Russian Sayings

April 29th, 2023 - Vera

Russian sayings, or “пословицы” (poslovitsy), are a rich part of Russian culture and language. These sayings are short, pithy phrases that express a common truth or belief. They provide insight into the values, beliefs, and history of the Russian people. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular and interesting Russian sayings, their meanings, and origins.

  1. “Не рой яму другому - сам в нее попадешь.” (Ne roj yamu drugomu - sam v nee popadesh.)

Literal Translation: “Don’t dig a hole for someone else - you’ll fall into it yourself.” Meaning: Don’t plot harm against others, as it will likely come back to you.

This saying is similar to the English saying “What goes around, comes around.” It is a warning against being vindictive or malicious towards others, as the negative consequences may end up affecting oneself.

  1. “Кто рано встает, тому бог подает.” (Kto rano vstaet, tomu bog podaet.)

Literal Translation: “God gives to those who rise early.” Meaning: Success comes to those who are industrious and diligent.

This saying emphasizes the importance of hard work and diligence in achieving success. It encourages people to wake up early and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

  1. “Лучше один раз увидеть, чем сто раз услышать.” (Luchshe odin raz uvidet’, chem sto raz uslyshat.’)

Literal Translation: “It’s better to see once, than to hear a hundred times.” Meaning: Personal experience is more valuable than secondhand information.

This saying highlights the importance of firsthand experience in understanding and evaluating something. It suggests that seeing and experiencing something for oneself is more valuable than hearing about it from others.

  1. “Горбатого могила исправит.” (Gorbatego mogila ispravit.)

Literal Translation: “The grave will straighten the hunchback.” Meaning: Death is the great equalizer.

This saying emphasizes the idea that death is the one thing that all people have in common. No matter their status, wealth, or physical appearance, everyone will eventually face the same fate.

  1. “Не говори гоп, пока не перепрыгнешь.” (Ne govori gop, poka ne pereprygnesh.’)

Literal Translation: “Don’t say ‘hop’ until you’ve jumped over.” Meaning: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

This saying cautions against making assumptions or predictions before knowing all the facts. It suggests that it is better to wait until something has actually happened before celebrating or assuming a certain outcome.

  1. “Друг познается в беде.” (Drug poznayetsya v bede.)

Literal Translation: “A friend is known in trouble.” Meaning: True friends are those who stand by you during difficult times.

This saying emphasizes the importance of loyalty and support in friendships. It suggests that true friends are those who remain loyal and supportive during times of trouble or hardship.

  1. “Кто не рискует, тот не пьет шампанское.” (Kto ne riskuet, tot ne piet shampanskoe.)

Literal Translation: “He who doesn’t take risks, doesn’t drink champagne.” Meaning: Success often requires taking risks.

This saying encourages people to take risks and pursue their goals, even if doing so involves uncertainty or potential failure.

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