russian-slang

15 Trendy Russian Slang Words for the Freshest Language Skills

Nobody wants to sound like a dork.

No matter what language they’re speaking.

The good news for Russian learners? You’re upping your cool factor just by studying the language.

Think about it.

Just turn on any movie that portrays Russians and you’ll see some tough-talking, fierce-looking and overall colorful characters.

True, Hollywood often makes them villains—think Ivan Drago from the “Rocky” series or Ivan Korshunov from “Air Force One”—but they sure aren’t lame!

But if you truly want to raise your hipness factor, you can’t just study the vocabulary in Russian textbooks or language courses, useful as those are to fluency.

You need to learn real Russian, the Russian that’s spoken on the street. You have to learn Russian slang!

We’ll show you 15 fresh Russian slang words you can use to sound like a cool, confident native speaker.
 


 
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Why Learn Russian Slang?

Aside from upping your cool factor, there are a number of benefits Russian learners can enjoy by adding slang to their vocabulary.

  • Going beyond the textbook: Learning slang helps you understand and use informal, everyday Russian as it’s spoken by today’s native speakers. Plus, knowing the situations where this slang is used gives you deeper insights into Russian culture.

In fact, if you really want to learn real Russian language and culture, FluentU is the perfect tool. It provides authentic Russian videos, like movie trailers, music videos, funny YouTube clips and more, which have been transformed into a language learning experience.

Each video comes with interactive captions, flashcards and exercises to help you actively build your vocabulary while you watch. It’s a fun way to absorb Russian the way native speakers really use it. Plus, FluentU recommends videos that match your level and learning history, so you get a personalized program rather than having to surf around for content. Best of all, you can take FluentU practice anywhere with the mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play store.

  • Have some fun! As in any language, slang words and phrases in Russian often have strange or nonsensical meanings when translated literally. Comparing the literal and figurative meanings adds some fun to your language studies.

Russian Cheat Sheet: 15 Slang Words to Instantly Sound Like a Native

Below are 15 of the very best, most modern and most highly used Russian slang terms.

1. Хрен знает

Literal definition: horseradish knows

Meaning: who knows?

When you’re asked a question you simply don’t know the answer to, and no one would, you can answer with this phrase.

For example, the next time someone asks you what their dream really means, you might reply, “xрен знает.”

Хрен знает кто будет следующий президент. (Who knows who will be the next president.)

However, note that Хрен is a mild swear word, so this phrase probably shouldn’t be used in polite or professional company. Think of it as on-par with “who the hell knows?” or “damned if I know” in English.

2. Бабки

Literal definition: grandmas

Meaning: money

The term бабки has two meanings in Russian—it can mean grandmas, from the word бабкa (grandma), but it’s also a slang term to describe money.

Где бы бабки найти? (Where can I find money?)

3. Тусить

Literal definition: none

Meaning: to hang out, party

If Russians love anything, it’s having a good time. Anyone visiting Russia can see for themselves that Russians are often hanging out and partying in typical places, such as bars, restaurants and nightclubs. However, it’s also not uncommon to see them dancing in public parks, drinking on street corners or bursting into song on a walk home.

Тусить is the perfect term to describe a Russian national pastime, as Russians love to get together with friends and loved ones to relax and have a great time.

Будем тусить в пятницу? (Are we going to hang out on Friday?)

4. Бомба

Literal definition: bomb

Meaning: the bomb, amazing

You can describe something as “great,” but when something or someone blows all of your expectations, you say that it’s a бомба.

Этот ресторан просто бомба! (This restaurant is the bomb!)

Я встретил такую женщину, просто бомба! (I met a woman, she’s just the bomb!)

5. Хавать

Literal definition: none

Meaning: eat

Grub, chow down, pig out—we have tons of slang English terms to express a favorite activity—eating!

In Russian, xавать is a rude-ish way of expressing this physical need.

Идём хавать. (Let’s go eat.)

This word is also often used metaphorically to mean “to eat up” lies or false promises.

Народ всё это хавает. (The people eat it all up.)

6. Всё ништяк

Literal definition: none

Meaning: it’s all good

This term is so popular, it’s even included in the lyrics of a song called “Вокруг Шум” (“Noise is Around”) by the group Каста (Kasta). If you haven’t heard Russian rap before, this is the perfect time!

The lyrics of the song include the following:

Вокруг шум. Пусть так. Ни кипешуй. Всё ништяк. (Noise is around us. Let it be. Don’t worry. All is good.)

If someone asks you how you are, practice telling them all is okay by saying, “Всё ништяк!”

7. Офигеть!

Literal definition: none

Meaning: can’t believe it/wow

We all know that cultures adopt words and phrases from other languages. Such is the case with this slang term. It all started with the German-derived word фиг, which means the same as the English F-word.

That evolved into the Russian word фига, which despite not having a direct translation is the basis for a whole variety of Russian slang terms. Офигеть is one you may hear to describe a situation where something unbelievable has happened.

“Can you believe I just won a million dollars?”

“Офигеть!”

Some other slang phrases that come from фига include:

  • фига с маком (nothing/you get nothing — literally, “fig with poppies”)

“What do I get if I do this for you?”

“Фига с маком!”

  • Фиг с ним/с ней (forget him/forget her — literally, “fig with him/with her”)

“How do I get over this girl?”

“Фиг с ней.”

8. Чёрт

Literal definition: devil

Meaning: shoot

Whether you missed the bus, dropped and cracked your iPhone or overcooked your dinner—there’s always a reason to say, “shoot!”

Чёрт, я уронила всю мою еду. (Shoot, I dropped all of my food.)

9. Чувак/Чувиха

Literal definition: none

Meaning: guy, dude/chick, gal, dudette

The term чувиха dates back to the 1920s, when it was used to describe prostitutes. The word went mainstream in the 1960s.

Чувиха возле меня в классе сидит. (The gal sits next to me in class.)

Чувак co мной вместе работает. (The guy works with me.)

10. Америкос

Literal definition: none

Meaning: American

This rude term is used to describe the citizens of the U.S. It’s a combination of two different terms, Американец (American) and пиндос (no exact translation).

The term пиндос as a description for Americans has been traced to the late 1990s, when both American and Russian troops were fighting in Kosovo. For example, during that time, the Russian newspaper Советская Россия (Soviet Russia), stated that Americans called Russians crazy, and Russians referred to Americans as пиндосы (the plural form of пиндос).

The term пиндос definitely has a negative connotation, although no one has agreed on exactly what the term means.

Combining пиндос and Американец has led to the widespread acceptance of the slang word Америкос to describe Americans. It also has a negative connotation.

Возле нас сидит америкос. (An American is sitting next to us.)

11. Бухой (male), бухая (female)

Literal definition: none

Meaning: drunk

Russians love to drink, and there are a variety of terms to express drinking, such as буха́ть (drink), бухну́ть (to drink) and набуха́ться (to get drunk), as well as the terms listed above.

Бухой чувак пел песни в парке. (A drunk guy sang songs in the park.)

Она согласилась со мной идти в кино, oна, наверное, бухая. (She agreed to go to the movies with me, she must be drunk.)

12. Грузить

Literal Definition: to load

Meaning: to overload someone mentally/to bore someone with excessive talking/to confuse someone

We’ve all been in a situation, whether in a group of friends, in class or at work, where another party talks incessantly and leaves us feeling mentally and emotionally overloaded.

Учитель так меня грузил что у меня теперь голова болит. (The teacher overloaded me so much that now I have a headache.)

13. Дешёвка

Literal definition: something that’s cheap

Meaning: cheap/a steal

The word дешёвка originates from the Russian word дешевый (cheap). It describes either an item that’s cheaply made and is a waste of money, or a steal!

Эта игрушка просто дешёвка. (This toy is just cheaply made.)

Or:

Я купил мясо за 5 руб. Просто дешёвка! (I bought meat for 5 rubles. It’s so cheap!)

14. Достал (male)/Досталa (female)

Literal definition: reached over and got

Meaning: annoyed

In Russian, to say that someone annoyed or irritated you, you would say they “got” you.

Мама звонила 3 раза сегодня, достала меня. (Mom called three times today, she is annoying me.)

Он всегда рассказывает скучные истории, достал уже. (He always tells boring stories, he is annoying me.)

15. Мне до лампочки

Literal definition: to me to lightbulb

Meaning: I don’t care

When you really want to stress that you don’t care about something or don’t find it interesting or relevant, this is a great way to express yourself.

Мне до лампочки, позвонишь ты мне или нет. (I don’t care if you call or not.)

 

Russian is a colorful language spoken by many colorful people. It’s helpful to learn common Russian slang terms so that you can understand them when they’re used by other people, in books, movies or in music. Plus, you can impress Russian speakers by showing off your Russian skills. Russians will love to hear Americans using their fun slang terms!


Renata Ilitsky is a professional content writer with over 10 years of experience. She specializes in creating unique and engaging content for any industry. To read some of Renata’s other work, please view her writing portfolio.
 


 

And One More Thing…

Since you’ve read this far, you’re obviously serious about learning Russian. And that means there’s a good chance you’ll love FluentU.

FluentU takes all kinds of real-world videos and turns them into language learning experiences, as you can see here:

Didn’t catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? FluentU makes native Russian videos approachable through interactive captions. Tap or click on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more.

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab. Easily review words and phrases with audio under Vocab.

Don’t stop there, though. Use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to give you a 100% personalized experience by recommending videos and examples.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.

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