Russian Language Blog

Talk About Employment with This Russian Root Posted by on Dec 3, 2019 in Vocabulary

You might know работа, work, and other related words as a helpful word family for talking about employment. Have you heard about труд and other related words, though? This post will look at how this word family can help you express ideas about jobs and labo(u)r.

man sewing a belt

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The basic word is труд, labo(u)r, effort, hard work. One famous saying with with word is

  • Терпе́ние и труд всё перетру́т.

This literally means “Patience and hard work will grind everything down” and is used to encourage these two virtues.

Труд may have a vague association with the Soviet Union (Сове́тский Сою́з), where this word evoked noble, yet obligatory work. That came up in phrases like Геро́й труда́ (hero of labo[u]r, a Soviet and Russian award to people whose work is considered important to society). Similarly, workers were sometimes called трудя́щиеся, literally “those who labo[u]r.”

However, труд does not always have this ideological “baggage.” Sometimes it just means “hard work.”

  • Мы с трудо́м сдви́нули дива́н с ме́ста (We could barely move the couch from its place, or Only with great effort were we able to move the couch).

Other times, труд refers to employment. Some of the common phrases in that sense are:

  • опла́та труда́ — wages, compensation
  • усло́вия труда́ — working conditions
  • ры́нок труда́ — labo(u)r market
  • би́ржа труда́ — employment agency/office

Finally, труд may refer to someone’s work, such as a book or a body of research.

  • В э́том году́ учёный опубликова́л собра́ние свои́х трудо́в (This year the scientist published a collections of his works).
woman climbing rocks

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Трудно is an adverb meaning hard or difficult. It is a synonym to сло́жно or тяжело́. This adverb expresses the same idea — that something is hard to do and can only be achieved with a great deal of effort.

  • Тру́дно уха́живать за больны́ми ро́дственниками (It’s hard to take care of sick relatives).

The opposite of трудно is, predictably, нетру́дно or легко́.


In addition, труд makes up the first part of several useful compound nouns. The first one is трудоустройство, an official-sounding word for employment. The second part of this word, устраивать, means to hire or place a worker. Some common phrases include:

  • возмо́жности трудоустро́йства — employment opportunities
  • трудоустро́йство выпускнико́в — job placement for graduates

Sometimes за́нятость can be a synonym for this kind of employment; however, занятость refers to the state of being employed, while трудоустройство emphasizes the action of getting a job.

now hiring sign

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Finally, трудоспособность literally means “work ability.” It can refer to someone’s stamina and work performance, normally as the adjective трудоспосо́бный.

Он был физи́чески кре́пким и чрезвыча́йно выно́сливым и трудоспосо́бным челове́ком.

He was a physically fit, extremely resilient, and hard-working person.

[Леонид Двойнин. Отеческий дом академика Павлова // «Наука и жизнь», 2009]

The second, more common sense of трудоспособность refers to a person being deemed well enough and old enough to work.

  • трудоспосо́бный во́зраст — working age
  • трудоспосо́бное населе́ние — working-age adults
  • поте́ря трудоспосо́бности — disability (acquired due to disease or injury)

It is common to see the opposite of трудоспособностьнетрудоспосо́бность, legal disability.

  • вре́менная нетрудоспосо́бность — temporary disability

What other words related to труд have you come across?

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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.