Russian sayings in English

russian-artБери́сь дру́жно, не бу́дет гру́зно.
Transliteration: Beris’ druzhno, ne budet gruzno.
Translation: [If all of us] take hold of [it] together, it won’t feel heavy.
English equivalent: Many hands make light work



Челове́к рожда́ется жить, а не гото́виться к жи́зни.
Л.Пастернак (1890-1960)
Translation: Man is born to live and not to prepare for life.

Болту́н — нахо́дка для шпио́на.
Transliteration: Boltun — nakhodka dlya shpiona.
Translation: A chatterbox is a treasure for a spy.
English equivalent: Loose lips sink ships.


Хоро́ший това́р сам себя́ хва́лит.
Translitertion: Khoroshiy tovar sam sebya khvalit.
Translation: Quality goods advertise themselves.

Что бы́ло, то прошло́ (и быльём поросло́).
Transliteration: Chto bylo, to proshlo (i byl’yom poroslo).
Translation: What used to be – is [now] gone (and overgrown with grass).

 

Заста́вь дурака́ Бо́гу моли́ться – он (себе́) лоб расшибёт (и други́м но́ги поотшиба́ет).
Transliteration: Zastav’ duraka Bogu molitsya – on (sebe) lob rasshibyot (i drugim nogi pootshibayet).
Translation: [If you] make a fool pray to God, he will hurt (both his) forehead (and other people’s toes).
Meaning: When eagerness is coupled with lack of understanding of the task, one’s efforts will be more of a hindrance than a help; Better not to follow instructions literally but understand their purpose.
English equivalent: Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.

Зна́ет ко́шка, чьё мя́со съе́ла.
Compare: На во́ре и ша́пка гори́т.
Transliteration: Znayet koshka, ch’yo myaso s’yela.
Translation: The cat knows whose meat it has eaten.
English equivalent: A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
Meaning: “People who know they have done wrong reveal their guilt by the things they say or the way they interpret what other people say.”

Исподво́ль и ольху́ согнёшь.
Transliteration: Ispodvol’ i ol’khu sognyosh.
Translation: You can bend an alder-tree, if you do it gradually.
English equivalent: Little strokes fell great oaks.; Time conquers all.

Как ау́кнется — так и откли́кнется.
Transliteration: Kak auknetsya — tak i otkliknetsya.
Translation: How [echo] is prompted, it will bounce back.
Meaning: Others will treat you the way you treat them.
English equivalent: How one calls into the forest, so it echoes back.

Коней на переправе не меняют
Translation: Don’t swap horses when crossing the stream.
Note: When in water it is arduous to mount and dismount.
English equivalent: Don’t change horses in the midstream.

Куда́ ни кинь, везде́ (всё, всю́ду) клин.
Transliteration: Kuda ni kin’, vezde (vsyo,vsyudu) klin.
English equivalent: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

На то и ум, что́бы достичь того́, чего́ хо́чешь.
М.Достоевский (1821-1881)
Translation:Intelligence is there just to achieve what you want.

На вкус и цвет това́рищей нет.
Transliteration: Na vkus i tsvet tovarischey net.
Translation: There are no friends in tastes and colours.
English equivalent: There is no accounting for taste.
Compare: У вся́кого Па́вла своя́ пра́вда; О вку́сах не спо́рят.

На ловца́ и зверь бежи́т.
Transliteartion: Na lovtsa i zver’ bezhit.
Translation: Prey runs into a trapper.
English equivalent: Speak of the devil, and he appears.

Не́ было бы сча́стья, да несча́стье помогло́.
Transliteration: Ne bylo by schast’ya, da neschast’ye pomoglo
Translation: [I] would have had no luck, if not for misfortune.
Meaning: This particular misfortune in the end has led me to more gain than it made harm.

Чем мéньше же́нщину мы любим, тем легче нра́вимся мы ей.
Translation>The less we love a woman, the easier we please her.

Век живи́ — век учи́сь.
Transliteration: Vek zhivi — vek uchis’.
Translation: Live for a century — learn for a century.
English equivalent: We are to learn as long as we live.

Это ещё цвето́чки, а я́годки впереди́.
Transliteration: Eto escho tsvetochki, a yagodki vperedi.
Translation: These are just flowers; berries will come soon.
Meaning: This is not all folks; things will get much better soon.

вои́ми бы уста́ми да мёд пить.
Transliteration: Tvoimi by ustami da myod pit’.
Translation: [I’d like to] drink honey with your lips.
Meaning: The way you describe it, this story/plan/thing sounds too good to be true.

Хвали́лся чёрт всем ми́ром владе́ть, а Бог ему́ и над свиньёй не дал вла́сти.
Transliteration: Khvalilsya chort vsem mirom vladet’, a Bog yemu i nad svin’yoy ne dal vlasti.
Translation: The devil boasted of ruling the whole world, but God didn’t give him power over even the pig.
Meaning: Your plan doesn’t hold water.

У стра́ха глаза́ велики́.
Transliteration: U strakha glaza veliki.
Translation: Fear has large eyes.
Meaning: People tend to overestimate the danger when scared.

Видна́ пти́ца по полёту.
Transliteration: Vidna ptitsa po polyotu.
Translation: The bird is known by its flight.
English equivalent: A tree is known by its fruit.
Meaning: You can judge someone based on his surroundings. For instance, a person living in a messy house is messy.
Modern mockery: Видна́ пти́ца по помёту. (The bird is known by its droppings

Не всё то зо́лото, что блести́т.
Transliteration: Ne vsyo to zoloto, chto blestit.
Translation: Not every glittering thing is gold.
English equivalent: Not all that glitters is gold.
Modern mockery: Не всё то долото́, что блести́т.
English equivalent: All that glitters is not gold.
Meaning: An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content.

Не зна́я бро́ду, не су́йся в во́ду.
Transliteration: Ne znaya brodu, ne suysya v vodu.
Translation: Don’t wade into a river without knowing a ford.
Meaning: Don’t rush into something without throughly studying the matter first.
English equivalent: Wait for the cat to jump.
russsian proverbs

Но́вая метла по-но́вому метёт.
Transliteration: Novaya metla po-novomu metyot.
Translation: A new broom sweeps in a new way.
Meaning: Newcomers are the most ambitious.
English equivalent: A new broom sweeps clean.; In with the new and out with the old.

От добра́ добра́ не и́щут.
Transliteration: Ot dobra dobra ne ishchut.
Translation: Do not look for [further] good from good.
English equivalent: Leave well enough alone; Enough is as good as a feast.
Meaning: “Do not try to change or improve something that is satisfactory as it stands.”

Близо́к локото́к, да не уку́сишь.
Transliteration: Blizok lokotok, da ne ukusish.
Translation: [Your] elbow is close, yet [you] can’t bite it.
Meaning: It only seems to be easy.

Без труда́ не вы́тащишь и ры́бку из пруда́.
Transliteration: Bez truda ne vytaschish y rybku iz pruda.
Translation: Without effort, you can’t [even] pull a fish out of the pond.
English equivalent: Birds fly not into our mouth ready roasted.
Meaning: “One cannot (or should not) expect to benefit without making some effort.”

Беда́ (никогда́) не прихо́дит одна́.
Transliteration: Beda (nikogda) ne prikhodit odna.
Translation: Trouble never comes alone.
English equivalent: Misery loves company.

Бу́дет и на на́шей у́лице пра́здник.
Transliteration: Budet i na nashey ulitse prazdnik.
Translation: There’ll be a holiday in our street too.
Meaning: One day we will get lucky too.

Что име́ем — не храни́м, потеря́вши — пла́чем.
Transliteration: Chto imeyem — ne khranim, poteryabshi — plachem.
Translation: What we own, we don’t [safe]keep [properly]; when [we] lose [it], [we] cry.
English equivalent: We never know the value of water till the well is dry.

Всё хорошо́, что хорошо́ конча́ется.
Transliteration: Vsyo khorosho, chto khorosho konchayetsa.
Translation: All is well that ends well.
English equivalent: All’s well that ends well.

Вино́ вину́ твори́т.
Transliteration: Vino vinu tvorit.
Translation: Wine causes guilt.

Ули́та е́дет, когда́-то бу́дет.
Translitertion: Ulita yedet, kogda-to budet.
Translation: The snail is coming, [who knows when] it arrives.

Во́рон во́рону глаз не вы́клюет.
Transliteration: Voron voronu glaz ne vyklyuyet.
Translation: The raven won’t peck out the eye of [another] raven.
English equivalent: Hawks will not pick out hawk’s eyes.

Утопа́ющий за соло́минку хвата́ется.
Transliteration: Utopayuschiy i za solominku khvatayetsya.
Translation: A drowning man grabs even a straw.
English equivalent: A drowning man will cling to a straw.

Бережёного Бог бережёт.
Transliteration: Berezhonogo bog berezhot.
Translation: God keeps those safe who keep themselves safe.
Closest English equivalent: God helps those who help themselves. Pray to God but keep the powder dry.
Modern mockery: Бережёного Бог бережёт, а небережёного конвой стережёт. (God watches over those who are careful, and the jail wardens watch over those who were not.)
Meaning: Blessings/luck come most to those who do not recklessly rely on them, but work for them.

Надо отдать должное и дьяволу.
Transliteration: Nado otdat’ dolzhnoje i d’javolu.
Translation: Be fair to the devil.
English equivalent: Give the devil his due.
Meaning: “People deserve recognition for their skills and contributions even if they are otherwise unworthy or unlikeable.”

Доверя́й, но проверя́й.
Transliteration: Doveryay, no proveryay.
Translation: ‘Trust, but verify.’
Чему́ быть, того́ не минова́ть.
Transliteration: Chemu byt’, tomu ne minovat’.
Translation: Fate can’t be avoided.
Meaning: Things that were meant to be, will happen no matter what.

Цыпля́т по о́сени счита́ют.
Transliteration: Tsiplyat po oseni schitayut.
Translation: One [should] count chicks in autumn.
English equivalent: Don’t count your chickens before they hatched.

В Ту́лу со свои́м самова́ром (не е́здят)
Transliteration: V Tulu so svoim samovarom (ne yezdyat).
Translation: (Do not come) to Tula with your own samovar.
Swedish equivalent: Do not cross the brook for water.
Modern mockery: В Тулу со своим пулемётом (To Tula with your own machine gun; Tula is center of firearms design and production).
Meaning: Don’t do things in a needlessly laborious way.

Глаза боятся, а руки делают
Translation: You never know what you can do till you try.
ром не гря́нет, мужи́к не перекре́стится.
Transliteration: Grom ne gryanet, muzhik ne perekrestitsya.
Translation: Unless thunder strikes, a man won’t cross himself.
Cultural background: Since lightning strikes were considered acts of punishment by God, it was believed that crossing oneself would prevent one from being hit by a lightning.
Swedish equivalent: You don’t miss the cow until the barn is empty.
Meaning: People tend to not take precautionary measures until trouble actually happens.

Де́ло ма́стера бои́тся.
Transliteration: Delo mastera boitsya.
Translation: Work is afraid of a skilled worker.
Meaning: Work goes well when you know what you are doing.

Жизнь прожи́ть — не по́ле перейти́.
Transliteration: Zhizn’ prozhit’ — ne pole pereyti.
Translation: Living [your] life is not like crossing a meadow.
English equivalent: Life was never meant to be easy.

Я́йца ку́рицу не у́чат.
Transliteration: Yaytsa kuritsu ne uchat.
Literally: Eggs don’t teach a hen.
Meaning: Do not give advice to somebody more experienced than you.
English equivalent: Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

Russian Proverbs With English Translations

Russian sayings in English