Questions tagged [идиомы]

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29
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 ...
26
votes
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
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.&...
21
votes
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
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 &...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

What are Russian equivalents of the English idiom “spread yourself too thin”?

What are Russian equivalents of the English idiom "spread yourself too thin", which is often used in: "Try not to spread yourself too thin." From The Free Dictionary: spread yourself too thin ...
13
votes
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 ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Russian idiom for redundancy

In Canada we have the idiom "selling ice to the eskimos" to illustrate someone doing something redundant. What is it in russian that illustrates redundancy? I've looked at lists of idioms but haven't ...
11
votes
5answers
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, ...
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Does the phrase “не за что!” have two meanings?

I vaguely remember discussing the phrase "не за что!" with my Russian teacher and I believe that he said the phrase has different meanings when spoken in different ways. I do remember that one ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “от добра добра не ищут”?

От добра добра не ищут. Is its meaning the same as in Лучшее - враг хорошего? If not, are there any similar idioms in Russian which might clarify the meaning of the former phrase?
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Use of “Kamchatka” to represent any poor, faraway place

In Russia, the place name "Kamchatka" at some point became a generalized means of referring to faraway, underresourced, or undesirable places (according to a couple of sources, this includes the far ...
10
votes
1answer
601 views

The origin of ни пуха ни пера - к чёрту

Why do we say ни пуха ни пера wishing someone good luck? The traditional response is also interesting. People are expected to say к чёрту. What is the origin of the idiom?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Russian equivalent of the idiom “crown jewel”

I'm looking for a Russian idiom which would be the closest analog of "crown jewel" as in, for instance, "the crown jewel of my collection". I'm not satisfied with "главное украшение" since that's ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the idiom for “enjoy it!” in Russian?

What is the idiom for "enjoy it!" in Russian? Contexts for example: "I'm going to travel with my friends." "I'm traveling with my friends." "We are in the camp now." "We are walking in ...
9
votes
4answers
441 views

Origin of “стоять над душой”

Фразеологический словарь русского литературного языка says, that "стоять над душой" means "мешать, надоедать своим долгим присутствием". I'm not quite sure what "над душой" (above one's soul?) means ...
9
votes
8answers
639 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
773 views

How to ask someone to be less polite and not use white lies?

Note: Please let me know if this question is off-topic, so it can be closed or deleted. I am afraid that it either focuses too much on Russian culture, or alternatively is asking for a translation. ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the meaning and origin of “The grand piano in the bushes”?

There is a saying "The grand piano in the bushes" ("рояль в кустах"). What does it mean precisely, how to correctly use it in speech, and what is its origin?
9
votes
1answer
171 views

The origin of “заморить червячка”

"Заморить червячка" is an idiom which can be loosely translated as "to get a bite to eat", or "to have a snack / to have something to eat". Which worm does the expression refer to? What is its ...
9
votes
2answers
781 views

What to say in a toast?

Before I start, I want to point out that although I want to learn Russian, my current level is 0. I recently saw the movie "The Deer Hunter" (Great movie). One of the characters is of russian ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

напугал кота сосиской - Is it an idiom?

"напугал кота сосиской" seems to be an idiom. Is it? What does it mean?
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
926 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

How to translate “unscratchable itch” to Russian?

An unscratchable itch is an issue that is very important to a person, but which they cannot do anything about. What would a more or less close Russian equivalent (apart from журавль в небе)? Update 1: ...
8
votes
5answers
782 views

Russian equivalent of expression “you know”

Sometimes I feel the need to fill a gap, while conversing, with something that in English would be filled with "you know" in the sense described by thefreedictionary.com: Used parenthetically in ...
8
votes
2answers
958 views

Russian equivalents of English idiom “what a …”?

E.g. What a beautiful day! or What a jerk!. The phrase doesn't have in general any positive or negative connotation, but is just a general exclamation about the perceived (large) magnitude of ...
8
votes
3answers
475 views

Russian equivalents of the English idiom “So much for (a peaceful vacation)!”

First ..., and now this!? So much for a peaceful vacation! In English, you use the expression "so much for X" ironically and dejectedly when something didn't turn out the way you'd hoped. ...
8
votes
2answers
385 views

Strange, Possibly Idiomatic Sentence and the Adverb лишь

What is the meaning of the following sentence: будь жена хоть коза, лишь бы золотые рога I understand all the words in the sentence, and I've roughly translated it as: "Whether a wife be a she-...
7
votes
4answers
209 views

Meaning of куда мне

I saw the following exchange: Будешь поступать в институт? - Куда мне, мне б в училище поступить". Since there's no question mark, I'm led to believe that куда мне is rhetorical here, and quite ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Does anyone understand the sense (смысл) of this Soviet-era poster?

I forgot how I found this poster on the internet, but it looked strange so I thought I would translate it so it would make sense: However, it seems even more bizarre and non-sensical after ...
7
votes
3answers
250 views

What'd be a formal way to say “морочить голову”?

As in: приношу извинения что морочил голову Context: made a booking but plans were cancelled. Checked ru.wiktionary.org and frazbook.ru but none of the suggested options sound natural.
7
votes
2answers
259 views

Почему как стартовую команду применяют фразу «три-четыре»?

Почему когда русскоязычный человек начинает физическую нагрузку, он иногда говорит фразу «Три, четыре»? Почему пропускают «раз два»?
7
votes
2answers
300 views

Meaning of “тренироваться на кошечках”

I Listened to a podcast, in which the speaker attempted to explain what тренироваться на кошечках means and how it's used, yet I failed to grasp the meaning. Can someone explain?
6
votes
3answers
321 views

Interpretation of “Понеслась душа в рай!”

I recently read a piece of text that was translated into Russian by a very reputable translator. In it, a couple was at a party when someone asked the husband what he thought of a new legislature. The ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

“You get the picture”

The literal translation that is found to be most closely equivalent to the English meaning of this is Вы поЛучите картину, but I don’t know if that is just the literal meaning of saying ‘...
6
votes
4answers
369 views

Meaning of “одна морда чего стоит”

I found this in a book and have no inkling of what it can mean, and nothing in dictionaries to help me understand. Any ideas? Сама знаю, что зря. Мужика у меня уже Святая Дева знает сколько не ...
6
votes
3answers
378 views

“Битком набиты” — was “биток” actually a noun at some time?

Did биток always only exist in the context of the idiom "битком набиты", or was it a "perfectly valid noun in its own right" at some point in the past?
6
votes
2answers
262 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
180 views

Translation of idiom “Not to put too fine a point on it”

Какая самая близкая русская идиома? Edit: including definitions and usage examples from Idioms by The Free Dictionary. Figurative: a phrase introducing a fine or important point, apologetically. ...
6
votes
1answer
693 views

Не по глазам - что это значит?

Здравствуйте. Никогда не встречал такого выражения, по контексту вроде бы со значением "сразу не увидел" или "прозевал" (например, просматривая список). Есть ли примеры использования этого выражения в ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

He couldn't hold his alcohol - how to say it in Russian?

I was trying to explain to someone the English phrase: He couldn't hold his alcohol (also liquor) This means that one becomes drunk very easily. Are there any Russian idioms/expressions that are ...
5
votes
3answers
337 views

“Бьёт, значит любит?” - is it ironic?

Which relationship aspects are meant with this idiom, is it some specific irony?
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

How does “Чья бы корова мычала” have the meaning “You're a fine one to talk”?

Чья бы корова мычала... Is this expression said sarcastically, with "чья" alluding to "твоя"? Whose cow would be mooing/complaining? Don't tell me it's yours (of all people/cows who should be ...
5
votes
3answers
186 views

Meaning of же in “его сыновья … его же дочери”

I’m deciphering a modern transcription of ревизские сказки (revision records) written in the 19th century. All throughout I see a pattern similar to this (names have been changed): Илья ...
5
votes
6answers
657 views

What are Russian equivalents of the English idiom “It's a work in progress”?

What are Russian equivalents of the English idiom "It's a work in progress"? To make this question self-sufficient, the definition of "work in progress" is "an unfinished project that is still being ...
5
votes
3answers
232 views

How to say “for one's own sake”

Например: "He should listen to his mother, for his own sake". Я думал, что-to похоже: "Он должен выслушивать свою мать, чтобы спасать себя.", но это казалось слишком буквально, так как на английском ...
5
votes
5answers
298 views

Russian equivalents of “all men, young and old”

Выходит, что мужчины -- что старые, что молодые -- просто не могут пройти мимо такой красавицы. In conversation, I wanted to express the idea of "all men, young and old". I wonder if my phrasing ...
5
votes
5answers
936 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 ...