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.

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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.

Alexander Petryaev
Community Member
5 years ago

It is definitely food idiom if you suggests a raisin is in a porridge :D Plain porridge is edible, but porridge with raisin is more than just that. It is tasty.

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B H
Community Member
5 years ago

He's in front of a gigantic beach ball, holding a dog turd, giving a flat-chested pregnant lady a poke in the eye AND "the finger", while being pick-pocketed. The illustrator certainly does have a raisin.

Stan Duppenshout
Community Member
4 years ago

Hahaha! True.

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Allana Rose
Community Member
5 years ago

Now this one is very weird.

Eliah Snakin
Community Member
4 years ago

Pants are actually in the meaning of trousers, not panties/trunks. You don't give a regular shoe to a flea, you give a horseshoe. I'm also speculate it can be "kill a worm" as well as "starve a worm", and probably the last meaning is more likely, but nobody knows.

Alexander Kharichev
Community Member
4 years ago

"Don't slap the dirt with ones face"!

Dmitry Bondarenko
Community Member
4 years ago

A charming person is not the only meaning of that idiom in Russian. We can say like this about a movie or a picture, e.g.

BoriSlava Stavreva
Community Member
4 years ago

'Dust in the eyes' is not showing off but to trick you, to make you a fool

Mariya Denisyuk
Community Member
4 years ago

Usually about women: "Every women must have the little raisin" or "The woman must be a mystery"

Mariya Denisyuk
Community Member
4 years ago

Usually about women: "Every women must have the little raising" or "The woman must be a mystery"

Lana Soboleva
Community Member
4 years ago

It's generally used when speaking about women, not men, and it indicates not something "extra", as in "cherry on top", but rather something very personal and special that separates one from the rest, a charismatic personality quirk

Tatiana Isaeva
Community Member
5 years ago

NIce! If anyone (learning Russian as a foreign language) wants to listen to the native Russian people discussing the meanings of the Russian idioms - welcome to my channel! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsKTB66s6D4V06OM8px_hwykHV8bLYcvL

Farrina
Community Member
5 years ago

Just as it is, great!! )) Still, what's about 'zest' in English? Is it equal in its meaning to 'the cherry on top'?'

John Banister
Community Member
5 years ago

The use of the metaphor is much like the use of the food. Zest is the peel of citrus fruit, used as flavoring. It's used with something sweet to add a bright note and keep it from seeming heavy. If you're bright and active about experiencing something sweet, then you have zest. When you see "a cherry on top" it's almost always a cherry with extra sugar and bright red dye, and what it's on top of is almost always white ice cream or white whipped cream. So, it's visually striking with a flavor that is not complex, added for appearance to a food product that doesn't need anything added, but even more was added anyway. In life the cherry on top is in addition to the thing that already fulfills your desire. (Although, sometimes it's also a distraction - if someone covers a turd with whipped cream, a cherry on top might distract you from noticing the suspicious shape.)

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Tania Samsonova
Community Member
4 years ago

Also зуб даю is not an idiom. It is a phrase used by members of the criminal world - they promise to part with their own tooth if they fail to keep their word, sort of like Japanese mafia members cut off their little finger. The phrase came into the general language as a result of the criminalization of the Russian society in the 1990s. If I were you, I would never use it - it sounds extremely vulgar.

Renat Ibragimov
Community Member
5 years ago

Yep, you have a raisin IN YOU! ^_^

Irina Mitlin
Community Member
5 years ago

Kill a worm: a picture isn't correct. When you are hungry, you feel like there's a worm inside you and you kill it!

Vadim Dmitriev
Community Member
5 years ago

"Izyuminka" cannot be translated as raisin, its not food.

PigMaster
Community Member
4 years ago

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In Soviet Russia, the raisin have you!

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