Russian Words #3

with 10 Comments

Welcome to the third edition of Russian Words! This is an occasional series that highlights interesting vocabulary in Russian. If you’re an intermediate student of Russian and hungry for new vocab (or you don’t speak the language but you have a high pain tolerance for all those funny Cyrillic letters), these posts are for you.

The words and phrases below are all things I discovered on our recent trip to Anapa. Let’s get started!


1. Тили тили тесто, жених и невеста

This is the kind of silly stuff I LOVE learning.

Remember that old schoolyard rhyme- Jenny and Patrick sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…? This is the Russian version, what Russian kids say to tease their friends about a possible love interest. Тили тили тесто, жених и невеста! (As displayed on the poster, this rhyme has been also adapted for pre-wedding festivities.)


2. бархатный сезон

Do we have a word for this in English?

Бархат means velvet, but I don’t think that the fabric has much to do with this phrase. Бархатный сезон is the period in early fall when the most tourists have gone home but the weather is still pleasant. You could think of this as the beginning of the off-season.

PS: If any native Russian speakers are reading this post, could you explain the difference between бархатный сезон and бабье лето? They seem very similar.


3. беруши

Because you don’t need to know this word… until you have a 12-hour flight next to a snoring seatmate. 😉 Better memorize it now!


4. материнский капитал

Interested in buying an apartment in Anapa? Take a look at the ways you can pay (highlighted in yellow):


Рассрочка = installment plan. Ипотека = mortgage. Материнский капитал, however, is an interesting one. Perhaps you’ve heard about how certain countries will outright pay women for having children. The “let’s have more babies” campaign in Russia (as well as in other neighboring countries) offers financial support to families via материнский капитал.

According to 2017 Wikipedia, the Russian government offers 453,000 RUB to families that have or adopt a second child, third child, and so on. (Is that right? Almost $8,000 USD?!) There’s a caveat, though… this материнский капитал can only be spent on certain things: housing, education, repaying loans, etc.


5. джиппинг

Please tell me this word cracks you up too. 😉


6. чайхана

чайхана is a teahouse. Wikipedia claims this word is a combination of Chinese (чай) and Persian (хана). It sounds really cool… I could say it all day: чайхана, чайхана, чайханачайхана!

Here’s a really blurry photo of a чайхана in Anapa:


7. самое время

Самое время means it’s the perfect time to (do something). And I agree- it’s always самое время выпить кофе.


#8. не льсти себе, подойди ближе

I saw this door sign on a boat in Moscow and had no idea what it meant. Something-something-something, [smiling toilet picture] come closer. What?

The verb льстить (where have all the vowels gone??? yikes!) means to flatter. Не льсти себе, подойди ближе means don’t flatter yourself, come closer. This sign must have been on the door to the men’s bathroom.


#9. беспроигрышная

This was another sign I noticed with a new word. In fact, it was the length of the word that caught my eye- 14 letters, wow!

It can be fun to break down Russian words into prefixes, roots, and suffixes, so let’s do it with this word.

Бес = prefix: without (usually spelled без)

проигрыш = noun: losing of a game

ная = adjective ending

Does this help you get a better feeling for the word’s meaning?

I asked my husband to translate беспроигрышная игра and he answered, “A game with no losers.” Google Translate calls it a “win-win game“. I don’t know exactly what game that is, but I can offer you a related phrase that might be even more useful: беспроигрышная ситуация, a win-win situation.



Краткое повторение, or RECAP

  1. Тили тили тесто, жених и невеста = childhood rhyme used to tease kids about L-O-V-E
  2. бархатный сезон = the very, very end of summer season
  3. беруши =  earplugs
  4. материнский капитал = government financial encouragement to have more kids
  5. джиппинг = proof that you can now make a Russian word by taking an English word and adding –инг 😉
  6. чайхана = teahouse
  7. самое время = it’s the perfect time to (do something)
  8. не льсти себе, подойди ближе = don’t flatter yourself, come closer
  9. беспроигрышная = describes something you can’t lose at


До следующего раза! Until next time!

Want more? Click here for the previous edition of Russian Words.

10 Responses

  1. Liz Brown
    | Reply

    That toilet pic cracks me up. I am assuming they’re encouraging men to pee neatly? haha.

    I love the chai shop pictures, too. Did you drink a lot of tea in Russia?

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      😉 I’m sure it will come as no surprise… yes! The sanatorium only had plain Lipton tea, so we went to a store and bought a whole bunch of different teas. I’d throw a handful in my purse every morning and we’d drink them throughout the day with the cafeteria meals. Tea heaven!!!!

  2. Natalie K.
    | Reply

    Спасибо, Катя! I learned a lot from this post!

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      It was so much fun to write! I’m glad it was useful for you, Natalie. 🙂

  3. Valentina
    | Reply

    Бархатный сезон — период в субтропиках, на юге России и в средиземноморском регионе. Во время бархатного сезона не так жарко, как, например, летом в июле, но ещё довольно тепло, в том числе ночью. В более северных широтах, где господствует умеренный климат, аналогом бархатного сезона является бабье лето. В общем, это одно и то же. Бабье лето=бархатный сезон. Вот ещё здесь есть статьи и

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Спасибо большое за ответ, Валентина! А в кипр какой вы используйте- бархатный сезон? Или там постоянное лето?

      • Valentina

        Если честно, то на Кипре мы не используем ни бабье лето, ни бархатный сезон. Все киприоты считают, что здесь лето круглый год. А я думаю, что здесь два времени года: лето и зима. Здесь ни осень, ни весна не ощущаются, а есть два состояния: жарко и холодно. Можно почувствовать, что пришла осень или наступила весна, только когда ты отправился в горы. 🙂 А вот на юге России мы говорим и бабье лето, и бархатный сезон, кому какое выражение нравится, тот то и использует. 🙂

      • Katherine

        Как на Аляске… тоже два времени года: холодно и очень холодно! 😉 Ой, я так скучаю по зиме.

  4. Анатолий, Удивительный Царь
    | Reply

    Этот сайт потрясающий, беспроигрышный!

  5. Анатолий, Удивительный Царь
    | Reply


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