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Discovering Russian Idioms Part 3. Idioms for beginners

I moved to Glasgow almost 2 years ago, in November 2016. My Russian friends are still asking me what it feels like to speak English most of the time and not your native language; if I miss speaking Russian etc.

I have to say I never think of this, consequently this doesn’t bother me.

Apart from the times when I use just another idiom and hear “Eh?” in return.

I love idioms. I think I use at least 30 a day (well, in my head - for sure). Many of them are hard for a foreigner: complicated grammar, old words; actually sometimes even Russians can confuse the idiom meaning (I once had a bet over an idiom with my best friend and I won a huge pack of Toblerone).

There are however simpler one, suitable for learning by beginners.

Below I have written down the ones with the word как (as/like) - which is obviously the essential tool in metaphors.

Here you will see translations, explanation when needed and English equivalents where possible:

Худо́й как спи́чка - Skinny as a match.

English equivalent: Skinny as a rake.

Похо́жи как две ка́пли воды́ - Similar like two drops of water.

English equivalent: Like to peas in a pod.

Плева́ть в потоло́к - To spit into the ceiling = to be lazy, doing nothing.

English equivalent: To twiddle one’s thumbs.

Пла́вать как топо́р - To swim like an ax = not to be able to swim.

Голо́дный как волк - Hungry as a wolf.

Жить как на вулка́не - To live like on volcano = to live on the peak of emotions.

Знать как свои́ пять па́льцев - To know like your own five fingers.

English equivalent: Like the back of my hand.

Как ры́ба в воде́ - Like a fish in water.

English equivalent: To be in your element.

Кра́сный как рак - Red as a crayfish.

English equivalent: Red as a lobster.

If you are interested in learning Russian, 121 or by Skype,

Feel free to contact me.


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