Monday, September 5, 2011

Russian Idioms. Part I.

Idioms Literal translation Meaning
В трех соснах заблудиться To stray in three pine trees  To be confused in the simplest questions.
Абсолютный нoль Absolute zero Nothing the significant, useless person.
Ни рыба ни мясо Neither fish nor meat A mediocre person / thing.
Наломать дров To break up some firewood To commit follies; to make a mess of things.
Душа ушла в пятки One's soul has gone into one's heels Someone is greatly alarmed by what is happening or anticipated to happen; terribly frightened.
Жить как кошка с собакой To live like a cat and a dog To be constantly snapping, bickering and quarrelling.
Ехать зайцем To ride as a hare To travel without paying for a ticket.
Зарубить на носу To make a notch on one's nose To remember something firmly, forever.
Заморить червячка To underfeed the little worm To have a little to eat / to have a snack.
Идти по стопам To walk in someone's footsteps To follow someone's example; to be someone's disciple.
Зондировать почву To probe the ground To try cautiously to discover someone's inclinations, to test the views of others, to sound out one's chances of success beforehand.
Как гора с плеч свалилась As if a mountain had fallen off one's shoulders Someone is relieved of anxiety, doubt, cares.
Искать иголку в стоге сена To look for a needle in a bundle of hay To look for something or someone virtually impossible to find.
Как об стенку горох Like throwing peas against the wall To say something to which not the slightest attention is paid (often uttered in irritation).
Курам на смех For the hens to laugh at It's funny, ridiculous, absurd, silly.
Кот наплакал Something the cat cried out Very little; practically nothing; nothing to speak of.
Много воды утекло Much water has flowed away That was long ago; much has happened since; much has changed since.
Лезть в бутылку To climb into the bottle To be carried away by excitement, to lose self-control, to become suddenly or violently angry (usually without reason, over a mere trifle).
Он /она и мухи не обидит He / she wouldn't hurt a fly He/she is meek, timid, gentle, kind.
Не ударить в грязь лицом Not to strike the mud with one's face To maintain one's dignity; to acquit oneself well; not to disgrace oneself; to try to appear at one's best.
Одна нога здесь, другая там One foot's here, the other's there To go and fetch, to run and fetch; to do something very quickly, with lightning speed.
Ахиллесова пята The Achilles' Heel The most vulnerable place in someone.
Белая ворона White crow The person, who sharply separates by anything among his surrounding people.
Бежать сломя голову To run breacking the head Very rapid, swiftly to run / rush
Белая зависть White envy Envy without a feeling of vexation, irritation by possibilities or by the successes of other.
Быть не из робкого десятка To be not of the timid dozen Not one to scare easily; not easily frightened, not a coward.
В ногах правды нет There is no truth in the feet The witty invitation to squat, to be sat down.