11 Common Russian Proverbs in English You Should Know

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The most common Russian proverbs have been offering the words of wisdom passed from generations since the older times. They are motivational quotes that express guidance and support through different spectrums of life. Additionally, they are the spoken truths that represent the country’s culture. The Russian proverbs show how relationship, discipline, and friendship works. Time passed but these wise sayings remain intact for motivating and giving knowledge to others. In this blog, we will discuss some common Russian proverbs with explanations that will tell you about their culture and language. 

Must Read: 100+ Common Proverbs with Meaning and Examples

List of 5 Common Russian Proverbs with Explanation

The Russian proverbs show the value of the country and how they are different from others. They are wise words of wisdom that have humour and are full of hope. Here, is a list of the most commonly used Russian proverbs that will help you understand its culture and traditions in a better way.

List of Common Russian ProverbsExplanation
Without effort, you won’t even pull a fish out of a pondNothing can be achieved without doing work. So, to achieve something in life one must work hard and put effort to get the reward.
If you like to sled, you have to like to drag the sledgeIf you want to have fun in life then you must have to put effort into your own. Similarly, if somebody likes to sledge then he must drag it as well. 
Love is evil – it will make you fall in love with a goatWhen a person falls in love with another then he does not see any bad qualities in them. So, it is rightly said that love is blind as it overlooks flaws and different qualities in the person. 
If you rush things, you’ll just make others laugh.Rushing things will only lead to small mistakes that will make you a reason for mockery. People like enjoying the mistakes of others so it is important to have patience without rushing onto things.
Your elbow is close, yet you can’t bite itA task will sometimes look very easy but in reality, it is harder to accomplish. Sometimes, people reaching nearer to their goal are not able to achieve it.

5+ Best Russian Proverbs for Everyday Motivation

The proverbs hereon are motivational phrases on how to achieve something in life and the difficulties in the path that will occur. They offer advice about life, friendship, money, kindness, sadness, happiness etc. Therefore, go through the following timeless Russian proverbs along with their explanations that will help you gain motivation in life.

Russian proverbs in English

Work is not a wolf. It won’t run away to the forest

In this Proverb, a reference to the wolf is given which runs away to the forest as they are afraid of the bears. However, the people who have work cannot walk away from it without performing. Additionally, everybody has to perform the work and responsibilities that they are given.

A spoken word is not a sparrow. Once it flies out, you can’t catch it

It emphasises that if a word is spoken once it cannot come back so speak wisely. Similarly, once a sparrow flies out of its cage it never comes back. Words have the power to make or break a relationship so it is important to speak after thinking twice.

An old friend is better than two new ones

This proverb about friendship explains that an old friend is always better than many new ones. Old friends have the strongest bond which cannot be broken easily as they were made at a young age when you do not about the world. However, the new friends are those who you do not know well so it is uncertain they will help you in difficult times just like old ones.

If you chase after two hares, you’ll end up not catching even one

The common proverb has an important learning for people where it explains that if you target two things at a time then you may end up getting nothing. So, it is crucial to target one thing at a time and start working on it with full focus and determination. 

A dog is lying on the hay: won’t eat it itself and won’t let others eat it either

The proverb talks about greedy and selfish people who keep things to themselves even if they are of no use to them so that others cannot use them. It is crucial to avoid this kind of behaviour with other people and to share things with others when they need it. 

The first pancake is always lumpy

The proverb explains that trying anything first could not make it perfect. You have to try many times to achieve the best out of it and make things work. When somebody tries to make the pancake the first time it becomes lumpy but after proper practice and learning they can bake it 

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This was all about the most common Russian proverbs and their meaningful explanation. Hope, you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow the Learn English page of Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs related to grammar. 


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