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Russian Proverbs and Sayings

Winged words, Russian folklore, sayings in Russian and in english

Russian nation as any other has an abundance of proverbs, sayings, catching expressions and winged words. It took centuries for Russian people to accumulate this part of the language that reflect the way and conditions of life and work, culture, traditions and history of Russians.

Proverbs and sayings usually have direct and indirect meaning, logical conclusion and morals. They are like concentrated wit and reflect mentality of Russians.

Winged words are like proverbs and saying, but usually belong to a particular person widely known (historical figure, commander, poet)

Russians use sayings, proverbs, winged words quite widely, invent new ones and add funny meaning to the old well-known. There must be a saying for any imaginable aspect of life. Some proverbs have English equivalent or similar in meaning expression:

Here are some most frequently used proverbs and sayings:

Russian: Kak auknetsya — tak i otkliknetsya.
English: As the call, so the echo.

Russian: Volkov boyatsa — v les ne khodit.
English: If you're afraid of wolves, don't go to the woods.

Russian: Ne vsyo to zoloto chto blestit .
English: Not everything that glitters is gold.

Russian: Yesli by molodost znala, yesli by starost mogla.
English: If youth but knew, if age but could.

Russian: Znal by gde upast - solomki b podstelil.
English: Would I know where I will fall down, I'd lay some straw

Russian: Smekh bez prichiny - priznak durachiny.
English: Laughter with no reason is a sign of folly. silent.

Russian: Chija by korova mychala, a tvoya by molchala.
English: Others' cow could moo, but yours should better stay silent.

Russian: Chto russkomu zdorovo, to nemtsu(kitaytsu) smert.
English: What is good to Russian, is death for German(Chinese).

Russian: Svoya nosha ne tyanet.
English: A burden of one's own choice is not felt;

Russian: Chuzhuyu bedu rukami razvedyu, a s svoyey uma ne prilozhu.
English: I can push others' problem away with my hands, but can't put my own mind to my own one.

Russian: Utro vechera mudreneye.
English: Morning is wiser than the evening.

Russian: Chto pnyom ob sovu, chto sovoy ob pen - vsyo odno sove ne sladko.
English: Whether you hit an owl with a stump, or a stump with an owl, it's the owl who will suffer.

Russian: Khren redki ne slasche.
English: Horseradish isn't any sweeter than radish.

Russian: Kto rano vstaet tomu bog daet.
English: God gives to those who get up early.

Russian: I na solntse est pyatna.
English: Even the sun has spots.

Russian: S glaz doloj iz serdta von.
English: Out of sight - out of mind.

Russian: Khot gorshkom nazovi, tolko v pechku ne stav.
English: You may call me even a pot, just don't put me into the oven.

Russian: Zhizn projti - ne pole perejti.
English: To live life is not to walk through a meadow.

Russian: Khvalilsya chort vsem mirom vladet, a Bog yemu i nad svin'yoy ne dal vlasti.
English: The devil boasted to rule the whole world, but God didn't give him power even over the pig.

Russian: Na vore shapka gorit.
English: A thief's hat burns.

Russian: Ne tot silen kto diuzhit, a tot kto druzhit.
English: He is not strong, who can muster, but who can befriend.

Russian: Ne imej sto rublej a imej sto drizej .
English: Don't have hundred rubles, rather have hundred friends.

Russian: U duraka yazyk vperedi nog bezhit.
English: A fool's tongue runs before his feet.

Russian: Odin v pole ne voin.
English: One man in a field is not a warrior.

Russian: U smerti vse ravny.
English: Death is the grand leveller.

Russian: Liubish katatsya liubi i sanochki vozit.
English: If you enjoy riding, enjoy pulling the sleigh.

Russian: U strakha glaza veliki.
English: Fear has large eyes.

Russian: Eto escho tsvetochki, a yagodki vperedi.
English: These are just flowers; berries will come soon.

Russian: Yazyk do Kiyeva dovedyot.
English: Your tongue can get you all the way to Kiev.

Russian: Skupoy platit dvazhdy.
English: The stingy one pays twice.

Russian: Chto imeem ne khranim - poteryavshi plachem
English: We do not care of what we have, but we cry when it is lost;

Russian: Yabloko ot yabloni nedaleko padayet.
English: The apple falls not so far away from the apple-tree.

Russian: Appetit prikhodit vo vremya yedy.
English: The appetite comes during eating.

Russian: Kto staroye pomyanet, tomu glaz von, a kto zabudyet - tomu oba.
English: Who reminds old insults, will be deprived of his eye, and who forgets it - of both.

Russian: Kak dve kapli vody.
English: Like two drops of water.

Russian: Berezhonogo bog berezhot.
English: God keeps those safe who keep themselves safe.

Russian: Terpi kazak, atamanom budesh.
English: Put up wit it, cossack, and you'll be an ataman.

Russian: Tam khorosho, gde nas net.
English: It is good, there where we are not.

Russian: Baba s vozu — kobyle legche.
English: It is easier for the mare when a woman gets off the cart.

Russian: Beris druzhno, ne budet gruzno.
English: If all of us take hold of it together, it won't feel heavy.

Russian: Luchshe odin raz uvidet, chem sto raz uslyshat.
English: It's better to see once than hear a hundred times.

Russian: V gostyakh khorosho, a doma luchshe.
English: Visiting is good, but home is better.

Russian: Vek zhivi — vek uchis.
English: Live for a century — learn for a century.

Russian: Vzyalsya za guzh — ne govori, chto ne dyuzh.
English: If you took the tug, don't say you're not strong enough.

Russian: Dolg platezhom krasen.
English: Debt is beautiful only after it is repaid.

Russian: Veselo veselie — tyazhelo pokhmelie.
English: Revelry is jolly, hangover is heavy.

Russian: Vsyo khorosho, chto khorosho konchayetsa.
English: All is well that ends well.

Russian: Dobroye slovo i koshke priyatno.
English: Even a cat appreciates kind words.

Russian: Vsyak kulik svoyo boloto khvalit.
English: Every sandpiper praises his own swamp.

Russian: Obzhegshis na moloke, duyut i na vodu.
English: The one who got burned by hot milk, blows on water.

Russian: Dvum smertyam ne byvat, odnoy ne minovat.
English: Two deaths will not happen, but one is inevitable.

Russian: Net khuda bez dobra.
English: There's no bad without the good.

Russian: V tikhom omute cherti vodyatsa.
English: It's the still waters that are inhabited by devils.

Russian: Molodets protiv ovets, a protiv moldtsa — i sam ovtsa.
English: He is brave when fighting against sheep, and when fighting against a brave man he's a sheep himself.

Russian: Ne oshibayetsa tot, kto nichego ne delayet.
English: Only he who does nothing makes no mistakes.

Russian: Ne imey sto rubley, a imey sto druzey.
English: Don't have a hundred rubles, but have a hundred friends.

Russian: Sem bed — odin otvet.
English: Seven troubles - one response.

Russian: Doveryay, no proveryay.
English: Trust, but verify.

Russian: Odin s soshkoy — semero s lozhkoy.
English: For every one with a plow - there're seven with a spoon.

Russian: Muzh da zhena — odna satana.
English: Husband and wife are the same satan.

Russian: V Tulu so svoim samovarom ne yezdyat.
English: Nobody goes to Tula with one's own samovar. (Tula is famous as city where the best Russian samovars are made.)

Russian: V chuzhoy monastyr so svoim ustavom ne khodyat.
English: Nobody goes to another monastery with one's own charter.

Russian: Sem raz otmer, odin otrezh.
English: Measure seven times, cut once.

Russian: Mezhdu molotom i nakovalney.
English: Between the hammer and the anvil.

Russian: Utro vechera mudrenee .
English:Things are clearer in the morning.

Russian: Snyavshi golovu, po volosam ne plachut.
English: After taking off the head one shouldn't bewail the hair.

Russian: Ne sudi da ne sudim budesh.
English: Don't judge and won't be judged in return.

Russian: Yajtsa kuritsu ne uchat.
English: Eggs cannot teach a hen.

Russian: V chuzhom glazu sorinku zametno, a v svoyom — brevna ne vidat.
English: In another persons' eye one can notice a mote, but in one's own - cannot see a log.

Russian: Daryonomu konyu v zuby ne smotryat.
English: Don't look at the teeth of a horse you've been given.

Russian: Skoro skazka skazyvayetsya, da ne skoro delo delaetsya.
English: The tale is told quickly, but the job is done slowly.

Russian: Druzhba druzhboy, a sluzhba sluzhboy.
English: Friendship is friendship and service is service.

Russian: Drug poznayotsa v bede.
English: You will know what your friend really is when trouble comes.

Russian: Durnaya golova nogam pokoya ne dayot.
English: The stupid head doesn't leave feet in rest.

Russian: Ugovor dorozhe deneg.
English: The agreement contract costs more then money.

Russian: Dayut - beri, a biyut - begi.
English: If given - take it; if beaten - run away.

Russian: Sytyj golodnogo ne razumeyet: odnomy sup zhidkiy, drugomu - zhemchug melkiy.
English: The sat one doesn't understand the hungry one: for one the soup is too thin, for the other - the pearls are too small.

Russian: Staryj drug - luchshe novykh dvukh.
English: An old friend is better than two new ones.

Russian: Durakam zakon ne pisan, (yesli pisan, to ne chitan, yesli chitan, to ne ponyat, yesly ponyat, to ne tak).
English: There is no law written for fools (if it is written, it is not read, if it is read, it is not understood, if it is understood, then in wrong way).

Russian: Ne delite shkuru neubitogo medvedya.
English: Catch the bear before you sell his skin.

Russian: Bez truda ne vyudish i rybku iz pruda..
English: Without work, can't fish a fish out of a pond.

Russian: Skupoy platit dvazhdy.
English: The stingy one pays twice.

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