Remember this movie (Armageddon)? Conspicuously absent of bad Russian guys or beautiful, but deadly Russian femme fatale, it had this guy instead. American components, Russian components, all made in Taiwan!
As promised, it’s time to talk fruits and berries. Of course, since this is not a gardening blog, but a blog about Russian language and culture, instead of growing advice there will be lots of useful phrases and expressions. Ready?
First, the word фрукт itself is interesting. Its main meaning is “fruit”, but when applied to a person, it means “a piece of work” as in
Её бывший оказался ещё тот фрукт – ей сказал, что поехал в командировку, а сам – к любовнице. (Turns out, her ex was some piece of work like when he said he was going on a business trip, but instead went to his lover.)
Клубника (strawberry) – the diminutive клубничка also means pretty much anything X-rated or erotic. As one woman complained about her husband who spent much of his retirement flipping through lingerie ads:
Старый чёрт, а туда же, на клубничку потянуло (The old devil is heading straight for the tasty morsels).
Малина (raspberry) – if you have all you want, if the toast пусть наши мечты обалдеют от наших возможностей (may our dreams be in awe from our (financial) capabilities) describes your life, then for you жизнь – малина (life is sweet). On the other hand, if someone “moved your cheese” or “took a jelly out of your doughnut”, you can complain that they испортили всю малину.
Яблоко (apple) – the phrase яблоко от яблони не далеко падает means exactly the same as “an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Remember one of the meanings of редиска from an earlier post? There is also a saying - яблоко румяное, да внутри – червоточина (lit: a pretty apple, but with a worm inside; appearance can be deceiving).
Груша (pear) – all Russian children know the answer to this загадка (riddle) – висит груша, нельзя скушать (a pear is hanging, but you can’t eat it). Do you know what it is?
Не растут на вербе груши (lit. pears do not grow on willows) – this is an expression used to say that two things just don’t go together or their combination is nonsensical as in
Работа у меня любимая, но малооплачиваемая, в общем, не растут на вербе груши. (I love my job even though it pays very little; the two just don’t go together).
Клюква (cranberry) – the most famous expression is развесистая клюква (a tall tale). The origin of this expression is quite interesting, but unfortunately the relevant Wiki page is only available in Russian. In short, the expression was used in a 1910 play that poked fun at Western stereotypical portrayal of Russian culture. Sadly, not much has changed in over 100 years. Most times I watch a Hollywood movie or a show on Fox that has some (usually evil) Russians in the plot, I keep thinking нда, это просто развесистая клюква (well, what a bunch of nonsense).
Бузина (elderberry) – admittedly, this is not a very well-known berry, but the expression в огороде бузина, а в Киеве дядька is. Literally it means “elderberry is in the garden and the uncle is in Kiev”. Figuratively, the meaning is “mixing apples and oranges”.
Have I missed anything? What other Russian sayings with fruits and vegetables in them do you know? And don’t forget, post your answers to the “pear” riddle in the comments.