Boo! It’s Friday the Thirteenth!

Boo! It’s Friday the Thirteenth!
13 January 2017

It’s Friday the Thirteenth – a day when the nightmares come true. We hope you do not suffer from not so rare disease called Triskaidekaphobia)))

Russians are superstitious at such a deep genetic level that demons, omens, and evil spirits of all sorts are constantly present in our daily life.

It’s true in terms of the language, too. Whenever Russians want to swear or curse someone, let out an agonized cry or an exclamation of joy, cheer someone up or compliment good looks, they mention ЧЁРТ.

Who is it, anyway?

ЧЁРТ is usually translated as devil, demon (Teufel in German; diavolo in Italian). They are believed to be the servants to Satan, black hairy creatures with horns, hoofs, and a tail. ЧЕРТИ (pl.) usually limp, as they were dumped from Heaven to Earth by God. Another belief is that every soul is given a guardian angel, which stays behind one’s right shoulder, and ЧЁРТ, responsible for all improper actions, who stays behind the left shoulder. Thus when you see a black cat crossing your way (an omen!) you should knock three times on wood and then spit over your left shoulder. ЧЕРТИ are naughty, playful, and …hmmm, yes, kind of horny.

Below are few popular Russian phrases mentioning ЧЁРТ.

НИ ЧЕРТА (literally: not a single devil) – absolutely nothing

ЧЕРТ ВОЗЬМИ / ЧЁРТ ПОБЕРИ (literally: take it, devil) – dammit; what the heck; what the hell

ЗОЛ КАК ЧЁРТ (literally: angry as a devil) – cross as a bear

ЧЁРТ ЗНАЕТ (ЧТО ТАКОЕ) (literally:devil knows (what it is) – what the dickens; a common expression of confusion

ИДИ К ЧЁРТУ (literally: go to devil) – go to hell, damn you

ЧЁРТ НОГУ СЛОМИТ (literally: the devil will break his leg) – the hell to pay; an expression used to describe something complicated, complex, hard to understand

ЧЕМ ЧЁРТ НЕ ШУТИТ? (literally: what doesn’t devil use for his tricks?) – Everything is possible – normally used in a positive way, expressing hope for good luck

ЧЁРТ С ТОБОЙ! (literally: may the devil be with you!) – 1. Used when you give up on explaining something to or demanding something from a person who is incapable of the task; 2. do what you think is best 3. go away

К ЧЁРТОВОЙ БАБУШКЕ (literally: to the devil’s grandmother) – a more intense way of sending someone to hell; expressing an extreme state of being annoyed by someone/something

У ЧЁРТА НА КУЛИЧКАХ (literally: at the devil’s meadow) – very far away; in the middle of nowhere; God knows where

НАПИТЬСЯ ДО ЧЕРТИКОВ (get drunk to the state of seeing devils) – to see pink elephants

В ТИХОМ ОМУТЕ ЧЕРТИ ВОДЯТСЯ (there are devils in a still pond) – still waters run deep; used to describe a person whose reserved looks hide a passionate or even dangerous nature

Can find an equivalent in your native language? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts
Interview with Walter Denz at Fontanka TV from 3. February 2015 focusing on the current business climate and the need to speak foreign ...
Read more
Я подумал, что таких, как я, — иностранцев, при- ехавших в только что открывшуюся За- паду россию без знания культуры и язы- ка, — должно быть ...
Read more
"Inspired by post-Soviet change and a lack of language knowledge, Walter Denz decided against pursuing his academic path and moved from ...
Read more
This week, Julia Voevodina and Walter Denz were guests at the Breakfast Club of the english speaking radio station Moscow FM, debating the ...
Read more