“Cut on your nose” – NEVER translate Russian idioms literally!

Probably most of you who have ever had a conversation with a Russian speaker got confused at some point and were not able to follow the message he or she wanted to deliver by saying a particular phrase or word expression. That is not a surprise! The problem is that when Russians start literally translating idioms into English it turns to be a total mess that blows any foreigner’s mind. So, just to protect you at least a little bit from such awkward moments, here is the list of 10 commonly used Russian idioms and their true meanings in English.

1. Брать ноги в руки и бежать – Literal: To take your feet in your hands and run.
Correct: To get an ass in a gear, to get a move on

2. У меня едет крышаLiteral: My roof is moving
Correct: I go nuts, I am going crazy

3. Любов зла, полюбишь и козла – Literal: The love is vicious – one can fall in love with the
Correct: Love is blind

4. Спать без задних ног – Literal: To sleep without back feet
Correct: To be sound asleep, to sleep deeply

5. Он родился в рубашке – Literal: He was born in a shirt
Correct: He was born under a lucky star

6. Он потерял голову от любви к ней – Literal: He lost his head because of love to her
Correct: He was head over heels in love with her

7. Он ехал зайцем в поезде – Literal: He was travelling by train as a hare
Correct: He was travelling by train without a ticket

8. Положыть зубы на полку – Literal: To put teeth on a shelf
Correct: To tighten one’s belt, to spend less money

9. Он свалился с луны – Literal: He fell down from the moon
Correct: He does not understand ABC of the position, he has no clue
about something

10. Он сьел на этом собаку – Literal: He ate a dog on that
Correct: He knows that inside out, he is an expert in that
So if you are a Russian speaker, BEAR IN MIND – NEVER translate Russian idioms literally! Save yourself from embarrassment!


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