Russian Slang and Idioms. Lesson 28.

Posted on January 31st, 2011

Hi, and welcome to Russian Slang and Idioms Lesson 28!


Грош цена [GROSH tsye-NA] can be translated as it’s not worth a penny/dime.
Грош [GROSH] – was an old Russian coin that was worth ½ copeck.
Цена [tsye-NA] means price.
Грош цена can be used when you are talking about something that isn’t worth much or is not worth anything.
For example:
Грош цена твоим словам!
[GROSH tsye-NA tva-IM sla-VAM]
Your words are not worth anything!

У разбитого корыта [OO raz-BI-ta-va ka-REE-ta]
У разбитого корыта literally means to be left standing at the old broken washing tub… or in other words it means to be left with nothing.
The idiom У разбитого корыта originally comes from The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish written by Aleksander Pushkin in 1833. The fairy tale in verse is about a fisherman who caught a golden fish and the fish promised that if he lets her go she’ll make his wishes come true. The fisherman didn’t ask for anything. But after he told his wife about the golden fish, she wanted more and more…. At first his greedy wife asked for a new washing tub, then she asked for a new house, then she asked for a palace, and when she asked to be the Ruler of the Sea, the golden fish took everything back and at the end of the story the fisherman comes back home and sees his wife standing at the old broken washing tub. They were left with nothing again….
Если я сегодня не вложу деньги, то завтра останусь у разбитого корыта.
[YES-li YA si-VOD-nya ni vla-ZHOO DYEN’-gi to ZAVT-ra as-TA-noos’ oo raz-BI-ta-va ka-REE-ta]
If I don’t invest money into anything today, I’ll be left with nothing tomorrow.

Душа общества [doo-SHA OB-shist-va] someone who is the life and soul of the party.
For example:
Паша – душа общества.
[PA-sha doo-SHA OB-shist-va]
Pasha is the life and soul of the party.

I hope you enjoyed learning new idioms! Here comes the test:
1.    What idiom has originated from a well-known Russian fairy tale in verse by Aleksandr Pushkin?
2.    What idiom mentions a very small coin?
3.    Is there a Russian version of the idiom “the life and soul of the party”?

See you soon!


Related Posts:


Study with Maxim Achkasov


The courses of Russian as a foreign language with Russian4real take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.