Russian Proverbs & Sayings

A man is judged by his deeds, not by his words.

The sun will shine into our yard too.

After a storm fair weather, after sorrow joy.

All are not cooks that walk with long knives.

All cats are grey at night.

Every seed knows its time.

Any fish is good if it is on the hook.

The one who draws the cart is urged on.

All roads lead to Rome.

All is well that ends well.

All is not gold that glitters.

The appetite comes during a meal.

As you cooked the porridge, so must you eat it.

As you make your bed, so you will sleep.

It is a bad workman that has a bad saw.

Better late than never.

Better to stumble than make a slip of the tongue.

Beware of a quite dog and still water.

A bird may be known by its flight.

One fisherman sees another from afar.

Take the bull by the horns.

Idleness is the mother of all vices.

A fly will not come into a closed mouth.

There will be trouble if the cobbler starts making pies.

A drop hollows out a stone.

A wolf won’t eat wolf.

You do not need a whip to urge on an obedient horse.

Do not look at gift hourse’s mouth.

A man should not be struck when he is down.

You do not swap horses while crossing the ford.

A drowing man clutches at straw.

It is good to be visiting, but it is better at home.

The end is the crown of any work.

The tongue speaks, but the head doesn’t know.

Every sandpiper praises its own swamp.

There is no evil without good.

If you are a host to your guest, be a host to his dog also.

He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne.

The hammer shatters glass but forges steel.

One who sits between two chairs may easily fall down.

To ask is no sin and to be refused is no calamity.

A man without a wife is like a man in winter without a fur hat.

The wolf will hire himself out very cheaply as a shepherd.

He need not search his pockets for words.

The offender never forgives.

A kind word is like a spring day.

An enemy will agree, but a friend wil argue.

Devils live in quiet pond.

Wild ducks and tomorrow both come without calling.

The old bear falls into the old trap.

No matter how much you feed a wolf he will always return to the forest.

A lizard on a cushion will still seek leaves.

It is easy to undress the naked.

In the kingdom of hope there is no winter.

No one is dragged to heaven by the hair.

Happiness is not a horse, you cannot harness it.

To ask is no sin and to be refused is no calamity.

Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.

When you meet a man judge him by his clothes, when you leave a man judge him by his heart.

More Russian Sayings and Proverbs with English Translation

1. С кем поведёшься – от того и наберёшься. From anyone you are in contact you will ever accept something.
2. Не в свои сани не садись. Do not try to sit in the sledge not belonging to you. (Do not try to take up a post you are not merit).
3. Из чужих саней среди грязи долой! From the sledge not belonging to you get out in the dirt. (If you took up a post you are not merit you would find yourself in very dangerous circumstances).
4. На всякого мудреца довольно простоты. For each wise men there is quite enough silliness. (No comments).
5. И на старуху бывает проруха. Even an old women can make a mistake. (No comments).
6. Куда конь с копытом – туда и рак с клешнёй. The Cancer with his claw tries to take the same way as the horse with his hoof. (The weak little old man pretends to the same position as young hero).
7. Всяк сверчок – знай свой шесток. The cobbler should stick to his last. (Everybody must have his leaving space and know it good).
8. Век живи – век учись. (Дураком помрёшь). If even you live hundred years – you must permanent learn. (Nevertheless you would die a fool).
9. Ври да не завирайся. Tell lies but become not tangled in lies. (No comment).
10. Работа не волк – в лес не убежит. The work is not like wolf – it would not run in the forest. (You can ever not to harry to begin some work).
11. Сколько волка не корми, а он всё в лес глядит. The wolf being fed enough nevertheless looks in the forest. (You can do much of good to someone but he can have interest not coinciding with yours).
12. Блин не клин – брюха не расколет. The pancake is not like wedge – it would not split your belly. (Do not worry eating many pancakes).
13. Не всё коту масленица – бывает и великий пост. It’s not always Pancake week for the cat. (For everybody all the days could not be carefree).
14. Упаси меня Бог от друзей, а от врагов я сам спасусь. Lord, rescue me against friends, against enemies I could rescue myself. (No comments).
15. Ласковое теля двух маток сосёт. An affectionate calf sucks two mothers. (A flatterer gains double profit).
16. Слово не воробей – вылетит не поймаешь. A word is not like sparrow when it flies out you can not catch it. (If you said a word you can not prevent the consequences of it).
17. Давши слово – держись, а не давши – крепись. Having had given a word – be strong, not having do it – try to prevent to promise. (No comments).
18. Добрая слава лежит, а дурная бежит. The glory lies – the abuse is running. (A bed information of someone much faster reaches everybody’s ears then good information).
19. Первая – колом, вторая – соколом, а третья – мелкой пташечкой. The first (cup of vodka) goes as a stake, the second – as a falcon and the third – as a little bird. (No comments).
20. Плетью обуха не перешибёшь. It is impossible to break the butt end with a lash. (Always there are circumstances you can not overcome).
21. Неча на зеркало пенять, коли рожа крива. That is no reason to accuse the mirror if you have a crooked face. (Do not accuse someone or something in your annoyance if it owes to yourself).
22. Не говори “Гоп”, пока не перепрыгнул. В диссидентско-украинском варианте: Не кажи “Гоп”, не переихав Чоп. Do not exclaim “Up” having not yet make a jump. (Do not swagger about doing something before you did it). In Ukrainian-humorist version: do not exclaim “Up” having not crossed Chop. (Chop is checkpoint; do not feel yourself abroad not crossing the frontier).
23. Свежо предание, а верится с трудом. The legend is still fresh but hard to believe. (No comments).
24. Выпивали – веселились, подсчитали – прослезились. Enjoy when drinking (vodka), – crying when calculating. (No comments).
25. Поделом вору и мука. The torment is what the thief have to gain. (No comments).
26. Любишь кататься – люби и саночки возить. If you like to sled – you have to like to drive the sledge. (If you like some pleasure be ready to pay off).
27. Положить зубы на полку. To put your teeth on the shelf. (If you have nothing to eat it is better to keep your teeth idle).
28. Укатали Сивку крутые горки. Sivka (the horse) became wearied out running through steep hills. (No comments).
29. Недосол – на столе, пересол – на спине. Insufficient sating is on the table, too much salt is on back. (If the cook put not enough salt in the food it can be corrected during a meal, if it appeared too much salt the cook’s back have to be beaten).
30. Что посеешь – то и пожнёшь. You will reap the same you sowed. (The merit in your life depends only on your efforts).
31. Лучшее – враг хорошего. The best is en enemy of good. (Trying to make better good things (or circumstances) you can spoil it).
32. С паршивой овцы хоть шерсти клок. It is good to gain even a flock of wool from the black sheep. (It is good to gain just something in bad circumstances).
33. Перед смертью не надышишься. Could not breath enough before death. (Never you could not do all you want).
34. Сколько верёвочка не вейся, а кончику быть. The cord may curl long but the end must appear. (All in our world have en end).
35. Конец – делу венец. The end is crown of any affair. (All you did can be evaluated only after end).
36. С глаз долой из сердца вон. Out of sight – out of heart. (When you do not see someone for long time – you no longer love him).
37. Кабы знать, где упадёшь – соломки бы подстелил. If you could know where you fall – you would spread some straw. (If knowing the source of disaster they could take precautions).
38. Пришла беда – отворяй ворота. Open gate when disaster is coming. (In many condition you can not withstand after disaster is coming).
39. Поспешишь – людей насмешишь. Being in a hurry you can make people laugh. (Making something in a hurry you can make mistakes and people will laugh).
40. Утро вечера мудренее. The morning is more wise then evening. (Am morning you have a fresh head and can undertake regular decisions).
41. Тише едешь – дальше будешь. Riding slowly you will get more distant places. (If you do something slowly with a care you will gain more successes).
42. Подальше положишь – поближе возьмёшь. If you put something farther – you would get it nearer. (Hiding something with care you would have more guarantee to find it later).
43. Капля камень точит. Constant dropping wears away the stone. (If you insist on something steadily you can win).
44. На миру и смерть красна. Together with your people even the death is respectable. (All the most terrible misfortunes are easier to survive together with your people).
45. Если бы молодость знала, если бы старость могла! If the youth cold know, if the oldster could be able can. (No comments).
46. На всякое чихание не наздравствуешься. It is impossible say “good health” hearing every sternutation. (It is impossible to react upon every event).
48. Назвался груздём – полезай в кузов. If you have had call yourself milk mushroom – go into the basket. (If you proclaim something about yourself – you must justify it).
48. Страшен сон – да милостив Бог. The dream is terrible but the Lord is full of charity. (When you are intuitively afraid of something remember the mercy of the Lord).
49. На чужой роток не накинешь платок. It is impossible to throw a shawl over someone’s mouth. (It is impossible to make anybody be silent).
50. Взялся за гуж – не говори, что не дюж. When taking the tug do not say “I am powerless”. (When you have undertaking some job do not say “I can not”).
51. Выше головы не прыгнешь. You can not jump above your had. (Everybody has a limit to his forces).
52. В чужой монастырь со своим уставом не суйся. Do not come in the stranger monastery with your own Charter. (Do not teach your hosts what to do).
53. Незваный гость хуже татарина. Non invited visitor is worst then a Tatar. (Tatars where ancient occupants of Russia).
54. Волков бояться – в лес не ходить. Being afraid of wolfs do not go to the forest. (Would not undertake things being dangerous in your opinion).
55. Куда ни кинь – всё клин. Everywhere you cast – all is a wedge. (There exists desperate situations).
56. Рад бы в рай – да грехи не пускают. Would be glad to get to paradise but the blames does not allow it. (No comments).
57. Заставь дурака Богу молиться – он и лоб расшибёт. Make the stupid man to pray – he will hurt his forehead. (Stupid peoples does not evaluate their efforts).
58. Дорого яичко ко христову дню.An egg is valuable to the Christ day (Easter). (The value of each event depends of the moment it hapens).
59. Снявши голову, по волосам не плачут. Having moved the head off do not cry for hairs. (Having made a big trouble do not care for trifle).
60. Посади свинью за стол – она и ноги на стол. Ask a pig to sit at the dinner table it will put its legs on the table. (The ill-bread creature always would do the worst).
61. Любовь зла – полюбишь и козла. The love is vicious – you can fall in love with the billy-goat.
62. Голод не тётка. The hunger is not like an aunt.
63. За двумя зайцами погонишься – ни одного зайца не поймаешь! If you try to overhaul two rabbits you can catch no one. (Do not try to do two affair in the same time).
64. Безумно жить одной мечтой; ещё глупей не иметь ни одной. It may be insane to live in a dream…. but it is madness to live without one. (Send by Tomas Allen).
65. Бодливой корове Бог рог не даёт. The Lord does not give horns to the cow whose habitude is to butt. (It is often one has no forces to do what he likes).
66. Пьяному и море по колено. A sea water level can reach only the knee of a drunken man.
67. Бедному жениться – ночь коротка. When a poor man marries the night is very chort.
68. От сумы да от тюрьмы не зарекайся. Do not swear of pauper-bag and prison.
69. Не хвались, идучи на рать. Do not swagger going to battle.
70. Голова с лукошко, а мозгу ни крошки. The had is big as bast-basket but no brains inside.
71. Не суйся в волки с телячьим хвостом. Do not mind you are a wolf having calfs tail.
72. Дружба – дружбой, а табачок врозь. Just a friendship but tobacco is separate.
73. Дают – бери, бьют – беги. Get anything given – run being beaten.
74. Дурака учить – что мёртвого лечить. To teach a fool is the same as treat a dead men.
75. И бородавка – телу прибавка. Even the wart adds something to the body.
76. Кому пироги да пышки, а кому синяки да шишки. Someone receive cakes and buns, someone – bruises and bumps.
77. Своя рубашка к телу ближе. Your own shirt is nearer to your body.
78. На безрыбье и рак – рыба. When it is no fish even the cancer can be one.
79. Ночью все кошки серы. All cats are grey at night. (All shapes, all colors are alike in the dark. The night obscure all distinguishing features).
80. Все дороги ведут в Рим. All roads lead to Rome. (A number of persons arrive at one common objective by different means.All ways or methods of fulfilling a certain intention end in the same results.).
81. Всё хорошо, что хорошо кончается. As is well that ends well. (If the final result is good,previous failures are forgotten and there is no need to complain, since the end result is the most importance thing).
82. Не всё то золото, что блестит. All is not gold that glitters. (A person or thing may not be as good,valuable,etc., as he or it first appears; appearances can be deceptive).
83. Для милого дружка хоть серёжку из ушка. (One does not regret giving) one’s own ear-ring to one’s dear friend. (One does not regret giving the best to one’s friend).
84. Апетит приходит во время еды. The appetite comes during a meal. (Desire or facility increases as an activity proceeds).
85. Мягко стелет, да жёстко спать. One may make up a soft bed (for somebody), but still it will be hard to sleep in. (One should beware of an attractive offer, for there is very likely).
86. От добра добра не ищут. One does not look for good from good. (By continually striving for the best one way waste good opportunities).
87. Лучше синица в руках, чем журавль в небе. Better a tomtit in your hand than a crane in the sky. (It is better to accept something small than to reject it and hope to get more later on).
88. Узнают птицу по полёту. A bird may be known by its flight. (A person is know and judged by his actions or behavior).
89. Рыбак рыбака видит издалека. One fisherman sees another from afar. (People of similar interests, tastes or characters are attracted to each other and stay close together).
90. Обжегшись на молоке, дуют на воду (в юмористическом варианте: Обжегшись на молоке дуют водку). Once burned by milk you will blow on cold water (In humorous version: Once burned by milk you will drink vodka). (After some bitter or painful experience you will be on your guard against similar troubles our sufferings).
91. Лень – мать всех пороков. Idleness is the mother of all vices. (There is no excuse for doing nothing – when people do not have enough work to do, they get into trouble).
92. Без труда не вытащишь и рыбку из пруда. You cannot pull a fish out of a pond without labour. (Restraint and caution achieve nothing; if you want to get something,you should immediately start working for it).
93. Где тонко – там и рвётся. Where something is thin, that’s where it tears. (Each person or feature in an enterprise or process must be equally reliable; an enterprise or process may fail because of a single weakness or fault).
94. Что имеем – не храним, потерявши – плачем. We do not care of what we have, but we cry when it is lost. (We do not appreciate the value of a thing until we have lost it).
95. Не рой яму ближнему – сам в неё попадёшь. Do not dig a hole for somebody else; you yourself will fall into it. (Mistakes, misdeeds, etc., come back as an unpleasant effect on the person who originally made the mistakes, did the misdeeds, etc).
96. По одёжке протягивай ножки. Stretch your legs according to your clothes. (One should remain within the limits of what one has or what one can afford).
97. Не так страшен чёрт, как его малюют. The devil is not so frighful as he is painted. (Any person of bad character is not so bad as people say he is ).
98. Бережёного Бог бережёт. God takes care of the one who takes care of himself. (What appears to be cowardice may be wise caution, and what appears to be valour may be foolish rashness; so unnecessary risks should not be run).
99. Цыплят по осени считают. Chickens are counted in autumn. (Do not be sure of success, victory, etc., until all difficulties have been overcome; make sure that a thing is actually yours before you speak or act as if it were already yours).
100. Дарёному коню в зубы не смотрят. Do not look at gift hourse’s mouth. (Never criticize or express displeasure when you receive a gift;be thankful that you have it at all.(examination of a horse’s mouth reveals a lot about its age and condition).
101.Что посеешь – то и пожнёшь. You will reap what you will sow. (You will be rewarded or punished in accordance with what you have done to deserve it).
102. Со своим самоваром в Тулу не ездят. One does not go to Tula with one’s own samovar. (Tula-Russia city) (Do not do anything that is completely unnecessary; do not take supplies, articles, etc., to a place where are plenty of them already).
103. Гром не грянет – мужик не перекрестится. The peasant will not cross himself before it begins to thunder. (Do not do at the last moment anything that was to be done long before. Do not put things off untill the last moment).
104. Лежачего не бьют. A man should not be struck when he is down. (Never hit an opponent who has fallen, do not attact or hurt a person in misfortune who cannot “fight back”).
105. На переправе коней не меняют. You do not swap horses while crossing the ford. (Do not change arrangements while yyou are in the middle of a difficult task or till a crisis is past).
106. Яйца курицу не учат. Eggs cannot teach a hen. (Do not give advice to someone who is more experienced than you; do not teach a person who is wiser and more knowledgeable).
107. Кто рано встаёт – тому Бог подаёт. God gives to those who get up early. (The person who gets up early to work will be successful; those that arrive early at a place have the advantage over the latecomers).
108. В гостях хорошо, а дома лучше. It is good to be visiting,but it is better at home. (Your home (i.e. your house, your home town, etc.) is where you are likely to be happiest, especially in comparison with other places you may be at the time).
109. Конец – делу венец. The end is the crown of any work. (It is the final result than completes all that went before and is its culmination; it is the final result than matters).
110. Ворон ворону глаз не выклюет. The raven will not peck another raven’s eye.

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