Russian ProverbsRating Mail
If you're afraid of wolves, don't go to the woods.
Note : English version: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
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The raven won't peck out the eye of [another] raven.
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A thief stole other thief's club.
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That's the snag!
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That's where the dog is buried
Note : English version: Thatís where the shoe pinches; Thatís the crux (the rub).
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That's, Grandma, the Yuri's Day.
Meaning - What an unpleasant surprise!
Note : Cultural Background: On St. Yuri's Day (St. George's Day - November 26th), peasants were allowed to move from one owner to another at their own will. In 1590s, this right was put on hold, and completely cancelled in 1649. Obviously, the peasants waiting for their freedom day, weren't quite happy when that was announced.
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Time [makes the] best healer.
Note : English version: Time heals all wounds.
Modern mockery: Time is the best healer, but a terrible cosmetologist.
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In Russia, the domes (of churches) are covered with gold so that God notices them more often.
Note : This is a line from the well-known song by Vladimir Vysotsky.
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You can't take everything with you.
Note : English version: The one who dies with most toys, still dies.
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No family has no ugly member.
Note : English version: There is a black sheep in every flock.
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All is well that ends well.
Note : English version: All's well that ends well.
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Every sandpiper praises his own swamp.
Meaning - Everybody praises one's own work (or possession), no matter how inferior it is.
Note : English version: Every cook praises his own broth.
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Every vegetable has its time.
Meaning - Unlike English version, it means: It's ok if it isn't in good shape right now. Things need time to ripen.
Note : English version: Everything is good in its season.
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Every cricket must know its hearth.
Note : English version: The cobbler should stick to his last.
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In a crush, yet without resentment.
Meaning - Though the place is crowded, nobody will mind if you join as well.
Note : Come on in!
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[It's the] still waters [that] are inhabited by devils.
Meaning - Evil things tends to look most innocent.
Note : English version: The devil lurks behind the cross; Always the one you least expect; It's the quiet ones you've got to watch.; "Idle hands are the devil's work".
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(Nobody) goes to Tula with one's own samovar.
Note : Tula is famous as city where the best Russian samovars are made.
English version: Carrying coals to Newcastle (Newcastle being a mining town.)
Exception: Timothy Dexter.
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Nobody goes to another monastery with one's own charter.
Note : English version: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
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In another persons' eye one can notice [even] a mote, but in one's own - cannot see [even] a log.
Meaning - People easily notice others' minor flaws, yet ignore major flaws of their own.
Note : English version: Luke 6:41: And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
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The devil puts a spoonful of honey into others' wife.
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[One] can't jump over one's head.
Meaning - [One] can't do more than is humanly possible.
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The ears don't grow above forehead.
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It will snap where it's the thinnest.
Note : English version: The chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
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It was smooth on paper, but [we've] forgotten about ravines (and we'll have to march [them]).
Meaning - Obstacles that were overlooked/ignored during planning, turned out to be a major showstopper when executing the plan.
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Eyes are(might be) afraid, but hands are doing [the job]].
Meaning - If you're afraid of doing something, relax and and let your reflexes do the job.
Note : Don't be afraid if the amount of work seems large; it can be handled step-by-step.
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They say they milk chicken.
Meaning - Don't believe all the rumors.
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Hunger is not [your] aunt(, [it] will not bring you a pie).
Meaning - If you are in need, help yourself and don't count on situation improving by itself.
Note : If you're in need, take what they give you, it's not time to decline offers.
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As hungry as a wolf.
Note : English version: Hungry like a wolf.
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One doesn't shear the naked sheep.
Note : English version: A beggar can never be bankrupt.
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Poor people are crafty.
Note : English version: Necessity is the mother of invention.
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[Only] grave will cure the hunchback.
Note : English version: The leopard cannot change his spots.
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Unless the thunder strikes, a man won't cross himself.
Meaning - People tend to not take precautionary measures until the trouble actually happens.
Note : 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.
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A goose is not a pig's friend.
Meaning - Opposite of Birds of a feather flock together,I despise you.
Note : Answer: Well, I'm flying away.
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Give [him] a fingernail, [he] will ask for forearm.
Note : English version: Give him an inch and he'll take a yard/mile.
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Don't look at the teeth of a horse you've been given.
Meaning - Donít question a gift's value; be thankful, rather than judging something you received as a gift.
Note : English version: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
Background: Looking at a horse's teeth is a way to determine its age, and thus its value (a practice that also gives us the English expression "long in the tooth," meaning old.)
Modern mockery: Don't check a gift horse under the tail.
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Away from the eye - closer to the heart.
Note : English version: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
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If given - take it; if beaten - run away.
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Two bears don't live in one lair.
Note : English version: This house(village/town/etc.) isn't big enough for the two of us.
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[Where] Two are fighting, third should not interfere.
Meaning - Let two people figure out their disagreement themselves, or you risk being hurt by both of them.
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Two deaths will not happen, [but] one is inevitable.
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To divide a pelt of a bear that has not been killed yet.
Note : English version: To cook a hare before catching him; Don't count your chickens before they hatch; Don't run before your horse to market; Don't put the cart before the horse.
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Work is afraid of a skilled worker.
Meaning - Work goes well when you know what you are doing.
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For dear friend, [I'm willing to take] an earring out of [my own] ear.
Note : English Version: I [he] will give you the shirt off my [his] back.
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The informer(sneak) gets whipped first.
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[It] will heal [well] before [your] wedding.
Note : English version: You'll live.
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God is far up high, the Tsar is far away.
Meaning - Authorities are unlikely to hear/care about your problems.
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Good brotherhood is the best wealth.
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Even a cat appreciates kind word[s].
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Trust, but verify.
Note : English version: Better safe than sorry.
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Debt is beautiful [only] after [it is] repaid.
Meaning - Debt is a shame until it is repaid;
Note : Hint: It's time for you to pay me back.
English version: One good turn deserves another.
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