Russian slang words you’ll never learn in school

Learn Russian as it is actually spoken: Russian slang and colloquial expressions explained with examples

Russian might be the language of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, but it also happens to evolve quickly. So it’s always helpful to have a few current slang words up your sleeve to help you sound natural and in tune with current trends. We’ve made a short list of most useful and used slang words that you will most likely hear chatting to a Russian.

Тусоваться /tusahvahtsah/ to go out, have fun, hang out

e.g. Они обычно тусуются в восточном Лондоне. – They normally hang out in East London.

What a multifunctional word that is!

You can забить стрелку /zab\neet streloo/ arrange a meeting.

e.g. Мы забили стрелу на 8 у метро- We arranged a meeting at 8 by the tube.

Or you can забить на (что-то) forget about something, ignore, not stress out about something

e.g. Да забей ты на работу, пойдём в паб сегодня! Forget about the job, let’s go to a pub tonight!

A relatively new expression is забить болт /zabeet bolt/ to callously disregard or decisively stop doing something

e.g. Он артист честный: уехал в деревню, забил болт на всю цивилизацию. He is an honest artist, left to live in a village, forgot about the civilization.

Халява /khalyava/ What a Russian word that is! A freebie, an easy ride, something you get or achieve easily without putting in an effort, a small one-off job on the side

На халяву /nah khalyavu/ for free

Халявщик /khalyafschik/ халява-lover, free-loader.

e.g. Мы выпили на халяву шампанского и пошли домой. – we had some free champagne and went home.

We love adopting and russifying English words. Some of the recent and widely used phrases are

В тренде /f trendye/ and в хайпе /f haypye/, which literally translate as ‘in trend’, ‘in hype’

e.g. Свитшоты снова в тренде. – sweatshirts are in again.

(Yes, we also appropriated sweatshirt:))

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