This section of the magazine – “Moscow Vocabulary” – was born of remembering … Ronald Reagan, who appeared to be a fan – and collector – of Russian proverbs and sayings. Well, and we would like to guide you into a world of Russian idioms – just as bright and colorful.
ЛИТЬ ВОДУ НА чью-либо МЕЛЬНИЦУ – lit’ vodu na melnitsu.
(To pour water on someone’s millwheel)
Explanation: Indirectly to help someone (usually an opponent) by one’s actions.
ВЗЯТЬ СЛОВО – vzat’ slovo.
(To take the word)
Explanation: To rise to speak in a debate at one’s own request or initiative.
ПОСЛЕДНЯЯ КАПЛЯ – poslednaya kapl’a.
(The last drop)
Explanation: The final circumstance of a series that makes a situation unbearable.
КРАСНЫЙ КАК РАК – krasny kak rak.
(Red as a lobster)
Explanation: Red-faced, flushed with anger or embarrassment.
ВОЙТИ В РОЛЬ – voyti v rol’.
(To enter into one’s role)
Explanation: To become comfortably settled in a new job, position…
МЕНЯТЬ КУКУШКУ НА ЯСТРЕБА – men’at’ kukushku na yastreba.
(To change a cuckoo foe a hawk)
Explanation: To miscalculate.
САДИТЬСЯ НА ШЕЮ – sadittsa na sheyu.
(To sit down on someone’s neck)
Explanation: To put someone under one’s complete control.
УЙТИ В СЕБЯ – uyti v seb’a.
(To go into one’s own self)
Explanation: To become less sociable and more reserved.
СЛЕД ПРОСТЫЛ – sled prostil.
(Someone’s footprints have grown cold)
Explanation: There’s not a trace of someone.
КИДАЕТ В ЖАР – kidaet v zhar.
(Thrown into a heat)
Explanation: He/she becomes extremely agitated or anxious.
КАТАТЬСЯ КАК СЫР В МАСЛЕ – katattsa kak syr v masle.
(To be rolling like cheese in butter)
Explanation: To be comfortably off.
ЧЕСАТЬ ЯЗЫК – chesat’ yazyk.
(To scratch one’s tongue)
Explanation: To talk continuously.