Boo! It’s Friday the Thirteenth!
13 January, 2017
It’s Friday the Thirteenth – a day when the nightmares come true. We hope you do not suffer from not so rare disease called Triskaidekaphobia)))
Russians are superstitious at such a deep genetic level that demons, omens, and evil spirits of all sorts are constantly present in our daily life.
It’s true in terms of the language, too. Whenever Russians want to swear or curse someone, let out an agonized cry or an exclamation of joy, cheer someone up or compliment good looks, they mention ЧЁРТ.
Who is it, anyway?
ЧЁРТ is usually translated as devil, demon (Teufel in German; diavolo in Italian). They are believed to be the servants to Satan, black hairy creatures with horns, hoofs, and a tail. ЧЕРТИ (pl.) usually limp, as they were dumped from Heaven to Earth by God. Another belief is that every soul is given a guardian angel, which stays behind one’s right shoulder, and ЧЁРТ, responsible for all improper actions, who stays behind the left shoulder. Thus when you see a black cat crossing your way (an omen!) you should knock three times on wood and then spit over your left shoulder. ЧЕРТИ are naughty, playful, and …hmmm, yes, kind of horny.
Below are few popular Russian phrases mentioning ЧЁРТ.
НИ ЧЕРТА (literally: not a single devil) – absolutely nothing
ЧЕРТ ВОЗЬМИ / ЧЁРТ ПОБЕРИ (literally: take it, devil) – dammit; what the heck; what the hell
ЗОЛ КАК ЧЁРТ (literally: angry as a devil) – cross as a bear
ЧЁРТ ЗНАЕТ (ЧТО ТАКОЕ) (literally:devil knows (what it is) – what the dickens; a common expression of confusion
ИДИ К ЧЁРТУ (literally: go to devil) – go to hell, damn you
ЧЁРТ НОГУ СЛОМИТ (literally: the devil will break his leg) – the hell to pay; an expression used to describe something complicated, complex, hard to understand
ЧЕМ ЧЁРТ НЕ ШУТИТ? (literally: what doesn’t devil use for his tricks?) – Everything is possible – normally used in a positive way, expressing hope for good luck
ЧЁРТ С ТОБОЙ! (literally: may the devil be with you!) – 1. Used when you give up on explaining something to or demanding something from a person who is incapable of the task; 2. do what you think is best 3. go away
К ЧЁРТОВОЙ БАБУШКЕ (literally: to the devil’s grandmother) – a more intense way of sending someone to hell; expressing an extreme state of being annoyed by someone/something
У ЧЁРТА НА КУЛИЧКАХ (literally: at the devil’s meadow) – very far away; in the middle of nowhere; God knows where
НАПИТЬСЯ ДО ЧЕРТИКОВ (get drunk to the state of seeing devils) – to see pink elephants
В ТИХОМ ОМУТЕ ЧЕРТИ ВОДЯТСЯ (there are devils in a still pond) – still waters run deep; used to describe a person whose reserved looks hide a passionate or even dangerous nature
Can find an equivalent in your native language? Let us know in the comments below!