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1987

M. I. DUBROVIN

A BOOK
OF RUSSIAN
IDIOMS
ILLUSTRATED
Drawings
by V. I. Tilman

3d stereotype
edition

4%
Moscow
R u s s k y Yazyk P u b l i s h e r s
1987

81.2 9 6
79

4602020000-289
015(01)-87

< , 1977,
1980,

PREFACE
The Russian language is highly idiomatic. The idioms, part
and parcel of the language, add i m m e n s e l y to its richness. Their
variety is accounted for by t h e historical development of t h e
R u s s i a n language. More often t h a n not Russian idioms a r e a
stumbling block for n o n - R u s s i a n speakers, as t h e y fail to u n d e r stand Russian, both w r i t t e n and spoken, without the m a s t e r y of
a sufficient n u m b e r of idioms, especially those w h i c h occur
most f r e q u e n t l y .
This book is i n t e n d e d p r i m a r i l y for English speaking s t u dents of Russian who h a v e a knowledge of the essentials of
R u s s i a n g r a m m a r and a r e f a m i l i a r w i t h a basic Russian vocabulary.
The two types of idioms a r e m a i n l y given in t h e book:
phraseological fusions, w o r d combinations whose m e a n i n g
cannot be derived f r o m t h e m e a n i n g of their elements (e. g.
, ),
and phraseological unities,
word combinations whose m e a n i n g is partially d e p e n d e n t on t h e
m e a n i n g of their individual words (e. g. ,

).
The idioms are a r r a n g e d alphabetically as units. If t h e
m a i n v e r b can be used b o t h in t h e imperfective and perfective
aspects, t h e idiom is given in t h e aspect that occurs m o r e f r e q u e n t l y in speech. Idioms in which t h e order of components is
not fixed strictly are given in their most typical form.
Each entry consists of a R u s s i a n idiom, its transliteration,
literal translation and explanation. Also included w h e r e v e r
they w e r e available, a r e English equivalents. (Given in m a n y
instances a r e two or t h r e e English idioms covering t h e m e a n i n g
of the R u s s i a n idiom).

The literal t r a n s l a t i o n m e t h o d w a n t s two explanations.


First, it was sometimes impossible to stick strictly to a word for
word translation without m a k i n g it sound like nonsense. W h e n
this is t h e case additional w o r d s w e r e added to t h e English t r a n s lations to m a k e t h e m s o u n d m o r e or less c o m p r e h e n s i b l e (see,
for example, ).
Also with t h a t end in view
t h e words something or someone w e r e often a d d e d to t h e English
translation.
Second, w e are f u l l y a w a r e t h a t a n y idiom literally t r a n s lated into a n o t h e r language i m m e d i a t e l y loses its idiomatic
force and very often p r e s e n t s a most a w k w a r d a p p e a r a n c e .
Moreover it is evident t h a t t h e m o r e an idiom gets rid of a
direct reference to t h e literal m e a n i n g of its c o m p o n e n t s t h e
m o r e it assumes t h e n a t u r e of a r e a l idiom.
Still w e believe t h a t if t h e s t u d e n t knows w h a t t h e components of t h e idiom m e a n , he will often find it easier to u n d e r stand t h e meaning of t h e idiom.
A n u m b e r of R u s s i a n idioms included in t h e book h a v e
more t h a n one meaning. In this case given is t h e m e a n i n g that
is m o r e f r e q u e n t in conversation.
Each entry, as a rule, is supplied w i t h two pictures, one
w h e r e v e r possible to illustrate t h e literal m e a n i n g of t h e idiom,
and t h e other to illustrate its real meaning. We h o p e t h a t while
t h e first picture can help convey t h e literal m e a n i n g of t h e
idiom, or in other words, p r e s e n t its components, t h e second
picture will show how t h e idiom behaves, i. e. in w h a t circumstances it could be used. It should be borne in mind, however,
t h a t sometimes a n u m b e r of s y n o n y m o u s m e a n i n g s a r e given
to explain t h e idiom, w h e r e a s t h e situational illustration r e f e r s
to only one, which is t h e commonest.
The use of h u m o r o u s d r a w i n g s in this book is, in our
view, justified by t h e fact t h a t t h e r e is much h u m o u r in Russian
idioms. Besides, t h e situational d r a w i n g s give t h e idioms t h e
emotional colouring that is characteristic of their u s a g e in speech.
Russian idioms a r e largely of popular origin; hence their
s u b j e c t - m a t t e r is h u m a n life, or, better to say, h u m a n relations.
In this respect w e would like to point out that t h e word

(soul), which is a component of m a n y Russian idioms, does not


have any mystic sense. This can be seen f r o m t h e fact t h a t in
most cases the word can be and very often is replaced
by t h e word (heart) w i t h o u t changing the m e a n i n g of t h e
idiom (e. g. / , /
,
etc.). That is w h y a symbolic d r a w i n g of the h u m a n h e a r t w a s
given to represent the word .
Finally, we would like to say that although this book is
something like a dictionary, it is not i n t e n d e d for u s e only as
such. To be sure, that is one of its functions, but its overall
p u r p o s e goes beyond this. We hope t h a t t h e r e a d e r will f i n d it
interesting enough to use it not only for looking u p one or
a n o t h e r idiom that needs explaining. He will also find it a good
companion that will help h i m get a taste of t h e peculiar c h a r m
and vividness that idioms lend Russian speech. Only if used in
this w a y will the book have justified t h e work that has been
p u t into it.
As far as w e know this kind of book is the first a t t e m p t to
p r e s e n t Russian idioms f o r foreign s t u d e n t s in such a peculiar
m a n n e r ; therefore any criticism concerning t h e whole book or
any aspect of it will be welcome.

Transliteration symbols to designate some


difficult letters and combinations of letters
in a Russian word.
ro at the end -vo
e, e, , after a vowel, , and in t h e beginning -ye, yo, yu, ya
e, e, , a f t e r a consonant = 'e, 'o, 'u, 'a
= zh
, at t h e end =
a f t e r a vowel =
= oy
= tsa
= ttsa
X = kh
= ts
m = shell
a f t e r a consonant =
after a consonant =

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1.
b a b u s h k a n a d v o y e skazala
Grandmother

said it

ambiguously.

It's very doubtful, u n d e f i n e d ;


it r e m a i n s to be seen.
Cf. We'll see w h a t we'll see;
m a y b e rain or m a y b e snow, m a y b e yes or
m a y b e no.

2.
b'ezhat' v y s u n u v yasyk
To run with one's
hanging out.

tongue

To r u n fast w i t h o u t
p a u s i n g for breath, to be
b r e a t h l e s s f r o m running.
Cf. To r u n as fast as one's
legs can carry one; to r u n
at a breakneck pace.

19

3.
b'es suchka b'ez zadorinki
Without a snag, without
any unevennes or roughness.
Without any obstruction, difficulty
or complication; smoothly.
Cf. Without a hitch; like clockwork.

4.
b'elaya vorona
A white

crow.

Someone unusual, e x t r a o r d i n a r y ;
not like others; an outsider.
Cf. Rara avis.

20

5.
bit' v odmi tochku
keep striking
same spot.

the

To concentrate one's
efforts on one thing in
seeking to attain a
specific goal.

6.


bit' kl'uchom
To well up, to

bubble.

' To be in f u l l operation;
to proceed in a lively
manner.
Cf. To boil over;
to be in full swing.

21

7.
^

bittsa r y b a ob l'od
beat against the ice like a fish.
To struggle desperately.
Cf. To pull the devil b y t h e tail.

8.
bluzhdat' v p o t ' o m k a k h
To grope in the

dark.

To be without knowledge in some


particular m a t t e r ; to u n d e r s t a n d
something vaguely; to act blindly
Cf. To be in the dark
about something.

22

9.
bol'noye m'esto
A sore spot.

A m a t t e r that easily u p s e t s one or


about which one is sensitive;
something that causes anxiety.
Cf. A s o r e / t e n d e r spot; a touchy subject.

10.
bol'noy vopros
A sore

question.

An urgent problem that


is difficult to solve.
Cf. A sore point.

11.
boyattsa sobstvennoi t'eni
To be afraid of one's own

shadow.

To be u n r e a s o n a b l y n e r v o u s due
to groundless and trivial fears.
Cf. To be a f r a i d of one's
o w n shadow.

12. -
/
brat' za s ' e r t s e / d u s h u
To take someone
heart/soul.

To excite, to m o v e or
touch deeply; to cause
anxiety.

24

Cf. To pull at
someone's
heartstrings; to touch
someone's heart.

by the

13. -

brat' pod k r y l y s h k o
To take someone
under
one's little wing.

To give someone
every care and
attention; to put
someone u n d e r one's
protection.
Cf. To take someone
u n d e r one's wing.

14.
b r a t ' s potolka
To take something

from the

ceiling.

To allege s o m e t h i n g without
sufficient factual grounds; to say
something w i t h o u t thinking, at
random.
Cf. To m a k e something up;
to talk t h r o u g h one's hat.

25

15.
brattsa za d m
take oneself

by the

mind.

To stop b e h a v i n g i m p r u d e n t l y ;
to become sensible, reasonable.
Cf. To come to one's senses.

! *t>
cf
; >*

16. -
brosat' kam'eshki v ogorod
To throw pebbles

into someone's

kite

To allude to someone w i t h mild derision;


to m a k e an implied criticism.
Cf. To give someone a dig.

26

hen-garden.

17.
brosat' slova v'et'er
throw words to the

wind.

Not to care w h a t one says;


to speak at r a n d o m or idly.
Cf. To talk to the w i n d ;
to w a s t e one's breath.

18. -
b r o s a t t s a v glaza
To throw itself into
someone's
eyes.
To arrest attention, to b e striking, to be conspicuous.
Cf. To catch someone's eye; to stare someone in the face.

10
brosattsa slovami
throw one's words

about.

To s p e a k irresponsibly, to u s e words lightly.

20.

-/-

brosit' t'en'
cast a shadow on
To put someone or
something in a bad
light; to cast suspicion
on someone; to blacken
someone's reputation.
Cf. To cast a slur
on someone's
reputation.

28

someone/something.



byt' m'ezhdu molotom i
nakoval'n'ey
To be between the
and the anvil.

sledge-hammer

To be caught b e t w e e n t w o
:rs.
equally serious evils or dangers.
Cf. To be b e t w e e n t h e
devil and the deep b l u e sea.

22.
byt' n a golovu v y s h e
To be a head taller than

someone.

To be far superior to someone


(mentally or morally).
Cf. To be head and shoulders above someone.

23.
byt' driizheskoy nog'e
be on a friendly

foot with

someone.

To be on i n t i m a t e or f r i e n d l y
t e r m s with someone.
Cf. To be on a g o o d / f r i e n d l y
footing w i t h someone.

24
byt' na nozhakh
To be on the

knives.

To display m u t u a l hostility.
Cf. To be at daggers drawn;
to be at swords' points
with someone.

25
byt' s ' e d ' m o m n ' e b ' e
be in the seventh

heaven.

To be overfilled with joy, to be


s u p r e m e l y h a p p y or satisfied.
Cf. To t r e a d / w a l k on air;
to be in seventh h e a v e n .

26. HE
byt' n'e v svoyev tar'elk' e
To be not in one's personal

plate.

To be not quite oneself,


to be not quite at ease,
to feel uneasy.
Cf. To be out of sorts.

31

27.
byt' n'e iz robkovo des'atka
be not of the timid

dozen.

Not one to scare easily; not easily frightened,


not a coward.

28. HE
byt' n'e dvorii
To be unfit for the

courtyard.

To be unsuitable, to be
u n w a n t e d , not meeting
certain r e q u i r e m e n t s ;
to be an outsider.
Cf. Not to fit in.

29.
byt' n ' e svoyom m ' e s t ' e
be not in one's own place.
To be u n s u i t e d to t h e position
one fills, to be a misfit.
Cf. A r o u n d peg
in a square hole.

30.

byt' o d ' e t y m s
igolochki
To be dressed as if
straight from the pin.
To be dressed in a
b r a n d - n e w suit,
dress, etc.
Cf. To be dressed up;
as neat as a n e w pin.

31. -
byt' pod b a s h m a k o m
be under someone's

shoe.

To be u n d e r someone's
p r e d o m i n a n t influence,
to be in complete subjection
(usually said of a m a n w h o
is d o m i n a t e d b y his wife).
Cf. To get someone b y the
short hairs;
to be h e n - p e c k e d ; to be u n d e r
someone's t h u m b .

32.
byt' s v ' a z a n n y m svoim slovom
To be bound by one's

word.

To be f a i t h f u l in keeping one's promise.

34

33.
valit' v odnii kuchu
To throw
everything
into one heap.

To put together, to
mix u p
indiscriminately; to
l u m p everything
together.

34.

v a l i t ' s bol'noy golovy zdorovuyu
shift something

from an ailing

head onto the one that doesn't

ail.

To b l a m e someone else
f o r one's own fault.
Cf. To lay one's blame
at someone else's door;
to shift the b l a m e on
someone. 35

35.
valittsa iz
fall out of one's

hands.

Something doesn't go well because


one is a w k w a r d , clumsy, doesn't
feel like doing it, or doesn't have
his heart in it.

36.
varittsa v s o b s t v ' e n n o m sokd
stew in one's own

juice.

To k e e p solitary or a p a r t f r o m other people


m a k i n g no use of other people's knowledge
a n d experience; to w o r k solely by oneself
without contact w i t h others;
to avoid social relations.
Cf. To be aloof; to k e e p to oneself.

36

37.
vbivat' v golovu
hammer
head.

something

into

someone's

To m a k e something completely u n d e r s t o o d
by emphatic repetition; to keep reiterating
something to m a k e it stick in someone's
mind.
Cf. To h a m m e r / d r i v e something
into someone's head.

38. -
vbivat' klin
To drive a wedge between two
of people or two
individuals.

groups

To cause a b r e a c h or separation,
t o split apart; to m a k e people quarrel.
Cf. To drive a wedge.

37

39
v ' e r t ' e t t s a b'elka v kol'es'e
turn like a squirrel

in a

wheel.

To constantly busy oneself, to toil, to bustle


about.
Cf. To be constantly on t h e go; to r u n /go
a r o u n d in small circles; to r u n a r o u n d like
a squirrel in a cage; to be as busy
as a bee; to be b u s y as a b e e / b e a v e r .

40. -

v'ertitsa yazyk'e
It is whirling

on someone's

tongue.

On t h e v e r g e of being u t t e r e d ;
s o m e t h i n g at t h e back of one's
m i n d one w a n t s to s a y b u t w h i c h
is not q u i t e w i t h i n recall of m e m o r y .
Cf. To be on the tip of one's tongue.

38

41. HOC
v'eshat' nos
To hang one's

nose.

To be crest-fallen, discouraged,
despondent; to look dejected.

42.
vzv'eshivat' svoi slova
To weigh one's

words.

To choose or u s e one's
words w i t h
deliberation;
to give something a :
comprehensive
\
evaluation.
Cf. To weigh our'
words.

, I
^ w w j

43.
vzdokhnut' svobodno
breathe

freely.

To feel relieved of one's cares or


troubles.
Cf. To give a sigh of relief.

44.
vz'at' byka za roga
To take the bull by the

horns.

To take u p a m a t t e r vigorously and


p r o m p t l y getting directly to its

Cf. To take the bull b y t h e horns.

45.

vz'at' golymi r u k a m i
take someone
with one's bare

or something
hands.

To seize, to take possession of s o m e o n e


or s o m e t h i n g without m u c h difficulty,
w i t h o u t m a k i n g special effort.
Cf. Without a hand's turn; w i t h one's b a r e
hands.

46
vzyat' s'eb'a v ruki
To take oneself in one's

hands.

To rouse oneself to r e n e w e d activity;


to m a k e a d e t e r m i n e d effort, to regain
one's n o r m a l m e n t a l state, to regain
one's self-control.
Cf. To take hold of oneself; to take oneself
in h a n d ; to pull oneself together.

41

47.
vz'at' slovo
take the

word.

To rise to s p e a k in a debate
at one's own r e q u e s t or initiative.
Cf. To take the floor.

48. -
vid'et' naskvoz'
To see through

someone.

To know someone well; to be well a w a r e


of someone's thoughts a n d intentions.
Cf. To know someone inside out; to see
through someone; to r e a d someone like a
book.

49
vidno ladoni
Seen as if it were on the palm of one's
hand.
S p r e a d before t h e eyes, in plain sight
easy to see or c o m p r e h e n d .

Cf. As plain as the nose on your face.


50.
vidno ptitsu po pol'otu
A bird is seen by its

flight.

You can j u d g e a p e r s o n by his


actions and behaviour.

43

51
vilami vod'e pisano
Written with a
on the water.

pitchfork

It's uncertain, not defined,


vague;
it m a y or m a y not come off.
Cf. It's still all u p in the air.

52.
vis'et' v vozdukh'e
To be hanging in the air.
To be undecided (said pf a question or
matter);
to be in an u n c e r t a i n position (said of a
person).
Cf. To be in t h e air.

44

/
-

53.
vis'et' volosk'e
be hanging on a hair.
be in a perilous state
Cf. To h a n g by a thread;
to hang by a single hair.

54.
vis'et' na t'el'efon'e
To be hanging on the

telephone.

To talk incessantly on t h e telephone,


to s p e n d hours on t h e telephone.
Cf. To sit on t h e phone.


vitat' v o b l a k a k h
be hovering

in the

clouds.

To live in a d r e a m world,
to indulge in d a y - d r e a m s not
a t t e n d i n g to e v e r y d a y matters;
to let one's t h o u g h t s w a n d e r .

0\

56. -
vit' v'er'ovki
To plait ropes out of

someone.

To h a v e a strong influence on
someone;
to h a v e a person entirely
s u b s e r v i e n t to one's will.
Cf. To twist someone
a r o u n d one's little finger.

46

Cf. To be u p
in the clouds;
to g o / b e
wool-gathering.

57. -
vkladyvat' d u s h u
put one's soul into

something.

To put all one's efforts into an


undertaking; to do something
whole-heartedly.

\\'

Cf. To put one's h e a r t


a n d soul into something.

58.
vl'et'et' v k o p ' e y e c h k u
To fly into a little

kopeck.

To involve a great expense;


to cost a large s u m of money.
Cf. To cost a p r e t t y p e n n y . 47

59.
vl'ubittsa u s h y
fall in love up to one's

ears.

To be deeply e n a m o u r e d of
someone.
Cf. To be lu-ad over heels in love.

60. -
vognat' v k r a s k u
To drive someone

into the

dye.
To c a u s e someone to blush
from embarrassment.
Cf. To p u t someone to the blush.

4X

61. -
vodit' za nos
lead someone

by the

nose.

To deceive, delude, mislead


someone;
to m a k e promises and not k e e p
them.
Cf. To m a k e a fool of someone; to p u l l / d r a w
t h e wool over someone's eyes; to lead someone
on.

62. HE
vodoy n'e razol'yosh
You couldn't

split them apart with

water.

To be v e r y good friends, close to each other;


i n s e p a r a b l e f r o m each other; to be always together.
Cf. As thick as thieves.

63.

One w h o has e x t r e m e l y d e m u r e
expression a n d m a n n e r ; one w h o
is quiet, meek, gentle.
Cf. He wouldn't h u r t a fly; he looks
as if b u t t e r w o u l d n ' t melt in his
mouth.
64.
voyti v istoriyu
To go down in

history.

To become f a m o u s ; to be r e m e m b e r e d as a r e m a r k a b l e event.
Cf. To m a k e history; to go down in history.

65.
voyti v kol'eyu
get into the rut.
To r e t u r n to one's h a b i t u a l w a y of life
to settle down into a n o r d i n a r y w a y
to get back into one's routine;
to r e t u r n to normal.

Cf. To get into a groov

66.
voyti v
enter into one's

role.

To become securely a n d comfortably


settled in a n e w job, position, occupation.
Cf. To begin to feel one's feet:
to enter into one's role.
-

67.
volosy s t a n o v ' a t s a d y b o m
One's hair stands on end.
One is struck w i t h e x t r e m e horror.
Cf. One's h a i r stands on end.

68.
vot gd'e sobaka zaryta
Here's where the dog is

buried.

That's t h e m a i n reason, t h e main point;


that's w h e r e t h e p r o b l e m lies.
Cf. That's t h e h e a r t of t h e m a t t e r ;
that's t h e crux of t h e m a t t e r .

52

69.
-
vpisat' novuyu s t r a n i t s u
write a new page into

something.

To m a k e a discovery; to do s o m e t h i n g
outstanding, p r o m i n e n t in s o m e field.
Cf. To add a f r e s h page to something.

70. HE -
v podm'otki n'e goditsa
Not fit to be soles of someone's

shoes.

Someone or s o m e t h i n g is quite
inferior to; not to be c o m p a r e d with, not
nearly as good as.
Cf. Not fit to hold a candle to someone
to be not a patch on someone.

53

71.
vrastat' korn'ami
take

root.

To become p e r m a n e n t l y and f i r m l y
established; to become attached
to something; to get fully
accustomed to something.

72.
v s t a v a t ' s l'evoy nogi
To get up with one's left foot

foremost.

To be in a bad or an irritable s t a t e of mind.


Cf. To get out of bed on the wrong side.

54

73.
vstavat's p'etukhami
rise with the

cocks.

To rise very early


in t h e morning, at d a y b r e a k .
Cf. To rise with t h e l a r k / s u n .

74.
vstavl'at' palki v kol'osa
To put sticks in the

wheels.

To deliberately i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e
execution of a plan, operation, etc.
Cf. To put a spoke in someone's w h e e l
to throw a s p a n n e r in t h e works;
to throw m o n k e y w r e n c h e s in the
machinery.

55

75.
vstr'echat' v s h t y k i

give a hostile reception to someone or something.

76.
vstupit' v stroy
To step into

formation.
To come into operation,
to become operative.

5(i

77.
v us n'e dut'
Not to blow into
moustache.

one's

Not to care at all; not to show


any sign of emotion.
Cf. Not to give a d a m n / a hang;
not to t u r n a hair.

78 - - HOI
vybivat' pochvu is-pod nog
To knock the ground from under someone's

feet.

To deprive someone of his position or role in society;


to u n d e r m i n e someone's confidence in s o m e t h i n g
completely; to d i s t u r b someone's peace of m i n d .
Cf. To cut the g r o u n d f r o m u n d e r someone's feet;
to take t h e wind out of someone's sails.

57

79.
vybit' is kol'ei
kick someone

out of the rut.

To upset someone's routine;


to u n s e t t l e someone.
Cf. To get someone out of the groove.

80
vybit' is s'edla
To knock someone
saddle.

out of the

To d e p r i v e someone of his
position of control; to u n d e r m i n e
someone's confidence in
s o m e t h i n g completely; to
d i s t u r b someone's
peace of mind.

58

81.
vybrosit' iz golovy
throw
something
out of one's headTo cause to forget;
to dismiss f r o m
one's mind; to give
u p the idea.
Cf. To put s o m e t h i n g
out of one's head.

82. -
vyvodit' is s'eb'a
To lead someone

out of

himself.

To exasperate, i r r i t a t e someone.
Cf. To drive someone out of his wits / m i n d ;
to put someone beside himself.

59

83.
vyvodit' is stroya
take out of

formation.
To disable something, to put
s o m e t h i n g out of operation.

84. -

vyvodit' c h i s t u y u vodu
conduct
someone
out onto pure water.

To bring someone's m i s d e e d s to light:


to expose someone.
Cf. To show someone in his
true colours; to u n m a s k .

60

85.
v y y e d ' e n n o v o yaytsa n ' e stoit
Not worth an empty

egg-shell.

Entirely valueless, w o r t h nothing at all


Cf. Not w o r t h a r a p / a
f a r t h i n g / a hill of beans.

86.
vyyti is p'el'onok
To come out of one's

swaddling-clothes

To grow up, to become adult,


to be on one's own.
Cf. To be out of swaddling-clothes.

87.
vyyti is s'eb'a
come out of

oneself.

To be carried away
by excitement; to lose
control of oneself;
to be w r o u g h t up.
Cf. To lose one's t e m p e r ;
to fly off t h e handle.

88
vyyti is stroya
step out of

formation.

To be disabled, to become
unserviceable; to break
down, to be p u t
out of action.

62

mm

89.
vyyti s u k h i m iz vody
To come out of the water

dry.
To escape d e s e r v e d
p u n i s h m e n t ; to come out
w i t h one's r e p u t a t i o n
unblemished.

Cf. To come out u n s c a t h e d ;


to get off scot-free.

90.
vyl'et'et' v trubii
fly through

the

chimney

To come to ruin
financially, to go
b a n k r u p t ; to have
no m o n e y at all.
Cf. To go b u s t /
smash.

63

91. -
vyn'esti svoikh pl'echakh
bear something

on one's own

shoulders.

To t a k e t h e whole b u r d e n of something; to e n d u r e t h e stress


or s t r a i n of a difficult undertaking.
Cf. To bear the b r u n t of something.

92. C O P
vynosit' sor iz izby
To carry the rubbish
out of one's hut.

To let t h e outside world


know about one's private
troubles, grievances, quarrels,
conduct t h a t might be regarded
as disreputable; to u t t e r abroad
affairs not m e a n t for the public
ear.
64 Cf. To w a s h one's dirty linen in
public; (o tell tales out of school

93. -
vyrastat' v glazakh
grow in someone's

eyes.

To rise in someone's esteem;


to grow or i m p r o v e
in someone's opinion.

94. -
vyrvat's korn'em
To tear something

out with

root.

To destroy s o m e t h i n g completely; to eradicate, to


extirpate, to uproot something.
Cf. To root something out.

65

95. -
vysosat' is pal'tsa
suck something
of one's finger.

out

To allege s o m e t h i n g which
has n o f o u n d a t i o n in actual
fact, absolutely
groundless; to fabricate.
Cf. To make something
up; to spin something out
of thin air.

96.

vyt'agivattsa v s t r a n k u
To stretch oneself into a string.
To stand stiffly
erect; to s t a n d
at attention.

66


gadat' kof'eynoy gtishche
tell fortunes

by coffee

ground.

To m a k e
groundless
statements; to
m a k e wild
guesses.
Cf. To tell
someone's fortune
from the
tea-leaves in his
cup.

-
gladit' golovk'e
stroke someone's

little headN

To show
approval,
to gratify;
to show
indulgence
towards,
to p a n d e r
to someone.
Cf. To pat
someone
on the back.

67

-

gladit' protiv
shersti
To stroke
someone
against his hair.
To do or say s o m e t h i n g
c o n t r a r y to someone's
prejudices, opinions, or
habits.
Cf. To r u b / s t r o k e someone
the w r o n g w a y .

100.
glaza razb'egayutsa
One's eyes are running
in different
directions.
One doesn't k n o w w h a t to look at first;
one is dazzled b y t h e sight of so m a n y
things; one is u n a b l e to concentrate
on one thing.

68

101.
glaza razgor'elis'
One's eyes have lit up.
One desires s o m e t h i n g earnestly;
one is looking longingly or desiringly
at something.
Cf. To be dying for.

102.

govorit' pod r u k u
To speak to someone's

hand.

To say something
at t h e w r o n g time;
to d i s t u r b someone
w h e n he is
concentrating on
something; to
distract someone
by talking.
Cf. To put someone
off.

103.
golova id'ot k r a g o m

One's head is going

round.

Someone has a lot to do, is in a s t a t e of b e w i l d e r m e n t or


confusion being w o r n out with troubles a n d worry.
Cf. One's head is spinning; one's head is in a whirl; one's
head is going round and round.

104.
golodny volk
Hungry as a wolf.
Terribly hungry.
Cf. H u n g r y as a h u n t e r .

70

105.
gorlt v r u k a k h
It is burning
in one's hands.

The work is being done


quickly, energetically,
deftly; t h e w o r k is going
fine.
Cf. Someone has clever
hands; someone is
working like lightning.

106.
gotov skvoz' z'eml'u provalittsa
Ready to fall through

the

ground.

One earnestly wishes


to disappear; one feels so
a s h a m e d or e m b a r r a s s e d
t h a t he wishes that t h e
e a r t h would swallow
him up.
Cf. He wishes t h e g r o u n d
would open u n d e r him.

71

107.
gus'ey draznit'
tease the

geese.

To irritate, to annoy someone (often w i t h o u t p u r p o s e or


reason); to provoke ill feelings.

108. -
davat' zdachi
To give someone

the

change.

To retaliate as vigorously as
one is attacked; to give as good as one
got; to r e t u r n insult for insult.
Cf. To a n s w e r in kind.

109.
dal'she y e k h a t ' n ' e k u d a
You can't go

farther.

Things couldn't be worse; that's


t h e end of it; t h a t ' s t h e limit.

110.
dva sapoga p a r a
Two boots make a pair.
They a r e alike; (usually w i t h
reference to disposition, tastes,
conduct, etc.); t h e y a r e well
matched; t h e y d e s e r v e each
other; one is no b e t t e r t h a n
the other.

Cf. They m a k e a pair;


birds of one f e a t h e r ; not a
pin to choose b e t w e e n them.

73

111.

d'elat' iz m u k h i slona
To make an
out of a fly.

elephant

To exaggerate t h e i m p o r t a n c e
of a small m a t t e r .
Cf. To m a k e a m o u n t a i n out
of a molehill.

112


d'elat' pogodu
To make the

weather.

To d e t e r m i n e t h e course of events, to affect


a m a t t e r directly; to h a v e a decisive influence
,
on a m a t t e r .

74

113. -
d'elat' z z a k r y t y m i glazami
do something

with one's eyes

closed.

To do s o m e t h i n g without thinking, carelessly, rashly.

114. -
d'elat' spust'a r u k a v a
To do something
lowered.

with one's

sleeves

To do something carelessly w i t h o u t paying


attention to it; to fail to t e n d p r o p e r l y to
affairs; to do s o m e t h i n g in a slipshod m a n n e r .
Cf. To let things slide.

75

115.

d'elit' shkiiru n'eubitovo
m'edv'ed'a
To divide the
of an unkilled

skin
bear.

To anticipate too confidently


the possession of s o m e t h i n g that one
m a y never receive;
to m a k e plans which
depend on events t h a t m a y not happen.
Cf. To count one's chickens before
t h e y a r e hatched; to sell the bear's
skin before one has caught the bear.

116. HE
d'en'eg kiiry n'e kl'uyut
The hens don't peck at the
One has p l e n t y of m oney.
Cf. Rolling in m o n e y .

money.

117.
d'erzhat' v chornom t'el'e
To keep in a black

body.

To ill-treat, to t r e a t someone roughly; to hold in subjection.

118.
derzhat' k a m ' e n ' za p a z u k h o y
To keep a stone inside one's
To secretly bear a grudge against
someone; to n u r s e a grievance; to
harbour thoughts of revenge; to
have evil intentions.

shirt.
i
l

119. HOC
d'erzhat' nos po v'etru
To keep one's nose to the

wind.

To adapt to circumstances, u n s c r u p u l o u s l y
altering one's convictions or behaviour; to a d j u s t
to t h e situation.
Cf. To trim one's sails to the wind.

120.
derzhat' s'eb'a v r u k a k h
To keep oneself

in one's

hands.

To r e s t r a i n oneself; to p r e s e r v e one's control.


Cf. To h o l d / k e e p oneself in check; to keep oneself in hand.

78

121.
d'erzhat' u k h o vostro
To keep one's ear

sharp.

To b e h a v e circumspectly,
to act w i t h caution;
to be on guard;
to m i s t r u s t someone.
Cf. To w a t c h one's step;
to be on the qui vive;
to keep one's eyes peeled.

122.
d'erzhat' yazyk za z u b a m i
To hold one's tongue behind
teeth.

one's

To keep silent, not to blab;


to be cautious in w h a t one
says.
Cf. To hold one's tongue
to k e e p one's
b r e a t h to cool
one's porridge.

79

123.
d ' e r z h a t t s a v t'eni
hold to the

shade.

To b e h a v e so as to r e m a i n unnoticed.
Cf. To stay in the background.

124.
dlinny yazyk
A long

tongue.

talkative, u n a b l e to hold one's


tongue; a blabber.

Cf. To have a long tongue;


80 to w a g one's tongue.

125.
dovodit' do b'elovo kal'eniya
To bring to a white

heat.

To drive someone to a frenzy,


to infuriate, to rouse to f u r y ;
to m a k e s o m e o n e
lose his self-control.

126.
dolgaya p'esn'a
A long song.

Something that cannot be done


or explained quickly; something
that takes a long t i m e to
be accomplished; a d r a w n
out affair.
Cf. A long story.

81

127 -
dostat' is-pod z'emli
get from wider

To get something no
m a t t e r how difficult.
Cf. To go to the end of the earth
to get something.

128.
do u p a d u
Till one falls

down.

To t h e point of exhaustion, till one drops.

82

the

ground.

129. -
dokhodit' do ushey
come to someone's

ears.

To become k n o w n to someone.
Cf. To reach someone's ears.

130
drozhit osinovy list
One shakes

like an aspen

leaf.

One t r e m b l e s violently
(usually with excitement
or fear).
Cf. To shake/quake
like an aspen leaf.

83

131
dusha naraspashku
One's soul is open

(unbuttoned)

To be f r a n k , sincere, candid,
straightforward.
Cf. O p e n - h e a r t e d .

132. HE
dusha n'e na m ' e s t ' e
One's soul is not in its place.
To be anxious; to feel uneasy.

84

133.
ducha ushla v p'atki
One's soul has gone into one's

heels.

Someone is g r e a t l y a l a r m e d by w h a t is
h a p p e n i n g or anticipated to happen;
terribly frightened.

Cf. One's h e a r t sank into one's boots;


to have one's heart in one's mouth.

134.
d y r ' a v a y a golova
A holey

head.

S o m e o n e who has a very poor


m e m o r y ; someone w h o is
forgetful, a b s e n t - m i n d e d .

Cf. To have a head


like a sieve.

85

135.

yest' y e s h c h o porokh
v porokhovnitsakh
There is still some
gunpowder
in the
powder-flasks.

Still full of vim a n d vigour;


still able to fight or to do
something important.
Cf. We a r e not licked yet.

136.
yekhat' zaytsem
To ride as a hare.
To travel w i t h o u t paying
for a ticket.

86

137.
zhdat' u m o r ' a pogody
wait by the sea for the

weather

To indulge in vain hopes


w i t h o u t t a k i n g any steps
to realize t h e m ; to w a s t e
one's t i m e neglecting
one's opportunities.
Cf. To let the grass grow
u n d e r one's feet.

138
zhit' d u s h a v diishu
To live soul and soul

together.

To live in peace, harmony, concord


or perfect a m i t y with someone.

87

139.
zhit' koshka s sobakoy
live like a cat and a dog.

To be constantly snapping,
bickering and quarrelling.
Cf. To fight like
cats and dogs.

140.
zhit' vulkan'e
live as on a volcano.
To be in constant
anticipation of trouble.
Cf. To sit on a powder-keg;
to be living on t h e edge of a volcano;
to be sitting on a volcano.

38

141.
zhit' s h i r o k u y u nogu
live on a broad

foot.

To live in l u x u r y ; to live sumptuously, s p a r i n g no expense.


Cf. To live like a lord; to live in g r a n d style.

142.
zhit' prip'evayuchi
To live humming

a tune.

To live in comfortable
circumstances; to live happily.
Cf. To be in clover.

89

143.

zabludittsa v
tr'okh sosnakh
To lose one's
among three

way
pines.

To fail to find a solution


to a simple problem;
to fail to c o m p r e h e n d
something e l e m e n t a r y .

i lose one's w a y
in broad daylight.

144.
zavarit' kashu
To cook kasha *
To s t a r t a complicated, risky
or troublesome affair.
Cf. To stir u p trouble;
to m a k e a m e s s of something.
4
kasha a dish of cooked
grain or groats

90

145.
zagl'adyvat' v dtishu
peep into someone's

soul.

To try to f a t h o m someone's
i n n e r m o s t thoughts; to t r y to
find out w h a t is in someone
else's heart.

146.

zagovarivat' ziiby
To talk
teeth.

someone's

To evade t h e issue with


irrelevant talk.
Cf. To put someone
off with fair words.

41

147.
zadat' p'ertsu
give

pepper.

To r a t e someone soundly and


severely; to punish someone.

Cf. To give it hot


to someone;
to m a k e it hot
for someone.

148.
zad'et' za zhivoye
To graze a raw

place.

To excite greatly, to thrill;


to stir someone's self-esteem
or pride.
Cf. To c u t / s t i n g to the quick.

92

149. HOC
zadirat' nos
To lift up one's

nose.

To act in a s u p e r i o r
and affected m a n n e r ;
to become p u f f e d up,
conceited.
Cl'. To t u r n u p one's
nose; to put on airs;
to cock one's nose.

150.
zayti v t u p i k
To come into a blind

alley.

To find oneself in a d e s p e r a t e position.


Cf. To r e a c h a deadlock.

151.
zakinut' lidochku
cast a line.
m a k e an indirect r e f e r e n c e to s o m e t h i n g
in order to find out more about it;
c>
to drop a hint by w a y of suggestion.
<
Cf. To put a line out; to p u t f o r t h / s e n d out a

152.
zakoldovanny k r u g
A bewitched

circle.

A hopeless situation;
a s t a t e of affairs f r o m which it's
difficult to f i n d a w a y out.
Cf. A vicious circle.

153
zakradyvattsa v dushu
creep into someone's

soul.

To creep or steal into one's m i n d (said


of thoughts or feelings).

154. -
zakryvat' glaza
To close one's eyes to

something.

To ignore, deliberately not to pay


attention to or recognize something
(especially, i m p r o p e r conduct).
Cf. To c l o s e / s h u t one's eyes
to something; to w i n k at something.

155.
zam'esti sl'edy
sweep over one's

traces.

To destroy something
that can be used as
evidence; to conceal
one's m o v e m e n t s
or activities.
Cf. To cover u p one's
tracks/traces.

156.
z a m k m i t t s a v s'eb'e
To get locked up in one's own

self.

To become less sociable and m o r e reserved; to w i t h d r a w


f r o m the society of one's fellows; to retire into oneself.
Cf. To shut oneself up;
to w i t h d r a w / r e t i r e into one's shell.

96

157.
zamorit' c h e r v ' a e h k a
underfeed

the little

worm.

To h a v e a little to eat.
Cf. To h a v e a snack; to have a bite;
to take t h e edge off one's hunger.
158.
zarubit' n a nosu
To make a notch on one's

nose.

To r e m e m b e r something firmly, f o r e v e r .
Cf. Bear it in mind;
put t h a t into your pipe and
s m o k e it.

159.
z a t k n u t ' za poyas
stick someone
belt.

behind

one's

To sur{5Sss, to outstrip,
to outdo someone.
Cf. To o u t s h i n e someone;
to knock someone
into a cocked hat.

60. HE
zv'ozd s n'eba n ' e k h v a t a y e t
He/she

doesn't snatch stars from the

sky.

O n e isn't a r e m a r k a b l e person; one is a person


of average or mediocre abilities.
Cf. He won't set t h e T h a m e s / w o r l d on fire.

161.
z'el'onaya lilitsa
A green

street.

An open thoroughfare; also used to indicate


that t h e r e is n o t h i n g s t a n d i n g in one's way.
Cf. The green light.

162. -
znat' vdol' i pop'er'ok
To know something

lengthwise

and

crosswise.

T<> know something t h o r o u g h l y in all its details.


Cf. To know
something
inside out.

99

163.
znat' vs'e khody i v y k h o d y
To know all the entrances

and

exits

To know all the details or


intricacies; to be
thoroughly familiar w i t h w h a t
is to be done u n d e r t h e
circumstances.

Cf. To k n o w one's w a y around; to know


all t h e ins and outs; to know the ropes.

164.

znat' svoyi p'at' pal'tsev
know something as icell
as one's own five fingers.
To know something thoroughly
to be quite familiar with
something.
100

Cf. To know something like


t h e palm of one's hand.

165.
znat' m ' e r u
To know the

measure.

To know one's
limits;
to be moderate;
to know when to
stop.

166
zolotaya s ' e r ' e d m a
The golden

middle.

The safe, p r u d e n t way b e t w e e n


e x t r e m e s ; t h e principle of
moderation.
Cf. The golden mean.

101

167.
zolotoye dno
A golden

bottom.

An inexhaustible source of
wealth.
Cf. A gold mine.

168


zolotyye riiki
Golden

hands.

A m a s t e r of one's craft.

102

Cf. A clever
pair of hands;
skillful / d e f t
fingers.

169.
zondirovat' pochvu
probe the ground.
To t r y cautiously to discover someone's
inclinations, to test t h e views of others,
to sound out one's chances of success beforehand.

Cf. To find out


how t h e things
stand;
to explore the
ground;
to put f o r t h /
throw
out a feeler.

170.
igrat' p e r v u y u skripku
To play the first

violin.
To play a leading role in some undertaking.
Cf. To play first fiddle.

103

171.
igrat' s ogn'om
play with

fire.

To trifle w i t h s o m e t h i n g likely to prove


dangerous
without considering t h e consequences. Cf. To play w i t h edge-tools; to play with fire.

172.
itti v goru

uphill.

gain influence; to attain promotion;


to m a k e a prosperous career.
Cf. To go u p / r i s e in the world;
to climb u p the ladder.

104

173.
ittf v ogon' i v vodu
To go into fire and

water.

To s u b m i t to a n y ordeal, to e n c o u n t e r or face t h e greatest


dangers or h a r d e s t chances, to be r e a d y to do a n y t h i n g
for someone or something.
Cf. To go through fire and w a t e r .

174.
itti kuda glaza gl'ad'at
To walk wherever
looking.

one's eyes are

To w a n d e r aimlessly; to go
wherever
one's feet will carry one.

105

175.
itti povodii
walk on

someone';

be d e p e n d e n t on someone.
Cf. To be led by;
to be u n d e r s o m e o n e ' s thumb.

176. -
itti stopam
walk in someone's

footsteps.

To follow someone's example;


to be someone's disciple.
Cf. To follow in someone's footsteps.

106

177.
itti protiv t'echeniya
against the

stream.

To act against the general t r e n d of


thought, opinion, custom, etc.
Cf. To go against
the t i d e / c u r r e n t / s t r e a m .

178.
izlit' diishu
To pour out one's

soul.

To relieve one's m i n d by talking about one's troubles.


Cf. To unbosom oneself; to u n b u r d e n one's heart;
to b a r e one's heart/soul.

107

179. -

izm'erit' vzgl'adom
measure someone
one's glance.

with

To e x a m i n e someone closely f r o m head


to toe.
Cf. To look someone u p and down; to
m e a s u r e someone with one's eye.

180.
iz odnovo t'esta
Made of the same

dough.

They a r e j u s t about t h e s a m e
in disposition, tastes, etc.
Cf. Two of a kind; the s a m e
breed; cut f r o m the same cloth;
birds of one f e a t h e r .

108

181.
iz r ' a d a von v y k h o d ' a s h c h y
Going out of the

line.

Outstanding, exceptional,
out of t h e ordinary.
Cf. Out of t h e c o m m o n r u n .

182.
im'et' v'es
To have

weight.

To be highly influential or important,


Cf. To carry a lot of weight.

109

183.
im'et' golovu plechakh
have a head on one's

shoulders.

To be intelligent and reasonable;


to be able to t h i n k for oneself.
Cf. To h a v e a good head
on one's shoulders.

//Z-JLA

184.
iskat' v c h e r a s h n y d'en'
To search for

yesterday.

To w a s t e t i m e on a hopeless quest.
Cf. To go on a wild-goose chase.

1 10

185. /

i s k a t ' / n ' e nayti dn'om
s ogn'om
To search for someone
something

by day with

or

light.

To seek 111 vuii'i. io look hard


for someone or something with
little c h a n c e of finding;
it's n o w h e r e to be found.
Cf. You will not find
it in a m o n t h of Sundays;
you can't get it for love or money.

186.
iskat' igolku v stog'e s'ena
To look for a needle in a bundle of hay.
To look for something or
someone virtually
impossible to find.
Cf. To look for a needle in
a haystack.

111

187.

i s k r y iz glaz posypalis'
Sparks
eyes.

began to pour out of one's

A sensation of light flashing b e f o r e


one's eyes, caused b y a blow in t h e face
or on t h e head.
Cf. To see stars.
188.
ispit' chashu do dna
To drink

the bowl to the

bottom.

To experience ordeals, hardships,


sorrows, m i s f o r t u n e s in full m e a s u r e .
Cf. To drink / d r a i n the cup (of
bitterness, sorrow, etc.) to the dregs.

112

189.
isportit' vs'u miizyku
spoil all the

music.

To u p s e t a plan; to d i s r u p t t h e procedure; to cause disturbance.


Cf. To u p s e t someone's apple-cart; to play t h e very devil
with something.

190. HE
i likhom n'e v'ed'ot
Doesn't

wiggle an ear.

One doesn't pay t h e least attention to something; one doesn't


react at all; one d e l i b e r a t e l y shows indifference.
Cf. Without batting an eyelid.

1 13

191
ishchi v ' e t r a v pol'e
Look for the wind in the

field.

It's gone w i t h o u t leaving a trace; it's n o w h e r e to be f o u n d a n d


it can never be r e t u r n e d .

Cf. To look for


a needle in a haystack;
to go on
a wild-goose chase.

192.
arshin proglotil
As if one had swallowed an
arshin*.
U n n a t u r a l l y erect, quite stiff;
rigid, u p r i g h t in bearing.
Cf. As stiff as a poker.
4
a r s h i n a r u l e r one arshin in
length equivalent
to 28 inches.

I! I

193.
b'ez
As if without

the

hands.

To feel quite helpless w i t h o u t s o m e t h i n g or someone.

194.
v apt'ek'e
Just like at the

chemist's.

Exactly, precisely; just so, j u s t

right.

Cf. To a T.

115

195.
v vodu gl'ad'el
Like having looked into the

water.

As if s o m e t h i n g had been k n o w n
b e f o r e h a n d ; someone was able to
f o r e s e e f u t u r e events.
Cf. He m u s t have second sight.

196.
v vodu opiishchenny
As if lowered into the

water.

Dejected, downcast,
depressed, crest-fallen.
116

Cf. To be down in the


chops / m o u t h .

197.

v'etrom sdulo
As if the wind
it away.

blew
Someone or something has
rapidly and mysteriously
d i s a p p e a r e d without a trace.
Cf. To vanish into thin air.

198.
gora s pl'ech svalilas'
As if a mountain

had fallen off one's

shoulders.

Someone is relieved of anxiety, doubt, cares.


Cf. A load off one's m i n d .

117

199.
grom sr'edi yasnovo n ' e b a
Like a thunder-clap

out of a clear

sky.

Suddenly, u n e x p e c t e d l y (said of
a s u d d e n and surprising event generally of
an u n p l e a s a n t nature).
Cf. Like a bolt from the
b l u e / o u t of a clear sky.

200. I I
d v a z h d y dva chetyr'e
Like two times two is four.

118

Easy to see or comprehend; as plain or


clear as can be; obvious to everyone.
Cf. As plain as a pikestaff; as
plain as the nose on your face.

201


dv'e kapli vody
Like two drops of

water.

To bear a very close r e s e m b l a n c e ; to be exactly alike.


Cf. As like as two peas in a pod; not a pin to
choose between them.

202.
za k a m ' e n n o y st'enoy
As though behind a stone

wall.

To be well protected; to be very secure;


to be perfectly safe.
Cf. As safe
as houses.

119

203. -
is-pod z'emli vyros
As if grown up from under
ground.

the

Someone appeared all of a


sudden, unexpectedly, f r o m
nowhere.
Cf. Out of the blue.

204.
iz roga izobiliya
As if out of the horii of

120

plenty.

In great plenty, in a b u n d a n c e .

205.
korova yazykom slizala
As if a cow has licked it off with its

tongue.

S o m e o n e or something has d i s a p p e a r e d w i t h o u t a trace.


Cf. To vanish/disappear into thin air.
206
na igolkakh
As if on

needles.

Racked w i t h anxiety, in a state of


acute discomfort, uneasiness or
suspense.
Cf. To be on tenter-hooks; to be on
pins and needles; to be on
y^if,
thorns/wires.
//2f/fli

207.
n'ebo ot z'emli
As far off as heaven from

earth.

To differ essentially, sharply,


strongly.
Cf. There is a world of difference
b e t w e e n them.

208.
ob st'enku gorokh
Like throwing

peas against

the wall.

/ f ' S '

To say s o m e t h i n g to which not t h e slightest attention is paid


(often u t t e r e d in irritation).
Cf. You might as well talk to a brick w a l l / t o the wind.

122

209.
po m a s l u
Like sliding on oil.

Things a r e going well, smoothly,


swimmingly, without any
obstruction or complication.
Cf. Like clockwork; without a hitch.

210.
n o t a m razygrat'
As if played from

music.

To accomplish something without a n y difficulty, efficiently,


according to a c a r e f u l l y thought-out plan; to p e r f o r m something
with clockwork precision.

123

211.
r u k o y sn'alo
As if taken off by the

hand.

S u d d e n l y gone, completely
disappeared as if by magic
(usually said of pain or fatigue).

212.
r y b a v vod'e
Like a fish in

water.

To feel f r e e and easy; to be in s u i t a b l e or satisfying


surroundings; to find s o m e t h i n g n a t u r a l and easy to do.

Cf. To feel in one's element; to feel quite at home;


I 24 to take to something like a duck to w a t e r .

213


s gus'a voda
Like water off a goose.
W i t h o u t p r o d u c i n g a n y effect;
w i t h o u t p a y i n g t h e slightest a t t e n t i o n .
Cf. L i k e w a t e r off a d u c k ' s back.

214.
sel'd'ey v bochk'e
Like herrings

in a barrel.

T h e p l a c e is so c r o w d e d t h a t one
c a n ' t p u s h one's w a y t h r o u g h .
Cf. P a c k e d like s a r d i n e s .

125

215.
skvoz' z'eml'u provalils'a
As if someone

or something

has fallen through

the

ground.

Someone or s o m e t h i n g has suddenly and u n e x p e c t e d l y


disappeared in a m y s t e r i o u s manner, without a trace.
Cf. To vanish into thin air; as though
the e a r t h had opened and swallowed it up.

216.
sn'eg golovu
Like snow onto the

head.

To a p p e a r or arrive s u d d e n l y and unexpectedly. *


Cf. To come like a bolt f r o m / o u t of the blue;
to drop from the clouds.

.Q

126

^
0

217.
chort ot l a d a n a
Like the devil running
the incense.

away

from

To get rid of or shun someone or


something.

Cf. To avoid someone or something like


the plague.
218.
k a m ' e n ' na sertse
A stone on one's

heart.

Someone feels d e p r e s s e d or u n h a p p y .
Cf. A heavy heart; to have
something weigh upon one's heart.

127

219.
k a m e n ' s dushy svalils'a
A stone has fallen off one's

heart.

Someone feels relieved of a b u r d e n of an


u n p l e a s a n t , sad or oppressive feeling.
Cf. A load off one's m i n d .

220. HE
k a m n ' a na k a m n ' e n ' e ostavit'
Not to leave one stone upon another

stone.

To criticize something severely by pointing out t h e w e a k


points or faults; to u t t e r l y demolish an argument.
Cf. To p u l l / t a k e something to pieces;
to m a k e mincemeat of something.

128

221.
kapl'a v mor'e
A drop in the sea.
A part so small as to be insignificant

Cf. A drop in the ocean /bucket.


222.
k a t a t t s a syr v masl'e
To be rolling like cheese in
To be comfortably off.

butter.

Cf. To live in clover; to live on


the fat of t h e land; to live like a king.

129

223.
katittsa pod goru
slide

downhill.

To deteriorate, to decline, to become


worse.
Cf. To go downhill.

224

HE
-
k a s h y n ' e svarish
You won't cook kashct

with

someone.

You can't get on w i t h someone you won't


get a n y w h e r e with someone;
it's difficult to work w i t h
someone.

130

225.
k i d a y e t v zhar
Thrown

into a heat.

H e / s h e becomes e x t r e m e l y
agitated or anxious; h e / s h e feels
hot all over.

226.
kl'evat' nosom
To peck with one's
,

nose.

To nod; to be drowsy.

131

227.
klin klmom vyshybat'
drive out one wedge with

another.

To destroy t h e results of an action b y t h e m e a n s this action


has b e e n previously caused.
Cf. To fight fire with fire; like cures like; nail drives out nail.

228
kogda r a k svisn'et
When the crayfish

whistles

No one knows w h e n ; never.

132

Cf. When pigs fly; w h e n


two Fridays come
together.

229
kot naplakal
Something the cat
cried out.
Very little; practically
nothing; nothing to sp ak of.

230
koshki s k r ' e b u t na d u s h e
Cats are scratching

on one's

soul.

To be melancholy, sad, depressed; to be


anxious about something.
Cf. To be sick at heart; to have the blues.

133

231
krayeugol'ny k a m ' e n '
A

corner-stone.

Something indispensable, essential,


of p r i m a r y importance; a f u n d a m e n t a l
idea.
Cf. A corner-stone.

232.
krasivy zhest
A fine

gesture.
A deliberate action i n t e n d e d for effect.
Cf. A f i n e gesture; b e a u geste.

134

233.
k r a s n y
Red as a

lobster.

Red-faced; f l u s h e d w i t h anger
or e m b a r r a s s m e n t .
Cf. R e d as a lobster.

234


k r ' e p k y or'eshek
A hard

nut.

A p r o b l e m t h a t is very hard to solve;


a p e r s o n hard to deal with.
Cf. A h a r d n u t to crack.

135

235. -
krichat' vs'ekh p ' e r ' e k r ' o s t k a k h
shout about something at all cross-roads.
To a n n o u n c e something in t h e most public m a n n e r possible;
to m a k e something generally k n o w n to a wide public; to talk
constantly about something.
Cf. To c r y / s h o u t f r o m
t h e house-tops.

236.
k r o v ' s molokom
Blood with

milk.

Someone w i t h fresh
complexion, in t h e best of
health; one who looks quite well.
Cf. The very picture
of health.

136

237

,
kto v l'es kto drova
Some to the forest,

some to gather

firewood.

A p h r a s e e x p r e s s i n g lack of coordination or h a r m o n y (often


said of singing or playing musical instruments).

238.
k u d a v'et'er d u y e t
Whither

the wind is

blowing.

One has no f i r m convictions; one a d a p t s


himself to t h e prevailing opinions,
views, tastes; one avoids taking action
or m a k i n g a decision until he sees which
move will be most f a v o u r a b l e to himself.

Cf. To s e e / f i n d out which


w a y t h e wind blows; to see
which w a y the cat j u m p s ;
as c h a n g e a b l e as a weathercock.

137

239.
kupit' kota v m ' e s h k ' e
buy a cat in a sack.
To buy a t h i n g w i t h o u t knowing its real value or quality.
Cf. To b u y a pig in a poke.

240.
k u r a m na s m ' e k h
For the hens to laugh at.
It's f u n n y , ridiculous, absurd, silly.
Cf. It's enough to m a k e a cat laugh.

138

241.
kusat' s'eb'e lokti
bite one's own

elbows.

To .be deeply vexed; to be


u p s e t over an i r r e p a r a b l e loss
of s o m e o n e or something.
Cf. To cry over spilt milk;
to kick oneself over
a lost o p p o r t u n i t y .

242
l'okhkaya ruka
A light

hand.

S o m e o n e is known to b r i n g
luck to any kind of u n d e r t a k i n g .

139

243.
l'ogok pod'yom
Easy on the

ascent.

A l w a y s r e a d y and willing to go
s o m e w h e r e or do something.
Cf. Quick off the m a r k ; quick on
one's toes.

244.
l'od tronuls'a
The ice has begun to

break.

A beginning has been made;


things a r e moving.

140

245.
l'ezt' v b u t y l k u
climb into the

bottle.

To be carried away by excitement, to lose self-control, to


become s u d d e n l y or violently a n g r y (usually without reason,
over a m e r e trifle).

Cf. To fly off the handle;


to blow one's top.

246.
l'ezt' v d u s h u
To climb into someone's

soul.

To t r y to f i n d out someone's i n n e r m o s t feelings, thoughts,


intentions; to w i n someone's f a v o u r or confidence.
Cf. To w o r m oneself into someone's f a v o u r / c o n f i d e n c e .

141

247.
l'ezt' iz kozhy von
To climb out of one's

skin.

To m a k e a great effort; to do one's utmost, to t r y one's hardest.

Cf. To l e a n / b e n d over backwards; to go out of one's way; to


go all out.
248. -
lit' vodu m'el'nitsu
pour water on someone's

mill-wheel.

Indirectly to help someone (usually an opponent) by one's actions.


Cf. To play into someone's hands;
to bring grist to someone's mill.

142

249.
lit' iz v'edra
pour as from a pail.
To r a i n heavily.
Cf. It r a i n s cats and dogs.

250.

lit' krokodilovy sl'ozy


To shed crocodile

tears.

To complain hypocritically;
to show insincere, false
sorrow.
Cf. To shed
crocodile tears.

143

251.
lovit' l'etu
catch something

in

flight.

To be quick to c o m p r e h e n d or to
learn something; to g r a s p s o m e t h i n g
easily, at once.
Cf. To be quick on t h e u p t a k e .

252. -
lovit' slove
catch one at one's

word.

To m a k e someone do or promise to do
w h a t he said he would do.
Cf. To take someone at his word.

144

253.

lovit' r y b u v m u t n o y vod'e
To catch fish in turbid

water.

To t r y to benefit f r o m other people's troubles; to t r y to gain


a d v a n t a g e for oneself f r o m a d i s t u r b e d s t a t e of affairs; to t r y
to m a k e a calamity by m e a n s of personal gain.
Cf. To fish in troubled w a t e r s .

254. -
lomat' golovu
To break one's head over

something.

To t h i n k hard, especially on
a difficult problem.
Cf. To r a c k / c u d g e l one's b r a i n s
over something; to break one's
head over something.

145

255.
lomat' kop'ya
break

spears.

fight for something; to a r g u e heatedly.


Cf. To break a lance w i t h someone over something;
to cross swordsi

256.
lomittsa v o t k r y t u y u dv'er'
To break through an open

door.

To assert or t r y to prove s o m e t h i n g a l r e a d y w e l l - k n o w n
and undisputed.
Cf. To force a t / k n o c k
at an open door.

146

257.

l o p n u t ' m y l ' n y puzyr'


burst like a

soap-bubble.

Said of something t h a t proves to be


unstable, e p h e m e r a l or easily
destroyed.

258.
m a s t ' e r n a vs'e ruki
A master at all

hands.

To be good at a n y t h i n g one u n d e r t a k e s ; to show talent in


a n y t h i n g one t u r n s his h a n d to; a versatile worker.
Cf. A j a c k - o f - a l l - t r a d e s .

147

259.
makhnut' rukoy
wave one's hand at something

or

someone.

To stop doing something or dealing w i t h someone;


not to care w h a t happens; to give s o m e t h i n g u p as
a lost or hopeless cause.

260.
m ' e d v ' e d ' na u k h o n a s t u p i l
A bear stepped on someone's
ear.
Someone has no ear f o r music; s o m e o n e
is quite tone-deaf.

148

261.
m ' e d v ' e z h ' y a usltiga
A bear's

service.

A w e l l - m e a n t action h a v i n g t h e opposite effect; clumsy


assistance causing only m o r e problems; a dubious b e n e f i t
conferred on someone; a disservice.
/

262.
3

m'en'at' k u k u s h k u y a s t r ' e b a
exchange

a cuckoo for a hawk.

To select t h e worst f r o m a m o n g t h e
worse; to be out of one's reckoning;
to miscalculate.
Cf. To back the w r o n g horse.

149

263.
m'erit' svoy a r s h y n
measure

by one's own

arshin*.

To j u d g e others by oneself; to apply one's own s t a n d a r d to others.

Cf. To m e a s u r e another's corn b y one's own bushel.

264.
m ' e t a t ' gromy i molnii
To fling thunder

and

lightning.

To rage, to fulminate, to s p e a k w i t h
t h r e a t s a n d anger.
150

Cf. To r a n t and rave; to h u r l


thunderbolts; to blow one's top.

265.
mir t'es'en
The world is

cramped.

You m a y u n e x p e c t e d l y r u n
across a p e r s o n you know
anywhere.
Cf. It's a small world.


mnogo vody u t ' e k l o
Much water has flowed

away.

That was long ago; m u c h has h a p p e n e d since; m u c h has


c h a n g e d since.
Cf. A lot of w a t e r has flowed u n d e r the bridge since.

151

267.
m o r ' e kol'eno
The sea is

knee-deep.

One is unconcerned; one couldn't


care less; one is absolutely reckless.
Cf. Devil-may-care.

268.
m o t a t s'eb'e na us
To wind something

on one's

moustache

To observe something silently; to m a k e a


m e n t a l note of something.
Cf. Bite on that.

152

269.
moya k h a t a s krayu
My hut is on the

periphery.

This has
nothing to do with m e ;
it's no business /
c o n c e r n of mine.

270.
m u r a s h k i b'egayut po spin'e
Little ants run along one's

back.

One feels shivery due to fear, horror, or nervous excitement.


Cf. To give one the creeps; to m a k e one's flesh creep; to feel
chills r u n u p a n d down one's spine.
e ?

153

271.
mutit' vodu
To muddy

the

water.

To deliberately m u d d l e m a t t e r s ;
to stir u p trouble; to c o n f u s e things.

272.
rmikhi n'e obidit
He/she

wouldn't

hurt a fly.

H e / s h e is meek, timid, gentle, kind.


Cf. H e wouldn't h u r t , h a r m a fly; he won't
say " b o o " to a goose.

154

273


m y s h y n a y a vozn'a

Mice's

fussing.

Pointless f u s s i n g over trifles.

274.
nabit' ruku
strengthen

one's

hand.

To practise so as to acquire skill, to develop a good t e c h n i q u e


in something; to become a practised h a n d at something; to
give oneself a s t e a d y h a n d .
Cf. To get t h e knack of something.

155

275.
n a b r a t ' v rot vody
fill one's mouth with

water.

To r e m a i n silent; not to u t t e r a word..


Cf. To keep mum.

276.
na v'es zolota
Worth its weight in gold.
Someone or something is e x t r e m e l y
valuable or useful.
Cf. To be worth o n e ' s / i t s weight in gold.

156

277.

flee, to r u n away.
Cf. To t a k e to one's heels; to
show a clean pair of heels.

278.
n a v o s t r i t ' lishy
sharpen

one's

ears.

To give s u d d e n and intense a t t e n t i o n to w h a t is being said


or to w h a t is going to be said.
Cf. To prick up one's ears.

> \

157

279.
n a v ' a z n u t ' v zubakh
get stuck in one's

teeth.

To h a v e h a d more t h a n enough; to be sick


and tired of something.
Cf. To set one's
teeth on edge.

280
n a d ' e y a t t s a k a m ' e n n u y u goru
rely on someone

as on a rock

mountain.

To rely f u l l y on someone or something.

158

281.
nadut' guby
blow up one's

lips.

To be angry, to take offence w e a r i n g a s u l k y expression- to


e x p r e s s dissatisfaction or displeasure; to be in a disagreeable
Cf. To pout.

282.

n a z h i m a t ' na vs'e
knopki
To press on all the.
buttons

To u s e every direct or indirect m e a n s in order to attain a


goal; to exert personal a n d p r i v a t e influence on a m a t t e r
a f f e c t i n g oneself or others.
Cf. To pull w i r e s / s t r i n g s .

159

283.
n a z h i m a t ' vs'e p'edali
press all the

pedals.

To do everything in one's p o w e r to carry


out a task, a promise, etc.
Cf. To go all out.

284.
nazyvat' v'eshchy svoimi i m ' e n a m i
To call things by their

names.

To speak frankly, plainly or bluntly.

Cf. To call things by their r i g h t / p r o p e r n a m e s ;


to call a spade a spade.

160

285.
n a y t i s'eb'a
To find

oneself.

To find a n d realize one's vocation, calling; to d e t e r m i n e one's


aptitude, bent or inclinations.
u e i e r m m e one s

286.
nakl'eivat' yarlyki
To stick labels on someone

or

something.

To give a s t a n d a r d or s t e r e o t y p e d estimation of someone or


something (usually of a n e g a t i v e n a t u r e ) .
Cf^To pin a label on someone.

161

287

lbu napisano
It's written

on the

forehead.

Something about a person is


quite obvious by t h e look
on his face.
Ci. It's w r i t t e n
all over his face.

288.
nalomat' drov
To break up some

firewood

To commit follies;
to m a k e a mess of things.

162

289.
namylit' sheyu
soap someone's

neck.

To r e p r i m a n d or criticize
someone sharply; to give
someone a good rating.
Cf. To haul someone over the
coals; to give someone a
dressing-down.

290.
-
nan'esti u d a r izza ugla
To strike a blow from
round the corner.
To act in an u n d e r h a n d , treacherous, sly m a n n e r .
Cf. A s t a b in the back.

163

291.

napustit' tumanu
let the fog

in.

To o b s c u r e t h e issue;
to befog s o m e t h i n g ;
to c o n f u s e things;
to t r y to m i s l e a d s o m e o n e

292. -
nasolit'
To salt

someone.

To spite; to c a u s e s o m e o n e
a n n o y a n c e ; to do s o m e o n e
a bad turn.

164

293. -
n a s t u p a t ' p'atki
step on someone's

heels.

To catch u p w i t h someone; to follow


someone very closely; to be close behind.
Cf. To be at someone's heels.

294. .
nakhodittsa na tochk'e z a m ' e r z a n i y a
To be at

freezing-point.

To r e m a i n in t h e s a m e state or
condition w i t h o u t developing
or progressing; to be at a standstill.

165

295.
nashla kosa na k a m ' e n '
The scythe has struck a stone.

A clash of conflicting personalities,


interests, opinions, etc.
Cf. One has met his match; d i a m o n d
cut diamond.
296. HE
n ' e vidat' svoikh u s h e y
One won't see it as his own

ears.

One will never see, get or possess


something or someone.
Cf. You won't see hide nor hair of
something or someone; you have to
kiss it good-bye.

166

297.
j.

n'e vid'et' d a l ' s h e svoyevo nosa

__

Not to see farther

than one's

nose.

lack imagination or insight; to be conscious only of


circumstances round one; t h e situation one is now in or
events that a r e presently h a p p e n i n g .
Cf. Not to see an inch beyond one's nose; to see no
f u r t h e r than one's nose.

298.
n'e videt' 1'esa za d'er'ev'yami
Not to see the wood beyond the

trees.

To be u n a b l e to get a clear view of


t h e whole because of too m a n y details.
Cf. To be unable to see the
f o r e s t / w o o d for the trees.

167

299.
n ' e videt' sv'eta b'elovo
Not to see the white

world.

One is so b u r d e n e d with w o r k or cares t h a t


he has no peace, no rest and can't lead a
n o r m a l life.

300.
n'e vykhodit iz golovy
It doesn't come out of one's

head.

Something r e m a i n s p e r m a n e n t l y in one's mind; one is


unable to get s o m e t h i n g out of one's mind.
168

Cf. It sticks in one's m i n d .

301 HE
n'e za gorami
Not beyond

the

hills.

S o m e t h i n g is about to h a p p e n v e r y
soon.
Cf. Near at h a n d .

302.
n ' e l'ezt' za slovom v k a r m a n
Not to climb for a word into one's

pocket.

To be quick to respond, to a n s w e r promptly and well;


not to be at a loss f o r words.
Cf. To have a r e a d y / quick tongue.

169

303.
n'em ryba
Dumb as a fish.
Someone says v e r y little or
nothing; reserved,
uncommunicative.
Cf. C l o s e / d u m b as an oyster;
silent as a grave; tight-lipped.

304 HE ,
n'e m y t ' y o m tak k a t a n ' y e m
If not by washing,

then by

mangling.

To t r y to get something; to a n n o y or vex someone b y any means,


right or wrong.
Cf. By hook or by crook.

170

305.
n'e nakhodit' s ' e b ' e m ' e s t a
be unable to find a place for

oneself.

To be extremely anxious, discontented; to fret; to w o r r y ;


not to know w h a t to do with oneself.

306.
n'e n ' u k h a t ' porokhu
Not to smell

gun-powder.

Not to have been in combat.

171

307.
n'e ot mira s'evo
Not of this

world.

A person whose m i n d is filled w i t h visionary thoughts; one


w h o is too i m a g i n a t i v e instead of attending to things in a
practical way; a d a y - d r e a m e r .
Cf. To be in a n o t h e r world; to have one's head in the clouds.

308

HE
n'e udarit' v gr'az' litsom
Not to strike the mud with one's

face.

To m a i n t a i n one's dignity; to acquit oneself well; not to


disgrace oneself; to t r y to a p p e a r at one's best.
Cf. To put one's best foot f o r w a r d ; to m a k e a good showing.

172

309.

n'e um'et' d v u k h slov sv'azat'


To be unable to tie two
together.

words

To be u n a b l e to f o r m u l a t e one's ideas or express


one's thoughts; to be incoherent.
Cf. He can't put two w o r d s together.

310.
n ' e f u n t iz'umu
That's not a pound of
raisins.

It's not a trifle; it's not


to be r e g a r d e d as
negligible or
u n i m p o r t a n t ; it's no
light,matter; it's no joke.
Cf. It's not to be
s n e e z e d / s n i f f e d at.

173

311.
n'echist r u k u
Having an unclean

hand.

Inclined to stealing, swindling or cheating; dishonest,


underhanded.
Cf. To be light-fingered.

312. HE
n'e chuyat' nog pod soboy
Not to feel one's feet under

oneself.

To be very happy, to be highly delighted


Cf. To be beside oneself with joy;
to t r e a d / w a l k on air.

174

313.
ni dva ni poltora
Neither

two nor one and a half.

Defies classification; n e i t h e r good rior bad


neither one t h i n g nor t h e other.

314.
ni zhiv ni m'ortv
Neither

alive nor dead

Despondent; p e t r i f i e d w i t h fear or a s t o n i s h m e n t .
Cf. More dead than alive.

175

315.
ni za k a k i y e k o v r i z h k i
Not for any

gingerbread.

Not for a n y t h i n g ; not on a n y account.


Cf. Not for t h e world; not on y o u r life.

316.
ni kola ni d v o r a
Neither

a picket

nor a y a r d .

To be v e r y poor; not to h a v e a
roof over one's h e a d .

1 76

Cf. To h a v e n e i t h e r h o u s e nor h o m e .

317.
ni s'elu ni gorodu
Neither

to the village

nor to the

town.

Beside t h e point, out of place; f o r n o


a p p a r e n t reason; quite irrelevantly.
Cf. N e i t h e r here
nor t h e r e .

318. HE
ni na shto n'e pokhozhe
It doesn't look like

anything.

Very bad; unthinkable; u n h e a r d of; like nothing on earth;


t h a t won't do;
that's no good
at all.

177

319. !
ni pukha ni p'era
Neither down nor
feather.
Good luck!

320.
ni r y b a ni m'aso
Neither fish nor

meat.
A mediocre person.

Cf. Neither fish, flesh nor fowl.

178

321
nozh ostry
A sharp

knife.

Something extremely u n p l e a s a n t
or painful; something is t h e source
of annoyance, grief, etc.

Cf. Gall and wormwood; this is


sheer a g o n y / h e l l .

HE
n o m ' e r n ' e proyd'ot
The number won't pass

through.

T h a t won't do; you can't get a w a y


w i t h it.
Cf. Nothing doing; that trick w o n ' t
work; that won't w a s h .

179

323.
nosa n'e vysunut'
Not to peep out one's
O n e can't go outside.
Cf. One can't even
stick his nose out of
the house.

324.
nosit' vodu r ' e s h e t o m
To carry water in a sieve.
To do something useless;
to w a s t e time.
Cf. To plough the sand.

180

nose.

1976

325.
mizhen proshlogodny sn'eg
As needed

as last year's

snow.

T h e r e is no need to.

326.
obv'esti vokrug pal'tsa
To lead someone

round

finger.

Without any difficulty


to m a k e a person do
exactly w h a t one
wishes; to be able to <s
h a n d l e or m a n a g e
someone w i t h ease; to
cajole, p e r s u a d e
someone artfully.
Cf. To t w i s t / t u r n someone r o u n d one's little finger.

181

327.
ob'eshchat' zolotyye gory
promise

mountains

of gold.

To promise
someone a
fortune; to
make
extravagant
promises.
Cf. To
promise the
moon.

328.
obivat' porogi
To knock against the

thresholds.

To go f r e q u e n t l y s o m e w h e r e trying to obtain something; to


apply or petition w i t h dogged persistence.
Cf. To h a u n t someone's threshold; to camp on someone's
doorstep.

182

329. HE
obratittsa n'e po a d r ' e s u
To apply to the wrong

address.

To come to the w r o n g p e r s o n
or place to get w h a t one requires.
Cf. To come to t h e w r o n g shop.

330.
odin p'erst
Alone as a finger.

All alone in t h e world; all by oneself; w i t h o u t


kinfolk.

183

331. ,
odna noga zd'es' drugaya tarn
&

One foot's here, the other's

there\.

To go and fetch, to r u n and fetch; to do s o m e t h i n g v e r y


quickly, w i t h lightning speed.

332.
odnovo pol'a yagoda
A berry from the same

field.

They look alike; t h e y a r e similar in disposition, tastes,


etc.; they are well m a t c h e d ; t h e y deserve each other; one
is no better t h a n t h e other.
184

Cf. Not a pin to choose b e t w e e n them; cut f r o m the s a m e


cloth; birds of one f e a t h e r .

333.

okazattsa m'ezhdu d v u k h ogn'ey


To find oneself between

two

fires.

To be or f i n d oneself b e t w e e n two equally serious evils


or dangers, b e t w e e n equally u n p l e a s a n t alternatives,
in a perplexing situation; to be attacked f r o m two directions;
to be criticized f r o m both sides.
Cf. Between the devil and t h e deep blue sea; b e t w e e n two fires.

334.
okazattsa m ' e z h d u n ' e b o m i z'eml'oy
To find oneself

between

the sky and the

earth.

185

335.

okatit' kholodnoy vodoy


pour cold water over

someone.

To disparage someone,
to discourage someone's enthusiasm; to d a m p someone's
a r d o u r ; to throw someone into confusion.
Cf. To t h r o w / pour cold w a t e r o n / o v e r
someone.
336.
o k u n u t t s a z golovoy
To plunge

headlong.

To become u t t e r l y a b s o r b e d / e n g r o s s e d
in something; to be deeply immersed,
irrevocably involved.

186

Cf. To be u p to one's ears in something;


to throw oneself into something.

337.
opustft' rtiki
lower one's

hands.

To lose interest; to become disappointed, depressed; to be


disheartened.
Cf. To lose h e a r t .

338.
o s t a v i t ' s nosom
To leave someone

with his

nose.

To leave someone w i t h o u t s o m e t h i n g he had hoped for;


to m a k e a fool of someone; to trick someone.
Cf. To leave someone holding t h e bag.

187

339.

ostattsa
bobakh
be left
on the beans.

To be left w i t h o u t something one has hoped for; to be out


in one's reckoning; to get nothing for one's pains; to be left
w i t h nothing.
Cf. To be left holding the bag.

340.
ostattsa u razbitovo koryta
To be left at the broken
wash-tub.

To be left with nothing, having lost


everything one had; to be no better
off t h a n w h e n one started.
188

Cf. To be back at t h e bottom of the


ladder.

341.
otkladyvat' chorny d'en'
put aside for a black day.
'

To save or r e s e r v e s o m e t h i n g
(usually one's income) for t i m e of trouble,
for bad times.
Cf. To s a v e / p u t by for a r a i n y day.

342.
otkryvat' am'eriku
To discover

America.

To say something t h a t everyone has long been a w a r e of;


to say or explain s o m e t h i n g t h a t is already well k n o w n to
everyone; to retail stale news.
Cf. The Dutch have t a k e n Holland; Queen A n n is dead!

189

343. -
- / -
otkryvat' glaza
open someone's

eyes to someone

or

something.

To enable one to u n d e r s t a n d , to cause one be a w a r e of or


to realise a fact, t r u t h , reality to which one h a d been blind.
Cf. To open someone's eyes to something or someone.

344. - /
otkryvat' d u s h u / s ' e r t s e
To open one's soul / heart to

someone.

To tell someone f r a n k l y of one's i n n e r m o s t t h o u g h t s or


feelings.
Cf. To lay b a r e one's heart.

190

345.
otkryvat' svoyi karty
To show one's

cards.

To stop m a k i n g secrets of one's


plans or intentions; to reveal
candidly all one's aims.

Cf. To lay / p u t one's


cards on the table;
to show one's hand.

346. -
otkuda syr-bor zagor'els'a
That's how the wet pine forest caught

fire

That's how it all s t a r t e d (usually about something u n p l e a s a n t


or troublesome).
Cf. That w a s Hie spark that set the forest on fire.

191

347.
pal'ets pal'ets n'e udarit'
Not to strike one finger against

another.

To be idle; not to stir oneself; not to m a k e t h e slightest


effort to a t t a i n one's goal.
Cf. Not to r a i s e / l i f t a finger.

348
palka d v u k h k o n t s a k h
A staff with two

ends.

Something t h a t can h a v e pleasant and u n p l e a s a n t


consequences; s o m e t h i n g that can bring good as well
as h a r m .
Cf. A d o u b l e - e d g e d / t w o - e d g e d weapon; it cuts both ways.

192

349
pal'tsa v rot n'e kladi
Don't put your finger
in his/her
mouth.

Someone is not to be t r i f l e d with;


w i t h this m a n one m u s t be s c r u p u l o u s l y
exact; one m u s t be on one's g u a r d with him because h e is
likely to t a k e a d v a n t a g e of another's f a l s e step.

k350.

HE
pal'tsem n'e tronut'
Not to touch
with one's

anyone
finger.

Not to do a n y o n e any h a r m ; not to hit


someone.
Cf. Not to hurt a fly.

193

351.
pal'chiki oblizhesh
You'll lick your fingers

clean.

Delicious, tasty, appetising food or


drink; a real treat.
Cf. Finger-licking good.

352.
p ' e r v a y a lastochka
The first

swallow.

The first p o r t e n t of something.

194

353
p'er'egibat' palku
benfi the

stick.

To go beyond t h e appointed or accepted


limit; to go to t h e extreme; to go too far; to
overdo something.

Cf. To overshoot the mark.

354.
p'erelivat' is pustovo v porozhn'eye
To pour something

from one empty vessel into

another.

To w a s t e time on s o m e t h i n g useless; to w a s t e t i m e in
useless debate; to engage in idle chatter.
Cf. To mill t h e w i n d ; to beat t h e air.

195

355.
p'er'elomit' seb'a
break oneself in two.
To m a s t e r oneself; to conquer
one's temper; t o c h a n g e one's
behaviour, character, habits; to
restrain or s u p p r e s s one's feelings;
to overcome oneself or s o m e t h i n g
in oneself.

356.
p ' e r ' e m y v a t ' kostochki
To wash someone's

bones.

To gossip, to say s p i t e f u l things about


someone; to f i n d detailed faults in a
person.

16

Cf. To p i c k / p u l l
someone to pieces.

357.

p'er'epolnit' chashu t'erp'eniya
overfill

the cup of pat ience.

To bring someone to t h e end of


his e n d u r a n c e or patience; to
e x a s p e r a t e someone; to be at t h e
end of one's tether.
Cf. The last straw; to break the
camel's back.

358.
p'es'enka sp'eta
One's song has been

sung.

O n e is n e a r his end; one is ruined; it's all done w i t h him; he's


done for.

Cf. Someone's goose is cooked.

197

359.
pisat' kuritsa lapoy
write like a chicken

with its claw.

To w r i t e quite indecipherably.
Cf. One's h a n d w r i t i n g
is like chicken tracks.

360.
plavat' topor
To swim like an axe.
To be a poor s w i m m e r or not
to be able to s w i m at all.
Cf. To swim like a stone / l i k e
a tailor's goose.
cs

198

361.
p l a k a t t s a v zhil'etku
weep into someone's

waistcoat.

To bewail one's f a t e seeking s y m p a t h y or


consolation.
Cf. To cry on someone's shoulder.

362.
platit' toy zhe m o n ' e t o y
To pay someone

back in the same

coin.

To act by using on an opponent the s a m e m e t h o d s h e employed


against one; to r e t u r n like for like; to retaliate.
Cf. To pay one back in his own coin;
to pay/ a n s w e r back in kind.

199

363.
pl'evat' v potolok
spit at the

ceiling.

To do nothing at all; to be idle.


Cf. To f r i t t e r a w a y the time; to sit twiddling
one's t h u m b s .

364.
pl'estis' k a k c h e r ' e p a k h a
To crawl like a

tortoise.

To go very slowly; to d r a g oneself along; to trudge.


Cf. To go at a crawl; to m o v e at a snail's pace.

200

365.
plyt' t ' e c h e n i v u
down

stream.

do or t h i n k as m o s t people do; to allow one's actions a n d


principles to be guided solely by t h e prevailing t r e n d ;
to be carried a w a y by t h e course of events.
Cf. To go/ s w i m w i t h the
s t r e a m / current; to follow t h e crowd.

366. -
pobyvat' v shkur'e
To be in someone

else's

hide.

To be in t h e s a m e u n p l e a s a n t position
or a d v e r s e circumstances as someone else.
Cf. To be in someone's s h o e s / s k i n .

201

367.
pognattsa za d v u m ' a
zaytsami
To run after two

hares.

To p u r s u e two different
aims simultaneously.

ffi '

''I

368.
po gor'achim sl'edam
While the tracks are hot.
Without losing time; immediately,
directly a f t e r s o m e event.

Cf. To let no grass grow


u n d e r one's feet.
202

369.
p o d v ' e r n u t t s a pod r u k u
turn up under one's

hand.

Something t u r n s u p
w i t h o u t one's h a v i n g
to m a k e a special search for it.
Cf. To come to h a n d .

370. -
podv'esti pod m o n a s t y r '
To bring someone

up to a

monastery.

To put someone into


a difficult position;
to put someone in a
tight spot; to cause
someone m u c h trouble.

203

371.
podvodnyye kamni
Under-water

rocks.

A difficulty w h i c h is h a r d to foresee; a h i d d e n obstacle; a snag.

372.
pod gor'achuyu r u k u
Under a hot hand.
One does s o m e t h i n g while still
angry, excited, disturbed.

204

Cf. In the heat of the moment.

373.
podzhat' khvost
turn one's tail between

one's

legs.

To become more cautious,


circumspect; to cease boasting;
to become less self-assured.
Cf. To h a v e / p u t one's tail
b e t w e e n one's legs; to sing small.

374.
podlit' masla v ogon'
To add oil to the

fire.

i act or s p e a k in such a w a y as to increase


t h e existing passion or excitement; to
aggravate the trouble; to m a k e a bad
m a t t e r worse.
Cf. To add f u e l to t h e fire;
to pour oil on t h e f l a m e .

205

375.
podlozhit' svin'yu
lay a pig near

someone.

To do a vile t h i n g to someone
on t h e sly.
Cf. To play a d i r t y / m e a n
trick on someone.

376.
podn'esti pil'ul'u
To bring a pill Jo
> <5
To say or do s o m e t h i n g
unpleasant, annoying,
insulting.
Cf. To give someone a b i t t e r
pill to swallow.

206

someone.

377.
podnimat' shchit
raise something
up on the shield.

or

someone

To extol, to eulogize, to boos


Cf. To praise to t h e skies.

378.
pod nosom
Under one's

nose.

Directly in f r o n t of one; in plain view; in one's presence.


Cf. N e a r at hand;
u n d e r someone's v e r y nose; before
someone's face.

207

379.
podn'at' v s ' e k h nogi
raise everybody

to his

feet.

To d i s t u r b everyone; to raise t h e
alarm; to m a k e e v e r y o n e be
more active; to rouse everyone
to action.

380. -
podpisyvattsa ob'eimi r u k a m i
To sign something

with both

hands.

To willingly agree
to something; to f u l l y endorse something.

208

381. -
podr'ezat' k r y l ' y a
clip someone's

wings.

To limit one's movements,


activities; to h a m p e r one's freedo.
of action; to destroy one's selfconfidence; to u n d e r m i n e one's
power or ability to do something.
Cf. To c l i p / c u t someone's
wings/claws.

382.
pod s u r d i n k u
With a mute.
Softly, gently;
on t h e quiet;
on the sly;
w i t h o u t being noticed
209

383.

pozhinat' plody
reap the

fruits.

To experience t h e results of
one's actions, deeds,
behaviour.

Cf. To r e a p t h e f r u i t s of
something.
384.
poymat' na udochku
To catch someone

on one's fishing

line.

By deceiving or outwitting someone to cause him to do


something; to trick or to fool someone.
Cf. To catch out.

210

385. ,

pokazat' gd'e r a k i z i m u y u t
To show someone
crayfish
winter.

where

the

To teach someone a lesson; to p u n i s h someone; to scold


s o m e o n e severely.
Cf. To m a k e it hot
for someone;
to show someone
a thing or two.

386.
pokazat' kogti
show one's

claws.

To show hostility, anger, or r e s e n t m e n t ;


to display a t h r e a t e n i n g attitude.
Cf. To show one's teeth.

211

387
pokazat' p'atki
show one's

heels.

To r u n away; to escape.
Cf. To take to one's heels;
to show a clean pair of heels;
to take flight.

388.
pokazyvat' tovar litsom
To show one's goods from the right

212

To show a thing its best side;


to m a k e t h e best of something
to show something to its full
advantage; to display oneself
in a f a v o u r a b l e light.

side.

389.
polnaya c h a s h a
A full

One lives in plenty, in


affluence, in luxury.

390.
polozha r u k u na sertse
With one's hand on one's

heart.

To say s o m e t h i n g q u i t e frankly,
candidly, sincerely.

Cf. To say something w i t h one's h a n d


upon one's heart, o p e n - h e a r t e d l y .

2 13

391.
polozhi't' zriby polku
put one's teeth on a shelf.
To go hungry; to starve.
Cf. To tighten one's belt.

392. -

polozhit' ob'e lopatki
put someone on both
his
shoulder-blades.
To defeat a n opponent in an argument, competition, contest,
etc.; to beat someone.

214

393. -
polozhit' pod s u k n o
put something

under the

cloth.

To delay or postpone
consideration of an official
paper; to pigeon-hole a
request or an application;
to shelve a problem or a plan

394. -
p o p a d a t t s a yazyk
land on someone's

tongue.

To become t h e subject of criticism.or gossip.


215

395.
pal'tsam mozhno soshchitat'
They can be counted

on one's

fingers.

Very few; in small quantities.


Cf. You can count t h e m on your fingers.

396.
popast' v per'epl'ot
To get into a

binding.

To get into a difficulty or into


trouble; to f i n d oneself in an
a w k w a r d or dangerous situation.
Cf. To get into a s c r a p e / m e s s /
tight corner; to be in a spot; to
b e / ' b e caught in a bind.

216

397.
popast' v tochku
hit the right

point.

To come to t h e right conclusion;


to come at t h e crux of t h e m a t t e r ;
to say or do w h a t is exactly right
as if b y guessing correctly w h a t
m u s t be said or done in t h e
circumstances.
Cf. To hit the nail on the head;
to hit the bull's e y e / t h e mark.

398.
popast' k u r vo shchi
To get oneself into the
like a chicken.

shchi*

To get into trouble; to be caught.


Cf. To g e t / f a l l into the soup; to get into hot water.

217

399. -
popast' zubok
find oneself on someone's

little

tooth.

To be s u b j e c t e d to biting or
sarcastic criticism; to become the
butt of ridicule.
Cf. To be torn to pieces.

400. HE ,
popast' n'e v brov' a v glaz
To hit not the eyebrow

but the

eye.

To guess right; to say something t h a t


is exactly right;
to give t h e t r u e
explanation.

218

Cf. To hit t h e nail on the head;


that hit the m a r k ; you've said it!

401.
popast' pal'tsem v n'cbo
To hit the sky with one's

finger.

To say or do s o m e t h i n g t h a t is far f r o m
being correct or quite out of place; to
a n s w e r irrelevantly.
Cf. To g e t / t a k e the
w r o n g sow by
t h e ear;
to be w i d e of / w a y
off the m a r k .

402. -
popasttsa na lidochku
To be caught on someone's

fishing

line.

To permit
oneself to be
fooled; to fall for a h o a x or trap; to
accept a proposal, an offer, etc. m a d e
to t e m p t one to do something.

Cf. To swallow t h e bait: to rise to the fly; to be t a k e n in; to


fall into someone's t r a p / s n a r e .

219

403.
porokhu n'e v y d u m a y e t
He will not invent

gunpowder.

He will never do a n y t h i n g r e m a r k a b l e or outstanding


(usually said of a dull-witted, not v e r y bright person).
Cf. He will n e v e r set the T h a m e s / w o r l d on fire.

404. HE
porokhu n'e k h v a t a y e t
Not enough

gunpowder.

One lacks energy, strength or resolution to do something.


Cf. It's beyond him; he has not it in him;
he is not u p to it.

220

405. -
posadit' v galoshu
put someone

into a galosh.
To p u t someone into
an e m b a r r a s s i n g
or u n c o m f o r t a b l e
situation; to be m a d e f u n
of; to get someone into
a fix; to be in an
a w k w a r d predicament.

406.
posl'edny krik m o d y
The latest cry of

fashion.

The latest fashion; t h e latest craze.


Cf. The last word in fashion.

221

407.
posl'edn'aya kapl'a
The last

drop.

T h e final circumstance of a
series t h a t m a k e s a situation
unbearable.
Cf. The last straw.
408.

posl'edn'aya spitsa
v kol'esnitse
The last spoke

in the

chariot.

A person of v e r y little importance;


one w h o doesn't count; a minor
figure.
Cf. A m e r e cog in the machine.

222

409.
posl'e dozhdichka v chetv'erg
After a little rain on a

Thursday.

No one k n o w s w h e n .
Cf. When pigs fly; w h e n two F r i d a y s come together.

410.
postavit' vopros r ' e b r o m
To put a
edgewise.

question

To a n n o u n c e or s t a t e s o m e t h i n g
categorically; to say s o m e t h i n g in a
m a n n e r t h a t leaves no room
for doubt; to ask s o m e t h i n g directly,
openly; to put a question point-blank.
Cf. Not to mince words.

223

411.

postavit' vs'o
kartu
put
everything
on the card.

To risk all t h a t one has on a


single venture, method, etc.;
_ to s t a k e all one's hopes on one
source or m e a n s .
Cf. To put all one's eggs in
one b a s k e t .

412. -
postavit' v tupik
To put someone

in a blind

alley.

To bewilder, to puzzle, to n o n p l u s
someone; to t h r o w someone into
confusion.

224

413.
- / -
postavit' kr'est
put a cross on
someone / something.
To lose faith in someone or
something; to stop thinking of
someone or something; to give
someone u p for lost; to give
something u p as a hopeless case.
Cf. To kiss s o m e t h i n g good-bye.

414. -

postavit' svoyo m ' e s t o
put someone

in his place.

To s n u b a p e r s o n w h o is overstepping his bounds; to check


someone's p r e s u m p t i o n .
Cf. To put someone in his place.

225

415.
pochivat' l a v r a k h
sleep on one's

laurels.

To be satisfied with w h a t one has a l r e a d y achieved or


accomplished w i t h o u t striving for more.
Cf. To rest on one's laurels.

416.
pribirat' r u k a m
To take something
hands.

in one's

To appropriate, to seize, to take


possession of.
Cf. To lay one's h a n d s on something.

226

417. -
priv'esti v seb'a
bring someone

into

oneself.

To cause someone to
regain consciousness; to revive someone.
Cf. To bring someone r o u n d / t o .

418.
prilozhit' r u k u
To put one's hand to

something.

To be actively involved in
s o m e t h i n g (usually reprehensible,
blameworthy).
Cf. To h a v e / t a k e a hand in
something; to have a finger in the
pie.

227

419.

p r i n i m a t ' za chistuyu m o n ' e t u


To take for a pure

coin.

To regard something as t r u e ; to take


s o m e t h i n g seriously.

Cf. To take in good


faith; to take at face
value.

420.
-
pripirat' k s t ' e n k ' e
To press someone
wall.

228

against

the

To put someone in a difficult or e m b a r r a s s i n g position,


forcing h i m to do or admit something; to put someone in
d e s p e r a t e straits.
Cf. To d r i v e / p u s h someone to the wall; to drive someone
into a corner; to pin someone down.

421. -
p r i t ' a n u t ' za ushi
pull something

up by the ears.

To m a k e use of s o m e t h i n g without
adequate grounds; to advance f a r fetched a r g u m e n t s .
Cf. To drag s o m e t h i n g in.

422.
probny shar
A trial

ball.

An a p p r o a c h or device
(usually by m a k i n g discreet
inquiries) used to clarify a
situation or test t h e opinions
or feelings of others.
Cf. A trial balloon; a feeler.

229

423.
provalittsa s t r ' e s k o m
collapse with a bang.
To flop; to be a complete and
ignominious failure.
Cf. To come a c r o p p e r / c r a s h e r ;
to fall flat on one's face.

424.
proglotit' pil'ul'u
To swallow

the pill.
To disregard an insult;
to e n d u r e a n offence patiently,
without resistance or complaint.

230

425.
proglotit' yazyk
swallow

one's

tongue.

To fall silent; to stop talking,


Cf. To lose
one's tongue.

ft

426.
prozhuzhzhat' vs'e lishi
To buzz
someone's
ears through.
To bore someone b y
telling h i m s o m e thing over a n d over
again; to keep
dinging s o m e t h i n g
into someone's
ears.

Cf. To talk
someone's ears off
about something; to
drone on at
someone; to go
rabbiting on.

231

427.
proyti k r a s n o y nit'yu
run through

something

with a red

thread.

To be t h e basic idea, t h e key-note,


t h e essence of something;
to r u n through something
(e. g. a book or a speech)

31

proyti skvoz' ogon'
i vodu
To go through
and water.

fire

To go through a great deal


in life; to encounter or f a c e
| t h e greatest dangers or h a r d e s t
experiences; to e n d u r e perils
of all k i n d s ^

232

Cf. To go through
fire and w a t e r ;
to go through
t h e mill.

429.
-
proytis' po a d r ' e s u
To walk up and down
someone's
address.
To m a k e a snide r e m a r k about
someone; to m a k e f u n of
someone; to m a k e an
implied criticism.
Cf. To have a fling
at someone; to give
someone a bad w r i t e - u p .

430

propuskat' mimo ushey


To let something
one's ears.

pass by

To pay no attention or not to react


to something t h a t has been or
is being said.

Cf. To let something go in one ear


and out the other.

233

To destroy evidence; to bury, r e m o v e every trace of something;


to cover u p one's tracks.
Cf. And n o one is the wiser.
432 HE
ptich'yevo moloka n'e k h v a t a y e t
Sovieone

lacks bird's

milk.

A great a b u n d a n c e of everything.

234

433.
-
p u d soli s'yest'
eat a pood* of salt
with
someone.
To live w i t h or know
someone for a long time;
to spend a long t i m e
together w i t h someone.

pood an old Russian


unit of weight (16.38 kg
or approx. 36 lb.).

434.
puskat' kozla v ogorod
To let the goat into the kitchen

garden.

To give someone access to a place w h e r e he m a y be particularly


h a r m f u l or dangerous, or to something f r o m w h i c h he wishes to
profit.

235

435. -
puskat' pyl' v glaza
throw dust in someone's

eyes.

To m a k e a false impression; to t r y to i m p r e s s people with one's


superiority, to display oneself; to act in an ostentatious
Cf. To put on airs; to cut a dash;
to t h r o w dust in someone's
eyes.

436. HE
p u s h k o y n'e proshib'osh
You won't

236

You can't
p e r s u a d e him,
you can't
influence him,
you can't
budge him.

breach it with a

cannon-ball.

437.

rabotat' zasuchiv r u k a v a
To work with one's
rolled up.

sleeves

To w o r k assiduously,
strenuously.

438


rabotat' n'e pokladaya r u k
To work without

giving rest to one's

hands.

To work unceasingly, tirelessly, indefatigably.


Cf. To be as b u s y as a bee.

237

439.
razbivattsa v 1'ep'oshku
smash oneself into aflat

cake.

To do one's utmost, to strain every nerve,


to do n e x t to impossible
to attain one's end.
Cf. To lay oneself out; to go all out.

440.
razv'esit' ushi
To hang out one's

ears

To be so carried a w a y by w h a t one
hears t h a t one doesn't react properly or
forgets a b o u t something important.

238

441. -

razv'azat' ruki
untie someone's

hands.

To give someone f r e e d o m of
action, choice or j u d g e m e n t in a
matter.
Cf. To give someone a f r e e hand;
to u n t i e someone's hands.

442.
razv'azat' yazyk
To untie one's

tongue.

To begin to talk a lot; to


s p e a k a f t e r having
r e m a i n e d silent.

Cf. To loosen one's tongue;


to f i n d one's tongue.

239

443.

razr'adit' a t m o s f ' e r u
discharge

the

atmosphere.

To relieve tension; to create


an a t m o s p h e r e that will cool
down a fiery argument.
Cf. To clear t h e air.

444.
r a s k h l ' o b y v a t ' kashu
To eat up kasha
To disentangle something;
to put things right;
to clear u p a mess;
to get oneself out
of a mess.

240

445.
rvat' i m e t a t '
tear and throw.
To get irritated; to be in
a towering rage; to show
angry impatience; to
w o r r y oneself into a s t a t e
of temper.
Cf. To f r e t and f u m e

446.
rvat' na s ' e b e volosy
To tear one's

hair.

To be desperate; to be distressed;
to grieve.

Cf. To t e a r one's hair.

241


-

rvat' chasti
tear someone

into

pieces.

To pester someone w i t h questions


or r e q u e s t s ; to bother someone
too much; not to give someone
\ \ I // Peace//

448.
revet' belugoy
To roar like a beluga.
To wail; to scream; to howl
w i t h frenzy.

242

449.
rodittsa v sorochk'e
be born with a shirt on.

Cd>To be always lucky,


v- successful, happy.

Cf. To a l w a y s fall on one's feet;


to be born w i t h a silver spoon
in one's mouth.
450.

rodittsa pod schaslfvoy zv'ezdoy


To be born under a lucky

star.

To be always lucky, successful,


Cf. To a l w a y s fall on one's feet;
to be born u n d e r a lucky star.

243

451.
rubit' spl'echa
chop straight from the

shoulder.

To speak in a direct, outspoken, blunt way; w i t h o u t


r e s e r v e or evasion; to act without previous intention or
preparation, promptly, impulsively; to do s o m e t h i n g
w i t h o u t giving it a thought.
Cf. Straight f r o m the shoulder.

452. ,

rubit' s u k kotorom sidish


To be hewing down a bough
on which you are sitting.
To act in such a w a y as to do
oneself harm.

244

Cf. To cut one's own throat;


to s a w off the bough on which
one is sitting.

453.
ruka n'e drogn'et
One's hand
wouldn't
shake doing
something
One won't hesitate
to
do
something;
one will do
something without
scruple.

Cf. O n e w o u l d n ' t
think twice about
doing s o m e t h i n g ;
without a qualm.

454. H E
ruka n'e podnimayetsa
One's hand won't

rise.

O n e can't b r i n g himself to do s o m e t h i n g ;
one is h e s i t a n t a b o u t d o i n g s o m e t h i n g .

Cf. Not to h a v e t h e h e a r t to do s o m e t h i n g .

245

455.
ruki korotki
One's hands are

short.
One doesn't h a v e
enough authority,
power or s t r e n g t h to do
something; one
is in no position
to do something.
Cf. J u s t t r y !
You couldn't
if you tried!

456. HE
r u k i n'e dokhod'at
One's hands don't

reach.

One has no t i m e or possibility to u n d e r t a k e something.

246

457.
ruki c h e s h u t s a
One's hands are

itching.

Someone is
anxious to
do something.
Cf. One's
fingers/hands
itch to do
something.

458. HE
r u k o y n ' e dostan'esh
You can't reach someone

with your

hand.

S o m e o n e is out of reach (usually said of someone in a high


position).

247

459. -
ryt' y a m u
dig a pit for

someone.

To cause someone trouble;


to plunge into intrigue against
someone; to do someone harm.

Cf. To m a k e / p r e p a r e a pitfall
for someone.
460.

sadittsa na l'ubimovo kon'ka


To mount

one's favourite

pony.

To dwell on one's favourite


topic; to be on one's pet
subject.

Cf. To m o u n t / r i d e one'
hobby/hobby-horse.

248

461.
sadittsa s h e y u
sit down on someone's

neck.

To s u b m i t someone to one's willy;


to put someone u n d e r one's complete
control; to u s e someone as a tool.

Cf. To live off someone.

462. HE
sadittsa n'e v svoi sani
To get into someone

else's

sleigh.

To u n d e r t a k e to do s o m e t h i n g one knows
nothing about or w h i c h one w h o has i n a d e q u a t e
knowledge, training, etc.; to occupy a post
for w h i c h one is unsuited.

249

463.
sami s usami
We too have a
moustache
of our
own.
Not y o u n g in
w i s d o m ; no w o r s e
than.
Cf. We w e r e n ' t
born yesterday.

464.
sapogi v s m ' a t k u
Soft-boiled
boots.
Rot, n o n s e n s e , r u b b i s h ,
a t r i f l i n g m a t t e r , nothing.

250

465.

sbrasyvat' masku
throw off the

mask.

To show one's
t r u e self,
one's t r u e
character
and intentions.
Cf. To t h r o w
off the mask.

466.
sv'etlaya golova
A bright head.
A lucid mind, a clear intellect,
a bright spirit.
Cf. A clear head.

251

467


svodit' kontsy s kontsami
To bring the ends

together.

With great effort or difficulty to balance one's income w i t h


one's expenditures; to m a n a g e with one's resources.
Cf. To m a k e both ends m e e t .

468.
svorotit' gory
To shift

mountains.

To do something i m p o r t a n t which calls for great effort.


Cf. To move m o u n t a i n s .

252

469. -

sv'azat' r u k a m i nogam
tie someone's
hands and feet.
To d e p r i v e someone of t h e
possibility to act freely; to
completely r e s t r a i n someone's
activities b y conditions or rules.

Cf. To b i n d / t i e
someone h a n d
and foot.

470.
sglazhivat' ostryye ugly
smooth

sharp

corners.

To smooth things over;


to relieve t h e situation;
to ease tension;
to a d j u s t differences

253

471. CO
sgorat' so styda
To burn with

shame.

To feel great shame.


Cf. To b u r n w i t h shame.

472.
sgushchat' kraski
thicken

the

paints.

J o exaggerate; to picture s o m e t h i n g
as being w o r s e t h a n it really is.
Cf. To lay it on thick.

254

473.

sdavat' v arkhiv
relegate

to the

archives.

To dismiss as u n f i t for a particular use:


to b u r y in oblivion as something
obsolete or useless.

474.
s'em' potov soshlo
Seven sweats

have come o f f .

One has e x e r t e d himself to t h e fullest


to accomplish something.
Cf. To sweat one's guts out.

255

475.
s ' e m ' p'atnits n'ed'el'e
Someone

has seven Fridays in one

week.

Someone w h o easily and f r e q u e n t l y changes


his mind, mood or intentions.
Cf. Someone is in t w e n t y minds; to chop and change.

476. / HE
- / -
s e r t s e / d u s h a n ' e l'ezhit
One's heart/soul
doesn't
lie for something or someone.

256

One feels no inclination t o w a r d s o m e t h i n g or someone; one


has no liking for or confidence or interest in someone or
something; one h a s a distaste for something.

477. /

s e r t s e / d u s h a razryvayetsa
chasti
One's heart/soul
into pieces

is

breaking

One feels great pity, compassion, grief; one feels


something keenly, takes something hard.
Cf. One's h e a r t is breaking.

478.
-j

s'est' v luzhu
To sit down into a

middle.

To get oneself into an a w k w a r d position or compromising


situation; to let oneself be duped; to do or say something
stupid.
Cf. To put one's foot in it: to get oneself into a f i x / s p o t .

257

479.
s'est' m'el'
sit. down on a shoal.
get into an e x t r e m e l y
difficult situation;
to be in u n s a t i s f a c t o r y circumstances,
especially w i t h little money.
Cf. To be on the
rocks; to be in
low water; to be in a
tight corner.

480. /
szhech k o r a b l i / m o s t y
To burn the ships

/bridges.

To take an irrevocable step; to do s o m e t h i n g that m a k e s


it impossible to retreat, to change one's plans, etc.
Cf. To b u r n one's b o a t s / b r i d g e s .

Tr%

258

481

sid'et' m'ezhdu dvukh stul'yev


To sit between

two

chairs.

To t r y to a d h e r e to t w o d i f f e r e n t ,
i r r e c o n c i l a b l e p o i n t s of view; to t r y
to k e e p t h e f a v o u r of both sides in a
dispute.
Cf. To r u n w i t h t h e h a r e a n d h u n t
w i t h t h e h o u n d s ; to play a d o u b l e
game.

482


s i d ' e t ' c h e m o d a n a k h
sit on one's

suitcases.

P a c k e d a n d w a i t i n g to go.

2 5l>

483.
sid'et' slozha n i k i
sit with one's arms

folded.

To be idle; to sit still doing


nothing.
Cf. To sit twiddling one's t h u m b s .

484. -

sklon'at' vo vs'ekh p a d ' e z h a k h
To decline someone
the cases.

260

in all

To t a l k a lot about someone at


e v e r y opportunity (usually in a
derogatory manner).

485.
skol'zit' pov'erkhnosti
glide on the

surface.

To deal w i t h a subject only superficially;


to p a y a t t e n t i o n to o u t w a r d a p p e a r a n c e s
w i t h o u t going to t h e root of t h e m a t t e r .

Cf. To s k i m t h e surface of something;


never to go below the surface.

486. , !
skol'ko l'et skol'ko zim
So many summers,

so many

winters!

How long ago! (A greeting u s e d w h e n two people h a v e n ' t seen


each other for a long time).
Cf. Long time no see! I haven't seen you for ages! F a n c y
meeting you a f t e r all this time.

261

487.
slabaya striinka
A weak

string.

T h e most v u l n e r a b l e a s p e c t
of s o m e o n e ' s c h a r a c t e r ; a m a t t e r
u p o n w h i c h one is easily a f f e c t e d
or m o s t s e n s i t i v e .
Cf. A w e a k / ' s o f t point.

488


s l'okhkim s'ertsem
With a light

heart.

F r e e f r o m sorrow,
discomfort, a n x i e t y ,
misgivings.
Cf. With a light
heart.

489.
s l'okhkoy ruki
From the light hand of

someone.

At someone's initiative or following someone's e x a m p l e


w h i c h set in motion a series of s u b s e q u e n t actions or deeds.

490.
sl'ed prostyl
Someone's footprints
grown cold.

have

Someone has r u n away,


d i s a p p e a r e d ; there's not a trace
of someone.
Cf. To vanish into thin air.

o<t=>

-
'

2(i3

491.
s l o m a t ' l'od
break the ice.

To p u t a n e n d to f o r m a l i t y , s t i f f n e s s or s h y n e s s i n one's
r e l a t i o n s w i t h people; to m a k e t h e f i r s t step; to m a r k
t h e b e g i n n i n g ; to c a u s e a n y m a t t e r to s t a r t moving.
Cf. To s t a r t t h e ball rolling; to b r e a k t h e ice.
492.
s luny svalils'a
One has fallen from

"^
264

the

moon.

S o m e o n e is puzzled; s o m e o n e d o e s n ' t u n d e r s t a n d w h a t is
e v i d e n t to e v e r y o n e .
Cf. As if h e w e r e b o r n y e s t e r d a y ; to fall f r o m t h e m o o n .

493

,
slyshno miikha prol'etit
One could hear a fly flying

past.

It's absolutely quiet; it's deadly still.


Cf. You could hear a pin drop.

494.
sl'iinki t'ekut
Saliva is f lowing.

S o m e o n e is anxious to p a r t a k e
of s o m e tasty food or drink.
Cf. To m a k e someone's m o u t h
water.

265

495
s m a t y v a t ' udochki
reel in the lines.
To depart in haste.
Cf. To t a k e / s l i n g one's hook;
to take to one's heels: to clear out.

496.
s m ' e y a t t s a v kulak
To laugh into one's

fist.

To laugh secretly to oneself w h i l e being o u t w a r d l y serious.


Cf. To laugh i n / u p one's sleeve.

266

497.
smotret' v kor'en'
look into the

root.

To look d e e p into t h e m a t t e r ;
to i n v e s t i g a t e t h e m a t t e r
t h o r o u g h l y ; to t r y to g r a s p t h e
c r u x of a m a t t e r ; to t a c k l e
s o m e t h i n g at its source.
^ To get (o t h e h e a r t / r o o t of
omething

498


s m o t r ' e t ' v oba
To look

through

both.

To look a t t e n t i v e l y ; to b e closely
o b s e r v a n t ; to be on t h e alert; to be
particularly watchful.
Cf. To k e e p o n e ' s eyes peeled

skinned.

267

499. -
s m o t r ' e t ' v rot
look someone

in the

mouth.

To l i s t e n a t t e n t i v e l y a n d s e r v i l e l y
to w h a t one says; to f a w n on s o m e o n e .
Cf. To h a n g on
someone's words.

500


s m o t r ' e t ' d r u g i m i glazami
To look at someone or
with different
eyes.

something

To look at or assess s o m e o n e or
something in a different way.
Cf. To look w i t h a n o t h e r eye u p o n .

26,X

501.
s m o t r ' e t ' b a r a n n o v y y e v o r o t a
look at someone or something
a ram at a new gate.

like

To look a t s o m e o n e
or s o m e t h i n g w i t h
a puzzled, p e r p l e x e d
or d i s m a y e d

e x p r e s s i o n on o n e s
face; to look r a t h e r
stupid, not
understanding
w h a t is going on;
to look q u i t e lost.

502.
s m o t r ' e t ' s v e r k h u vniz
To look down at someone

from

above.

To r e g a r d s o m e o n e as i n f e r i o r or w i t h
d i s a p p r o v a l ; to t r e a t s o m e o n e h a u g h t i l y ,
disdainfully.
Cf. To look d o w n on s o m e o n e ; to look d o w n
o n e ' s n o s e at s o m e o n e .

2n4

503.
s m o t r ' e t ' skvoz' pal'tsy
look through one's

fingers.

To purposely avoid seeing; to


deliberately ignore a piece of
misconduct or a transgression; to
r e f u s e to observe something; to
connive at; to wink at.

Cf. To m a k e light
of; to t u r n a blind
eye to; to look the
other w a y ;
to look through one's
fingers.

504.
s m o t r ' e t ' skvoz' rozovyve ochki
To look through rose-coloured

glasses.

Not to see a person's shortcomings: to t a k e too optimistic a


view of someone or something.
Cf. To v i e w / l o o k t h r o u g h
rose-coloured glasses.

270

505.
snimat' penki

skim.

a p p r o p r i a t e t h e best
p a r t of t h e r e s u l t s of
s o m e o n e else's l a b o u r .
Cf. To s k i m t h e c r e a m off.

506. -

snimat' struzhku
To take the
someone.

shavings

To criticize s o m e o n e s e v e r e l y ,
to r a t e s o m e o n e soundly, to
scold s o m e o n e .
Cf. To t e a r s o m e o n e off a strip.

271

507.

sn'at' shl'apu
take off one's hat before

someone.

To e x p r e s s respect,
a d m i r a t i o n for a p e r s o n ' s
achievements.

Cf. To t a k e off o n e ' s h a t to s o m e o n e .


508. -
s o b a k u s'yel
One has eaten the dog at
something.
O n e h a s a c q u i r e d g r e a t skill or
e x p e r i e n c e in s o m e t h i n g ; one
knows something thoroughly;
one is a n e x p e r t in s o m e t h i n g .
Cf. To h a v e s o m e t h i n g a t o n e ' s
f i n g e r t i p s ; to k n o w s o m e t h i n g
i n s i d e out; to k n o w t h e r o p e s ;
he's been around.

Ill

509. HOC -
so vat' nos
To stick one's nose into
something.

To m e d d l e in or i n t e r f e r e w i t h other people's affairs; to


i n t r u d e w h e r e one is not wanted.
Cf. To poke / stick one's nose into something.

510.
son v r u k u
The dream has come
into one's hand.
Said of a d r e a m that has
come true.

273

511.
sorit' d'en'gami
litter with

money.

To s p e n d a large s u m of m o n e y
r e c k l e s s l y ; to s q u a n d e r m o n e y .
Cf. To t h r o w one's m o n e y a b o u t .

512. CO
so s k r i p o m
With a creak.
To do s o m e t h i n g v e r y
slowly, w i t h g r e a t
d i f f i c u l t y or effort,
reluctantly.
^ ^

274

"

513. /

s otkrytoy dushoy/
otkrytym s'ertsem
With an open

heart/soul.

To treat, s o m e o n e or
do s o m e t h i n g
sincerely,
trustfully,
f r a n k l y , openly,
without prejudice.

514

s p a t ' b'ez z a d n i k h nog


To sleep without
legs.

one's

hind

To sleep s o u n d l y .
Cf. To sleep like a log top.

2 75

515.
s pl'ech doloy
Off one's

shoulders.

One needn't bother a b o u t


s o m e t h i n g any longer; one
n o longer has an i r k s o m e
b u r d e n to bear; one has
got rid of duties, cares,
responsibilities.

Cf. That's done, t h a n k


goodness.

516.
sptitat' vs'e k a r t y
To mix up all the

cards.

To spoil or r u i n someone's
plans; to upset someone's
calculations.

276

Cf. To upset someone's


apple-cart.

517.
srazhattsa s v e t r ' a n y m i m ' e l ' n i t s a m i
To fight against the

windmills.

To w a s t e energy in
combating i m a g i n a r y
evils or difficulties;
to attack an
imaginary foe.
Cf. To tilt at
windmills.

518.
stavit' vo glavu ugla
To put something
of an angle.

in the

vertex

To assign p r i m a r y
i m p o r t a n c e to something;
to consider something
to be indispensible.
- 0

277

519. -
s t a v i t ' nogi
put someone

on his

feet.

To c u r e s o m e o n e of an illness.

520.
s t a v i t ' odmi d o s k u
To put someone on the same
board with someone
else.

278

To put s o m e o n e on t h e s a m e level w i t h
s o m e o n e else; to consider one p e r s o n
comparable with another.

521. -
s t a v i t ' s nog golovu
put something from
feet into its head.

its

To give a distorted picture of s o m e t h i n g ; to put things in t h e


wrong order; to t a k e t h e effect for t h e cause.
Cf. To put the cart before the horse.

522.
stavit' tochki n a d i
To put dots above the i's

To m a k e s o m e t h i n g clear and definite;


to give m o s t c a r e f u l attention to detail.
Cf. To put t h e finishing touches to
something; to dot one's i's and cross one's t's

279

523.
stanovittsa d y b y
stand up on one's hind

legs.

To resist; to protest; to display stubbornness.


Cf. To r e a r up; to stand up on one's hind legs.

524.
s t a r o mir
As old as the

world.

Very old, stale, u n i n t e r e s t i n g


because h e a r d before.
Cf. As old as the hills.

280

525.
stirat' grani
grind off the

edges.

To r e m o v e differences
or distinctions.

526.
stoit v k o p a n n y
One stands as if dug in.

One stands quite still,


motionless.
Cf. To stand as if rooted
to the g r o u n d .

281

527. - / -
s t o y a t ' goroy
stand for someone
like a
mountain.

or

something

To d e f e n d s o m e o n e or s o m e t h i n g
w i t h all one's might, by e v e r y
possible m e a n s ; to be solidly
b e h i n d s o m e o n e or s o m e t h i n g ;
to s t a n d f i r m or stick u p
for s o m e o n e or s o m e t h i n g .
Cf. To s t a n d f o r s o m e o n e
t h r o u g h thick a n d thin;
to b a c k s o m e o n e u p to t h e
hilt.

528.
stoyat' nad dushoy
To stand

over someone's

soul.

To a n n o y s o m e o n e b y c o n s t a n t l y
w a t c h i n g him; to i m p o r t u n e
someone.
Cf. To s t a n d over s o m e o n e ;
to b r e a t h d o w n s o m e o n e ' s n e c k ;
to w o r r y t h e life out of s o m e o n e .

2S2

529.
s t o y a t ' ' ' gorla
stand across someone's
throat.
To b e c o m e u n b e a r a b l e ,
u n e n d u r a b l e ; to be a source of
annoyance, irritation, especially
a p e r s i s t e n t one.
Cf. A t h o r n in o n e ' s f l e s h / s i d e .

530


s t o y a t ' ' ' dorogi
To stand across the road

To be a n obstacle, h i n d r a n c e or
i m p e d i m e n t to s o m e o n e ; to h a m p e r
s o m e o n e ' s c h a n c e s of success or
** I

.
_
progress.

Cf. To be s t a n d in s o m e o n e ' s w a y .

2S3

531.
s t r ' e l ' a n y vorob'ey
A sparrow that has been shot at.
A person experienced in t h e
m a t t e r at hand; someone not
easily deceived.
Cf. An old hand; a knowing old bird.

532.
str'el'at' is pushki v o r o b ' y a m
fire a cannon at

sparrows.

use an i n s t r u m e n t or t a k e m e a s u r e s far more p o w e r f u l


t h a n is necessary; to m a k e a great effort for a small gain.
284

Cf. To use a s l e d g e - h a m m e r to crack a nut;


to b r e a k a f l y / b u t t e r f l y u p on the wheel.

533.
strich v s ' e k h pod odrni g r ' e b ' o n k u
To cut everyone's

hair with one

comb.

To t r e a t everyone alike; to r e d u c e e v e r y o n e to the s a m e


level; to judge all people t h e s a m e w a y .

534.
stroit' na p'esk'e
To build something

on sand.

To m a k e plans,
organise a scheme,
etc., on an insecure
foundation.

>'

Cf. To build on
sand.

285

535.
. t ' a z h o l y m s ' e r t s e m
With a heavy

heart.

To b e a n x i o u s , d e p r e s s e d , in low s p i r i t s :
to h a v e a p r e s e n t i m e n t t h a t s o m e t h i n g
u n p l e a s a n t or u n d e s i r a b l e is a b o u t to h a p p e n .
Cf. With a h e a v y h e a r t .

536.
shchitat' voron
To count the

crown.

To g a p e at s o m e t h i n g ; to b e d i s t r a c t e d ,
i n a t t e n t i v e ; to be bored.

2Sfi

537.
syt gorlo
Full right up to t he
throat.
O n e has had too much
of something; one is
surfeited with
something.

Cf. To be fed u p w i t h something;


to h a v e one's fill of something.


t a n t s e v a t ' ot p'echki
To dance from the

stove.

To begin with something t h a t


is elementary, familiar, or
simpler, repeating all t h e
m o v e m e n t s or operations f r o m
t h e very beginning; to begin
f r o m the beginning.

2N7

539.

taskat' k a s h t a n y iz ogn'a
To pull the
chestnuts
out of the fire.

To do t h e h a r d e s t and t h e most p a i n s t a k i n g part of s o m e j o b for


someone else's benefit.
Cf. To pull t h e chestnuts out of the fire.

540.
tashchit' za u s h y
To pull someone

288

by the

To do e v e r y t h i n g to help s o m e o n e (usually one w h o is r e m i s s


and of less t h a n average ability) in his studies, in obtaining
promotion, etc.

541.
t'oploye m'est'echko
A warm little

place.

A highly paid a p p o i n t m e n t
or job; a profitable position.

Cf. A c u s h y / s n u g job.

542.
t ' e r ' a t ' golovu
To lose one's

head.

To become flustered,
confused, panic stricken; to lose one's
self-control.
Cf. T o j o s e one's h e a d / w i t s ; to lose
one's presence of m i n d .

289

543.
t ' e r ' a t ' pochvu pod nogami
To lose the ground under one's

feet.

To lose self-confidence in one's occupation,


social position or convictions.
Cf. To feel the ground slipping away from
under one's feet.
544. ,
t i s h e vody nizhe t r a v y
Quieter than water, lower than

grass.

One is meek, timid, mild, quiet.

290

J h o

Cf. Quiet as a mouse; meek as a lamb.

545.
toloch vodu v sttip'e
pound the water in the

mortar.

To do useless work,
to engage in fruitless talk
t h a t can h a v e no results,
to w a s t e time.
Cf. To beat the air; to mill the
wind.

546.
t r ' e s h c h a t ' po s h v a m
To burst at the

seams.

To b e on t h e verge of destruction,
collapse, ruin.
Cf. To g o / f a l l to pieces; to f a l l / b u r s t
apart at the seams.

291

547.
t'azholaya artil'eriya
Heavy

artillery.

Something t h a t can be u s e d
in an emergency as an effective
m e a n s of achieving an end.
M *

548.
t'azhol na pod'yom
Heavy on the rise.
Slow or unwilling to do
something; sluggish,
h a r d to move or rouse
to action.

292

549.
t'amit' vr'em'a
drag the

time.

To be slow in acting; to
procrastinate; to wait for
a f a v o u r a b l e opportunity.
Cf. To bide one's time.

550.
t'arnit' za yazyk
To pull someone
tongue.

by the

To m a k e someone s a y
something; to p u m p someone.

293

551.
ubit' d v u k h zaitsev
kill two

hares.

To achieve two objects s i m u l t a n e o u s l y


to a t t a i n two results w i t h one means.
Cf. To kill two birds with one stone.

552.

u d a r i t ' obukhom golov'e
strike as if with an
on the head.
To amaze, to
perplex, to s t u n
someone; to take
someone aback.

294

Cf. To knock
someone down with
a feather; to knock
someone off his pins.

axe-butt

553.
u d a r i t ' po r u k a m
To strike each
hands.

other's

To c o n f i r m an a g r e e m e n t or a
b u s i n e s s deal; to strike a bargain.

Cf. To s h a k e h a n d s on it.

554. -
uznat' is p e r v y k h r u k
To learn something

from the first

hands.

To receive information direct f r o m a p r i m a r y source w i t h o u t


intermediaries.
Cf. At first h a n d .

295

555.
uyti v k u s t y
into the
shrubs.

w i t h d r a w f r o m one's promise or an u n d e r t a k i n g ; to
disclaim f u r t h e r responsibility for something.
Cf. To m a k e oneself scarce; to back out; to show t h e w h i t e
feather.

556.
uyti v s'eb'a
To go into one's

own

self.

To become w i t h d r a w n ,
uncommunicative; to become
less sociable and m o r e r e s e r v e d .
296

Cf. To retire into oneself;


to w i t h d r a w into one's shell.

557.
-
uytl z golovoy
headlong
something.

into

b e f u l l y absorbed, deeply engrossed or totally involved


in something.
Cf. To t h r o w o n e s e l f / p l u n g e into something; to get u p to
one's neck in something.

558. -

ukazat' dv'er'
point to the door.

P e r e m p t o r i l y to ask a person,
whose p r e s e n c e is unwelcome,
to leave t h e house, room, etc.
Cf. To show someone the door.

297

559.
u m y v a t ' ruki
wash one's

hands.

To divest oneself of a n y f u r t h e r
connection w i t h or
responsibility for something;
to a b a n d o n the m a t t e r entirely.

Cf. To w a s h one's h a n d s
of something.

560.
unosit' nogi
To carry

away

one's

legs.

To flee; to r u n as f a s t as
one's legs will c a r r y one:
to h a v e a n a r r o w escape.

298

Cf. To escape
by the skin
of one's teeth.

561.
u p a s t ' s n ' e b a z'eml'u
fall from the sky to the

earth.

To be disillusioned;
to abandon f a n t a s y a n d
r e t u r n to practical realities.
Cf. To come down to e a r t h .

m
TL
562.
ustraivat' stsenu
To make a scene.
To start a noisy or violent
a r g u m e n t , quarrel or s c r a p w i t h
someone, expressing one's
dissatisfaction, irritation, etc.
Cf. To s t a g e / k i c k u p a row;
to m a k e a scene.

299

563. -
u t ' e r ' e t ' nos
wipe someone's

nose.

To w i n an advantage over
someone; to humiliate or
cause disgruntlement;
to m a k e a clever retort.

Cf. To score off someone;


to get the better of
someone;
to steal a
on someone.

march

564.
likho r'ezhet
Something

cuts one's

ear.

It's grating u p o n one's ears; it's p a i n f u l to listen to; it


offends t h e ear.

300

565.
ushy v'anut
One's ears fade.
It is so ridiculous, a b s u r d
or silly t h a t it's disgusting
to listen to.

Cf. It m a k e s one sick to hear about it.

566.
k h v a t a t ' zv'ozdy s n'eba
To snatch

the stars from the

sky.

To be v e r y good at something; to be
able to do s o m e t h i n g r e m a r k a b l e .
Cf. H e is as good as they come.

301

567.
khvatattsa za golovu
clutch one's

head.

To be struck w i t h horror; to
a b a n d o n oneself to despair.

568.
k h v a t a t t s a za solominku
To clutch at a straw.
W h e n in e x t r e m e danger,
difficulty, etc., to try to seize
a n y chance, h o w e v e r small or
useless, of getting out of it.
Cf. To c a t c h / c l u t c h at a straw.

302

569.
khodit' vokriig da okolo
To walk round and

about.

To avoid saying something openly, f r a n k l y , directly; to


avoid t h e essential facts; not to come to t h e point; to
a p p r o a c h a m a t t e r in a r o u n d a b o u t way.
Cf. To beat about the bush.
570.
khodit' na golov'e
To walk on one's

head.

To get into mischief; to play p r a n k s ; to be n a u g h t y (usually


said of children).

303

571.
khodit' krayu propasti
walk on a brink of an

abyss.

To be in i m m i n e n t mortal danger; to be on t h e verge


of disaster.
Cf. On a brink of a precipice.

572.
khodit' po strtink'e
To walk on a string.

To be completely u n d e r someone's authority; to be very


obedient, almost to the point of serv ; lity.
Cf. To be at someone's beck and call; to dance a t t e n d a n c e
304

upon someone; to toe the line.

573.
khot' t r a v a n'e rasti
Who cares whether

or not the grass

grows.

O n e couldn't care less; it's all t h e s a m e to someone.


Cf. Not to care a straw.

574.
khot' s h a r o m pokati
You could even roll a ball through

it.

There's nothing there; it's completely empty.


Cf. Bare as a bone; as bare as t h e p a l m of one's hand.

305

575.
k h r o m a t ' ob'e nogi
limp on both

legs.

To h a v e serious gaps in one's


knowledge, training or abilities.

576.
k h u d o y spichka
Thin as a

matchstick.

Very thin.
Cf. Thin as a
lath / r a k e .

306

577.
- / -
t s e n y n'et
There's price on
or something.

someone

Someone or something is
priceless, invaluable.

J g j !

578. -
cher'ez golovu
Over someone's

head.

I To do s o m e t h i n g w i t h o u t i n f o r m i n g
one's i m m e d i a t e superior; to
a p p l y to a higher a u t h o r i t y b y
p a s s i n g an i n t e r m e d i a t e one.
Cf. To go over someone's head.

307

579.
cher'ez chas c h a y n o y lozhk'e
One teaspoonful

every other

hour.

To be f e w a n d at long intervals; very slowly.


Cf. In drops; i n / b y driblets; f e w and far b e t w e e n .

580.
c h o r n a y a koshka prob'ezhala
A black cat has run between

them.

There's a coolness b e t w e e n t h e m ;
t h e y have become estranged.
Cf. They have fallen out.

308

581.
c h o r n y m b'elomu
In black on

white.
To declare or state something
definitely, clearly, distinctly.
Cf. In black and white.

582.

chortova d'tizhina
A devil's

dozen.

Thirteen.
Cf. A d e v i l ' s / a
baker's dozen.

309

583.
chesat' yazyk
scratch one's

tongue.

To engage in idle talk; to talk continuously; to chatter.


Cf. To wag one's tongue.

584.
chitat' m'ezhdu strok
To read between

the

lines.

To discern t h e concealed m e a n i n g ;
to d r a w conclusions w h i c h a r e not
obvious in something said or w r i t t e n .

310

Cf. To r e a d b e t w e e n t h e lines.

585.
c h u d e s a v r'eshet'e
Miracles in a sieve.
It's amazing, incredible, u n b e l i e v a b l e
e x t r a o r d i n a r y ; it's a fantastic tale.

586.
chuzhimi r u k a m i zhar zagr'ebat'
To bank up the fire with someone

else's

hands.

To benefit by t h e results of someone else's work;


to use t h e results
of someone else's w o r k
to achieve one's selfish ends.
Cf. To m a k e a
c a t ' s - p a w of
someone; to pull
someone's chestnuts
out of t h e fire.

311

587.
s h a p k a m i zakidayem
We'll pelt you (him,
with our caps.

etc.)

We expect to win w i t h o u t difficulty; it's as good as certain


(to boast of an easy victory).
Cf. It's a walk-over; it's in the bag.
588.
shapochnoye z n a k o m s t v o
A cap

acquaintance.
A slight acquaintance.
Cf. A n o d d i n g / b o w i n g a c q u a i n t a n c e .

312

589.

shito b'elymi nitkami


It is scum with white

thread.

It is a f l i m s y story or excuse
easily seen through; it is all too
obvious; it is quite t r a n s p a r e n t .
Cf. Something does noj
hold water;
m a d e u p out
of whole cloth.

590.
s h u t k i v storonu
Jokes

aside.
Speaking seriously; it's a
serious m a t t e r ; let's get down
to business.
Cf. Joking a p a r t / a s i d e ;
all kidding aside.

313

591.
yabloku n'egd'e u p a s t '
No room for an apple to fall.
Used to indicate t h a t t h e r e is a
large n u m b e r of people i n one
place, that t h e place is
overcrowded, t h a t t h e r e is
h a r d l y room to m o v e or t u r n
around.

Cf. There's no room to swing a cat

592.
yazyk slomayesh
You can break your

tongue.

It's very difficult to p r o n o u n c e a word or a phrase.


Cf. You can b r e a k / t w i s t your tongue.

314

593.
yazyk horosho p o d v ' e s h e n
One's tongue is hung

well.
Someone is a s m o o t h
talker; someone has
a glib tongue.
Cf. To h a v e t h e gift
of t h e gab.

594.

yasno d'en'
Clear as day.

Easy to see or comprehend;


quite evident, obvious; as plain or clear as can be.
Cf. As plain as the nose on your face; as plain as day.

315

INDEX
329, 429
342
194
547
473
192, 263
443
1
501
31
270
2
4
39
125, 299
581
589
448
5, 6
7
8
339
9
10, 34
214
11
12 14
15
400
16, 17
18, 19
20
245
44
21 32

33, 34
35
36
37, 38
162
190
249
56
39
40
182,276
238
191
197
119
517
41
284
42
179
43
44 47
296
48, 297
49, 50
51
52 54
55
56
57
526
58
59
502
60
213

51, 212, 253


61
62, 335
84, 173, 195, 196, 248,
271, 324, 428, 431, 545
63, 89, 201, 266, 275, 544
52
273
64 66
326, 569
104
53
67, 446
181, 247
10, 410
531
532
536
4
501
121
68
69
71
549
163, 258, 282, 283, 426,
516,
411
325, 379, 484, 533
464
72, 73
74
75
76
189
140
184
78
79, 80
81
82, 83, 84
403
85
86 89
90
91

92
93
94
203
95
2
323
96
300
163
181
22
227
565
97
405
68, 385
518
98, 99
187, 400
18, 100, 101, 154, 174,
343, 435
113, 500
93
195
174
102
70
103, 134, 466
552, 570
98
336, 557
22, 37, 183, 216, 254,
521, 542, 567, 578
34, 81, 300
104
45
198
301
105
529
537
317
527
208

172, 223, 280


327, 468
368
372
106
525
533
199
264
308
281
107
213
97

318

108
109, 297
110, 200, 313
200
201
256, 558
316
28
367
309, 333, 348, 481, 551
111 1 1 4
115
116
184, 341, 594
511
298
117 122
123
27
124
188
185
167
125
126
409
515
530
520
458
127

128
129
456
107
288
237
453
130
331
500
23
238
77
131 133, 138, 476, 477
230
219
513, 528
12, 57, 138, 145, 153,
178, 246, 344
67
523
134
582
135
109, 136
135
225, 586
137
232
314
148
361
138 1 4 2
143
144
145
146
346
586
147
148
149
514

3
150
367
551
136
587
151
152
153
154
113
294
155
156
157
63
158
68
437
159
160
450
566
331
34
161
334
127,203,207
106, 215, 561
486
385
588
162 165
276
166
167
168, 327
169
122
279
399
146,391
206
186
30

170, 171
103
172 177
92
178
179
204
310
284
182 183
184186
187
188
189
64
191
7, 39, 48, 49, 104,
139, 140, 164, 192 217,
233, 249, 257, 280, 296,
325, 330, 359, 360, 364,
493, 501, 524, 526, 552,
594
315
125
202
280
118, 218, 219,
295
16
220
371
220
201
221, 407
302
411
345, 516
304
222
223
224
539
144, 444
225
349

130,
222,
303,
398,
576,

231,

319

320

226
38, 227
227
6
116
282
315
228
386
247
434
74
39
408
79
267
65
467
348
431,467
460
58
255
480
497
94
71
205
455
340
295
356
229
239
452
97
139, 580
230
231
232
472
60
427
233
269
234

413
406
235
236
250
152
103
13
381
237
174,238
262
496
239
398
240
359
116
241
555
33
415
217
49
359
352
287
72
242
488
489
243
7, 244, 491
476
245 247, 302
439
237'
298
486
251
130
248 250
308, 388
251 253
579

241
253, 254
256
392
257
478
492
277
460
465
374
222
209
258
259
260
115
261
333, 334, 481, 584
479
517
248
262
263
314
165
305
29, 132
541
9, 414
264, 445
239
430
265, 524
307
266
406
395
264
432
236
21
370
362
419

221, 267
137
480
268
269
189
270
271
253
493
111, 272
257
304
273
320
274
275
277, 278
279
1
280
281
282, 283
284
185, 285
286
21
288
289
290
287
229
291
131
48
292
293
260
305
294
295
160, 199, 561, 566
25
207, 401
334

321

591
475
109
303
577
115
432
311
544
350
589
427
69
501
78, 312, 514, 521
331
469
543
23
72, 379, 519, 560
575
141
321
24
322
41, 61, 119, 149, 509, 563
297,323
324
226, 338, 378
158
210
325
306

322

498
326
392, 575
380
327
328
272
55
351
329
552
333

171, 185
539
173, 374, 428
16, 434
30
330
331
180, 332
5, 33, 520, 533
333, 334
335
569
336
337
196
234
130
220, 338
339, 340
470
321
341
342 345
513
256
346
504
484
118
347
348
74
353
95, 326, 349
395
164
350, 401
503
351
110
283
93
505
319
352

170
554
353
507
235
354
355
356
396
357
330
147
358
534
126
73
538
376, 424
51
359
360
361
362
363
364
198, 515
91, 183
383
365
366
485
175
367
112
137
369
370
593
371
373
374
375
70
376
454
377

379
380
381
243, 548
383
384
385 388
574
438
191
50
391
389
390
391 393
313
332
394
396 401
402
162, 529, 530
328
354
135
135
306, 403, 404
405
409
406
407, 408
410 414
187
8
474
14
363
318
78, 169, 543
415
159
416
417
418
419
142
420

323

421
580
422
215
106, 423
192
424, 425
322
426
427, 428
429
493
571
430
490
99, 177
436
325
431
50
432
433
257
434,435
354
319
532
436
435
133, 293, 387
475
164

573
444
445 447
448
564
585
324
27
204
44
449, 450
504
66
275, 349, 499
451, 452
35, 193, 438, 554
242, 453, 454
114, 437
416, 469, 553
45, 380, 586
105, 120
46, 168, 258,
455 457, 483, 559
489
211, 259, 458
102, 274, 311,
390, 418, 510
7, 212, 303, 320
253
459
181

437, 438
100
439
340
440
441, 442
101
62
477
443
210
228, 233
385

460 462
463
462
110
464
465
198
219, 492
224
502
299
466
375
228

43
467
414
297
26
29
42, 164, 345, 462
32
284
91, 296
263
468
32
309, 469
470
471
472
473
108
180
197
1 5 6 , 2 4 1 , 2 6 8 , 3 0 5 , 4 4 6
46, 82, 87, 120, 285, 355,
417, 556
307
80
25
317
214
474, 475
186
12, 218, 344, 390, 476,
477
488, 513, 535
166
478, 479
480
481 483
452
1
106, 215, 428
503
504
484
485
486
230

170
512
487
490
368
155
250
205
309
42
19
252
47
32, 302
483
592
491
111
493
494
495
240
496
4 9 7 504
216, 325
505, 506
211
507
68
139
508
312
11
36
509
36
433
568
510
92
511
449
143
394
474
514

325

326

358
270
408
576
451
114
516
517
518 522
523
67
524
420
208
202
525
186
85
526
176
590
527 530
69
531
532
533
534
76
584
83, 88
506
487
572
96
481
545
471
452
393
382
89
3
562
450
536
508

433
222
- 346
537
304
331
538
26
539
540
494
117
54
11, 123
20
541
357
542, 543
265
180
365
177
544
388
362
545
360
294
522
5, 397
573
544
423
143
546
244
90
291
150, 412
548
547
535
549, 550
551

290, 518
470
290
308, 347, 552, 553
495
151, 384, 402
554
555557
558
161
15
309
559
560
561, 591
77, 268
463
261
562
266
563
121, 260, 564
190
129, 296, 430
59, 278, 421, 426, 440,
540, 565
133
310
269
160, 404
566
567, 568
373
569 572
163
335
593
573, 574
575
576
577
579
579

447, 477
389
188, 357
482
157
578, 579
364
580
117
341
581
217
582
583
409
200
457
84, 419
584
318
585
586
312
587
588
422
574
546
99
289,461
141
589
366
115
507
75
590
398
377
591
332
2, 122, 124, 394,
442, 550, 583, 592, 593

286
594
199
262

40
205
85
459



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