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5 Verbs To Talk About Scams And Deception in Russian Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 in language, Verb of the Week

Have you ever been cheated or scammed? Would you know how to talk about it in Russian? Below are five common ways of talking about being the victim of deceit.

two masked people

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1. Обмануть

The most neutral term for deceiving someone is обмануть (imperf. обманывать). The related action is called обман (deception), and the person doing the cheating is called обманщик (m.)/обманщица (f.).

Я никого́ не обману́ла, я никого́ не предала́.
I did not deceive or betray anyone.
[Светлана Алексиевич. Время second-hand // «Дружба народов», 2013]

2. Надуть

Надуть (imp. надувать) literally means to blow up, like Матрас надо надуть (The mattress needs to be blown up). However, the colloquial meaning of this word is to scam someone, to pull a fast one, or to play a dirty trick. The related action is called надувательство.

Лю́ди не ве́рят, что госуда́рство в очередно́й раз не попыта́ется их наду́ть.
People don’t believe the state won’t try to swindle them yet again.
[Людмила Мещанинова. Соцпакет из обещаний (2003) // «Время МН», 2003.08.05]

deck of cards

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3. Наколоть

Наколоть (imp. накалывать) is related to колоть, to stick, like with a needle. However, in its slang usage, наколоть means to fool someone.

Нас наколо́ли, а мы де́лаем вид, что всё в поря́дке.
We’ve been fooled, but we pretend everything’s alright.
[Виктор Ремизов. Воля вольная // «Новый мир», 2013]

4. Развести

Развести (imp. разводить) is related to one of the infamous verbs of motion — вести (to lead or take someone somewhere). In its literal sense, развести can mean to separate people (Нас развели в разные комнаты — We were taken into separate rooms) or to dilute a solution (Как правильно развести желатин — How to dilute gelatin correctly). However, as a slang term, развести means to con or swindle.

Вот так нас развели́ в очередно́й раз на бабло́.
That’s how we were conned out of our money again.
[Игорь Мальцев. Музыка (2002) // «Автопилот», 2002.06.15]

5. Кинуть

Finally, кинуть (imp. кидать) literally means to throw. It’s slang meaning is similar to the verbs above — to swindle someone. However, it can also refer to standing someone up or leaving someone high and dry. The related noun is кидалово.

Пра́вда, граждане, кото́рых «ки́нули» не пе́рвый раз, не так охо́тно доверя́ют свои́ де́ньги всем подря́д.
At the same time, people who’ve been conned more than once don’t trust random strangers with their money as easily.
[Рубль ― заяц стреляный (2003) // «Новая газета», 2003.01.02]

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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 on her translation site and on Twitter at @intorussian.