russian slang

15 Trendy Russian Slang Words for the Freshest Language Skills

To learn real Russian, you have to learn the Russian that’s spoken on the street.

In short, you have to learn Russian slang!

Below are 15 of the very best and most widely-used Russian slang terms.


1. Хрен знает — Who knows?

Literal definition: Horseradish knows.

Meaning: Who knows? (informal)

When you’re asked a question you simply don’t know the answer to, you can answer with this phrase. For example, the next time someone asks you what their dream really means, you might reply, “Хрен знает.”

However, note that хрен is a euphemism/replacement for a really bad swear word (referring to anatomy), so this phrase probably shouldn’t be used in polite or professional company. Think of it as on-par with “Who the hell knows?”, “What the f***”, or “Damned if I know” in English.

Хрен знает, какая погода будет завтра.
(Who knows what the weather will be like tomorrow.)

2. Бабки — Money

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.

There are a few theories about the origin of this term, from a dice game involving horse joints to a 100-ruble bill bearing the image Yekaterina II, who was the grandmother of two Russian emperors and became known as “tsar’s granny.”

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

3. Тусить — To hang out

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 — It’s the bomb!

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. It’s similar to the way it’s used in English.

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 — To eat

Literal definition: None

Meaning: To eat (informal, rude)

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 — It’s all good

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. Чёрт — Shoot!

Literal definition: Devil

Meaning: Shoot!

This one is a milder version of a curse word you use when there’s a mishap. 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.)

8. Чувак/Чувиха — Dude

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.)

9. Америкос — American

Literal definition: None

Meaning: American (informal, rude)

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 and both were critical toward each other in the press.  

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

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

10. Бухой/Бухая — Drunk

Literal definition: None

Meaning: Drunk

Russians love to drink, and there are a variety of terms to express drinking, such as бухать (to drink), бухнуть (to drink) and набухаться (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.)

11. Грузить — To mentally overload

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.)

12. Дешёвка — A steal, to be cheap

Literal definition: Something that’s cheap

Meaning: A steal, to be cheap

The word дешёвка originates from the Russian word дешёвый (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.)

Я купил мясо за 5 руб. Просто дешёвка!
(I bought meat for 100 rubles. It’s so cheap!)

13. Достал/Досталa — To annoy

Literal definition: Reached over and got

Meaning: To annoy

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

14. Мне до лампочки — I don’t care

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.)

15. Офигеть — No way!

Literal definition: None

Meaning: Can’t believe it/wow/no way (informal)

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 is a milder English F-word, but still a bit rude.

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.

Ты можешь поверить, что я только что выиграл миллион долларов?
(Can you believe I just won a million dollars?)

(No freakin’ way!)

fluentu logo

You can actually hear this word in use in the dub of the funny trailer for the movie “Downsizing” on FluentU, a language learning platform that uses authentic content.  

Find movie trailers and clips, music videos, vlogs and other native content, as well as transcripts, word lists, flashcards, personalized quizzes and more.

russian slang

There are at least two other great examples of Russian slang in natural use in this video alone. And you can save them all as flashcards just by clicking on the word or phrase in the subtitles.

From there you can even see how the word appears in other videos as well as read or listen to example sentences.

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.
  • Enjoy Russian entertainment to the fullest: Without slang, you’ll be missing key components of contemporary Russian movieshit music and the latest books. Learning the basics of slang will boost your understanding of all the best Russian entertainment.
  • 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.

You can impress Russian speakers by showing off your Russian skills with these slang words. No go out there and practice!

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