Russian Language Blog

10 Ways To Say You Don’t Care In Russian – Part II Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in language


Last week, we looked at some colloquial ways of saying you don’t care about something. We listed five, but that’s not all! Let us continue the list.

6. до ла́мпочки

Лампа is the diminutive of ла́мпа (lamp) and usually means “light bulb.” [Noun/pronoun in dative] + до ла́мпочки is yet another synonym of “I don’t care.”

Я прошу́ их помо́чь мне, но им всё до ла́мпочки (I’m asking them to help me, but they don’t care about anything).

7. до фе́ни

“До фе́ни” works the same way as “до ла́мпочки” in that it is followed by the person in the dative case. According to the Dictionary Of The Language Of Odessa, this expression may have originated from the name Fenya, who is rumored to be a woman no one cared about in Odessa. As most words on this list, this is a slang expression that should not be used in formal situations.

Ему́ все до фе́ни, лишь бы буты́лки сдать (He doesn’t care about anything other than returning bottles). [Светлана Алексиевич. Время second-hand // «Дружба народов», 2013]

This example comes from the oeuvre of the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, who has been covered on our blog.

8. до фонаря́

Фона́рь is a lantern or a street light. The etymology of this expression is disputed, but it is considered a variation of “мне до ла́мпочки.” Grammatically, it is followed by a noun/pronoun in the dative case, like many of its synonyms.

Пра́вда, тако́му челове́ку, как она́, все эти бана́льности до фонаря́ (Actually, a person like her doesn’t care about these trivial things). [Алексей Моторов. Преступление доктора Паровозова (2013)] 

9. по́ фигу

Yet another synonym is по́ фигу + dative. You may also come across this slang word spelled по́фиг or по́фигу. Фи́га is the Russian for “fig (tree).” Фига is also the non-offensive gesture meaning “You’re not getting anything.”

― Мне то́же ра́ньше бы́ло стра́шно. А сейча́с ― по́ фигу. (I used to be scared, too, but now I don’t care.) [Алексей Рыбин. Последняя игра (2000)]

10. чиха́ть

Чиха́ть is literally “to sneeze.” This word is followed by the person in the dative case + на + the thing they don’t care about in the accusative case.

Изве́стно ли вам, что есть лю́ди, кото́рые воспринима́ют шу́тки сли́шком серье́зно? ― […] Но мне чиха́ть на э́тих серье́зных, прости́те! (Do you know there are people who take jokes too seriously? ― I’m sorry, but I don’t care about these serious people! [Юрий Бондарев. Горячий снег (1969)]

Are you familiar with any of the expressions above? Have you heard anyone use them?

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.


  1. Yulia S.:

    Мне кажется, выражение “Мне пофигу” происходит не от названия плода фигового дерева, а от древнего символа жеста защиты от сглаза (см. “fig charm”), т.к. он чаще всего используется (по крайней мере,в России) в контексте категоричного отказа (“фиг вам”), и легко представить, что когда-то этот жест сопровождался словами вроде “прочь, нечистый, не получишь”.