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The 20 Funniest Russian Expressions (and How to Use Them)

Student Work Languages
by Marina Vinogradova Mar 19, 2015

1. Russians don’t exaggerate, they “make an elephant out of a fly.” (delat iz muhi slona)

2. A Russian won’t lie to you, he’ll “hang noodles on your ears.” (veshat laphu na ushi)

3. A Russian doesn’t get overexcited, he “jumps out of his pants.” (vyprygnut iz shtanov)

4. Russians don’t start from the very beginning, they “dance from the stove.” (tancevat ot pechki)

5. Russians don’t say you have an interesting aspect to your character, they say you have a “raisin.” (izoominka)

6. Russians don’t just miss an event, they “hat it” (proshliapit) or “yawn it.” (prozevat)

7. Russians won’t say they have no idea when something is going to happen, they’ll say it will happen “after the rain on Thursday.” (posle dozhdika v chetverg)

8. Russians don’t argue or discuss private things in public, they “take the litter out of the house.” (vynosit sor iz izby)

9. Russians don’t drink alcohol, they “put it behind the collar.” (zalozhit za vorotnik)

10. Russians don’t just study, they “crunch the granite of science.” (gryzt granit nauki)

11. A Russian isn’t clumsy, he is “an elephant in a china shop.” (slon v posudnoi lavke)

12. In Russia you are not just talented or skilled, you can “shoe a flea.” (podkovat blochu)

13. Russians don’t have a snack, they “kill the worm.” (zamorit cherviachka)

14. A Russian doesn’t procrastinate, he “pulls a cat’s tail.” (tianut kota za hvost).

15. A Russian doesn’t say he’s in a crowded place, he says he’s “like herring in the barrel.” (kak seledka v bochke)

16. In Russia you don’t merely mess up, you “mangle the firewood.” (nalomat drov).

17. A Russian doesn’t have a lot of experience in something, he “has eaten a dog in that.” (sobaku siel)

18. A Russian doesn’t work without enthusiasm, he works “with his sleeves down.” (spustia rukava)

19. A Russian isn’t distracted and inattentive, he “counts the crows” (schitat voron) or “claps his ears.” (hlopat ushami)

20. Russians don’t say that something was in vain, they say “it went under a dog’s tail.” (psu pod hvost)

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