10 Words Everybody Needs to Know Before Going to Russia. Part 3

It’s well known that the Russian language is rich in slang, pejoratives and vulgar words. Even the most common words can have a completely different meaning when used figuratively, which we wouldn’t encourage to you use… (See Part 1)

A friend of mine loves to use the word „забивать“.

Personally I most often use this word in the figurative way, and only then does the main meaning comes into my head.

The direct translation of the word is to drive in, to hammer in, to ram in.

The etymology of the figurative meaning has always been a mystery to me.

Speaking figuratively «забавать» means to connive (at), to wink (at), to turn a blind eye (to).

«Забей!» means «don’t get it into your head». «Забей!» can be a synonym of another slang word «Не парься». It’s worth noticing that «Забей» belongs to a younger generation. E.g. my 27 years old cousin would most likely use «Не парься», and my younger sister who is 18 years old would prefer to use «Забей».

My mother would say that it is not the best way of expressing your thoughts, because it is a slang word. And she would be right!

The word «забей» isn’t pejorative or vulgar but it is still a slang word. It is popular among people between 16-24 years of age and is not recommended for use in business conversations, in conversations with the parents of your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, when speaking with authorities and police, in a hotel and with all people older than 30.


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