Russian Sayings and Proverbs

Posted on May 16th, 2012

Russian sayings and proverbsProverbs and sayings are words of wisdom, told and retold for centuries. They have been tested by time, and this is what makes them so priceless. When in doubt, try to think of a proverb and it will guide you to the right path.

In our today’s lesson we will talk about Russian proverbs. Proverbs and sayings are a great way to gain an insight into the Russian culture and take a closer look at the Russian folklore.

Proverbs and sayings have been created by the Russian folk and taken from the ancient written sources. First records of proverbs and sayings appear in works of Russian literature in X century.

Now, let’s take a look at ten most popular Russian proverbs:

Дареному коню в зубы не смотрят.
[DA-rye-na-moo ka-NYOO v ZOO-bi nee SMOT-ryat]
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Don’t be ungrateful when receiving a gift from someone.

Что посеешь, то и пожнёшь.
[shto pa-SYE-yesh to ee pazh-NYOSH]
You reap what you sow.

Everything that happens to you is a result of your own actions.

Ласковое слово, что солнышко в ненастье.
[LAS-ka-va-ye SLO-va shto SOL-nish-ka v nee-NAS-t’ye]
A kind word is like a spring day.

A kind word can melt a person’s heart.

Долг платежом красен.
[DOLK pla-tee-ZHOM KRA-syen]
One good turn deserves another.

If someone does you a favor, you should pay it back.

Любишь кататься – люби и саночки возить.
[LYOO-beesh ka-TAT’-sya lyoo-BEE ee SA-nach-kee va-ZEET’]
If you like to sled – you have to like to drag the sledge.

It’s so much fun going down the hill on a sledge, but it can be very hard to drag the sledge back to the top of the hill. This Russian proverb is saying that you need to be prepared to pay for things you enjoy.

В гостях хорошо, а дома лучше.
[v gas-TYAH ha-ra-SHO a DO-ma LOOCH-she]
There’s no place like home.
East or West, home is best.

It’s nice to be a guest, but it’s always better to be at home.

Насильно мил не будешь.
[na-SEEL’-na MEEL nee BOO-deesh]
Love cannot be compelled.

You can’t make anyone love you.

Любовь зла – полюбишь и козла.
[lyoo-BOF’ ZLA pa-LYOO-beesh ee kaz-LA]
Love is evil, it will make you fall in love with a goat.

Often we are blinded by love. You might fall in love with someone who is completely wrong for you or who doesn’t deserve your love, and end up suffering.

Где любовь и совет, там и горя нет.
[gdye lyoo-BOF’ ee sa-VYET tam ee GO-rya nyet]
There is no sorrow, where love and harmony are present.

If everything is resolved with love in a relationship, there will be no arguments and sorrow.

Без труда не вытащишь и рыбку из пруда.
[byes troo-DA nee VI-ta-shsheesh ee RIP-koo ees proo-DA]
You cannot pull a fish out of a pond without effort.

You need to work hard if you want to get something.

Now it’s your turn:

Do you have a favourite Russian saying or a proverb? Do you have a favourite proverb? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Have fun learning Russian!


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