10 Funny Russian Idioms Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

kill the wormsLearning the Russian language doesn’t have to be stressful all the time. If Russian grammatical rules stressed you out, it’s time to take a break and have fun. But it doesn’t mean stopping altogether from your Russian learning. You merely shift, and it’s time to learn the fun part of Russian Language.

One of the ways to learn the Russian Language in a fun manner is by listening to Russian music and watching Russian movies. check out this list of Russian cartoon for something easy to absorb. For music, check out some interesting Russian pop group you need to check out. Don’t get carried away though, that you become distracted with how good the movie or the music is that you forget to learn.

But today is not the day for music and movies. Here, we will learn about Russian idioms. To be specific, funny Russian Idioms that will make you laugh out loud. Not only that it’s fun to learn, but the idiom knowledge will also be useful once you practice it with locals. They’ll be delighted at your wittiness and joke.

Let’s learn what are these funny idioms.

1. В ногах правды нет. (read: V nogakh pravdy nyet.)

In English, this phrase means ‘There’s no truth standing in your feet”

What does this even mean? If you’re confused, let us explain the context of where this idiom is applied.

It’s where a host encourages his/her guests to sit down and enjoy themselves in their host’s house. Because apparently if you keep standing, what you’re gonna say is not a truth. Of course, not literally, what a rude host if it’s true. But isn’t it funny?

2. Не гони лошадей! (read: Nye goni loshadyei!)

Its literal translation is ‘don’t rush the horses’. It’s meaning is also not far from its direct translation: no need to rush.

3. Делать из мухи слона. (read: Dyelat’ iz mukhi slona.)

Exactly a phrase you need if you have overdramatic friends. Tell them “Делать из мухи слона. (Dyelat’ iz mukhi slona.)” which means don’t make an elephant out of a fly. It’s a Russian way to say “no biggies” or “calm the F down”.

Note this because you probably need this phrase all the time.


4. Уши вянут. (read: Ushi vyanut.)

When you talk with your Russian friends and you say something that surprises them, the might say “Dude, my ears are waiting”.

What does that mean? It means this in English, “dude, are you even real?”. It means that you just said something rude or unbelievable that the listener has a hard time processing what she just heard.

Although even if you don’t realize it that you just say something offensive, immediately apologize, learn how to apologize in Russian here.

5. Ёлки-палки. (read: Yolki-palki.)

It’s an expression said when you’re surprised and annoyed. It literally means “tree sticks”. Does it make sense? We don’t understand it either but that’s what makes it funny.

6. Блин! (read: Blin!)

Blini is that famous, tasty, super delicious Russian pancake. As an expression, “Blin!” is actually some sort of soft curse words. How can a tasty meal go downgrade into a word you said when annoyed? It’s a mystery we don’t even understand.

7. Заложить за воротник. (read: Zalozhit’ za vorotnik.)

Another Russian phrase which hard to understand once we know it’s literal and figurative meaning. This phrase means “Shove it under the collar’. Its figurative meaning is “to get drunk”. Now you know what to say to your college friends when the weekend is coming and the exam is finally over. Ask them to hit the local pub and to “shove it under the collar.”

8. Заморить червячка. (read: Zamorit’ chervyachka)

What Russian will do when they’re hungry? Russian will kill the worm. Yes, ‘Заморить червячка’ means kill the worm, literally. It may an amusing belief in the old days that when you’re stomach is rumbling, it’s because there are worms inside that cause them. Only food will kill these worms.

9. Я тебе покажу, где раки зимуют. (read: Ya tebe pokazhu gde raki zimuyut.)

Meaning, “I will show you where lobsters spend time in the winter”. Okay, you might want to laugh or even curious when someone says this to you. But beware, when a Russian say this to you, it’s not a friendly expression. Showing you where the lobsters are during winter is a threat. It means to stop whatever you’re doing that offends them.

10. Когда рак на горе свистнет. (read: Kogda rak na gore svistnyet.)

Another lobster related expression, this phrase means “When the lobster whistles on the mountain”. What will happen anyway when a lobster whistle in the mountain? Nothing, because it’s never gonna happen, a lobster will never whistle nor it will be on a mountain. This is what this phrase exactly means, it’s an expression of something that’s not gonna happen.

Your children want you to buy them a pony? Tell them yes only when the lobster whistles on the mountain. But if they want a taste of Russian ice cream, of course, you should buy them.

So, those are the Russian Idioms that will make you laugh out loud. It’s time to go out there and practice it with your Russian friends. Before you’re heading out, learn other useful Russian phrases, such as this list of Russian exclamations. You might want to learn some swear words, but be wise to use it since swears word is definitely rude. Happy learning!

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