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.
ЧУДЕСА В РЕШЕТЕ – chudesa v reshete.
(Miracles in a sieve)
Explanation: It’s incredible, unbelievable.
ВСТУПИТЬ В СТРОЙ – vstupit’ v stroy .
(To step into formation)
Explanation: To come into operation, to become operative.
ВЫЙТИ ИЗ СТРОЯ – vyyti iz stroya.
(To step out of formation)
Explanation: To become unserviceable, to break down.
ДОСТАТЬ ИЗ-ПОД ЗЕМЛИ – dostat’ iz-pod zemli.
(To get from under the ground)
Explanation: To get something no matter how difficult.
ПРОГЛОТИТЬ ЯЗЫК – proglotit’ yazyk.
(To swallow one’s tongue)
Explanation: To fall silent.
БЫТЬ НА ДРУЖЕСКОЙ НОГЕ – byt’ na druzheskoy noge.
(To be on a friendly foot with someone)
Explanation: To be on friendly terms with someone.
НАБИТЬ РУКУ – nabit’ ruku.
(To strengthen one’s hand)
Explanation: To practice so much as to acquire skill.
ПЕРЕМЫВАТЬ КОСТОЧКИ – peremyvat’ kostochki.
(To wash someone’s bones)
Explanation: To say spiteful things about someone.
НЕ ВИДЕТЬ ЛЕСА ЗА ДЕРЕВЬЯМИ – ne videt’ lesa za derevyami.
(Not to see the wood beyond the trees)
Explanation: To be unable to get a clear view of the whole because of too many details.
ЗНАТЬ КАК СВОИ ПЯТЬ ПАЛЬЦЕВ – znat’ kak svoi p’at’ pal’tsev.
(To know something as well as one’s own five fingers)
Explanation: To be quite familiar with something.
КУПИТЬ КОТА В МЕШКЕ – kupit’ kota v meshke.
(To buy a cat in a sack)
Explanation: To buy a thing without knowing its real value or quality.
ВИСЕТЬ НА ТЕЛЕФОНЕ – viset’ na telefone.
(To be hanging on the telephone)
Explanation: To spend hours on the phone.