10+ Best Russian Proverbs To Try Out!

Ling Learn Languages
8 min readMay 31, 2022


Original blog post: https://ling-app.com/ru/russian-proverbs/(with audio🔊)

If you are looking to impress native Russian speakers, you might want to know the essential Russian proverbs and sayings. These expressions are a gateway to making meaningful conversations, but it also allows you to have a deeper understanding of the language and their culture.

The Russian Proverbs

Proverbs and sayings are a great way to gain advice and more wisdom. They are even used to drive away evil spirits or utter whenever you do something risk-taking.

These sayings might be very confusing, but the more you think about them and ponder them. It makes sense in time. Having sufficient knowledge of these proverbs and sayings can make you more wise, witty, and impressive.

When you tackle Russian proverbs and sayings, it is inevitable that you also learn about the country’s culture, given that Russian proverbs are a mirror of the Russian culture. Besides that, it is a great way to have a good conversation with the Russian people.

Learning about Russian proverbs isn’t just limited to gaining more knowledge about their country’s heritage. Instead, it is also a bridge that paves the way to connecting literature and culture.

Common Russian Proverbs

To know about Russian proverbs is a great way to learn about Russian culture and the Russian language. As you read on, you will know more about it and what it means. If this interests you, continue reading!

Любовь настолько жестока, что можно влюбиться в козла.

Literal translation: Love is so cruel that you could fall in love with a goat.

Meaning: Love is blind.

This saying is typically used in a situation that embodies the blindness that someone can feel when they are in love. This saying shows that sometimes love is so evil that it makes you so blind that you can fall in love with someone who may have an unattractive personality or tolerate a person who doesn’t treat you well.

Не ходи в другой монастырь со своими правилами

Literal translation: Don’t go to another monastery with your own rules

Meaning: Don’t go to a different place and make your own rules. Always learn to adapt.

If you visit Russia, you better keep this Russian proverb in mind. With this saying, it can be used as a reminder that wherever you go, you should have the ability to adapt to their traditions and adjust — not the other way around.

With this saying, it encourages you to be very versatile and flexible. Meaning, that regardless of your status or position, if you are in a foreign place, adaptability is something that you should be able to do. Not just to be impressive towards the people you meet, but also to be respectful of the culture, customs, and traditions.

Он заживет до дня вашей свадьбы

Literal translation: It will heal before your wedding day

Meaning: Eventually, you will be okay/

This is the best saying/Russian proverb for when you want to comfort someone like a close relative or your close friend. This is a reminder that eventually, you will be okay.

Even if it might take up a lot of time and a lot of conscious effort to heal, one way or another, you will be okay. Such a proverb is a good reminder of such. Thus, you will heal.

Без усилий и рыбку из пруда не вытащишь

Literal translation: Without effort, you won’t even pull a fish out of a pond

Meaning: Without any effort and dedication, there will be no progress and result.

This Russian proverb is a little bit self-explanatory. It is essential to keep in mind that it progresses, no matter how little such progress may be.

Hence, you won’t even pull a fish out of a pond — figuratively and literally without any effort.

Если вы сделаете что-то в спешке, вы заставите людей смеяться над вами

Literal translation: If you do something in a hurry, you will make people laugh at you

Meaning: Don’t rush when you are doing something because you might make a fool out of yourself.

In everyday life, this is very applicable. When you do things in a rush, you will most likely waste your time, energy, effort, and materials. This Russian proverb is a good reminder not to do things out of haste or quickness because you might humiliate yourself. The best way to go about and do things is to do them with ease.

Slowly but surely is the right way to go!

Тише едешь дальше будешь.

Literal translation: The quieter you go, the further you’ll get.

Meaning: It is important to share everything at a minimum because people cannot ruin what they don’t know.

With this in mind, when you go about your life in a private but not secretive manner, your progress becomes better.

When you work on things without much influence from society, the possibility of it being your most genuine and authentic work is very high, making it your best work.

Сто друзей лучше, чем сто рублей

Literal translation: A hundred friends is better than a hundred rubles

Meaning: Being able to have genuine friends is better than having so much money but is still lonely.

An oldie but a goodie Russian proverb that means having genuine friends is way better than having a lot of money, yet you are surrounded by people who do not care about you.

In the same light, this Russian proverb reminds us that true friends will never leave you behind no matter what season you may be in your life.

Первый блин всегда комом

Literal translation: The first pancake is always lumpy

Meaning: It is okay to make mistakes when you do something for the first time.

This is a gentle reminder that you do not get things right the first time, and it is more than okay. Such a Russian proverb is a perfect reminder to anyone that is being hard on themselves that to make mistakes is more than okay because it allows you to grow and become so much better in the long run, not just at what you do but even as a person.

Работа без передышки отупляет Джека

Literal translation: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Meaning: Knowing how to balance yourself and all of its aspects is as essential as being able to work well.

Aside from the Russian proverb that says, ‘the first pancake is always lumpy, this is also a tremendous Russian proverb to remind you that work-life balance is as important as resting. Without these, while a person keeps on working all the time, the tendency is for that person to lose balance in his life, making him very unproductive and burned out in the long run.

This is one of the Russian proverbs and sayings that emphasizes how it is important to have an outstanding balance in the things you do to improve in work and holistically.

Старый друг и старое вино — лучшее

Literal translation: Old friends and old wine are the best

Meaning: Friendships that stand the test of time are the best friendships that one can have.

Russians are famous in terms of friendships. Hence, this is one of the Russian proverbs and sayings that stuck with them. This means that they value old friendships that go way back and have a hard time adjusting to new ones, which is entirely valid and understandable.

Плохой работник винит в этом свои инструменты

Literal translation: A bad workman blames his tools

Meaning: One should look at himself when he makes a mistake instead of blaming someone else.

This is probably one of the Russian proverbs and sayings that one should keep in mind. When something doesn’t go to plan or if things fail, one should not point their fingers at other people but assess themselves and see where they can improve and what more they can do to become better.

Keeping this in mind not only does hinder you from your progress but also helps you navigate the challenges of being better.

Для большого корабля, большого путешествия

Literal translation: For a big ship, a big voyage

Meaning: The journey is also long and challenging when one aims high.

There isn’t a shortcut to lasting success, and knowing this can prevent you from taking the easy way and failing in the long run. When the vision is extensive, one should keep in mind that the journey isn’t easy either!

Семь раз отмерь, прежде чем один раз отрезать

Literal translation: Measure seven times before cutting once

Meaning: Think things through before doing anything!

Think not just once, twice, or thrice, but seven times. This will prevent you from making any irrational decisions that will hurt you and will make you regret them in the long run.

What’s Next?

These are just a couple of Russian proverbs and sayings that can help you gain more wisdom and probably gain a friend or two in the future! These can serve as a good beginning for you in your language journey with the Russian language or in learning about the Russian culture. Whatever reason it might be, knowing about these expressions can be an excellent tool for gaining more knowledge.

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