Russian Language Blog

Russian Verbs with Prefixes: Пускать for Letting Go Posted by on Aug 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

Several readers have commented that they find posts on verbs with prefixes helpful, so here is another verb “family.” This time, we will look at verbs with the пуск-/пуст- roots that share the general sense of allowing something. The verbs are given in pairs of imperfective and perfective.

gate with knockers

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This verbs means “to let someone in.”

А кто же пу́стит в свой дом посмотре́ть и оцени́ть рабо́ту диза́йнера?
But who would ever let strangers into their home to look at and evaluate the designer’s work?
[Михаил Песин. Картинки с выставки (2002) // «Биржа плюс свой дом» (Н. Новгород), 2002.05.20]

Interestingly, it can also mean “to let someone go somewhere.”

На За́пад его́ так никогда́ и не пусти́ли.
He was never allowed to travel to the West.
[И. Э. Кио. Иллюзии без иллюзий (1995-1999)]


Отпуска́ть may be similar to пускать in some contexts, where it means “to let go.”

В ста́рые времена́ челове́к попада́лся ― его́ отпуска́ли.
In old times, when a person got caught, they would be released.
[Андрей Молодых. В поисках позитива // «Русский репортер», 2014]

This verb is also used in such collocations as отпусти́ть бо́роду (to grow a beard).

child launching a fire lantern

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Запусти́ть has two main meanings. One has to do with launching something, like a missile or a program(me).

Презента́ция прошла́ великоле́пно, и руково́дство GM наконе́ц-то реши́лось запусти́ть автомоби́ль в се́рию.
The presentation went down spectacularly, and GM management finally decided to mass produce the vehicle.
[Александр Новиков, Дмитрий Гронский. Двое в лодке (2002) // «Автопилот», 2002.09.15]

The second sense has to do with neglecting something or failing to take care of it.

Роди́тели сня́ли им ко́мнату в запу́щенном посёлке.
Their parents rented them a room in a rundown village.
[Сергей Довлатов. Иная жизнь (1984)]

It also appears in запусти́ть себя́, meaning “to let yourself go.”

Мно́гие зимо́й ка́к-то запуска́ют себя́.
Many people let themselves go in a way in the winter.
[Катя Метелица. Зима (1997) // «Столица», 1997.12.08]


Пропуска́ть is another verb with multiple meanings. The first one is “to allow someone to pass or to come in.” The noun for a pass is про́пуск.

Нас все уже́ зна́ли и че́рез служе́бный вход пропуска́ли без разгово́ров.
Everyone already knew us and let us in through the back door without any questions.
[И. Э. Кио. Иллюзии без иллюзий (1995-1999)]

It may also mean “to let something through.”

Рези́на уже́ не держа́ла две́рцу, пропуска́ла тёплый во́здух.
The rubber wasn’t holding the door in place anymore and let warm air in.
[Токарева Виктория. Своя правда // «Новый Мир», 2002]

Another meaning has to do with missing or skipping something.

Вы́ставки стара́юсь не пропуска́ть, в кино́ и теа́тре почти́ не быва́ю ― ка́жется, что ничего́ досто́йного там не происхо́дит.
I try not to miss any exhibitions, while I almost never go to the cinema or theatre — it seems like nothing good is happening there.
[Юлия Пешкова. Пиковый козырь (2002) // «Домовой», 2002.01.04]


Image via Pixabay


Допуска́ть means “to allow or permit.” You may also see the adjective допусти́мый, acceptable.

Ни в ко́ем слу́чае нельзя́ допуска́ть монополиза́ции ры́нка.
Under no circumstances are monopolies to be allowed on the market.
[Вирусные гепатиты (материалы доложены на 8-м съезде Всероссийского общества эпидемиологов, микробиологов и паразитологов) (2002) // «Вопросы вирусологии», 2002.12.02]

Have you seen or heard any of these? Did you find them confusing?

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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.