20 Russian Idioms With English Equivalents

Idioms are an excellent way to learn a language. If you’re having trouble learning or writing a new language, one way to better understand its grammar and structure is by learning its idioms. Take the Russian language; for example, this old and hardy language is spoken by many people living in and out of Russia.

However, Russian is considered quite difficult to learn by many, especially if they’ve just started trying to learn it. Native English speakers trying to learn the language can use a variety of tips and tricks to aid the process. One such way to draw parallels between the two languages is by learning Russian idioms and trying to find English idioms similar to them.

With the world slowly becoming one big global village, educational institutes are placing increasing importance on learning new languages. For this reason, many teachers might ask you to write assignments on foreign languages.

If you want to better understand the Russian language, then here is a list of some top Russian idioms and their equivalent English idioms.

Russian Idioms And Their Equivalents In English

1. Idiom: взять себя в руки

Exact translation: Taking yourself into your own hands
English Equivalent: To pull yourself together

2. Idiom: ни пуха ни пeра

Exact Translation: Neither down/fur nor feathers
English Equivalent: Break a leg

3. Idiom: смотреть правде в глаза

Exact Translation: To look truth in its eyes
English Equivalent: To face the truth

4. Idiom: смотреть сквозь пальцы

Exact Translation: To look through one’s fingers
English Equivalent: To turn a blind eye towards something

5. Idiom: хвататься за соломинку

Exact Translation: To try to grab at straws
English Equivalent: Clutching at straws

6. Idiom: Так темно, хоть глаз выколи

Exact Translation: It’s so dark you can stab my eye out
English Equivalent: Pitch Black

7. Idiom: язык хорошо подвешен

Exact Translation: His tongue is well-hung
English Equivalent: To have the gift of gab

8. Idiom: сложа руки

Exact Translation: To have one’s hands in one’s lap
English Equivalent: To sit on one’s hands

9. Idiom: стоять на своем

Exact Translation: To stand on one’s own
English Equivalent: To stand your ground

10. Idiom: смотреть в оба

Exact Translation: To look through both eyes
English Equivalent: To keep one’s eyes peeled

11. Idiom: строить замки из песка

Exact Translation: To build sandcastles
English Equivalent: To build castles in the air

12. Idiom: пальцем не трогать

Exact Translation: To not be touched with one’s finger
English Equivalent: To not lay a finger

13. Idiom: лица нет

Exact Translation: No face
English Equivalent: Becoming as pale as a ghost

14. Idiom: Я тебе покажу, где раки зимуют

Exact Translation: Where lobsters spend winter
English Equivalent: Swim with the fishes/sleep with the fishes

15. Idiom: Когда рак на горе свистнет

Exact Translation: When a crawfish whistles on the mountain
English Equivalent: In a pig’s eye

16. Idiom: два сапога пара

Exact Translation: Two of a kind
English Equivalent: Cut from the same cloth

17. Idiom: В ус не дуть

Exact Translation: To not blow at the whisker
English Equivalent: Not turn a hair

18. Idiom: Вот где собака зарыта

Exact Translation: That’s where the dog is buried
English Equivalent: To hit the nail on the head

19. Idiom: В семье, не без урода

Exact Translation: Every family has an ugly person
English Equivalent: A Black sheep in the family

20. Idiom: Не делай из мухи слона

Exact Translation: To make an elephant out of a fly
English Equivalent: To make a mountain of a molehill


The Russian language is undoubtedly difficult to learn. But, an excellent way to learn this language is by drawing comparisons between Russian idioms and English idioms. You’d be surprised by how similar some of the expressions are in both languages.

However, there are also a few headscratchers here that you will have difficulty understanding until you look at their English equivalents. Go through our list of some of the top Russian idioms and their English equivalents to better understand the Russian language.

Special thanks to Paperell.com for editing and other help with this article.