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33 Russian Slang Words Every Russian Learner Should Know

If you want your Russian to sound cool or a bit edgy, you definitely need to expand your vocabulary and incorporate slang into the vernacular. In today’s post, we will concentrate on the most common Russian slang words that every advanced Russian learner must know.

33 Russian Slang Words Every Russian Learner Should Know

Significance of the Russian ‘Figa’

Фига [figa] is a gesture used in Russia, Ukraine and other Slavic countries. Basically, it’s a fist with the thumb sticking out between the index and the middle fingers.  The meaning of this gesture is the same as giving the middle finger in the Anglo-Saxon cultures. Surprisingly, the word ‘фига’ serves as a stem for a number of slang words:

Фигушки [figushki]

This word is used to express a rejection. The English equivalent is ‘horsefeathers’:
Фигушки, я не буду встречаться с Димкой. [figushki, ya ne budu vstrichat’sya s Dimkoy] – Horsefeathers, I won’t be dating Dimka.
Synonyms: фиг тебе [fik tibe],нетушки [nietushki], обойдёшься [abaydiosh’sya]

Ни фига [ni figa]

This phrase means ‘nothing’, ‘nothing at all’, ‘nothing of the kind’:
Я ни фига не вижу. [ya ni figa ne vizhu] – I don’t see a thing.

Ни фига себе! [ni figa sibie]

This interjection is used to express surprise and astonishment:
Ни фига себе! Сколько снега навалило! [ni figa sibe. skol’ka snega navalila] – Holy cow! Look how much snow has dumped!

Офигенно [afigenna]

Ты выглядишь офигено в этом наряде! [ty vyglyadish’ afigienna v etom naryade!] – You look awesome in this outfit! <3
Side note, if you’re interested in learning about showing affection and complimenting your date, check out this post.

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Фиговый [figovyi]

фигово [figova] – unwell:
Фиговое качество у этого видео. [figovoye kachestvo u etava videa] – This video has bad quality.
После вчерашней вечеринки мне фигово.[ posli vchirashney vechirinki mne figova] – I fee unwell after the yesterday’s party.

Фиговина [figovina]

Подай мне эту фиговину. [paday mne etu figovinu] – Can you pass me this thingy?

Фигачить [figachit’]

To work intensively:
Андрей фигачит с утра до ночи, а на квартиру заработать не может. [Andrei figachit s utra do nachi a na kvartiru zarabotat’ nie mozhet]. – Andrei is slaving all day long but cannot make enough to buy an apartment.

Страдать фигнёй [stradat’fignioj]

To be lazy:
Не страдай фигнёй. Лучше помоги мне убрать в квартире.[ ni straday fignioy. lutshe pamagi mne ubrat’ v kvartire.] – I wish you’d stop bumming around and help me clean the apartment.aa

Although not complete the list of the above-mentioned Russian slang words stemming from the word ‘фига’ is the most widely used. As you can see, in the majority of cases the words based on ‘фига’ have a negative connotation, but ‘офигенно’ and ‘ни фига себе’ are used to express something cool or a great surprise.

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Russian Slang Words to Denote Pleasure

Here are the most common words used by the young people when they want to say they are having a great time or talk about something cool:

Кайфонуть [kaifanut’]

Derive a great pleasure from something, usually a pleasant pastime. This word initially meant the state one experiences being on drugs, but now it can mean anything:  from the pleasure of going hiking to reading a book:
Я врубила музыку на полную и кайфовала от нового альбома Эминема. [ya vrubila muzyku na polnuyu i kayfavala ot novaga al’boma Eminema] – I turned the music up and grooved to Eminem’s new album.


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Оторваться [atarvatsa]

This word can literally be translated as ‘come off’ or ‘lose contact’ and means ‘to have a blast’:
Вчера на вечеринке мы оторвались на полную.[ vchera na vechirinke my otorvalis’ na polnuyu] – Yesterday at the party we let our hair down.
Synonym: зависать [zavisat’] – the same as English ‘to hang out’

Круто [kruta]

adverb: cool

Крутой [krutoj]

adjective: cool:
То, что ты говоришь на пяти языках – это так круто! [to, chto ty gavarish’ na peti yazykakh – eto tak kruto] – The fact that you can speak five languages is so cool!
Synonyms: прикольно [prikolna], классно [klasna]

Рулить [rulit’]

This Russian word means to ‘steer’, but these days it’s used with a different stress as рулить [rulit’] which is a loanword from English ‘to rule’, i.e.

Coldplay рулит! [coldplay rulit] – Coldplay rules!

Хайпить [haipit’]

Another loanword from English ‘to hype’. Apart from its original meaning to create a hype around something in Russian it also means ‘to hang out’:
Сегодня мы хайпим у меня дома. [sevodnya my haipim u minya doma] – Today we’re hanging out at my house.

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Russian Slang Words to Talk about  Something Bad

Зашквар [zashkvar]

This word is used to talk about something disgraceful or lame.
Вечеринка у Сани – это был полный зашквар [vechirinka u sani  eto byl polnyy zashkvar] – The party at Sasha’s was a real snoozefest.
Synonyms: отстой [atstoj], дно [dno]

Тормозить [tarmazit’]

This word can be translated as ‘to brake’ but it also means ‘to be slow on the uptake’, ‘to function unwell’:
Эй, не тормози! [ej nie tarmazi] – Hey! Don’t act retarded!
Synonyms: дуплить [duplit] (though, this word also means to be knowledgeable about something)

Морозиться [marozitsa]

This verb means ‘to put the chill on someone’:
Я звонила ей два раза, чтобы предложить пойти в кино с нами, а она морозится. [ya zvanila yey dva raza shtoby pridlazhit’ payti v kino s nami, a ona marozitsya] – I have called her twice to offer her to go to the cinema with us but she put the chill on me.
Synonym: динамить [dinamit’]

Хейтить [heitit’]

This verb is another loanword from English that stems from the verb ‘to hate’ and means the same
Они хейтят Иру за её стиль.[ani heytyat iru za yeyo stil’] – They hate Ira for her style.

Тупить [tupit’]

This verb has a similar meaning as ‘тормозить’ and means ‘to zone out’, ‘to be slow on something’:
Сегодня я хотела спать и целый день тупила. [sevodnya ya hatela spat’ i tselyy den’ tupila] – Today I was sleepy and dopey.

Other Common Russian Slang Words

Шарить (в)[sharit’]be adept at something
Жесть[zhest’]Used to either express a great surprise or to talk about something very unpleasant or scary
Банить[banit’]To ban (used to talk about online behavior, i.e. ban someone on FB)

Now that you know these Russian slang words you can communicate with your Russian peers informally and understand them better.

Learning Russian, Difficulties and Tips

How long does it take to learn Russian?

Well, Russian isn’t the easiest language for native English speakers and the amount of time it takes to learn varies depending on how motivated you are. However, if you want to make studying more enjoyable, more organized, and use content you love, then I have a solution.

The best way to learn Russian is to use LingQ 🙂

You can import Russian slang words and Russian phrases from content you love and turn them into lessons. Once you make the slang words yellow (yellow means you are learning these words), they will appear yellow in all future lessons. You can also study the words with the review activities: flashcards, reverse flashcards, dictation, multiple choice and cloze test.

Also, LingQ is available on mobile. Take your lessons wherever you go and listen to your target language, read your transcripts, and create review flashcards. LingQ’s language learning apps are available for both Android and iOS.

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For more information about learning Russian, you can check out Steve Kaufmann’s videos.

Want to try reading a post in Russian? Check this out this post. Better yet, import it as a lesson on LingQ!

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