Russian ProverbsRating Mail
Long farewell - unnecessary tears.
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[When you are] at home, even the walls help [you].
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A spoon is valuable at dinner.
Meaning - Things are best in their respective time.; Proper timing is everything.; Things are most expensive when in high demand.
Note : English version: A stitch in time saves nine.
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A spring egg is dear at the Easter day.
Meaning - Things are best in their respective time.; Proper timing is everything.
Note : Things are most expensive when in high demand.
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Friendship is friendship and service is service.
Meaning - Friendship is one thing, business another; Nothing personal; just business.
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Friendship is friendship, but [keep our] tobacco (money) apart.
Meaning - You might be my friend, but it doesn't entitle you to using my assets (or not repaying my debts).
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[You get to really] know [your] friend when trouble [comes].
Meaning - A friend in need's a friend indeed.
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There is no law written for fools ( if it is written, it is not read, if it is read, it is not understood, if it is understood, then in wrong way).
Note : English version: There is no law for fools.
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Teaching the fool [means] just spoiling him.
Meaning - Educated fool is more dangerous because he's likely to apply the newfound knowledge in wrong ways.
Note : Don't give him any ideas.
Variant: Teaching the fool is like healing the dead.
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If] the fool ties [a knot], even a clever one will not be able to untie it.
Note : English version: A fool may throw a stone into a well which a hundred wise men cannot pull out.
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Fools are not sown or reaped, they appear by themselves.
Note : English version: There's a sucker born every minute.
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Don't show half-done work to a fool.
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The stupid head doesn' leave feet in rest.
Note : English version: The Devil finds work for idle hands to do .
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If you go for a day trip, take a week supply of bread.
Note : English Version: Always be prepared also, Always bring more than you need (extra)
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I eat [it], and it's mine, and you stay away from me.
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Don't put a finger into his mouth(he might bite your arm off).
Note : English version: Give one an inch, and he will take a mile.
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Yeryoma(Jeremy), Yeryoma, you [would better] sit at home and cut your spindles.
Meaning - Wish I stayed out of this trouble.
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If and when mushrooms(beans) grew in the mouth, that would have been not mouth but kitchen garden.
Note : English version: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts; If wishes were horses, beggars might ride.; If ifs and ands were pots and pans, then we would need no tinkers.; If wishes were fishes, there'd be no room in the river for water.
Modern mockery: If only Grandma had balls, she would have been Grandpa.
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If only the youth would know, if the old age would be able to.
Note : English Version: Youth is wasted on the young
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If you feel an urge to work, take a nap, and it will pass.
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I've got kvas, but not for you.
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I have it indeed, but it's not for you.
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[If we] will be alive [we] will not die.
Meaning - It's going to be alright.
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Life is short, but there's a lot to be done.
Note : English version: Life is short.
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Living [your] life is not like crossing a meadow.
Note : English version: Life was never meant to be easy.
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Eat breakfast yourself, share dinner with [your] friend, give the supper to [your] enemy.
Meaning - The most generous meal must be in the morning, and eating much in the evening is harmful.
Note : English version: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dine like a pauper.
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A beaten one is worth two unbeaten ones.
Note : English version: Experience is worth it.
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Everyone is strong of the hindmind.
Note : English version: Hindsight is 20/20.
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Law is like a shaft of a cart, it points wherever you turn it to.
Meaning - Powerful, rich or smart people can make the law work for them.
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Yakov's magpie started chattering the same thing about anyone.
Meaning - You're repeating yourself; You say that about everyone.
Note : English version: You told it through the hat.
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A friend, with whom you made it up [after a quarrel] is not reliable.
Note : English version: A broken friendship may be soldered, but will never be sound.
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Overseas, a cow [costs] a quarter of kopeck, but [it will cost] a rouble to ship [it here].
Meaning - This offer is great by itself, but strings attached to it kill the deal.
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As busy (hard-working) as a bee.
Note : English version: As busy as a bee.
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The reserve doesn't weight [your] pocket.
Meaning - The providence is worth it.
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Vixen resolved not to steal chicken.
Meaning - Promises made by repeat offenders shouldn't be trusted.
Note : English version: The leopard cannot change his spots.
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[They] don't hit you in the nose for asking.
Note : English version: It can't [won't / doesn't] hurt to ask.
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[If you] make a fool to 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.
Note : English version: Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.
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What [you] go looking for, [you] will find.
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I sell it for what I bought it(, if you don't like it, don't listen, but don't hamper [my] lying/telling).
Meaning - I don't endorse this message, I'm just telling you what I was told.
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Health leaves [you] in poods, but comes in zolotniks.
Note : English version: Diseases come on horseback, but steal away on foot.
Cultural background: pood - old Russian weight measure = 16.38 kg. zolotnik - 4.26g
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The cat knows whose meat it has eaten.
Meaning - The guilty mind betrays himself.
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Would I know where I will fall down, I'd lay some straw [at that spot ahead of time]
Meaning - You never know what will happen next.
Note : English version: Had I known then what I know now.
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The wolves are sated, and the sheep are intact.
Meaning - Everyone has gotten what they want.
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Both cheap and angry.
Meaning - "You have spent little money wisely."
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A lot is too little, and a bit is enough.
Note : English version: "Enough is enough."
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[They] choose lesser of two evils.
Meaning - If all the options are bad, choose the one that hurts the least.
Note : English version: Lesser of two evils.
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From fire to flame.
Meaning - [Got] out of trouble just to get into another trouble.
Note : English version: Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
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[You] cannot throw a word out of a song.
Meaning - You cannot alter the information that many people know by heart.
Note : The following may contain obscene, rude or otherwise questionable content, yet it content cannot be omitted as it's an integral part of the story.
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Either chest with crosses (orders), or a head in bushes.
Note : English version: Neck or nothing.
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Even an old lady makes mistakes.
Note : English version: Everyone makes mistakes.; To err is human.
Latin version: To err is human.
Modern mockery: There exist porn even for an old lady.
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