We know every country has their own idioms, which often make no sense to anyone other than those who have grown up with them, but for those in the know, they make perfect sense!

We are bringing you Russia’s TOP TEN idioms, with a helping hand from renowned artist Nathan James. By the time you’ve familiarised yourself with these, we’re hoping you won’t get overexcited… but you’ll jump out of your pants!

#1

Russians Don’t Exaggerate, They 'Make An Elephant Out Of A Fly'

Russians Don’t Exaggerate, They 'Make An Elephant Out Of A Fly'

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Mine Benker
Community Member
5 years ago

In Turkey, we make a camel out of a flea..

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#2

A Russian Won’t Lie To You, He’ll 'Hang Noodles On Your Ears'

A Russian Won’t Lie To You, He’ll 'Hang Noodles On Your Ears'

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Rita
Community Member
5 years ago

it's correct, but in Russia we don't eat noodle from Chinese small box :)

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#3

You Are Not Just Talented Or Skilled, You Can 'Shoe A Flea'

You Are Not Just Talented Or Skilled, You Can 'Shoe A Flea'

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John Tenletters
Community Member
5 years ago

Nono, not a shoe like the one at the picture. A horseshoe.

Anatoly Tatau
Community Member
4 years ago

Exactly. Horseshoe

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Rita
Community Member
5 years ago

We have an old tale about how a master could make a horseshoe for a flea. The flea was very small and the master was super neat and was able to make a horseshoe for her. If a person who works with his hands needs praise, then you can say "You are a good master, you can even shoe a flea"

Mikhail Brezhnev
Community Member
5 years ago

This is a very strange and ambiguous story. There is a story written by a writer Leskov called "Left-handed" about russians. So... One European master made a mechanical steel flea which was able to dance. But the Russian master named left-handed was tasked with doing something better. He made a horseshoe for a flea, each stamped out his brand, and also made nails for them. But the thing is that the flea after that lost the opportunity to dance. In this context, the idiom sounds more like a mockery of a skilful but stupid person.

Anna Karkoshka
Community Member
4 years ago

The Russian master was not only left-handed, he was also one-eyed.

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Sergei
Community Member
5 years ago

Yes, the word in the Russian idiom originates from a horseshoe. And not any talent or skill, but rather in fine crafting by hands.

Elena Nochkina
Community Member
5 years ago

There is a story by a famous Russian writer that spoke about a very talented craftsman whose name was Levsha (Lefthander) and who was so talented that he could put a tiny horse (flea, actually) shoe on a flea.

Mariya Denisyuk
Community Member
4 years ago

This idiom came from "The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea" of Nikolai Leskov.

Michael Yutsis
Community Member
5 years ago

It all came from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Cross-eyed_Lefty_from_Tula_and_the_Steel_Flea

Vera Prytkova
Community Member
4 years ago

This is from a story, the main character of which was so skilful that he could shoe a flea. Well, that is, it's not shoes, it's HORSESY. Also, he was left-handed and died in poverty in the end. Here is a link to the story) https://archive.org/details/steelflea00hapggoog

Elena
Community Member
4 years ago

This one mainly refers to fine handiwork; here's the original story from where the expression comes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Cross-eyed_Lefty_from_Tula_and_the_Steel_Flea

Pavel Sakhnov
Community Member
4 years ago

Not shoes, but a horseshoe :)

Nikos Lempesis
Community Member
5 years ago

''shoe a cricket'' is for the Greeks

Yury Popov
Community Member
4 years ago

This means a horseshoe: artage-io-...66c7cb.png artage-io-thumb-5b43f84a0c66982117de4cb1fe66c7cb.png

Inoxent Mohsin
Community Member
4 years ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UwrmABnZmM&t=1s

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
4 years ago

The closest in the UK is "you could sell ice to an Eskimo!"

PigMaster
Community Member
4 years ago

In Soviet Russia, fleas shoe you!

Pavel Sakhnov
Community Member
4 years ago

Not shoes, but a horseshoe

Oleg Gorodenko
Community Member
5 years ago

The translations and meanings are dumb in my opinion! The author has to be Russian or at least live some time in Russia to understand something!

Stessa Zilber
Community Member
5 years ago

Horseshoe a flea

Aish Siva
Community Member
5 years ago

It's funny that in English this somehow makes sense. Idioms are strange

Kirill Fedorov
Community Member
5 years ago

It's from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Cross-eyed_Lefty_from_Tula_and_the_Steel_Flea

Liviyana Tanaso
Community Member
4 years ago

we "you can sell an ice cream to an eskimo" in Bulgaria :D

Alexy Rezvyi
Community Member
5 years ago

Ну как с вами бороться...

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#4

It’ll Never Happen – ‘A Lobster Whistles On Top Of A Mountain’

It’ll Never Happen – ‘A Lobster Whistles On Top Of A Mountain’

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Igor Nikeshin
Community Member
5 years ago

crayfish is correct !)

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#5

A Russian Person Doesn’t Swear Something Is True… He Will ‘Give You His Tooth For It’

A Russian Person Doesn’t Swear Something Is True… He Will ‘Give You His Tooth For It’

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Igor Nikeshin
Community Member
5 years ago

This ia just awful jail slang! ) This slang usually use bad educated and dumb people only ! Sometimes use as a joke about dumb people )

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#6

Russians Don’t Show Off… They ‘Throw Dust In Your Eyes’

Russians Don’t Show Off… They ‘Throw Dust In Your Eyes’

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Ana Vrbanov
Community Member
5 years ago

Some of these sayings are used in other countries of Europe too, here in Croatia as well, so it's not just the "Russian" thing. :)

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#7

A Russian Doesn’t Say He’s In A Crowded Place, He Says He’s 'Like Herring In The Barrel'

A Russian Doesn’t Say He’s In A Crowded Place, He Says He’s 'Like Herring In The Barrel'

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Vela Lightle
Community Member
5 years ago

Packed like Sardines. Same thing really.

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#8

A Russian Doesn’t Get Overexcited, He 'Jumps Out Of His Pants'

A Russian Doesn’t Get Overexcited, He 'Jumps Out Of His Pants'

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Intensive Panda
Community Member
5 years ago

Pants, not undies

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#9

Russians Don’t Have A Snack, They 'Kill The Worm'

Russians Don’t Have A Snack, They 'Kill The Worm'

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Igor Nikeshin
Community Member
5 years ago

Slang too. More exactly that sounds something like this ."To excruciate a little worm to death"

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#10

Russians Don’t Say You Have An Interesting Aspect To Your Character, They Say You Have A 'Raisin'

Russians Don’t Say You Have An Interesting Aspect To Your Character, They Say You Have A 'Raisin'

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Arina I
Community Member
5 years ago

The word used for raisin in this idiom is actually in the diminutive somewhat cutesy form. So if you have something interesting about you, that interesting thing about you is referred to as a baby raisin by this idiom. It is an odd expression, sure, but it is somewhat akin to "the cherry on top" expression in English, which to non-English speakers might seem like a similarly random food item metaphorically used to signify something extraordinary.

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