Weird phrases in Russian

Lately I've seen a couple of interesting things on the topic online somewhere in the social network deep. We laugh at these things ourselves but I guess it's worth laughing even from the foreigner point of view.

First, the children riddle. What word has three E in the row?
The answer is 'длинношеее', the adjective meaning 'one who has a long neck' and the neck is 'шея', spelling 'sheya'. No kid guesses right from the beginning. And it is really the only word having three E in succession.

Second, funny phrases.

'Косил косой косой косой' has three words which mean random things. This means 'the squint was mowing something with the skew scythe'. Or 'the rabbit was mowing something with the skew scythe' if you like this more because 'косой' can mean a lot of things. Ew.

'Пошли сходим' is not funny if you do not know Russian but if you do it is kinda weird: literally it's 'let's go to go' and in fact it's colloquial for 'let's go' only.

But the most exciting is 'Да нет' phrase. Or maybe 'Ну да'. Let's start with the former.

'Да' is yes and 'нет' is no but with a certain intonation (doubt or even mockery) 'Да нет' means 'I do not agree at all' and mostly is used in this way.

'Ну да' contains of 'ну' - well ('well' as starting a phrase and still thinking what to say) and 'да' - as you remember, this means 'yes'. OK, this one can BOTH mean 'OK, well, but I'm still not happy' (if you say it irresolutely) or 'do not even dream of it' (impudently or impatiently). The difference is in the intonation.

Third! There will be the third.

Meet Lewis Carroll who visited Russia and left the linguistic note in his diary. He wrote down the word 'defending' ('защищающихся') with transliteration. Are you ready?

'Zаshtshееshtshауоуshtshееkhsуа' it is.


  1. Thank you for this informative and entertaining post, and indeed for your entire blog! You are an excellent writer in English!

    I was talking tonight with my daughter, who is also a blogger. She happens to have posted recently about unusual words in English, including the word "tmesis", which is the only word in our language that begins with "tm..." For some reason this made me think of the Russian words "тмин" and "тьма." Then I found myself thinking about interesting Russian words and letter formations, and tried to remember the word "длинношеее." Thank you for reminding me!

    We are Americans, but of Chinese ancestry. You might be interested in the following notes.

    1. Can you name a word in English with three consecutive pairs of double letters? Answer: "bookkeeper" (or "bookkeepers" or "bookkeeping").

    2. In Chinese, you can say "ma ma ma ma ma" with certain intonation, with the meaning "Is Mother scolding the horse?"

    1. Hello Mark and nice to hear from you! Thank you for the feedback. I'm happy to serve as a source of thoughts hehe.

      And you made me think of words with 'tm' a lot :)