Lesson: Top 10 Funny Russian Phrases You Should Know

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Hello Junkies,

This is for people who are interested in Russian. If you started to learn Russian, you probably want to know funny Russian phrases that you will hear in Russia. We are sure that you will not be able to understand the meaning, so we will try to clarify them.

So, take this lesson:

  • Review & read out loud
  • Print out to keep for yourself

…Oh, if you want to learn Russian with a complete Russian learning program — 1000+ audio/video lessons by real teachers – click here to visit RussianPod101 and try them for yourself. I recommend the site.


Lesson: 10 Funny Russian Phrases You Should Know


1. Yes no, probably.

◈ Да нет, наверное.
◈ Transliteration: Da net, navernoye.

This is an incomprehensible phrase for any foreigner and this is not surprising. Imagine you hear “Yes, no, probably” in English; how would you react? This phrase means “rather no.”

At the beginning of any sentence, the word, “Да,” is used only for emotional underlining of the author’s mood. If you ask some Russian a question, and he answers “Да нет, наверное”, it means “I’m not sure, but rather no than yes”.

  • Note: This is very similar to how Australians (Straya!) and New Zealanders (Ey!) say “Yeah, no” or “yeah, nahhh.”

2. “Hands do not reach to look”

◈ Руки не доходят посмотреть
◈ Ruki ne dohodyat posmotret’

This phrase also should not be taken literally. “Руки не доходят” literally means “Hands do not reach,” it REALLY means you do not have time to do something. After these 3 words, you can say any verb which will designate the action that you can’t do. In our case “Руки не доходят посмотреть” means that author doesn’t have time to take a look at something.

  • For example, I’ve got a project to do but I have no time to take a look at this and finish it, I can say “Руки не доходят посмотреть at this project.”

funny russian phrases

3. To peel a turnip to some pepper (horseradish)

◈ Начистить репу какому-то перцу/хрену
◈ Nachistit’ repu kakomu-to pertsu(hrenu)

What does this mean!? First, “Начистить репу” literally means to “To peel a turnip” but the meaning here is “to beat someone” or “punch someone in the face.” In Russian “репа” means turnip but in informal use, it can also mean “face.” The second part, “какому-то перцу/хрену,” literally means “some vegetables pepper or horseradish.”  But the true meaning here is this: “Перец” and “хрен” can mean “guys” in informal speech.Y oung people very often call their friends in this way.

funny russian phrases

So, if someone in Russia is going to “Начистить репу какому-то перцу/хрену” it means that this person is going to punch someone in the face. Be careful!

4. Hang noodles on the ears

◈ Вешать лапшу на уши
◈ Veshat’ lapshu na ushi

“Вешать лапшу на уши” we can’t translate as “Hang noodles on the ears.” Nobody hangs noodles on their ears, of course. There is only one meaning of this phrase – “Lie”. So of someone if “Вешает лапшу на уши” it means he’s lying like a rug.

funny russian phrases

5. Pulls a cat’s tail

◈ тянуть кота за хвост
◈ tyanut’ kota za hvost

This phrase means to procrastinate. It’s also one of my favorite funny Russian phrases because who doesn’t like to procrastinate!?

funny russian phrases

6. Like herring in the barrel

◈ Как селедка в бочке
◈ Kak seledka v bochke

If you are in a crowded place in Russia, or a very crowded train, you can say you feel “Как селедка в бочке” – “like herring in the barrel”. This phrase is funny, but at least it has some logic.

  • The English version of this is “like sardines in a can.”

funny russian phrases

7. Mangle the firewood

◈ наломать дров
◈ nalomat’ drov

“Наломать дров” – means mess up or screw up. So, if your Russian friend “наломал дров” it means he had a bit too much to drink and did something regrettable!

funny russian phrases

8. Kill the worm

◈ заморить червячка
◈ zamorit’ chervyachka

If you want to have a snack, it’s similar to “заморить червячка” in Russia. Basically, this phrase means to satisfy hunger and eat something.

funny russian phrases

9. Clap ears

◈ хлопать ушами
◈ hlopat’ ushami

«хлопать ушами» means to be distracted and inattentive. If someone “хлопает ушами”, he is not paying attention to you.

funny russian phrases

10. Under a dog’s tail

◈ псу под хвост
◈ psu pod hvost

This last phrase in our funny Russian phrases means “something was in vain.” In other words, whatever was done went to waste, had no effect or was pointless. It’s like whatever comes form “under a dogs tail.”

funny russian phrases


Nice! Now you know some funny Russian phrases. These are used in daily life and are NOT dry, textbook phrases. So, if you use them, you’ll definitely impress native speakers.

Of course, 10 is not the end. There are a lot more funny Russian phrases in the Russian language. Want to learn more? Just leave a comment! I read them all.

– The Main Junkie

P.S. If you REALLY want to learn Russian with effective Audio & Video lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at RussianPod101.com (click here) and start learning!

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