Proverbs and sayings are meant to teach and give advice. But the moral teaching of most of them is not clear. Proverbs can be understood and interpreted in their own way. Some proverbs and sayings message, that they are trying to convey to the listener or reader through expressive words, is vague.
Let’s take the popular proverbs from the Russian school curriculum and find out what they mean. We will use book writers and folklorists arguments, newspapers and magazines columnists thoughts, and internet resources users opinions. We will combine all the viewpoints and add our own opinion.
All of the sayings and proverbs meanings are merely subjective and do not claim to be 100% true.
The meaning of popular Russian proverbs and sayings
Без труда не вытащишь и рыбку из пруда. He who would catch fish must not mind getting wet.
To come to success, one needs to make and effort and be patient.
Береги платье снову, а честь смолоду. A good name is sooner lost than won.
When a child we are taught good and justice, to distinguish lies from truth, good from evil, unselfishness from envy, how to do the right thing in life, to protect honor and dignity. A ruined new dress cannot be made the same as it was originally — it can be sewn, washed, fixed, but it will be noticeable that it is ruined. Also, the honor cannot be restored if the reputation is damaged, and trust is lost. Other people always remember past events and actions, the residue of what happened remains in their minds.
Встречают по одежке, провожают по уму. First you judge how nice, then you judge how wise.
Upon meeting someone new, people first pay attention to the appearance of a person, the first impression is formed by their looks. Only after communicating with them, a general impression or what a person is formed. And it may change and differ from the first impression of the person’s appearance.
Грамоте учиться всегда пригодится. Knowledge is no burden.
A person always needs to develop their intellect, for this one needs to constantly learn, discovering new things. This will help a person in life, at school, and at work. Teaching is never superfluous, it broadens one’s mind and expands the horizons of knowledge.
С лица воды не пить. Beauty is only skin deep.
Appearance is not the most important thing in a person. The real beauty of a person is in their heart, character, soul, actions, and not in their facial features.
Один волк гоняет овец полк. One wolf is chasing a herd of sheep.
A person with pronounced leadership, strong willed qualities manages or commands the rest.
Видит око, да зуб неймет. It catches your eye, but you can’t catch it.
When one wants to touch something, but they cannot reach it.
Цыплят по осени считают. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
One can only talk about the success and results of any business when the work is completed.
Яблоко от яблони недалеко падает. Like father like son.
Children often resemble their parents in many ways. They learn from their parents strengths and weaknesses. The proverb can be applied to a teacher-student situation. What a teacher puts into a student, the student manifests.