't speak or read Russian myself, but I'm trying to find some genuine and natural-sounding Russian equivalents of a couple of English phrases. The first is "keep your shirt on," a ...
drmerry's user avatar
  • 21
4 votes
3 answers
467 views

Russian version of "The apple didn't fall far from the tree"

This idiom means that children usually end up being similar to their parents. Are there any Russian versions of this that are not direct translations?
Adam's user avatar
  • 63
1 vote
2 answers
286 views

What does this mean: Если он хоть что-нибудь буркнет, я за себя не ручаюсь

What is the meaning of this sentence? Если он хоть что-нибудь буркнет, я за себя не ручаюсь. I understand the literal meaning, or as Google Translate or DeepL translates it literally: If he muttered ...
Isa's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
388 views

Russian version of "When All You Have Is A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail"

What would be the Russian equivalent of "When All You Have Is A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail", or an idiom of a similar sentiment? Edit: This idiom means that if you only have one ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 63
3 votes
3 answers
223 views

Are there natural ways to say "No small feat"?

I'd like to be able to say a phrase like "no small feat", if Russians ever talk that way. In other words, I want to express that something has a level of difficulty which might be ...
rh-calvin's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
212 views

Какие примеры стилистически-морфологических приёмов имитации иностранных и нерусских акцентов, и каких именно, существуют в русском языке? [closed]

Какие примеры стилистически-морфологических приёмов имитации иностранных и нерусских акцентов, и каких именно, существуют в русском языке? Ну, всякие такие приемы, как пример : "вах, дарагой !&...
 Пилум's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
593 views

What is the meaning of дадим стране угля?

In a Russian forum, one user commented on a situation with Дадим стране угля... and that was enough to make everyone in the room agree or laugh or both. What does that imply? Update: The whole comment ...
CocoPop's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
620 views

How and when do you use "А разговоров-то было!"

I've seen the expression а разговоров-то было in memes and just encountered it in a Russian forum. I can't find it in dictionaries. In what context is it used and what does it imply?
CocoPop's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Russian equivalent of "Elephant in the room"

What is the Russian equivalent of the English idiom elephant in the room which means (according to Wikipedia) important or enormous topic, question, or controversial issue that is obvious or that ...
Glory to Russia's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
223 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 ...
Rodrigo de Azevedo's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
225 views

Idiom: своя в доску, но не доска

I'm struggling to understand the meaning of this. Is it something like "it's what's inside that counts"?
Echilon's user avatar
  • 317
4 votes
3 answers
758 views

How would I say in Russian: "This made my day"?

I'm not asking for a translation because the literal meaning is obvious. Rather, I'm looking for the closest expression that conveys the same meaning and emotions. So: How would I say "This made ...
Trident D'Gao's user avatar
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
  • 11.2k
3 votes
2 answers
891 views

Лысая башка, дай пирожка - what does it mean?

Лысая башка, дай пирожка - what does this saying mean? I know what it means literally, but in which situations would it usually be used, and where/how did it originate?
MeL's user avatar
  • 175
7 votes
5 answers
1k views

What's a good translation for "unscratchable itch" in Russian?

An "unscratchable itch" is an issue that's very important to someone, but which they can't do anything about. What would be a more or less close Russian equivalent of this phrase (apart from ...
Glory to Russia's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
6k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
2 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
4 votes
3 answers
392 views

Can "ты ещё нас всех переживёшь" have a positive connotation?

A little granddaughter tells her grandma: ты ещё нас всех переживёшь (you will survive all of us) Grandma gets offended because she interprets it as a death wish. Is this reasonable?! Маленькая ...
sds's user avatar
  • 141
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
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6 votes
4 answers
450 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 ...
the_darkside's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
1k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
2k views

How can I say in Russian "to see each other" and "to be exclusive to each other," in the context of dating?

I cannot find the Russian phrases for these two stages of dating and am humbly asking for your help. I know that Russians say Маша встречается с Ваней (which literally means Masha regularly meets ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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4 votes
6 answers
480 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
4 votes
3 answers
486 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?
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
4 votes
3 answers
368 views

"Бьёт, значит любит?" - is it ironic?

Which relationship aspects are meant with this idiom, is it some specific irony?
J. Doe's user avatar
  • 897
1 vote
2 answers
420 views

Where does the phrase "кто девушку ужинает тот ее и танцует" come from?

While listening to Pozner I've heard the phrase "кто девушку ужинает тот ее и танцует". Where does it come from?
Farrukh Normuradov's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
2 votes
0 answers
283 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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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
  • 11.2k
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
  • 11.2k
2 votes
7 answers
257 views

"On the side" — «На стороне»?

I have tried to translate into Russian the sentence: I am studying the Russian language on the side. I.e., I just occasionally spend time on it. Google Translate says: Я изучаю русский язык на ...
rapt's user avatar
  • 557
5 votes
6 answers
542 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
2 votes
3 answers
261 views

Possible to use Я хотел бы without direct object?

This quite a short question. I was wondering how to express in Russian the sentence "I wish!" without any direct object. As a silly example, in English you could say — Have you finished your project? ...
MyUserIsThis's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Russian sport idioms in business [closed]

Are there any sport idioms (or war, or maybe some other topic) used frequently in Russian business discussions? This topic came up in conversation, and we were unable to think of any obvious ones. ...
user7085278's user avatar
0 votes
8 answers
653 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
3 votes
6 answers
617 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
3 votes
3 answers
601 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
3 votes
6 answers
512 views

Correct use of the the idiom 'Гнать/Катить бочку'

I heard both versions, which one is correct? 'Гнать' or 'Катить'? If I want to say: "не гони бочку на китайцев, падла. кто бы нам пособил электронику и одёжку, если не их пацаны на тех жутких ...
user avatar
13 votes
7 answers
5k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
6 votes
3 answers
464 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
9 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
8 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
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
  • 11.2k
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
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