Russian Proverbs And Sayings

Russian Proverbs and Sayings have been created by the Russian folk and taken from the ancient written sources.

A great way to improve your understanding of the Russian culture, people and history is to study Russian proverbs and sayings. Not only will you discover the words of wisdom accumulated by Russian folk since the early 12th century, but you will also increase your Russian vocabulary and catch on some rhymes used in proverbs.

Russian proverbs cover nearly all cultural concepts and spheres of our life: studies and work, love and friendship, home and family, language and school, nature and food…

Russian Proverbs

Russian Proverbs And Sayings

Idioms are typically age-old sayings that can’t be traced back to a specific individual or event. They are phrases that are handed down through generations with a few specific purposes, and people like to use them for different reasons. Many idioms are phrased in a way that they provide a viewpoint or advice, without saying it directly. For example, sayings such as “don’t add fuel to the fire” encourage the listener not to make a situation worse.

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– A –
А дело бывало — и коза волка съедала.
Pigs might fly.
 Literal: It was happening — a goat was eating up a wolf.
Аво́сь да как-нибу́дь до добра́ не доведу́т. Draw not your bow till your arrow is fixed.
 Literal: Maybe and somehow won’t make any good.
Азбука — к мудрости ступенька. You have to learn to walk before you can run.
 Literal: Alphabet is the step to wisdom.
Алты́нного во́ра ве́шают, а полти́нного че́ствуют. Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
 Literal: The thief who stole an altyn (3 kopecks) is hung, and the one who stole a poltinnik (50 kopecks) is praised.
Аппети́т прихо́дит во вре́мя еды́. Appetite comes with eating.
 Literal: The appetite comes during eating.
Арте́льный горшо́к гу́ще кипи́т. With a helper a thousand things are possible.
 Literal: An artel’s pot boils denser.
Ахал бы дядя, на себя глядя. The devil rebuking sin.
 Literal: The uncle would better gasp looking at himself.
– Б –
Ба́ба с во́зу — кобы́ле ле́гче.
No women, no cry!
 Literal: It is easier for the mare when a woman gets off the cart.
Ба́бушка гада́ла, на́двое сказа́ла. No one can know for certain.
 Literal: Granny was telling fortunes, said two things.
Ба́бушка на́двое сказа́ла. No one can know for certain.
 Literal: Granny said two things.
Ба́ры деру́тся — у холо́пов чубы́ треща́т. When the rich make war it’s the poor that die.
 Literal: Masters are fighting, servants’ forelocks are creaking.
Беда́ никогда́ не прихо́дит одна́. When it rains, it pours.
 Literal: Trouble never comes alone.
Бедному нужно многое, жадному — всё. Poverty is in want of much, avarice of everything.
Бе́дному оде́ться — то́лько подпоя́саться. Не that has no money needs no purse.
 Literal: For a poor man, to dress means to only belt himself.
Без кота́ мыша́м раздо́лье. When the cat is away, the mice will play.
 Literal: Without a cat mice feel free.
Meaning: When an authority figure is away, those under him/her may act up.
Без му́ки нет нау́ки. Adversity is a good teacher.
 Literal: Without torture no science.
Meaning: When things are going poorly for someone, this is a helpful reminder that suffering can lead to better things.
Без отдыха и конь не скачет. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
 Literal: Without rest even the horse doesn’t gallop.
Без труда́ не вы́тащишь и ры́бку из пруда́. No pain, no gain.
 Literal: Without effort, you can’t even pull a fish out of the pond.
Meaning: You need to work hard if you want to get something. Every work requires effort, and without effort, you will not see any results. It is said for encouragement when a specific task needs a lot of time or otherwise effort.
Безопасность прежде всего. Safety first.
Береги́ пла́тье сно́ву, а честь смо́лоду. Look after your clothes when they’re spick-and-span, and after your honour when you’re a young man.
 Literal: Start taking care of the dress while it’s new, and of your honor while you are young.
Бережёного Бог бережёт. The Lord helps those who help themselves.
 Literal: God keeps those safe who keep themselves safe.
Бережливость хороша, да скупость страшна. Economy is a good servant but a bad master.
Бери́сь дру́жно, не бу́дет гру́зно. Many hands make light work
 Literal: Take hold of it together, it won’t feel heavy.
Бе́шеной соба́ке семь вёрст не крюк.  Literal: For a mad dog, seven versts (Russian mile) is not a long detour.
Близо́к локото́к, да не уку́сишь. So near and yet so far.
 Literal: Your elbow is close, yet you can’t bite it.
Бог дал, Бог и взял. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away
 Literal: God gave, God took back.
Бог не вы́даст, свинья́ не съест.  Literal: God won’t give it away, pigs won’t eat it.
Бог плу́та ме́тит.  Literal: God marks the crook.
Бог правду видит, да не скоро скажет. The mills of God grind slowly.
 Literal: God sees the truth, but won’t tell soon.
Бог правду видит. There is One that is always on the lookout.
 Literal: God sees the truth.
Бог тро́ицу лю́бит. Third time is a charm.; Third time is a lucky.
 Literal: God likes trinity.
Бо́гу моли́сь, а добра́-ума́ держи́сь. Trust in God, but steer away from the rocks.
 Literal: Pray to God, but hold on to your good mind.
Бодли́вой коро́ве Бог рог не даёт. God does not give horns to cow that butts.
Болту́н — нахо́дка для шпио́на. Loose lips sink big ships.
 Literal: A chatterbox is a treasure for a spy.
Болтуна язык до добра не доведёт. A fool’s tongue runs before his feet.
 Literal: The tongue will bring the chatterer no good.
Больше слушай, меньше говори. Be swift to hear, slow to speak.
 Literal: Listen more, talk less.
Большой секрет — знает весь свет. Every barber knows that. (badly-kept secret)
 Literal: Big secret — all the world knows.
Большо́му кораблю́ — большо́е пла́вание. A great ship needs deep waters.
 Literal: For a big ship, a big voyage.
Борода не делает философом. A beard doesn’t make a philosopher.
Брань на во́роте не ви́снет. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
 Literal: The scolding won’t hang on one’s collar.
Брань не дым — глаза не ест. Hard words break no bones.
 Literal: The scolding is not smoke — won’t irritate your eyes.
Брюхо сыто, да глаза голодны. His eyes are bigger than his belly.
 Literal: The belly is full, but the eyes are hungry.
Бу́дет и на на́шей у́лице пра́здник. There will be our turn to triumph.
 Literal: There’ll be a holiday in our street too or Every dog has his day.
Meaning: A  better time is coming. If you look over at your neighbor and they’re having a party on their street and getting turned up, and you aren’t … well good sir, there’ll be a party on your street too.
Будь что будет. Be that as it may.
 Literal: Be what will be.
Бума́га всё сте́рпит. A letter does not blush (Epistula non erubescit — Cicero, “Epistulae ad familiares”)
 Literal: Paper will endure anything.
Была́ не была́. Whatever betide. Whatever happens, happens
 Literal: There was — there wasn’t.
Meaning: This proverb means the emotional expression of willingness to do something after some hesitation, to take risk.
Быть в доме хозяином. To rule the roost.
 Literal: To be a host in the house.
– B –
В глаза льстит, а за глаза пакостит.
To carry fire in one hand and water in the other.
В гостя́х хорошо́, а до́ма лу́чше. There’s no place like home.; East or West, home is best.
 Literal: It is good to be visiting, but it is better at home.
Meaning:It’s nice to be a guest, but it’s always better to be at home. This idiom stresses the importance of home life and reminds listeners that while vacations and new experiences are fun, home is where the heart is!
В каждой шутке есть доля правды. Many a true word is spoken in jest.
Literal: Every joke has a grain of truth.
Meaning: This proverb is used to say that jokes stem from the truth.
В кулаке все пальцы равны. Teeth are all friends among each other.
В нога́х правды не́т. Take a seat, please.
 Literal: There is no truth in feet.
Meaning: You can’t think straight while standing up.
В огоро́де бузина́, а в Ки́еве дя́дька. Red herring.
 Literal: Elder-berry is in the kitchen-garden, and the uncle is in Kiev.
В родном углу всё по нутру. It is good to be visiting, but it is better at home.
В семье́ не без уро́да. Every family has its black sheep.
 Literal: No family has no ugly member.
В темноте все кошки серы. All cats are grey in the dark.
В тесноте́, да не в оби́де. The more the merrier.
 Literal: In a crush, yet without resentment. Crowded, but not aggrieved.
Meaning: people get along well, even if a place is crammed.
В ти́хом о́муте че́рти во́дятся. Still waters run deep.
 Literal: It’s the still waters that are inhabited by devils.

Meaning: Basically, this means that someone has a secret quality that doesn’t fit your general impression of them or does something that you didn’t think they would do.

В Ту́лу со свои́м самова́ром не е́здят. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
 Literal: Nobody goes to Tula with one’s own samovar. (Tula is famous as city where the best Russian samovars are made)
В чужо́й монасты́рь со свои́м уста́вом не хо́дят. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
 Literal: Nobody goes to another monastery with one’s own charter.
Meaning: A monk you need to give up everything from your previous life, and take a vow of obedience.
В чужо́м глазу́ сори́нку заме́тно, а в своём — бревна́ не вида́ть. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Luke 6:41)
 Literal: In another persons’ eye one can notice a mote, but in one’s own – cannot see a log.
В чужу́ю жену́ чёрт ло́жку мёда кладёт. The devil puts a touch of honey in a neighbor’s wife.
 Literal: The devil puts a spoonful of honey into others’ wife.
Важно не то, как долго ты прожил, а как хорошо жил. How well you live makes a difference, not how long.
Вали́ на се́рого, се́рый всё свезёт.  Literal: Put everything onto the grey horse, he’ll bear anything.
Вашими уста́ми, да мёд пить. It is too good to be true.
 Literal: I’d like to drink honey with your lips.
Век живи́ — век учи́сь. Live and learn.
 Literal: Live for a century — learn for a century.
Meaning: Life is a learning process, so as you live, you will learn. The focus here is on the importance of education and learning for as long as you’re alive.
Велик местом, а говорить не с кем. Better fed than taught.
Вели́к те́лом, да мал де́лом. Penny wise and pound foolish.
 Literal: Big of the body but small by his deeds.
Вертит языком, что корова хвостом. As garrulous as a magpie.
 Literal: He twirls his tongue as the cow twirls its tail.
Весело́ весе́лье — тяжело́ похме́лье.  Literal: Revelry is jolly, hangover is heavy.
Взя́лся за гуж — не говори́, что не дюж. If you pledge, don’t hedge.
 Literal: When taking the tug do not say “I am powerless”.
Ви́дит о́ко, да зуб неймёт. Eyes watch but cannot take.; So near and yet so far.
 Literal: The eye can see it, but the tooth can’t bite it.
Видна́ пти́ца по полёту. A bird may be known by its song.
 Literal: The bird is known by its flight.
Видно мастера по работе. The work shows the workman.
Ви́лами на воде́ пи́сано. Nobody knows whether it will happen or not.
 Literal: This is written with pitchfork on a flowing water.
Вино́ вину́ твори́т. When wine is in, wit is out.
 Literal: Wine causes guilt.
Вкру́те и вяз перело́мишь  Literal: In affect you can break even an elm.
Вме́сте те́сно, а врозь ску́чно. You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.
 Literal: Together, it’s cramped; apart, it’s boring.
Вода́ ка́мень то́чит. Little strokes fell great oaks.
 Literal: Water cuts through stone.
Волк в ове́чьей шку́ре. Wolf in sheep’s clothing.
 Literal: Wolf in sheep’s pelt.
Во́лка но́ги ко́рмят. A hound’s food is in its legs.
 Literal: The feet feed the wolf.
Волко́в боя́ться — в лес не ходи́ть. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
 Literal: If you’re afraid of wolves, don’t go to the woods.
Meaning: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Волков бояться — дров не иметь. Being afraid of wolfs do not go to the forest.
Вор у во́ра дуби́нку укра́л. There is no honor among thieves.
 Literal: A thief stole other thief’s club.
Во́рон во́рону глаз не вы́клюет. Hawks will not pick out hawk’s eye.
 Literal: The raven will not peck another raven’s eye.
Вору потакать — что самому воровать. The receiver is as bad as the thief.
Вот в чём загво́здка. That’s where the shoe pinches; That’s the crux.
 Literal: That’s the snag!
Вот где соба́ка зары́та. That’s where the shoe pinches; That’s the crux.
 Literal: That’s where the dog is buried.
Meaning: When you finally uncover the truth about something or get to the crux of a problem or issue.
Во́т тебе, ба́бушка, и Ю́рьев де́нь. What an unpleasant surprise!
 Literal: That’s, grandma, the Yuri’s Day.
Временами и дурак умно говорит. Fools may sometimes speak to the purpose.
Вре́мя — лу́чший до́ктор Time heals all wounds.
 Literal: Time is the best healer.
Врёт — и глазом не мигнёт. He lies easily and without blushing.
Ври, да помни. A liar should be a man of good memory.
 Literal: Lie but remember.
Всё в руках божьих. God’s hand is above all.
 Literal: Everything is in God’s hands.
Всё гениальное просто. Genius is simplicity.
 Literal: Everything genius is simple.
Все дороги ведут в Рим. All roads lead to Rome.
Все меняется, ничто не исчезает. Nothing disappears, only changes.
 Literal: Everything changes, nothing disappears.
Все на солнце ровно глядим — неровно пьём и едим. We all see the same sun, but we don’t all have the same fun.
Всё хорошо в меру. Everything in reason.
 Literal: Everything is good in measure.
Всё хорошо́, что хорошо́ конча́ется. All’s well that ends well.
 Literal: All is well that ends well.
Всего́ с собо́й не унесёшь. The one who dies with most toys, still dies.
 Literal: You can’t take everything with you.
Всему своё место. There is a place for everything, and everything in its place.
Всяк глядит, да не всяк видит. Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.
Всяк кули́к своё боло́то хва́лит. Every cook praises his own broth.
 Literal: Every sandpiper praises his own swamp.
Meaning: People tend to have high opinion about the place the place where they live.
Всяк сверчо́к знай свой шесто́к. Every man to his business.; What Jupiter is allowed to do, cattle are not.
 Literal: Every cricket must know its hearth
Вся́кому о́вощу своё вре́мя. Everything is good in its season.
 Literal: Every vegetable has its time.
Вы́ше головы́ не пры́гнешь. You can not jump above your head.
 Literal: [One] can’t jump over the head.
Meaning: There is a limit to one’s abilities.
– Г –
Где говорят деньги, там молчит совесть.
The money will heal all the hurts of honor.
 Literal: Where money speak, there the conscience is silent.
Где любовь и совет, там и горя нет. There is no sorrow, where love and harmony are present.
 Literal: Where love and advice exists, there is no grief.
Meaning: If everything is resolved with love in a relationship, there will be no arguments and sorrow.
Где плохо лежит, туда вор и глядит. An open door may tempt a saint.
 Literal: A thieve looks in the direction here something lies not properly.
Где то́нко — там и рвётся. The chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
 Literal: It will snap where it’s the thinnest.
Гла́дко бы́ло на бума́ге, да забы́ли про овра́ги. (Л. Толстой) On paper, it was attractive.
 Literal: It was smooth on paper, but we’ve forgotten about ravines.
Глаз видит, да зуб неймёт. Eyes watch but cannot take.
Глаза — зеркало души. Eyes are the mirror of a heart.
Голодный как волк Hungry like a wolf.
Literal: As hungry as a wolf.
Meaning: A person is really hungry, or starving.
Глаза́ боя́тся, а ру́ки де́лают. You never know what you can do till you try.
 Literal: Eyes are afraid, but hands are doing the job.
Meaning: Before we start a big project we are sometimes afraid that we won’t be able to complete it. However, the moment we start working, we realize that we can cope with any difficulties.
Глупый да малый правду говорят. Truth comes out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.
 Literal: A fool and a baby tells the truth.
Говори меньше, умнее будет. A silent fool is counted wise.
 Literal: Speak less, it will be smarter.
Говори, да не проговаривайся. A close mouth catches no flies.
 Literal: Speak, but do not slip.
Говорил бы много, да сосед у порога. Fools and madmen speak the truth.
Говорил горшку котелок: уж больно ты чёрен, дружок. The pot calls the kettle black.
Говорил день до вечера, а слушать нечего. lip-service; hot air; idle words
Говорит направо, а глядит налево. To carry fire in one hand and water in the other.
 Literal: Talks to the right, but looks to the left.
Говорить правду — потерять дружбу. Flattery makes friends and truth makes enemies.
Говоришь по секрету, пойдет по всему свету. Nothing is as burdensome as a secret.
Говорят — кур доят, а коровы яйца несут. Pigs might fly.
 Literal: They say they milk chicken and cows hatch eggs.
Говоря́т, что кур доя́т. Pigs might fly.
 Literal: They say they milk chicken.
Го́лод не тётка, пирожка́ не поднесёт. The hunger is not like an aunt.
 Literal: Hunger is not your aunt, it will not bring you a pie.
Meaning: It’s okay to do something unpleasant or behave in an unusual way compared to how you would behave under normal circumstances.
Голодное брюхо ушей не имеет. Hungry bellies have no ears.
Голо́дный, как волк. Hungry like a wolf.
 Literal: As hungry as a wolf.
Го́лой овцы́ не стригу́т. A beggar can never be bankrupt.
 Literal: One doesn’t shear the naked sheep.
Голь на вы́думку хитра́. Necessity is the mother of invention.
 Literal: Poor people are crafty.
Горба́того моги́ла испра́вит. The leopard cannot change his spots.
 Literal: Only grave will cure the hunchback.
Готовь сани летом, а телегу зимой. While it is fine weather mend your sails.
 Literal: Prepare the sled in summer, and cart in winter.
Гром не гря́нет — мужи́к не перекре́стится. The peasant will not cross himself before it begins to thunder.
 Literal: Unless the thunder strikes, a peasant won’t cross himself.
Гроша не стоит, а глядит рублем. He regarded himself as ton of gold and was only ounce of brass.
Гусь свинье́ не това́рищ. Geese with geese, and women with women.
 Literal: A goose is not a pig’s friend.
– Д –
Дай с ногото́к — попро́сит с локото́к.
Give him an inch and he’ll take a yard.
 Literal: Give him a fingernail worth, he will ask an elbow worth.
Да́льше с глаз — бли́же к се́рдцу. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
 Literal: Further from the eye — closer to the heart.
Дарёному коню́ в зу́бы не смо́трят. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
 Literal: Don’t look at the teeth of a horse you’ve been given.
Meaning: Don’t be ungrateful when receiving a gift from someone.
Даю́т — бери́, а бьют — беги́. Get anything given — run being beaten.
Два медве́дя в одно́й берло́ге не живу́т. This house is too small for two of us.
 Literal: Two bears don’t live in one lair.
Дво́е дер́утся — тре́тий не меша́й. Those who in quarrels interpose, must often wipe a bloody nose.
 Literal: Where two are fighting, a third should not interfere.
Дву́м смертя́м не быва́ть, одно́й не минова́ть. There is no way for two deaths to come to you, but from one you will never run away.
Дела говорят громче слов. Actions speak louder than words.
Делать из мухи слона. To make a mountain out of a molehill.
Literal translation: To make an elephant out of a fly.
Meaning: This phrase is likely based on an old Latin proverb, and idioms about making an elephant out of a fly exist in several languages.
Делать хорошую мину при плохой игре. To put a brave face on a sorry business.
Дели́ть шку́ру неуби́того медве́дя. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.; Don’t put the cart before the horse.
 Literal: Dividing the pelt of a bear not yet killed.
Де́ло ма́стера бои́тся. The craft fears the craftsman.
 Literal: Work is afraid of a master.
Meaning: It’s easy for a specialist to complete a job.
Делу время, потехе час. There’s a time for work and a time for play.
 Literal: Time for business, an hour for fun.
Денежки в кармане — все друзья с нами. He that has a full purse never wanted a friend.
Деньги глаза слепят. Money is the root of all evil.
Деньги жгут карман. To throw one’s money about.
Деревья скоро садят, да не скоро с них плоды едят. One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade.
Держи карман шире! Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew!
 Literal: Hold your pocket open wider!
Дёшево досталось — легко потерялось. Easy come, easy go.
 Literal: When something is obtained cheap, it is easily lost.
Для ми́лого дружка́ и серёжка из ушка́. I will give you the shirt off my back.
 Literal: For dear friend, I’m willing to take an earring out of my own ear.
До Бо́га высоко́, до Царя́ далеко́.  Literal: God is far up high, the Tsar is far away.
До сва́дьбы заживёт. You’ll live.
 Literal: It will heal before your wedding.
Meaning: The proverb is used to comfort someone who is injured. Russians most often use this proverb to comfort kids when they get hurt or injured. As kids are small and it is a long time until their wedding, which means wounds will heal before that time.
До́брое бра́тство — лу́чшее бога́тство.  Literal: Good brotherhood is the best wealth.
Доброе сердце — что золото. A good heart’s worth gold.
До́брое сло́во и ко́шке прия́тно. Soft fire makes sweet malt.
 Literal: Even a cat appreciates kind words.
Доверя́й, но проверя́й. Words are the wise man’s counters and the fool’s money.
 Literal: Trust, but verify.
Долг платежо́м кра́сен. One good turn deserves another.
 Literal: Debt is beautiful only after it is repaid.
Meaning: If someone does you a favor, you should pay it back.
До́лгие про́воды — ли́шние слёзы. Farewell — wasted sadness. One should leave quietly.
 Literal: Long parting ceremonies mean unnecessary tears.
До́ма и сте́ны помога́ют. My house is my castle.
 Literal: When you are at home, even the walls help you.
Домашняя копейка лучше заезжего рубля. One’s own simple bread is much better than someone else’s pilaf.
Доно́счику — пе́рвый кнут.  Literal: The informer gets whipped first.
Дорога́ ло́жка к обе́ду. A stitch in time saves nine.
 Literal: Spoon is valuable by the dinner time.
До́рого яи́чко ко христо́ву дню. A little too late is much too late.
 Literal: An egg is valuable to the Christ day (i.e. Easter)
Друг познаётся в беде́. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
 Literal: You get to really know your friend when trouble comes.
Meaning: This idiom pretty much means that a true friend will reveal themselves when you’re in need of something. They’ll be there for you whereas others, upon signs that you need something, will walk.
Дру́жба дру́жбой, а де́нежкам счёт. A hedge between friends keeps friendship green.
 Literal: Friendship is friendship, but count money.
Дру́жба дру́жбой, а слу́жба слу́жбой. A hedge between friends keeps friendship green.
 Literal: Friendship is friendship and service is service.
Meaning: Even though we are friends, I have to fulfill my job responsibilities.
Дру́жба дру́жбой, а табачо́к врозь. A hedge between friends keeps friendship green.
 Literal: Friendship is friendship, but tobacco apart.
Дружба что стекло: сломаешь — не починишь. Friendship is like glass – once broken, it is never mended.
Друзья познаются в беде́. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
 Literal: You get to really know your friends when trouble comes.
Дурака́ учи́ть — что горбатого лечить. To teach a fool is the same as treating a dead men.
Дурака́м зако́н не пи́сан. There is no law for fools.
 Literal: There is no law written for fools.
Дурако́в не се́ют, не жнут, са́ми родя́тся. There’s a sucker born every minute.
 Literal: Fools are not sown or reaped, they appear by themselves.
Дурна́я голова́ нога́м поко́я не даёт. The Devil finds work for idle hands to do.
 Literal: The stupid head doesn’t leave feet in rest.
– E –
Е́дешь на́ день, хле́ба бери́ на неде́лю.
Always be prepared.
 Literal: If you go for a day trip, take a week’s supply of bread.
Ем, да свой, а ты пода́льше посто́й.  Literal: I eat it, and it’s mine, and you stay away from me.
Ему́ па́лец в рот не клади́ — всю ру́ку отку́сит. Give one an inch, and he will take a mile.
Ерёма, Ерёма, сиде́л бы ты до́ма, точи́л бы свои́ веретёна.  Literal: Yeryoma (Jeremy), Yeryoma, you would better sit at home and cut your spindles.
Е́сли бы да кабы́ да во рту росли́ грибы́. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts; If ifs and ands were pots and pans, then we would need no tinkers.
 Literal: If and when mushrooms grew in the mouth.
Если бы да кабы. If ifs and ands were pots and pans.
Если бы молодость знала, если бы старость могла. Youth is wasted on the young.
 Literal: If only the youth would know, if the old age would be able to.
Есть квас, да не про вас.  Literal: I’ve got kvass, but not for you.
Есть-то есть, да не про ва́шу честь.  Literal: I have it indeed, but it’s not for you.
Ешь вволю, пей в меру. Eat with pleasure, drink with measure.
Ешь пирог с грибами, да язык держи за зубами. The more you know, the less you should talk.
 Literal: Eat a pie with mushrooms and keep your tongue behind your teeth.
Ещё рыба не поймана, а уже принялись уху варить. Never fry a fish till it’s caught.
 Literal: The fish is not caught yet, but you’ve already started to cook ukha (fish soup).
– Ж –
Живы бу́дем — не помрём.
 Literal: If we will be alive we will not die.
Жизнь коротка́, а дел мно́го. Life is short.
 Literal: Life is short, but there’s a lot to be done.
Жизнь прожи́ть — не по́ле перейти́. Life is not a bed of roses.
 Literal: Living through one’s life is not like crossing a field.
– З –
За двумя зайцами погонишься, ни одного не поймаешь
Grasp all, lose all.
За́ морем телу́шка-полу́шка, да рубль перево́з.  Literal: Overseas, a cow costs a quarter of kopeck, but it will cost a ruble to ship it here.
За одного́ би́того двух неби́тых дают. Experience is worth it.
 Literal: A beaten one is worth two unbeaten ones.
За спрос не бьют в нос. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
 Literal: They don’t hit you in the nose for asking.
За чем пойдёшь, то и найдёшь. As you sow, so shall you reap.
 Literal: What you’ll go looking for, that you will find.
За что купи́л, за то и продаю́. I give you this for what it’s worth.
 Literal: I sell it for what I bought it.
За́втрак съешь сам, обе́д раздели́ с дру́гом, у́жин отда́й врагу́. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dine like a pauper.
 Literal: Eat breakfast yourself, share dinner with your friend, give the supper to your enemy.
За́дним умо́м всяк кре́пок. Hindsight is 20/20.
 Literal: Everyone is strong in the hindsight.
Закон суров, но это закон. The law is hard, but it is law.
Зако́н что ды́шло, куда́ повернёшь — туда́ и вы́шло. Every law has a loophole.
 Literal: Law is like a shaft of a cart, it points wherever you turn it to.
Meaning: Any law can be turned around to achieve an opposite result.
Зала́дила соро́ка Я́кова одно́ про вся́кого. You told it through the hat.
 Literal: Yakov’s magpie started chattering the same thing about anyone.
Занято́й, как пчела́. As busy as a bee.
 Literal: As busy as a bee.
Запа́с не ноша, рук не оття́нет. Store is no sore.
Зарека́лася лиса́ кур не ворова́ть. The leopard cannot change his spots.
 Literal: Vixen resolved not to steal chicken.
Заста́вь дурака́ Бо́гу моли́ться — он лоб расшибёт. Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.
 Literal: Make a fool pray to God, he will hurt his forehead.
Здоро́вье ухо́дит пуда́ми, а прихо́дит золотни́ками. Diseases come on horseback, but steal away on foot.
 Literal: Health leaves you in pounds, but comes in zolotniks.
Злые языки страшнее пистолета. Words can kill before arms.
Зна́ет ко́шка, чьё мя́со съе́ла.  Literal: The cat knows whose meat it has eaten.
Знай край, да не падай. You shouldn’t go over the edge.
Знай толк, не бери в долг. Better go to bed supperless than rise in debt.
 Literal: Know sense, do not make debts.
Знай, кошка, своё лукошко. Know your place / limits.
Знал бы где упа́сть — соло́мки б подстели́л. Had I known then what I know now.
 Literal: Would I know where I will fall down, I’d lay some straw.
Знал бы, где упасть, там соломки постлал бы. If you could know where you fall, you would spread some straw.
Знать всё — значит не знать ничего. To know everything is to know nothing.
– И –
И в самых благородных семьях бывают скандалы.
Accidents will happen in the best regulated families.
 Literal: There are scandals even in the most noble families.
И волки сыты, и овцы целы. Have one’s cake and eat it too.
 Literal: The wolves are sated, and the sheep are intact.
Meaning: It is about a decision that should be convenient and beneficial for different parties with usually opposite interests and should suite absolutely everyone who is involved.
И на стару́ху бывает прору́ха. Everyone makes mistakes.; To err is human.
 Literal: Even an old lady makes mistakes.
И у стен бывают уши. The walls have ears.
 Literal: Even walls may have ears.
И хо́чется и ко́лется. The cat would eat fish and would not wet her feet.
 Literal: It is wanted and repellent.
Из двух зол выбира́ют ме́ньшее. Lesser of two evils
 Literal: They choose the lesser of two evils.
Из огня́ да в полымя́. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
 Literal: From fire to flame.
Meaning: Got out of one trouble, only to get into another.
Из пе́сни сло́ва не вы́кинешь.  Literal: You cannot throw a word out of a song.
И́ли грудь в креста́х, и́ли голова́ в куста́х. Neck or nothing.
 Literal: Either chest in crosses (orders), or a head in bushes.
Имя говорит само за себя. The name provides the essence.
Иной раз и дурак молвит слово в лад. A fool must now and then be right by chance.
Искру́ туши́ до пожа́ра, беду́ отводи́ до уда́ра. Prevention is better than cure.
 Literal: Extinguish the spark before the fire, deflect the trouble before the strike.
Исподво́ль и ольху́ согнёшь. Little strokes fell great oaks.; Time conquers all.
 Literal: You can bend an alder tree, if you do it gradually.
Ищи́ ве́тра в по́ле. The wind cannot be caught in a net.
 Literal: Look for wind in a field.
– К –
Казённого козла́ хоть за хвост подержа́ть — мо́жно шу́бу сшить.
 Literal: Just even having once held a state goat’s tail one can make a fur coat.
Как ау́кнется — так и откли́кнется. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.
 Literal: How echo is prompted, so it will bounce back.
Как два́жды два — четы́ре. As sure as eggs are eggs.
 Literal: As twice times two is four.
Как две ка́пли воды́. As alike as two peas in a pod.
 Literal: Like two drops of water.
Meaning: When Russians say this proverb, they usually mean a complete physical resemblance between two people. They  can also speak about the resemblance between things and phenomena.
Как на́жито, так и про́жито. Easy come, easy go.
 Literal: Spent as earned.
Как ты к людям, так и они к тебе. As the call, so the echo.
 Literal: As you treat people so they will treat you.
Како́в поп, тако́в и прихо́д. Like father, like son.
 Literal: Like priest, like church.
Ка́пля в мо́ре. A drop in the ocean.
 Literal: A drop in the sea.
Ка́пля ка́мень то́чит. Little strokes fell great oaks.
 Literal: A water drop cuts through stone.
Ка́шу ма́слом не испо́ртишь. Plenty is no plague.
 Literal: One can’t spoil porridge with butter.
Клин кли́ном вышиба́ют. Fight fire with fire; One nail drives out another.
 Literal: They use a wedge to knock out a wedge.
Когда́ де́ньги говоря́т, тогда́ пра́вда молчи́т. When money talks, truth shuts up.
Когда любовь шепчет, разум замолкает.  Literal: When love whispers, the reason shuts up.
Когда рак на горе свистнет. When pigs begin to fly.
 Literal: When the crawfish whistles on the mountain.
Meaning: It’s never going to happen.
Кого жизнь ласкает, тот и горя не знает. He dances well to whom fortune pipes.
Когото́к увя́з — всей пти́чке пропа́сть.  Literal: If the claw is stuck, the whole bird is lost.
Козла́ бо́йся спе́реди, коня́ — сза́ди, а лихо́го челове́ка — со всех сторо́н. Beware of the cat that licks from the front but claws from behind.
 Literal: Beware of the goat from its front side, of the horse – from its back side, and the evil man – from any side.
Кому́ война́, а кому́ мать родна́.  Literal: For some people war is war, for others — dear mother.
Кому́ на ме́сте не сиди́тся, тот добра́ не наживёт. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
 Literal: Those who are discontent to remain in one place will not earn much.
Коне́й на перепра́ве не меня́ют. Don’t change horses in midstream.
 Literal: One doesn’t change horses at river crossing.
Meaning: Don’t change major things in the middle of a job.
Конец — делу венец. The end crowns the work.
Конь о четырёх нога́х, да и тот спотыка́ется. It is a good horse that never stumbles.
 Literal: A horse has four legs, but still stumbles.
Копе́йка рубль бережёт. Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.
 Literal: A kopeck saves a ruble.
Краси́во жить не запрети́шь.  Literal: You can’t forbid living beautifully.
Meaning: it is used ironically about a poor person who spends money unreasonably, trying to show off and live beyond their means.
Красна изба не углами, а пирогами. A fine cage does not fill a bird’s belly.
 Literal: The hut is beautiful because of its pies, not corners.
Краткость — сестра таланта. Brevity is the soul of wit.
Кто в мо́ре не быва́л, тот Бо́гу не ма́ливался. Calm in the midst of storms.
 Literal: Who wasn’t out in the sea, didn’t pray to God.
Кто в чин вошёл лисо́й, тот в чи́не бу́дет во́лком.  Literal: He who gains the rank like a fox, will be a wolf in the rank.
Кто ленив сохой, тому весь год плохой. They must hunger in winter that will not work in summer.
Кто людей веселит, за того весь свет стоит. People never can resist those who make them laugh.
Кто над чайником стоит, у того он не кипит. A watched pot never boils.
Кто не работает, тот не ест. He who does not work, neither should he eat.
 Literal: Who doesn’t work, that one doesn’t eat.
Кто не умеет молчать, тот не умеет и говорить. Не cannot speak well that cannot hold his tongue.
Кто пьёт до дна, тот живёт без ума́. Vodka and good sense never get along.
 Literal: Who drinks till bottom, lives without mind.
Кто ра́но встаёт, тому́ Бог подаёт. It is the early bird that catches the worm.
 Literal: God gives to those who wake up early.
Meaning: Encouraging workers to rise early so that they can secure a better life for themselves and their country.
Кто себя очень любит, того другие не любят. Self-praise is no praise.
Кто смел, тот два съeл. He who is tricky will get double the prize.
 Literal: Who is brave eats two.
Кто ста́рое помя́нет, тому́ глаз вон. Let sleeping dogs lie.
 Literal: Who reminds old events, insults, will be deprived of his eye.
Куда́ конь с копы́том, туда и рак с клешнёй. There is no fool like an old fool.
 Literal: Where goes a horse with its hoof, there goes a crayfish with its pincer.
Куда́ ни кинь, всю́ду клин. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
 Literal: Whichever way you turn, the wedge is everywhere.
Куй желе́зо, пока горячо́. Strike while the iron is hot; Make hay while the sun shines.
 Literal: Strike while the iron is hot.
Meaning: Use the opportunity while it’s possible, or lose it.
Ку́рам на́ смех. It is enough to make a cat laugh.
 Literal: It makes chicken laugh.
Ку́рица не пти́ца, ба́ба не челове́к.  Literal: As chicken is not a bird, woman is not a human being.
Ку́рочка по зёрнышку клюёт, да сыта́ быва́ет. A hen picks a seed at a time, but gets filled up.
– Л –
Ла́сковый телёнок двух ма́ток сосёт.
An affectionate calf sucks two mothers.
 Literal: An affectionate calf sucks from two mothers.
Meaning: Being nice helps you get benefits from different people.
Лбом сте́нку не расшибёшь.  Literal: You cannot break a wall with your forehead.
Лежа́чего не бьют. Don’t strike a man when he is down.
 Literal: One shouldn’t beat the one who fell.
Лес ру́бят — ще́пки летя́т. You can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg.
 Literal: When wood is chopped, woodchips will fly.
Лиха́ беда́ нача́ло. The first step is the hardest.
 Literal: The most difficult – to begin, then it will be easy.
Лицом красавица, а нравом только чёрту нравится. A woman has the form of an angel, the heart of a serpent, and the mind of an ass.
 Literal: She has a face of a beauty, but only hell likes her temper.
Ло́жка дёгтя по́ртит бо́чку мёда. A fly in the ointment; The rotten apple spoils the barrel.
 Literal: A spoonful of tar spoils a barrel of honey.
Лучше добрые соседи, чем далёкая родня. Better a good neighbor than a bad relative.
Лу́чше ме́ньше, да лу́чше. Too much of the thing is good for nothing.
 Literal: It’s better less but better.
Лу́чше оди́н раз уви́деть, чем сто раз услы́шать. A picture is worth a thousand words.
 Literal: It’s better to see once than to hear hundred times.
Meaning: People tell different stories about the one event, therefore, in order to create the correct understanding of something, it is better to see it once than to hear one hundred opinions about it from other people.
Лу́чше по́здно, чем никогда́. It’s better to start something late than never at all.
 Literal: Better late than never.
Meaning: This saying motivates us to accomplish a goal, even if we do it later than we originally planned.
Лу́чше сини́ца в рука́х, чем жура́вль в не́бе. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
 Literal: A tomtit in your hand is better than a crane in the sky.
Meaning: It is better to have some small victory right now and in reality, than to fantasize about something unattainable and unreachable in the future.
Лучше споткнуться, чем упасть. A stumble may prevent a fall.
 Literal: It’s better to stumble than to fall.
Лу́чшее — враг хоро́шего. The best is often times the enemy of the good.
 Literal: Best is the enemy of good.
Лю́бишь ката́ться, люби́ и са́ночки вози́ть. He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree.; No pain, no gain.
 Literal: If you enjoy riding, you better enjoy pulling the sleigh.
Meaning: It’s so much fun going down the hill on a sledge, but it can be very hard to drag the sledge back to the top of the hill. This Russian proverb is saying that you need to be prepared to pay for things you enjoy.
Любо́вь зла́, полю́бишь и козла́. Love is blind.
 Literal: Love’s evil, you’ll love even a goat.
Meaning: Often we are blinded by love. You might fall in love with someone who is completely wrong for you or who doesn’t deserve your love, and end up suffering.
Любопы́тной Варва́ре на база́ре нос оторва́ли. Curiosity killed the cat.
 Literal: Nosy Barbara’s nose was torn off at the market.
– М –
Мал клоп, да воню́ч.  Literal: Bedbug might be small, but definitely is stinky.
Мастер на все руки. Jack of all trades.
Ме́жду двух огне́й. Between a rock and a hard place; Between the devil and the deep blue sea (two places).
 Literal: Between two fires.
Ме́жду мо́лотом и накова́льней. Between rock and hard place; Between devil and deep blue sea.
 Literal: Between hammer and anvil.
Мели́, Еме́ля — твоя́ неде́ля. To talk a blue streak.
 Literal: Feel free to jabber, Emelya — it’s your week.
Ме́ньше зна́ешь — кре́пче спишь. Ignorance is bliss; What you don’t know, cannot hurt you.
 Literal: The less you know, the more soundly you sleep.
Мир да лад — большой клад.  Literal: Peace and harmony is great treasure
Мно́го бу́дешь знать, ско́ро соста́ришься. Too much knowledge makes the head bald.; Curiosity killed the cat.
 Literal: If you learn a lot, you’ll age soon.
Мно́го шу́ма из ничего́. Much ado about nothing.
 Literal: Much noise from nothing.
Моё де́ло — прокукаре́кать, а да́льше — хоть не рассвета́й.  Literal: My job is to scream, ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’; from then on, it may not dawn.
Молоде́ц про́тив ове́ц, а про́тив молодца́ — и сам овца́. Brave before a lamb, but a lamb before the brave.
 Literal: He is brave when fighting against sheep, and when fighting against a brave man he’s a sheep himself.
Москва́ не сра́зу стро́илась. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
 Literal: Moscow wasn’t built at once.
Моя́ ха́та с кра́ю — ничего́ не зна́ю. That is nothing to do with me.
 Literal: My house is at the end of the street; so I have no idea what’s going on.
Meaning: Someone who completely denies his/her relation to the world and does not care about what happens around.
Муж да жена́ — одна́ сатана́. Devil’s wife is also a witch.
 Literal: Husband and wife are the same Satan.
Meaning: Don’t get between a husband and his wife, as they are one entity
Мя́гко сте́лет, да жёстко спать. Iron fist in a velvet glove; Velvet paws hide sharp claws.
 Literal: He makes the bed soft, yet it’s hard to sleep on.
– H –
На безры́бье и рак — ры́ба.
Something is better than nothing.
 Literal: On a fishing lull, even a crayfish is fish.
На Бо́га наде́йся, а сам не плоша́й. Trust in God, but lock your car.
 Literal: Hope for God, but do not be reliant.
На Бо́га поло́жишься — не обло́жишься.  Literal: If you rely on God, you won’t fail.
На брю́хе шёлк, а в брю́хе щёлк. All hat and no cattle.
 Literal: On the belly there is silk, and in the belly – just a click.
На весь свет не угодишь. If you try to please all you will please none.
На вкус и цвет това́рищей нет. There’s no accounting for taste.
 Literal: There are no friends in tastes and colors.
Meaning: To express the fact that each individual chooses his or her own friends or romantic partners.
На во́ре ша́пка гори́т. A guilty mind betrays itself.
 Literal: A thief’s hat is burning.
На всех не угоди́шь He who pleased everybody died before he was born.
 Literal: You cannot please everybody.
На вся́кого мудреца́ дово́льно простоты́. Homer sometimes nods.
 Literal: For each wise man there are plenty of fools.
На зе́ркало не́ча пеня́ть, ко́ли ро́жа крива́.  Literal: If your face looks skewed, don’t blame the mirror.
На ловца́ и зверь бежи́т. Speak of the devil, and he appears.
 Literal: Prey runs into a trapper.
На миру́ и смерть красна́. Together with your people even the death is respectable.
На то и щу́ка в мо́ре, что́бы кара́сь не дрема́л.  Literal: The pike in the sea is there to make the crucian to stay alert.
На халя́ву и у́ксус сла́док. Vinegar that is free, is sweeter than honey.
 Literal: Even vinegar is sweet when for freebie.
На что и шапка, коли головы нет. Не that has nо head needs no hat.
На чужо́й карава́й рот не разева́й. Don’t keep your mouth open.
 Literal: Don’t open your mouth to eat other people’s bread.
На чужо́й рото́к не наки́нешь плато́к. It is impossible to throw a shawl over someone’s mouth.
 Literal: you can’t throw a handkerchief over somebody’s mouth.
На чужо́й сторо́нушке рад свое́й воро́нушке. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.
 Literal: In the foreign country you are glad to see even the crow from your land.
На чужо́м го́ре сча́стья не постро́ишь.  Literal: One can’t build one’s happiness on others’ grief.
На языке́ мёд, а на се́рдце — лёд. A honey tongue, a heart of gall.
 Literal: On the tongue there’s honey, and on the heart there’s ice.
Назва́лся гру́здем — полеза́й в ку́зов. If you undertook something, do it; If you pledge, don’t hedge.
 Literal: If you called yourself a milk-mushroom — get into the basket!
Назло мужу сяду в лужу. To bite off one’s nose to spite somebody’s face.
Нашла́ коса́ на ка́мень. Diamond cut diamond.; You have met your match.
 Literal: The scythe has hit a stone.
Meaning: The force came over a stronger force.
Не бо́ги горшки́ обжига́ют. It is not the gods who burn our pots.
 Literal: It’s not gods who make pots.
Не бо́йся соба́ки, что ла́ет, а бо́йся той, что молчи́т и хвосто́м виля́ет. It’s the quiet ones you gotta watch.
 Literal: Don’t be afraid of the dog who barks, but be afraid of the one who is silent and wags its tail.
Не буди́ ли́ха, пока́ спит ти́хо. Don’t trouble till trouble troubles you; Let sleeping dogs lie.
 Literal: Don’t wake up trouble while it sleeps quietly.
Не́ было бы сча́стья, да несча́стье помогло́. A blessing in disguise.
 Literal: I would have had no luck, if not for misfortune.
Не́ было у ба́бы хлопо́т, так купи́ла порося́. You’ve asked for trouble.
 Literal: The woman had no trouble, so she bought a piglet.
Не в свои сани не садись. Do not try to sit in the sledge not belonging to you.
Не в силе правда, в правде сила. Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.
 Literal: Truth is not in power, rather power is in truth.
Не всё коту́ ма́сленица, бу́дет и вели́кий пост. Life’s not all beer and skittles; Life’s not all wine and roses; I never promised you a bed of roses
 Literal: Not every day is a Shrovetide, in time it will be a Lent.
Не всё то зо́лото, что блести́т. All that glitters is not gold.
 Literal: Not every glittering thing is gold.
Meaning: Something (or someone) that does not have great merits, despite the beautiful, bright appearance.
Не говори́ гоп, пока́ не перепры́гнешь. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
 Literal: Don’t exclaim “Up” having not yet made a jump.
Не гони́ коня́ кнуто́м, а гони́ коня́ рублём. Money makes the mare go.
 Literal: Don’t drive the horse with a whip, but drive the horse with a ruble.
Не да́вши сло́ва — крепи́сь, а да́вши — держи́сь. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.
 Literal: Not having given a word try to prevent to promise, but having had given a word be strong.
Не за то во́лка бьют, что сер, а за то, что овцу́ съел. Love the sinner, but hate the sin.
 Literal: The wolf is beaten not for being grey, but for having eaten a sheep.
Не зна́я бро́ду, не су́йся в во́ду. Wait for the cat to jump.
 Literal: Don’t wade into a river without knowing a ford.
Не име́й дру́га пота́тчика, а име́й дру́га попере́чника.  Literal: Don’t have a friend who always agrees with you, but have a friend who argues with you.
Не име́й сто рубле́й, а име́й сто друзе́й. A faithful friend is better than gold.
 Literal: Do not have hundred rubles, rather have hundred friends.
Meaning: Friendship is more precious and valuable than any wealth, because friends can help you out in trouble and will support you no matter how much money you have.
Не клади́ все я́йца в одну́ корзи́ну. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
 Literal: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Не ме́сто кра́сит челове́ка, а челове́к — ме́сто. It isn’t the place that graces the man, but man the place.
 Literal: It isn’t the place that graces the man, but man the place.
Не мечи́те би́сер пе́ред сви́ньями. Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
 Literal: Don’t cast beads in front of pigs.
Не мытьём, так ка́таньем. By hook or by crook.
 Literal: If not by washing, then by rolling.
Не надобен и клад, коли в семье лад. A family that lives in love and accord does not need any treasures.
 Literal: Treasure is not required when there is harmony in the family.
Не ошиба́ется тот, кто ничего́ не де́лает. He who makes no mistakes makes nothing.
 Literal: Only he who does nothing makes no mistakes.
Не плюй в коло́дец — пригоди́тся воды напи́ться. Never cast dirt into that fountain of which you have sometime drunk.; Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
 Literal: Do not spit into a well–it may be useful to drink water.
Не по словам судят, а по делам. Actions speak louder than words.
 Literal: They judge not by words, but by deeds.
Не по́йман — не во́р. Innocent till proven guilty.
 Literal: Unless caught stealing, one is not a thief.
Не рой друго́му я́му, сам в неё попадёшь. Curses like chickens come home to roost.
 Literal: Don’t dig a pit for somebody to fall into, or you will end up in it yourself.
Не руби́ сук, на кото́ром сиди́шь. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
 Literal: Don’t hack the branch you are sitting on.
Не сади дерева корнем кверху. Do not plant a tree with its root upward.
Не спра́шивай ста́рого, спра́шивай быва́лого. Ask not the old, but the old-timer.
 Literal: Don’t ask the old one, ask the experienced one.
Не суди́те и да не суди́мы бу́дете. Judge not, lest ye be judged.
 Literal: Don’t judge and you won’t be judged.
Не так стра́шен чёрт, как его́ малю́ют. The devil is not so terrible as he is painted.
 Literal: The devil is not as scary as they paint (draw) him.
Не учи́ учёного. Don’t teach fish to swim.
 Literal: Do not teach a learned person.
Незва́ный гость ху́же тата́рина. Uninvited guest is worse than a Tatar.
 Literal: An unsolicited guest is worse than a Tatar.
Meaning: Your coming over unannounced is worse than a deadly, blood-soaked invasion.
Нем, как ры́ба. Silent as a grave.
 Literal: Mute as a fish.
Нет ды́ма без огня́. There is no smoke without fire.
 Literal: There is no smoke without fire.
Нет ничего невозможного. Nothing is impossible.
Нет плохи́х судо́в, нет плохи́х ветро́в, есть плохи́е капита́ны.  Literal: There are no bad ships or winds, there are bad captains.
Нет ху́да без добра́. Every cloud has a silver lining.
 Literal: There’s no bad without the good.
Meaning: If something bad happened, look for a silver lining.
Ни бэ, ни мэ, ни кукаре́ку.  Literal: Neither ‘baaah’, nor ‘maaah’, nor even ‘cock-a-doodle-do’.
Ни к селу́, ни к го́роду. Neither here nor there
 Literal: Not for village, not for town.
Meaning: That does not fit together, does not blend, combine, or something said or done for no apparent reason, without connection, or consistency.
Ни пу́ха, ни пера́.– К чёрту! Good luck!
 Literal: Neither fluff, nor feather. – (Go) to devil!
Meaning: People say it when they wish luck to a person. The person should reply: “К черту!”.
Ни ры́ба, ни мя́со. Neither fish nor flesh.
 Literal: Neither fish nor meat.
Meaning: One is incapable of active independent actions or about anything inexpressive and mediocre.
Ни складу ни ладу. Neither rhyme nor reason; You told it through your hat; You lied through your teeth.
 Literal: Neither rhyme nor harmony.
Ничего святого. Nothing is sacred for you.
Ничто не вечно под луной. Morning sun never lasts a day.
Ничто не ново под луной. There is nothing new under the sun.
Но́вая метла по-но́вому метёт. A new broom sweeps clean.; In with the new and out with the old.
 Literal: A new broom sweeps in a new way.
Новые хозяева — новые законы. New lords, new laws.
– O –
О вку́сах не спо́рят.
To each his own.
 Literal: Tastes are not argued.
Meaning: One should not impose one’s preferences and attachments on another person.
Обе́щанного три го́да ждут. Jam tomorrow.
 Literal: They wait three years for what was promised.
Обже́гшись на молоке́, ду́ют на́ воду. Once bitten, twice shy.
 Literal: The one who got burned by hot milk, blows on water.
Овчи́нка вы́делки не сто́ит. The game isn’t worth the candle.
 Literal: The lambskin is not worth the currying.
Оди́н в по́ле не во́ин. One can not conquer alone.
 Literal: Single man in a field is not a warrior.
Один раз соврёшь — другой не поверят. Once lain, who will believe you?
Оди́н с со́шкой — се́меро с ло́жкой. With the cultivator he is alone, but those who eat are many.
 Literal: For every one with a plow — there’re seven with a spoon.
Оди́н сын — не сын, два сы́на — по́лсына, три сы́на — сын.  Literal: One son is not a son, two sons are half a son, three sons are a son.
Одна́ голова́ — хорошо́, а две — луч́ше. Two heads are better than one.
 Literal: One head is good; two heads are better.
Одна женщина — баба, две бабы — базар, а три — ярмарка. Three women and a goose make a marketplace.
Одна ласточка весны не делает. One swallow does not make a spring.
Он за словом в карман не лезет. He’s not at a loss for a word.
Оре́шек не по зуба́м. A hard nut to crack
 Literal: The teeth are not match for the nut.
От во́лка бежа́л, да на медве́дя попа́л. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
 Literal: I ran from the wolf but ran into a bear.
От добра́ добра́ не и́щут. Leave well enough alone; Enough is as good as a feast.
 Literal: Do not look for further good from good.
От любопы́тства ко́шка сдо́хла. Curiosity killed the cat.
 Literal: Cat died of curiosity.
От ма́ленькой и́скры большо́й пожа́р быва́ет. Little spark lights great fires.
 Literal: A little spark may cause a big fire.
От сумы́ и от тюрьмы́ не зарека́йся. Never say ‘never’.
 Literal: Don’t swear off of beggary and jail.
От трудо́в пра́ведных не наживёшь пала́т ка́менных. Honour and profit lie not in one sack.
 Literal: Honest work won’t let you live on the stone palace.
Отолью́тся ко́шке мы́шкины слёзки What goes around, comes around.
 Literal: Cat will eventually get a downpour of mice’ tears
Охо́та пу́ще нево́ли. Desire is stronger than compulsion.
 Literal: Desire is worse then compulsion.
– П –
Пан или пропа́л.
It’s win all, or lose all.
 Literal: To become a master or a deadman.
Meaning: You achieve all that is desired or lose everything.
Парши́вая овца́ всё ста́до по́ртит. The rotten apple spoils the barrel.
 Literal: The scabby sheep spoils the whole flock.
Пе́рвая ла́сточка весны́ не де́лает. One swallow does not make a summer.
 Literal: The first swallow doesn’t make the spring to come.
Пе́рвый блин всегда́ ко́мом. Things don’t work the first time
 Literal: The first pancake is always a blob.
Meaning: When you do something for the first time, it’s usually imperfect..
Переходи речку в самом мелком месте. Cross the stream where it is shallowest.
Перо́ соко́лье, а нутро́ воро́нье.  Literal: The feather of falcon and the inside of a crow.
Пе́сня та же, поёт она́ же. He/she is like a broken record
 Literal: The song is the same, and she again is the one who sings.
Пле́тью о́буха не перешибёшь. It is impossible to break the butt end with a lash.
 Literal: One can’t break an axe with a whip.
Пло́х тот солда́т, кото́рый не мечта́ет стать генера́лом.  Literal: A soldier who doesn’t want to become a general is a bad one.
Плоха́я молва́ на кры́льях лети́т. Bad news has wings.
 Literal: A bad rumour flies on wings.
Плохо́му нача́лу — плохо́й коне́ц. A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
 Literal: A bad ending for a bad beginning.
Плохо́му танцо́ру я́йца меша́ют. A poor workman blames his tools.
 Literal: Poor dancer is impeded by his own balls.
По одёжке встреча́ют, а провожа́ют по уму́. Beauty may open the door, but only virtue enters.
 Literal: One meets people by their clothes, and says farewell by their mind.
По секрету всему свету. Every barber knows that. (badly-kept secret)
По Се́ньке и ша́пка.  Literal: By Sen’ka (Russian name, short of Vsevolod) also the hat.
Пова́дился кувши́н по́ воду ходи́ть, тут ему́ и го́лову сломи́ть. The pitcher goes often to the well but is broken at last.
Пови́нную го́лову и меч не сечёт. A fault confessed is half redressed.
 Literal: Even the sword doesn’t cut the head of the one who confesses.
Повторе́ние — мать уче́нья. Repeating is the mother of learning.
 Literal: Repetition is a mother of learning.
Пого́нишься за двумя́ за́йцами, ни одного́ не пойма́ешь. If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.; Grasp all, lose all.
 Literal: If you start chasing two hares, you will catch none.
Под лежачий камень вода не течёт. Help yourself and others will help you.
Literal: No water flows under a lying stone.
Meaning: Nothing will happen in your life unless you try something.
Пожале́л волк кобы́лу, оста́вил хвост да гри́ву.  Literal: The wolf spared the mare, left a tail and mane.
Поживём — увидим. Time will show. (We shall see what we shall see.)
Literal: We will live – we will see.
Попа́л, как кур в о́щип. Caught red-handed.
 Literal: Caught like a rooster for pluming.
Поперёд ба́тьки в пе́кло не лезь. Don’t try to jump the gun.
 Literal: Don’t try to get into hell ahead of your father.
Посади́ свинью́ за стол — она́ и но́ги на сто́л Give one an inch, and he will take a mile.
 Literal: Seat the pig at the table — she’ll put her legs on the table.
По́сле дра́ки кулака́ми не ма́шут. What’s done is done; Don’t lock the stable door after the horse has bolted.
 Literal: They don’t swing fists when the fight is over.
Meaning: When someone tries to change what has been done when it’s already too late.
Поспеши́шь — люде́й насмеши́шь. Hasty climbers have sudden falls; The more haste, the less speed.; Haste makes waste
 Literal: If you rush things, you’ll just make others laugh.
Пошёл за ше́рстью, а верну́лся стри́женым. If planning revenge, dig two graves
 Literal: Went to get wool, but returned sheared.
Правда в огне не горит и в воде не тонет. Truth never perishes.
Правда глаза колет. Home truths are hard to swallow.; Truth hurts.
 Literal: Truth pricks eyes.
Meaning: Honest opinions are unpleasant.
Правда своё возьмет. Truth will prevail.
Правду говорить — друга не нажить. Flattery makes friends and truth makes enemies.
При царе́ Горо́хе. Since Adam was a boy.
 Literal: In the times of czar Gorokh (czar from fairy tales).
Привы́чка — втора́я нату́ра. Custom is a second nature.
 Literal: Habit is a second nature.
Пришла́ беда́, отворя́й ворота́. Misfortunes never come alone.; When it rains it pours.
 Literal: Trouble is here, so open the gates.
Про се́рого речь, а се́рый — навстре́чь. Speak of the devil, and he appears.
 Literal: Speak of the gray one (i.e. wolf), the gray one heads your way.
Простота́ ху́же воровства́.  Literal: Simplicity is worse than thievery.
Пу́ганая воро́на куста́ бои́тся. Once bitten, twice shy
 Literal: A spooked crow is afraid of a bush.
Пу́ганая воро́на со́бственной те́ни бои́тся. Once bitten, twice shy
 Literal: A spooked crow is afraid of it’s own shadow.
Пуста́я бо́чка пуще гремит. An empty can make the most noise.
 Literal: An empty barrel rattles louder.
Пусть каждый делает то, что умеет. Let everybody do what they do best.
Пья́ному мо́ре по коле́но. A sea level can reach only the knee of a drunken man.
 Literal: For a drunken one, a sea is knee-deep.
Meaning: Drunk people don’t see dangers.
Пья́ный проспи́тся, дура́к — никогда́.  Literal: The drunken will sleep it over, the fool — never.
– Р –
Рабо́та не волк, в лес не убежи́т. No need to hurry working, the job is not going anywhere.
Literal: The work is not like wolf – it would not run in the forest.
Meaning: That work of yours won’t disappear, and ain’t no one else gonna do it for you. Can’t stop procrastinating?
Раз на раз не прихо́дится. You can’t expect perfection every time.
 Literal: Each time it is different.
Meaning: No one is always lucky in everything they do.
Раз солга́л — наве́к лгуно́м стал. Once a liar, always a liar.
 Literal: Once you’ve told a lie, you become a liar forever.
Ранняя пташка червяка ловит. It is the early bird that catches the worm.
Рождество раз в год бывает. Christmas comes but once a year.
Рука́ ру́ку мо́ет, вор во́ра кр́оет. You roll my log and I’ll roll yours.
 Literal: Hands wash each other, a thief covers another thief.
Рука́ ру́ку мо́ет. You roll my log and I’ll roll yours.
 Literal: Hands wash each other.
Ры́ба гниёт с головы́. Fish begins to stink at the head.
 Literal: Fish rots from the head.
Ры́ба и́щет, где глу́бже, а челове́к где лу́чше. He makes his home where the living is best.
 Literal: Fish seek for a deep place, men seek for a better place.
Рыба́к рыбака́ ви́дит издалека́. Birds of a feather flock together.
 Literal: A fisherman can tell another fisherman from afar.
– С –
С волка́ми жить, по-во́лчьи выть.
Live with wolves, and you learn to howl.
 Literal: To live with wolves, you have to howl like a wolf.
С высокого места больно падать. The higher you are, the farther you fall.
С глаз доло́й — из се́рдца вон. Out of sight, out of mind.
 Literal: Out of sight, out of heart.
С дураком шутить опасно. Never bray at an ass.
С кем поведёшься, от того́ и наберёшься. Those who sleep with dogs will rise with fleas; You are what your friends are.
 Literal: From anyone you are in contact you will ever accept something.
С милым рай и в шалаше. Love in a cottage.
 Literal: With a beloved [person], it’s paradise in a hut.
С ми́ру по ни́тке — го́лому руба́ха. Little and often fill the purse.
 Literal: Thread of the world — shirt for naked.
Meaning: If you take just a little bit from everyone, then, all together, you will create something significant.
С парши́вой овцы́ — хоть ше́рсти клок. It is good to gain even a flock of wool from the black sheep.
 Literal: From a scabby sheep, it’s better to get at least a flock of wool than nothing at all.
Meaning: Get at least something, even if you get a lousy opportunity.
С си́льным не бори́сь, с бога́тым не суди́сь.  Literal: Don’t fight with the strong one, don’t sue the rich one.
Сам навари́л, сам и ку́шай. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
 Literal: You cooked it, so eat it yourself.
Сам погиба́й, а това́рища выруча́й.  Literal: You might die yourself, but you must save the friend.
Свинья́ везде́ грязь найдёт.  Literal: A pig will find mud anywhere.
Сводить концы с концами. To make ends meet.
Свое́й те́ни не обго́нишь.  Literal: You can’t move faster than your shadow.
Свой дом — лучшее место. There is no place like home.
Своя́ но́ша не тя́нет. A burden of one’s own choice is not felt
 Literal: One’s own burden doesn’t encumber.
Своя́ руба́шка бли́же к те́лу. Charity begins at home.
 Literal: One’s own shirt is closer to the body.
Meaning: One’s own interests are the most important.
Свя́то ме́сто пу́сто не быва́ет. Nature abhors a vacuum; The throne is never vacant
 Literal: Holy place is never empty.
Сде́лал де́ло, гуля́й сме́ло. Business before pleasure; Work hard, play hard.
 Literal: When you have done the job, you may take a walk boldly.
Meaning: Once you have completed the assigned task, you can relax and do whatever you want.
Седина́ в бо́роду, бес в ребро́. Young saints make old sinners.
 Literal: Grey hair into beard, devil into rib.
Meaning: A guy getting to the age of grey hair often becomes mischievous.
Се́меро одного́ не ждут. For one that is missing there’s no spoiling a wedding.
 Literal: Seven people don’t wait for one.
Meaning: A group of people should not be held up because one person is late.
Семь бед — оди́н отве́т. As well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.
 Literal: Seven troubles — one response.
Семь вёрст до небе́с, да всё ле́сом. To talk a lot of hot air.
 Literal: Seven versts to heaven, and all the way through the forest.
Семь раз отме́рь, оди́н отре́жь. Score twice before you cut once.
 Literal: Measure seven times, cut once.
Meaning: Be careful before you do something that cannot be changed.
Семь топоро́в вме́сте лежа́т, а две пря́лки врозь.  Literal: Seven axes lie together, and two distaves — apart
Се́рдце с пе́рцем, душа́ с чесноко́м.  Literal: Heart with pepper, soul with garlic.
Сила есть, ума не надо. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Literal: If you have physical power, you do not need intelligence.
Meaning: This proverb is said ironically and with disapproval about those who use physical strength or violence to solve any problem.
Сила солому ломит. Might goes before right.
Силой милому не быть. You cannot force people to like you.
Ско́лько верёвочке не ви́ться — коне́ц бу́дет. The pitcher goes often to the well, but is broken at last; It will catch up with you in the end.
 Literal: However much would the string wind, the end will be reached anyway
Ско́лько во́лка ни корми́, он всё в лес смо́трит. He that will steal a pin will steal a pound.
 Literal: The wolf being fed enough nevertheless looks in the forest.
Сколько стран, столько и обычаев. So many countries, so many customs.
Ско́ро ска́зка ска́зывается, да не ско́ро де́ло де́лается. Easier said than done.
 Literal: The tale is told quickly, but the job is done slowly.
Скрипучее дерево два века стоит. A creaking door hangs long on its hinges.
 Literal: Creaky wood stands during two centuries.
Ску́пой пла́тит два́жды. If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly., Cheap and nasty, expensive and tasty.
 Literal: The stingy one pays twice.
Скучен день до вечера, коли делать нечего. Day-by-day a day goes by.
 Literal: The day is boring until the evening if there’s nothing to do.
Сла́вны бу́бны за гора́ми.  Literal: The tambourines are good when they are behind mountains.
Сло́во — не воробе́й: вы́летит — не пойма́ешь. A word spoken is past recalling.
 Literal: A word is not a sparrow, once it flies out, you won’t catch it.
Meaning: Be careful of what you say as it’s not possible to get it back.
Сло́во — се́ребро, молча́ние — зо́лото. Talk is cheap, silence is golden.
 Literal: Word is silver, silence is gold.
Слу́хом земля́ по́лнится. News spreads like wildfire; News flies fast.
 Literal: The rumour fills the Earth.
Слы́шал звон, да не зна́ешь, где он. You told it through your hat.
 Literal: you heard the ring, but don’t know where. You don’t know where you will find or lose.
Сме́лость города́ берёт. Courage overcomes all obstacles.
 Literal: Bravery takes cities.
Смерть не спросит, придёт да скосит. When the death comes no tricks can help you.
Сначала думай, потом говори. First think, then speak.
Сня́вши го́лову, по волоса́м не пла́чут. What’s done is done.
 Literal: After taking off the head one doesn’t(shouldn’t) bewail the hair.
Собака лает, но не кусает. Barking dogs seldom bite.
Собака на сене лежит, сама не ест и другим не дает. A dog in the manger.
 Literal: A dog on the hay: will neither eat it himself, nor let others eat it.
Соловья́ ба́снями не ко́рмят. Fine words butter no parsnips.
 Literal: The nightingale can’t be fed by fables.
Соро́ка на хвосте́ принесла́. A little bird told me.
 Literal: A magpie brought it on its tail.
Спрашивай не старого, а бывалого. Ask not the old, but the old-timer.
Ста́рость – не ра́дость. An old ape has an old eye; Old age, boy, is no joy.
 Literal: Old age is no fun.
Meaning: The proverb means that the older you get the less enthusiastic and cheerful about life you become, as with age people start falling ill more and more often.
Ста́рый друг – лу́чше но́вых двух. Everything is good when new, but friends when old.
 Literal: An old friend is better than two new ones.
Ста́рый конь борозды́ не испо́ртит. An old ox makes a straight furrow.
 Literal: The old horse won’t spoil the furrow.
Страшно дело до зачина. You never know what you can do till you try.
Стре́ляного воробья́ на мяки́не не проведёшь. Old birds are not caught with chaff.
 Literal: One can’t cheat sparrow, who had been shot at once, with chaff.
Счёт дружбе не помеха. Even reckoning makes long friends.
Сы́тый голо́дного не разуме́ет: одному́ суп жи́дкий, друго́му — же́мчуг ме́лкий. He thinks that all warm is so.
 Literal: The sat one doesn’t understand the hungry one: for one the soup is too thin, for the other — the pearls are too small.
Сы́тый голо́дному не това́рищ. It’s no use preaching to a hungry man.
 Literal: The sat one is not a friend of the hungry one.
– Т –
Та же пе́сня, да на но́вый лад.
Same meat, different gravy.
 Literal: The same song, but with a new melody.
Там хорошо́, где нас нет. On the other side grass is greener.
 Literal: It is good, there where we are not.
Meaning: It may seem nicer elsewhere but in reality it may be not any better.
Тамбо́вский волк тебе́ това́рищ.  Literal: Wolf from Tambov is your buddy.
Терпе́ние и труд всё перетру́т. Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.
 Literal: Patience and work will fray through anything.
Терпи́, каза́к, атама́ном бу́дешь.  Literal: Put up wit it, cossack, and you’ll be an ataman.
Ти́ше е́дешь — да́льше бу́дешь. Slow and steady wins the race.
 Literal: Ride slower — you’ll get further.
Meaning: Don’t hurry up, you will reach further distances by going slower. Not to rush and to have patience. You have to be sensible and thorough, and then you will achieve more than when you are in a hurry.
То гу́сто, то пу́сто. Stuff today and starve tomorrow.
 Literal: Sometimes it’s dense, sometimes it’s empty.
То ли до́ждик, то ли снег, то ли бу́дет, то ли нет. Maybe rain or maybe snow, maybe yes or maybe no.
 Literal: It will either rain or snow; it either will or will not.
Только добро погибает юным. Only the good die young.
То́лько ку́рочка от себя́ гребёт.  Literal: Only a chicken rakes stuff away from itself.
Только смелые достойны красавиц. None but the brave deserve the fair.
Только через мой труп. Over my dead body.
Тону́л — топо́р сули́л, а вы́тащили — и топори́ща не дал. He that promised too much means nothing.
 Literal: While he had been sinking, he promised an axe, but when pulled ashore, didn’t give even an axe handle.
Труд челове́ка ко́рмит, а лень по́ртит. Hard work never hurt anyone.
 Literal: Job feeds the man, and laziness spoils him.
Ты бли́же к де́лу, а он про козу́ бе́лу. Lip-service; hot air; idle words
 Literal: You get on business, but he keeps telling you about white goat.
Ты ей вдоль, а она поперёк. Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.
Ты меня́, рабо́та, не бо́йся, я тебя́ не тро́ну.  Literal: Don’t be afraid of me, my job, i’m not going to touch you.
Ты мне — я тебе. You roll my log and I’ll roll yours.
– У –
У ба́бы во́лос до́лог, да ум ко́роток.
Experienced is not he who is old, but he, who’s seen it all.
 Literal: Woman’s hair is long, and mind is short.
У вся́кого Па́вла своя́ пра́вда.  Literal: Every Paul has his own truth.
У дурака долго деньги не держатся. A fool and his money are soon parted.
 Literal: Money doesn’t stay long with a fool.
У злой Ната́льи все лю́ди кана́льи.  Literal: For angry Nataly all the people are rascals.
У каждого червяка есть слабое место. Every worm has his weak point.
У каждой медали есть обратная сторона. Every medal has its reverse.
У семи́ ня́нек дитя́ без гла́зу. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
 Literal: Seven nannies make a kid not looked after.
Meaning: Too many people responsible for the same thing all act irresponsibly.
У стра́ха глаза́ велики́. Fear has a hundred eyes.
 Literal: Fear has large eyes.
Убы́ток — уму́ прибы́ток. Winning is earning, losing is learning.
 Literal: A loss is a gain for mind.
Угово́р доро́же де́нег. A bargain is a bargain.
 Literal: The agreement is worth more then money.
Уката́ли Си́вку круты́е го́рки. “To feel like a lathered horse. ”
 Literal: Sivka (the horse) became worn out running through steep hills
Укоро́тишь — не воро́тишь. Measure thy cloth ten times, thou canst cut it but once.
 Literal: If you cut it, you won’t get it back.
Ули́та е́дет, когда́-то бу́дет. To move by a snail’s pace.
 Literal.: The snail I am going, who knows when it comes here.
Уме́л ворова́ть, уме́й и отве́т держа́ть. The torment is what the thief have to gain.
 Literal: If you can steal, be able to be responsible for it.
У́мная голова́, да дураку́ доста́лась.  Literal: A clever head but given to a fool.
У́мные ре́чи прия́тно и слу́шать.  Literal: A clever speech (speaker) is pleasant to listen to.
У́мный в го́ру не пойдёт, у́мный го́ру обойдёт.  Literal: A smart person will not climb a mountain; A smart person will go around it.
У́мный лю́бит учи́ться, а дура́к учи́ть.  Literal: Clever person likes to learn, and the fool – to teach.
Ус в честь, а борода́ и у козла́ есть.  Literal: Moustache is respected and beard is worn even by goats.
Уста́ми младе́нца глаго́лет и́стина. Children and fools tell the truth.
 Literal: Truth speaks by the toddler’s mouth; From the mouth of babes
Утопа́ющий за соло́минку хвата́ется. A drowning man will catch at a straw.
 Literal: The one who sinks grips even a straw.
У́тро ве́чера мудрене́е. Sleep on it!
 Literal: Morning is wiser than the evening.
Уче́нье свет, а неуче́нье тьма. Knowledge is power.
 Literal: Studying is light; not studying is darkness.
Учи́, пока́ поперёк ла́вки укла́дывается, а во всю вы́тянется — не нау́чишь.  Literal: Teach a child, until he can lay across a bench, when he will stretch it’s whole length, you’ll be unable to teach him.
– Ф –
Фарао́н горди́лся, да в мо́ре утопи́лся.
 Literal: The pharaoh was proud, but drowned in the sea.
Федо́т, да не тот.  Literal: Fedot, yet not the right one.
– Х –
Хвали день по вечеру.
Don’t halloo until you are out of the wood.
 Literal: Praise the day in the evening.
Хвали́лась сини́ца мо́ре заже́чь.  Literal: Titmouse boasted to put sea on fire.
Хвали́лся чёрт всем ми́ром владе́ть, а Бог ему́ и над свиньёй не дал вла́сти. Deprive a mirror of its silver and even the Caezar won’t see his face.
 Literal: The devil boasted to rule the whole world, but God didn’t give him power even over the pig.
Хва́стать — не коси́ть, спина́ не боли́т. A boaster and a liar are first cousins.
 Literal: Bragging is unlike mowing; it won’t make your back ache.
Хлеб всему́ голова́. Bread is the staff of life. / Bread – whole head!
 Literal: Bread is head of everything.
Meaning: Bread goes with every meal people take, as bread is filling and healthy.  The proverb means that bread is an important part of every meal.
Хлеб за брю́хом не хо́дит.  Literal: Bread doesn’t go for belly.
Хлеб-соль ешь, а правду-матку режь. Honesty is the best policy.
 Literal: Eat bread and salt, cut the mother truth
Хороша́ верёвка дли́нная, а речь коро́ткая.  Literal: Rope is good when it’s long; speech is good when it’s short.
Хороша́ дочь А́ннушка, ко́ли хва́лит мать и ба́бушка.  Literal: Daughter Annuska is good, if praised by her mother and granny.
Хороша́ Ма́ша, да не на́ша.  Literal: Masha is good, but she’s not ours.
Хорошая мысля приходит апосля. Second thoughts are best.
Хорошая работа сама говорит за себя. Good work speaks for itself.
Хорошего понемногу. More than enough is too much.
Хороший совет не идет во вред. Good counsel does no harm.
Хоро́ший това́р сам себя́ хва́лит. True coral needs no painter’s brush.
 Literal: Quality goods advertise themselves.
Хорошо смеётся тот, кто смеётся последним. He laughs best who laughs last.
Хорошо тому жить, кому бабушка ворожит.  Literal: That one is happy, whose Grandma tells fortunes.
Хотеть не вредно. Wishing has no effect.
Хоть гол, да прав. Better go to bed supperless than rise in debt.
 Literal: Naked, but right
Хоть горшко́м назови́, то́лько в пе́чку не ставь. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
 Literal: You may call me even a pot, just don’t put me into the oven.
Хоть есть не́чего, да жить ве́село.  Literal: Although there’s nothing to eat, life is fun.
Хоть кол ему́ на голове́ теши́. He is so pig-headed; Stubborn as a mule.
 Literal: You could even hew sticks on his head.
Хо́чется ры́бку съесть, да не хо́чется в во́ду ле́зть. He who would catch fish must not mind getting wet.
 Literal: One wants to eat a fish, but doesn’t want to get to water.
Хочешь есть калачи, не лежи на печи. No song, no supper.
 Literal: If you want to eat buns, do not lie on the stove.
Хре́н ре́дьки не сла́ще. There is small choice in rotten apples.
 Literal: Horseradish is no sweeter than radish.
Христо́с терпе́л и нам веле́л. Man was born to trouble.
 Literal: Christ endured and told us to.
Худое долго помнится, а хорошее скоро забудется. One can’t forget or forgive.
Худо́й мир лу́чше до́брой ссоры. Better a lean peace than a fat victory.
 Literal: A bad peace is better than a good quarrel.
Худу́ю траву́ с по́ля вон.  Literal: Bad grass – away from the field.
Худые вести не лежат на месте. Bad news travels fast.
 Literal: Bad news don’t stay in the same place.
Худы́е ве́сти не лежа́т на ме́сте. Bad news has wings.
 Literal: Bad news don’t lie at rest.
Ху́же нет — ждать да догоня́ть.  Literal: Nothing is worse than waiting or chasing.
– Ц –
Це́рковь бли́зко, да идти́ скли́зко, каба́к далеко́, да идти́ легко́.
 Literal: Church is close, but the road is slippery, pub is far, but the road is easy.
Цыпля́т по о́сени счита́ют. Don’t count your chicken before they are hatched.
 Literal: One should count chicks in autumn.
Meaning: It’s best not to check scores too early.
– Ч –
Чай пить — не дрова́ руби́ть.
 Literal: Drinking tea is unlike chopping firewood.
Час о́т часу не ле́гче. One bad thing on the top of another.
 Literal: It is not getting easier by an hour.
Челове́к предполага́ет, а Бог располага́ет. Man proposes, but God disposes.
Человека узнаешь, когда с ним пуд соли съешь. Before you make a friend, eat a bushel of salt with him.
Чем бога́ты, тем и ра́ды. Half a loaf is better then none
 Literal: We are glad to have what we have.
Чем больше имеешь, тем большего хочется. The more you have, the more you want.
Чем бы дит́я ни те́шилось, ли́шь бы не пла́кало.  Literal: It doesn’t matter what the kid plays with as long as he doesn’t cry.
Чем да́льше в лес, тем бо́льше дров.  Literal: The further into the woods, the more firewood you’ll encounter.
Че́м чёрт не шу́тит. Who knows?
 Literal: In what ways the devil doesn’t joke!
Чему́ быть, того́ не минова́ть. What must be, must be.
 Literal: What is to be, can’t be avoided.
Чёрного ко́беля не отмо́ешь до́бела. The leopard cannot change his spots; You cannot wash charcoal white.
 Literal: One can’t wash the black dog all the way to whiteness.
Чесно́к и лук — от семи неду́г.  Literal: Garlic and onions cure seven diseases.
Чтение для ума — что гимнастика для тела. Reading is to the mind what exercise to the body.
Что бы́ло, то прошло́. Things past cannot be recalled.
 Literal: What used to be – is now gone.
Что в лоб, что по́ лбу. Six of one, and half a dozen the other.
Что в сердце варится, то в лице не утаится. Eyes are the mirror of a heart.
Что за шум, а дра́ки нет?  Literal: Why the noise, if there’s no fight?
Что име́ем — не храни́м, потеря́вши — пла́чем. We do not care of what we have, but we cry when it is lost.
 Literal: What we own, we don’t safekeep properly; when we lose it, we cry.
Что напи́сано перо́м — не вы́рубить топоро́м. Never write what you dare not sign.
 Literal: What was written by a pen, cannot be taken out with an axe.
Что ни город, то и норов. So many countries, so many customs.
 Literal: Another city — another temper.
Что ни город, то норов, что ни деревня, то обычай. So many countries, so many customs.
 Literal: Another city — another temper, another village — another custom.
Что ни го́род, то но́ров. So many countries, so many customs.
 Literal: Another city — another temper.
Что ни сде́лает дура́к — все он сде́лает не так.  Literal: Whatever a fool makes, he will make it wrong.
Что пнём об сову́, что сово́й об пень. Have you any idea how much damage that bulldozer would suffer if I just let it roll straight over you?
 Literal: Whether you hit an owl with a stump, or a stump with an owl.
Что посе́ешь, то и пожнёшь. As a man sows, so shall he reap.
 Literal: What you plant, that you will harvest.
Meaning: Everything that happens to you is a result of your own actions.
Что ру́сскому здо́рово, то не́мцу сме́рть. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
 Literal: What is good to a Russian, is death for a German.
Что с во́зу упа́ло, то пропа́ло. What is lost is lost.
 Literal: What fell off the cart, is as good as gone.
Что сходит с рук ворам, за то воришек бьют. (И.А.Крылов) Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
Что у тре́звого на уме́, то у пья́ного на языке́. A drunk mans’ words are a sober mans’ thoughts.
 Literal: What’s on sober’s mind, is on drunk’s tongue.
Чу́ет ко́шка, чьё мя́со съе́ла. Guilt betrays itself.
 Literal: Cat knows whose meat it has eaten.
Чужа́я душа́ — потёмки. The human heart is a mistery.
 Literal: Other person’s soul is in darkness.
Чужу́ю беду́ рука́ми разведу́, а к свое́й ума́ не приложу́.  Literal: I can push others’ problem away with my hands, but can’t put my own mind to my own one.
Чья́ бы коро́ва мыча́ла, а твоя́ бы молча́ла. The pot calls kettle black.
 Literal: Others’ cow could moo, but yours should better stay silent.
– Ш, Щ –
Шей да пори́ — не бу́дет пусто́й поры́.
 Literal: Sew and cut, and you’ll never see idle times.
Ши́ла в мешке́ не утаи́шь. “The truth will always out.; What is done by night appears by day.”
 Literal: you cannot hide an awl in a sack.
Meaning: Can’t hide something that will make itself obvious quickly.
Щедрость не имеет пределов. Generosity has no bounds.
– Э –
Это ещё цвето́чки, а я́годки впереди́. This is nothing compared with what is to come.
 Literal: These are just flowers; berries will come soon.
– Я –
Я не я, и ло́шадь не моя́.
The cat did it!
 Literal: I am not I, and the horse is not mine.
Я́блоко от я́блони недалеко́ па́дает. Like father like son; The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
 Literal: The apple falls not so far away from the apple-tree.
Meaning: This proverb has a negative connotation to express that children take bad qualities after their parents.
Я́годка по я́годке — бу́дет кузово́к.  Literal: Berry by berry, a basket will be full.
Язык без костей: что хочет, то лопочет. To loose one’s tongue. (Unruly member.)
Язык говорит, а голова и не ведает. The tongue speaks, but the head doesn’t know.
Язы́к до Ки́ева доведёт. A clever tongue will take you anywhere.
 Literal: Your tongue can get you all the way to Kiev.
Язы́к мой — враг мой, пре́жде ума́ глаго́лет. A fool’s tongue runs before his wit.
 Literal: My tongue is enemy mine, speaks ahead of mind.
Языком масла не собьешь. Many words will not fill a bushel.
Я́йца ку́рицу не у́чат. Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.
 Literal: Eggs don’t teach a hen.

Russian Proverbs and Idioms

Каждый кузнец своего счастья.  Literal: Every person is the blacksmith of their own destiny.
Новое — хорошо забытое старое.  Literal: Everything new is well forgotten old.
От любви до ненависти рукой подать. Literal: From love to hate, a hand [can] reach.
Meaning: If you love someone, you can start hating them very quickly.
Браки совершаются на небесах. Literal: Marriages occur in heaven.
Meaning: Marriages are decided upon by higher forces, which should be surrounded to.
От судьбы не уйдешь. Literal: [You] can’t escape destiny.
Meaning: No matter what you do, your fate is predetermined, and what is destined to happen will happen.
Любовь не картошка, не выбросишь в окошко. Literal: Love is not potatoes, [one] cannot throw it in a window.
Meaning: Love is something you cannot get rid of.
От тюрьмы и от сумы не зарекайся. Literal: Don’t denounce prison or poverty.
Meaning: Anyone can lose all their money or be thrown in jail, no matter how they live or behave.
Бог терпел и нам велел. Literal: God endured, and told us [to do the same].
Милые бранятся — только тешатся. Literal: Lovers’ quarrel is just fun.
Meaning: Thus, don’t interrupt with a couple’s argument or fight, it’s a good thing for them.
Кто не успел, тот опоздал. Literal: Who didn’t come in time, came late.
Не откладывай на завтра то, что можешь сделать сегодня. Literal: Don‘t delay until tomorrow what you can do today.
Разбитую чашку не склеишь. Literal: Can’t glue a broken cup.
Meaning: Some things could be broken irreparably and nothing can fix them.
Попытка — не пытка. Literal: A try is not a torture.
Meaning: Try it at least, it’s not going to hurt you.
Терпенье и труд всё перетрут. Literal: Patience and work will grate anything.
Meaning: With patience and hard work you can accomplish anything you want.
Русский медленно запрягает, да быстро едет. Literal: A Russian harnesses slowly but rides fast.
Бьет значит любит. Literal: If he beats you, he loves you.
Meaning: In older times it was considered a duty of the husband to teach his wife, which included physical beating. The saying, unfortunately, is still used today.
Работа дураков любит. Literal: Work loves fools.
Meaning: People who love working are not too smart.
Муж – голова, жена – шея. Literal: Husband is a head, wife is a neck.
The head looks to where the neck turns.
Не рой яму другому – сам в нее попадешь. Literal: Don’t dig a hole for someone else or you will fall into it yourself.
Хорошо там, где нас нет. Literal: It’s good where we are not present.
Без труда не выловишь и рыбку из пруда Literal: Without labor, you can not even catch a fish in the pond.
Meaning: Anything you do requires effort.
В чужом глазу соринку видим, а в своём бревна не замечаем Literal: Someone sees the mote in another’s eye and ignores the log in his own.
Дурной пример заразителен Literal: A bad example is contagious.
Голь на выдумки хитра Literal: Poor people are inventive.
В здоровом теле – здоровый дух Literal: In a healthy body, healthy mind.
Кабы знал, где упасть, так соломки бы подстелил Literal: If I knew where I would fall, I would lay some straw there.
Что на уме, то и на языке. Literal: What’s on one’s mind is on one’s tongue.
Equivalent English What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks.
Два сапога – пара. Literal: Two boots make a pair.
Equivalent English:Tarred with the same brush.
Нечего нa зеркало пенять, коль рожа крива Don’t blame a mirror for your ugly face
English equivalent: A bad workman blames his tools.
Meaning: A person shouldn’t blame others for their failures and mistakes.
Старый друг лучше новых двух An old friend is better than two new friends
Literal: One old friend is better than two new ones.
English equivalent: Old friends and old wine are best.
Без труда не вытащишь рыбку из пруда. Literal: You cannot reel out fish from the pond without making an effort
Meaning: Not a single task can be done without putting some work and effort into it.
Всему свое время.  Everything [is given] its own time.
Literal:There is a time for everything.
Слово серебро , а молчание – золото. Literal: Words are silver and silence is golden.
Equivalent: Silence is golden.
In Russian,too, the first half of the saying is often omitted and people just say ‘Молчание – золото’.
Молчание – знак согласия. English equivalent: Silence gives consent.
Красота требует жертв. Literal: Beauty requires sacrifice.
Meaning: Beauty has its price and needs constant work/effort.
Время – деньги. Literal: Time is money.
Сердце не камень. Literal: A heart is not made of stone.
Meaning: This expression is used to say when you feel sympathetic about someone’s problem and give in to their request.
Любовь до гроба. Literal: Love until you’re in the coffin.
Equivalent English: Undying love.
Носить воду в решете. Literal: carrying water in a sieve
Meaning: To do a futile task.
Куй железо, пока горячё. Literal: Forge iron while it’s hot.
Equivalent English: Make hay while the sun shines.
Губа не дура. Literal: Lips are not stupid.
Meaning: To have a taste for something nice; choose something very good for yourself.
Equivalent English: Know which side your bread is buttered on.
Ласковое слово, что солнышко в ненастье. A kind word is like a spring day.
Meaning: A kind word can melt a person’s heart.
Насильно мил не будешь. Love cannot be compelled.
Meaning: You can’t make anyone love you.
Руки не доходят Literal: My hands don’t reach it.
Meaning: I can’t find the time”
Similar English idiom: None
Взять себя в руки Literal: To take oneself in one’s hands.
Meaning: To tell someone to compose themselves emotionally or just improve their current situation.
Similar English idiom: To pull oneself together
Лучшая защита – нападение. Literal: The best defense is an attack.
Figurative: The best defense is a good offense.
Без трудa не вытащишь и рыбку из прудa. Literal: Without effort you won’t even pull a fish out of a pond.
Meaning: Similar to sayings such as “no pain, no gain,” and “nothing comes easy,” this Russian idiom reminds us that nothing can be done without sufficient effort.
Запретный плод сладок. Literal: The forbidden fruit is sweet.
Figurative: Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.
Meaning: Along the same lines as the idiom above, this saying implies that when a relationship is forbidden, you want it even more. It’s meant to advise parents not to stop their children from dating the person they prefer.
От судьбы не уйти. Literal: You can’t leave your fate.
Figurative: There’s no escape from fate.
Meaning: We’re all destined to be with a certain person. No matter what we do about it, we won’t change the course of fate.
Дело в шляпе Literal: The matter is in the hat
Meaning: Something is as good as done.
Блин! Literal: Pancake!
Meaning: Darn, damn, shoot, shit, etc. A softer variation of blyat’, which literally means “whore” and is used as an expletive similar to “fuck.”
Стерпится, слюбится Wait, be patient – you’ll love your partner eventually
English equivalent: “Marry first and love will follow.”
Meaning: You may not like your partner at first but as you go through challenges together, you will learn to love each other.
Бог любит Троицу Literal: God loves the Trinity
Meaning: Good things come in threes. It can also be applied if something positive happens three times, or it can be compared to, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Пристал, как банный лист! Literal: Stuck like a bath house leaf!
Meaning: This saying to refer to a person who is super annoying and won’t leave you alone—like a leaf that sticks to your sweaty skin in a Russian banya (traditional bath house).
Не делай из мухи слона Literal: Don’t make an elephant out of a fly
Meaning: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Don’t freak out over things that don’t really matter.
Заморить червячка Literal: Kill the worm
Meaning: Russians like to joke about having worms in their stomachs. Go figure. This funny little phrase just means to quell one’s appetite by having a snack of sorts.
Вешать лапшу на уши Literal: Hang noodles on your ears
Meaning: When you hang noodles on someone’s ears, you’re telling them a lie or a tall tale.
Вернемся к нашим баранам Literal: Let’s return to our rams
Meaning: “Let’s get back on track,” or “back to the point,”
У кого что болит, тот про то и говорит. Literal: You talk about the pain you have.
Meaning: It is said when someone keeps mentioning something they are consciously or unconsciously mostly concerned or worried about, or constantly returns to the same topic.
Из песни слов не выкинешь. Literal: You cannot throw a word out of a song.
Meaning: This expression is commonly used as an apology for having to tell everything, not leaving out any (usually unpleasant) details of the story or described situation – just as you can not miss a single word from the lyrics without spoiling the whole song.
Пьяному море по колено, а лужа—по уши Literal: The ocean comes up to a drunk man’s knees, but a puddle comes up to his ears
Meaning: Drunk people brag a lot but are capable of very little. Next time your drinking buddy’s had a little too much and starts going off on one, say this to put them in their place—and point out the puddle they’re about to step in.
Всё хорошо в своё время. Literal: Everything is good in its time.
Figurative: There is a time and a place for everything.
Meaning: They say that there is a season for everything, and that holds true in Russian as well.
Along the lines of the previous idiom, this one also encourages listeners to be hopeful and wait for their piece of happiness. It reminds young children not to grow up too fast, and that they’ll mature in their own time.
Где родился, там и пригодился. Literal: Where you were born is where you are most handy.
Figurative: You are most useful in the place of your birth.
Meaning: This idiom stresses the importance of your motherland, and encourages residents not to leave the city of their birth. And if they have to leave, they should come back once they have educated themselves, in order to help their countrymen.

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