Russian Proverbs & Idioms || Fascinating Insights into Russian Language + Culture

16 Russian Proverbs To Level Up Your Language Skills

Proverbs in Russian

Proverbs are popular sayings that offer valuable insights into a culture’s history, values, and traditions.

For foreign Russian learners, understanding Russian proverbs is an important aspect of learning the language and gaining a deeper understanding of Russian culture.

It’s also a great way to level up your language skills and impress the locals when you visit.

In this article, we will explore some of the most popular Russian proverbs, their meanings, and how they reflect the Russian way of life.

BONUS VOCAB || Proverb in Russian is пословица (poslovitsa). Idiom is идиома and is pronounced similar to English (idioma).

Russian Idioms || Без труда́ не вы́тащишь…

Russian Idioms || Век живи́, век учи́сь…

Russian Idioms || юбо́вь мо́рковью корми́т

Russian Idioms || Что посе́ешь, то и пожнёшь

Russian Idioms || На́ пусто́е место́ …

Russian Idioms || Не всё то золото…

Russian Idioms || Глаза́ боя́тся, а ру́ки дела́ют

Russian Idioms || В тихом омуте…

Russian Idioms || Что име́ем – не храни́м…

Russian Idioms || Не говори́ гоп…

Russian Idioms || Без труда́ не вы́тащишь…

Russian Idioms || Кто ра́но встаёт…

Russian Idioms || Ста́рый друг лу́чше…

Russian Idioms || Сло́во не воробе́й…

Russian Idioms || Повторе́ние – мать уче́нья

Russian Idioms || Го́рбатого́ моги́ла испра́вит

Russian Idioms || FAQs


Let’s get started with our first Russian proverb which is…

Russian Proverbs || Без труда́ не вы́тащишь…

Без труда́ не вы́тащишь и ры́бку из пруда́

bez trudá ne výtashchish i rybkú iz prudá

TRANSLATION || Without effort, you can’t even pull a fish out of a pond.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the value of hard work and persistence.

It suggests that nothing comes easily in life and that success requires effort and perseverance.

Russian Proverbs || Век живи́, век учи́сь…

Век живи́, век учи́сь, а дурако́м помрёшь

vek zhiví, vek uchíss’, a durakóm pomryósh

TRANSLATION || Live for a century, learn for a century, but you’ll still die a fool.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

It suggests that no matter how much knowledge and experience one gain in life, there is always more to learn.

As language enthusiasts we couldn’t agree more!

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Russian Jokes || Our Favourite Four (+ Top Tips On How To Deliver The Perfect Joke)

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Russian Proverbs || юбо́вь мо́рковью корми́т

Любо́вь мо́рковью корми́т

lyubóv’ morkóvyu kormít
Russian Proverbs

TRANSLATION || Love is fed with carrots.

MEANING || This proverb suggests that love needs to be nurtured and nourished in order to grow and thrive.

Like a plant that needs water and sunlight to flourish, love requires care and attention in order to thrive.

This idiom is typically used metaphorically to express the idea that love and affection thrive on small gestures and acts of kindness.

Russian Proverbs || Что посе́ешь, то и пожнёшь

Что посе́ешь, то и пожнёшь

chto poséesh’, to i pozhnyósh

TRANSLATION || What you sow, you will reap.

MEANING || This Russian proverb emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions.

It suggests that the consequences of our actions, whether positive or negative, will ultimately come back to us.

It translates almost word for word from English which uses the same proverb – what you reap, you sow.

Russian Proverbs || На́ пусто́е место́ …

На́ пусто́е место́ не сы́кло сади́тся

na pustóye mesto ne syklo sadítsya
Russian Proverbs

TRANSLATION || A fox doesn’t settle in an empty place.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings and taking advantage of opportunities.

It suggests that successful people are those who are able to identify and seize opportunities when they arise.

Staying in the same place will potentially get you nowhere, so open your eyes to opportunities further afield.

Russian Proverbs || Не всё то золото…

Не всё то золото, что блестит

ne vsyo to zoloto, chto blestit

TRANSLATION || Not everything that glitters is gold.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of looking beyond appearances and recognizing true value.

It suggests that things that appear attractive on the surface may not always be as valuable or desirable as they seem.

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Get Tongue Tied || 13 Of Our Favourite Russian Tongue Twisters

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Russian Proverbs || Глаза́ боя́тся, а ру́ки дела́ют

Глаза́ боя́тся, а ру́ки дела́ют

glazá boyátsya, a rúki deláyut
Proverbs in Russian

TRANSLATION || The eyes are afraid, but the hands do the work.

MEANING || This Russian idiom emphasizes the importance of overcoming fear and taking action.

It suggests that success requires courage and determination and that one must be willing to take risks in order to achieve their goals.

Don’t think or look too much, just do it – like learning Russian for example!

The worst thing you can do is say “aahh, it’s too hard” – just get stuck in!

Russian Proverbs || В тихом омуте…

В тихом омуте черти́ водятся

v tikhom omute cherti vodyatsya

TRANSLATION || In a quiet pond, devils are found.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the danger of complacency and the importance of staying vigilant.

It suggests that things may not always be as they seem and that even in seemingly peaceful situations, there may be hidden dangers.

Russian Proverbs || Что име́ем – не храни́м…

Что име́ем – не храни́м, потеря́вши – пла́чем

chto iméem – ne khraním, poteryávshi – pláchem

TRANSLATION || What we have, we do not keep; having lost it, we cry.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of valuing what we have while we have it.

We should appreciate our blessings and not take them for granted, as we may regret their loss later on.

When you feel down or negative about something – draw on the positives. You have something that someone else craves.

Philosophical, right!?

Russian Proverbs || Не говори́ гоп…

Не говори́ гоп, пока́ не переско́чишь

ne govorí gop, poká ne pereskóchish

TRANSLATION || Don’t say “hop” until you’ve jumped.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of following through on one’s promises and commitments.

The idea of this Russian proverb is to portray the importance of acting before speaking.

You may’ve met people who talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they never follow through with their promises.

This proverb is for them!

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23 Words in Russian You ALREADY Know || The Power of Loanwords

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Russian Proverbs || Без труда́ не вы́тащишь…

Без труда́ не вы́тащишь и ры́бку из пруда́

bez trudá ne výtashchish i rybkú iz prudá

TRANSLATION || Without effort, you can’t even pull a fish out of a pond.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the value of hard work and persistence.

Nothing comes easily in life, and that success requires effort and perseverance.

Russian Proverbs || Кто ра́но встаёт…

Кто ра́но встаёт, тому́ Бо́г подаёт

kto ráno vstáyot, tomú Bóg podáyot
Idioms in Russian

TRANSLATION || God helps those who get up early.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of starting one’s day early and being productive.

Hands up who is an early riser? This one’s dedicated to you guys!

The proverb suggests that those who rise early are more likely to be successful and receive blessings from God.

You late risers – time to develop new habits 😜

Russian Proverbs || Ста́рый друг лу́чше…

Ста́рый друг лу́чше новых двух

stáryy drug lúchshe novykh dvukh

TRANSLATION || An old friend is better than two new ones.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the value of long-standing friendships and loyalty.

In Russia, we believe it’s better to have a few close friends who have been there for you for a long time, rather than many new acquaintances who may not be as reliable.

Do you agree? Tell us in the comments below.

Russian Proverbs || Сло́во не воробе́й…

Сло́во не воробе́й, вы́летит—не пойма́ешь

slóvo ne vorobéy, vylétit – ne poimáyesh

TRANSLATION || Words are not sparrows, once they fly out, you can’t catch them.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the importance of thinking before speaking, as once words are said, they can’t be taken back.

It suggests that one should be careful with their words and use them wisely.

Russian Proverbs || Повторе́ние – мать уче́нья

Повторе́ние – мать уче́нья

povtoréniye – mat’ uchén’ya
Idioms in Russian

TRANSLATION || Repetition is the mother of learning.

MEANING || This Russian proverb emphasizes the importance of repetition and practice in mastering a skill or acquiring knowledge.

This is a great proverb to learn for language learning. We don’t remember things straight away.

We must practice over and over and over! Don’t give up!

Consistent effort over time leads to greater understanding and competence not just with language learning, but with anything.

Russian Proverbs || Го́рбатого́ моги́ла испра́вит

Го́рбатого́ моги́ла испра́вит

górbatavó mogíla isprávit

TRANSLATION || A hunchback’s grave will even out.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the impermanence of physical appearances and the importance of inner qualities.

Physical imperfections are temporary, while good character traits endure and are more important in the long run.

Focus on being a good person more than anything else.

Bravo Russian 👏

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19 Swear Words in Russian || USE WITH CAUTION!

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And there we have it – a great list of proverbs and idioms for you to use when speaking Russian with friends.

Russian proverbs, tongue twisters, and slang phrases offer a window into the unique and vibrant culture of the Russian-speaking world.

Learning these expressions can deepen one’s understanding of the language, while also providing insight into the values, beliefs, and attitudes of Russian people.

Do you know anymore? Leave us a comment below and share your favourite Russian proverbs and idioms

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BONUS || enjoy learning proverbs and idioms in other languages? Why not check these out too…

Language unlocks so many doors.

Unlock those doors with LTL Language School.

Happy studying 🤩

Russian Idioms || FAQs

How do you say proverb in Russian?

Proverb in Russian is пословица (poslovitsa).

How do you say idiom in Russian?

Idiom in Russian is идиома and is pronounced similar to English (idioma)

What does Повторе́ние – мать уче́нья mean?

TRANSLATION || Repetition is the mother of learning.

MEANING || This Russian proverb emphasizes the importance of repetition and practice in mastering a skill or acquiring knowledge.

This is a great proverb to learn for language learning. We don’t remember things straight away.

We must practice over and over and over! Don’t give up!

Consistent effort over time leads to greater understanding and competence not just with language learning, but with anything.

What is a commonly used Russian proverb?

В тихом омуте черти́ водятся (v tikhom omute cherti vodyatsya)

TRANSLATION || In a quiet pond, devils are found.

MEANING || This proverb emphasizes the danger of complacency and the importance of staying vigilant.

It suggests that things may not always be as they seem and that even in seemingly peaceful situations, there may be hidden dangers.

Are there any Russian idioms that are the same as English?

There are indeed a few.

One example is Что посе́ешь, то и пожнёшь.

This essentially means what you reap, you sow – almost word for word.

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