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Top 100 Russian Nouns: Grammar, Vocabulary & Examples

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You’ve probably noticed that a lot of kids start learning words with nouns—besides sound imitations, of course. They say “mom,” “dad,” “dog,” “cat,” and so on. Only after that do they start to glue sentences together with verbs and add adjectives. It’s just so easy to point at something and pronounce its name—causing loud excitement in the rows of grannies and grandads.

It’s actually a great way for grownups to study as well. You can put stickers with Russian nouns on things around you, practice saying the names of things in Russian while walking down the street, or talk about what you’re eating during dinner with Russian friends. It may also be helpful to make learning cards and draw pictures on them.

In this article, RussianPod101 will help you take your first steps to language fluency and teach you the most common nouns in the Russian language. Also, we’ll help familiarize you with Russian noun declension, Russian noun endings, and Russian gender nouns. Nouns in Russian grammar might look complicated at first, but they’re actually quite simple. You’ll see!

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Table of Contents
  1. Nouns in Russian Grammar
  2. Top 100 Most Common Nouns in the Russian Language
  3. Conclusion


1. Nouns in Russian Grammar



Nouns 1

Before we head to our Russian list of nouns, there are some grammar rules you need to be aware of. Trust us when we say that you’ll be able to learn Russian nouns a lot more painlessly once you have these down and understand how Russian nouns change. In turn, this will make your future Russian nouns lessons so much easier and you’ll be speaking perfect Russian a whole lot quicker!

1- Russian Grammatical Gender


The first thing that you need to know about Russian nouns, before we get to our list of the 100 most common Russian nouns, is that every one of them has a gender: masculine, feminine, or neuter. You’ll avoid a lot of difficulties with the Russian declension of nouns if you pay attention to what gender the new noun is while learning it.

Sometimes, the gender will be easy to remember: мама (mama), or “mom,” is feminine, and папа (papa), or “dad,” is masculine. But sometimes it will get tricky: окно (okno), meaning “window,” is neuter, while дверь (dver’), meaning “door,” is feminine. Why?

You can use your imagination to create an explanation that will help you remember better. Maybe дверь (dver’) is feminine because in old times, Russian girls put beautiful ornaments on them, or because once you enter the door the women’s realm begins. The crazier your imagination works, the better you’ll remember. ;)

Besides gender, Russian nouns can be plural and singular, like in English. Further, some nouns only have a plural form, such as the word деньги (den’gi), or “money.”

2- Russian Noun Cases


The next thing that you should know in order to put nouns in Russian sentences correctly is that they have grammatical cases. Instead of learning the name of all the Russian nouns cases by heart, just try to understand them—then you’ll make a great step toward the innate feeling of Russian language grammar.

Here are the Russian cases of nouns, with explanations and examples:

1. Nominative case. This is the main noun in a sentence, the noun that is doing something. You can practice finding nominative nouns in English sentences:

    – A cat is playing with a mouse. (Answer: Cat.)
    – An apple is on the table. (Answer: Apple.)

    Though the apple here isn’t actually doing anything, the verb “is,” in this case, is still a verb, so the case of “apple” will be nominative.


Now, try to find a nominative case noun in a Russian sentence :
    Мама любит меня ( lyubit menya) — “Mom loves me.”
    Папа работает (Papa rabotayet) — “Dad works.”


2. Genitive case. In English, this case is usually shown with the possessive ending -s. But the Russian language has made a special case for it. Once you see that something belongs to someone in a sentence, then the noun in that Russian phrase should be in the genitive case. Look at the examples:

    Это книга Маши (Eto kniga Mashi) — “This is the book of Masha.”

    Маша (Masha) is a very common Russian girls’ name. The book belongs to Masha, which is why her name is in the genitive case.

    У сестры есть собака (U sestry yest’ sobaka) — “(My) sister has a dog.”

    You’re probably wondering how to distinguish the nominative and genitive cases here. Well, there’s a small trick: The nominative case never has a preposition, but the genitive case, like the one here, sometimes does have ne.


3. Dative case. This case is used when something is given, thrown, read, etc. to a noun. In English, this is usually expressed with the article “to”:

    Папа читает книгу сыну (Papa chitayet knigu synu) — “Dad is reading a book to (his) son.”

    Here, the word “son” is in the dative case.


4. Accusative case. This case is usually paired with the nominative case. While the nominative noun is doing something, the accusative noun is the noun receiving the action:

    Папа любит машины (Papa lyubit mashiny) — “Dad loves cars.”

    Here, the word “cars” is in the accusative case.


5. Instrumental case. The noun in this case is an instrument with which something is done:

    Я пишу ручкой (Ya pishu ruchkoy) — “I write with a pen.”

    Here, the word “pen” is in the instrumental case.


6. Prepositional case. This case is mostly used with Russian prepositions:

    В машине тепло (V mashine teplo) — “It’s warm in the car.”
    На столе лежит книга (Na stole lezhit kniga) — “There is a book lying on the table.”


3- Russian Noun Declension


Now you’re ready to start putting nouns in Russian sentences. There are three ways to go about Russian noun declension. It’s easy to tell which way to use because it’s based on a noun’s ending: 1) –а/-я (-a/-ya) 2) No ending 3) -o/-e (-o/-ye).

Before having a look at the table of declension endings, here’s an exercise.

Below you’ll find a list with the most-used Russian nouns. For every noun, there’s an example of how to use those nouns in Russian phrases or sentences. Study the sentences and try to understand what noun case it’s in. Pay attention to the noun endings, both in the vocabulary form shown in the list, and the case form in the sentence. Is there a difference? What difference is that? Search for grammar patterns to better understand the Russian nouns declension.

Now, you’re ready to dig into our list of the 100 most common Russian nouns.

2. Top 100 Most Common Nouns in the Russian Language



Nouns 2

1- People


  • Человек (chelovek) — “person; human”
    • Высокий человек (vysokiy chelovek) — “a tall person”

  • Друг (drug) — “friend”
    • Лучший друг (luchshiy drug) — “the best friend”

  • Ребёнок (rebyonok) — “child; kid”
    • Милый ребёнок (milyy rebyonok) — “a cute kid”

  • Женщина (zhenshchina) — “woman.”
    • Красивая женщина (krasivaya zhenhschina) — “a beautiful woman”

  • Мужчина (muzhchina) — “man”
    • Сильный мужчина (sil’nyy muzhchina) — “a strong man”

  • Мальчик (mal’chik) — “boy”
    • Маленький мальчик (malen’kiy mal’chik) — “a little boy”

  • Девочка (devochka) — “girl”
    • Взрослая девочка (vzroslaya devochka) — “a grown-up girl”

  • Девушка (devushka) — “young woman; girl; girlfriend”
    • Это моя девушка (Eto moya devushka) — “This is my girlfriend.”

  • Парень (paren’) — “young man; boy; boyfriend”
    • Это мой парень (Eto moy paren’) — “This is my boyfriend.”

  • Имя (imya) — “name”
    • У тебя красивое имя (U tebya krasivoye imya) — “Your name is beautiful.”

  • Фамилия (familiya) — “surname; family name”
    • Моя фамилия – Иванов (Moya familiya – Ivanov) — “My surname is Ivanov.”

  • Начальник (nachal’nik) — “boss”
    • Строгий начальник (strogiy nachal’nik) — “a strict boss”

  • Гость (gost’) — “visitor; guest”
    • Дорогой гость (dorogoy gost’) — “a dear guest”


To talk about people, it’s important to know about job titles. We’ve prepared a special vocabulary list with jobs in Russian and an article about how to find a job in Russia.

2- Family


A Family.
  • Семья (sem’ya) — “family”
    • У меня большая семья (U menya bol’shaya sem’ya) — “I have a big family.”

  • Отец (otets) — “father”
    • Мой отец – программист (Moy otets – programmist) — “My father is a programmer.”

  • Папа (papa) — “dad”
    • Мой папа много работает (Moy papa mnogo rabotayet) — “My dad works a lot.”
    • Compared to the previous word, this word is mostly used by children and girls.

  • Мама (mama) — “mother”
    • Я люблю свою маму (Ya lyublyu svoyu mamu) — “I love my mom.”

  • Сын (syn) — “son”
    • Мой сын уже вырос (Moy syn uzhe vyros) — “My son has already grown up.”

  • Дочь (doch’) — “daughter”
    • У него есть маленькая дочь (U nego yest’ malen’kaya doch’) — “He has a small daughter.”

  • Брат (brat) — “brother”
    • Старший брат, младший брат (Starshiy brat, mladshiy brat) — “an elder brother, a younger brother”

  • Сестра (sestra) — “sister”
    • Старшая сестра, младшая сестра (Starshaya sestra, mladshaya sestra) — “an elder sister, a younger sister”

  • Жена (zhena) — “wife”
    • Любимая жена (lyubimaya zhena) — “a dear wife”

  • Муж (muzh) — “husband”
    • Любимый муж (lyubimyy muzh) — “a dear husband”

If you wanna know more Russian family-related words, read our full guide on talking about relatives in Russian.

3- Place


Now, let’s get to location nouns in Russian vocabulary.

  • Место (mesto) — “place”
    • Положи это на место (Polozhi eto na mesto) — “Put it in its place.”

  • Земля (zemlya) — “earth; Earth”
    • Мы живём на планете Земля (My zhivyom na planete Zemlya) — “We live on the planet Earth.”

  • Город (gorod) — “town; city”
    • Мой родной город – Берлин (Moy rodnoy gorod – Berlin) — “My hometown is Berlin.”

  • Улица (ulitsa) — “street”
    • Я живу на улице Ленина (Ya zhivu na ulitse Lenina) — “I live on Lenina Street.”

  • Москва (Moskva) — “Moscow”
    • Я хочу побывать в Москве (Ya khochu pobyvat’ v Moskve) — “I want to visit Moscow.”

  • Страна (strana) — “country”
    • Ты из какой страны? (Ty iz kakoy strany?) — “What country are you from?”

  • Россия (Rossiya) — “Russia”
    • Я люблю Россию (Ya lyublyu Rossiyu) — “I love Russia.”

  • Дорога (doroga) — “road”
    • В дорогу! (V dorogu!) — “Let’s go! Let’s start our journey!”
    • This phrase is usually used before a long trip or a long ride.


4- Nature


In the Forest.
  • Лес (les) — “forest”
    • Я хочу поехать в лес за грибами (Ya khochu poyekhat’ v les za gribami) — “I want to go to the forest to pick mushrooms.”

  • Воздух (vozdukh) — “air”
    • Воздух такой свежий! (Vozdukh takoy svezhiy!) — “The air is so fresh!”

  • Огонь (ogon’) — “fire”
    • Он разжёг огонь (On razzhyog ogon’) — “He made a fire.”

  • Вода (voda) — “water”
    • Воду без газа, пожалуйста (Vodu bez gaza, pozhaluysta) — “Water without gas, please.”

  • Ветер (veter) — “wind”
    • Ветер такой сильный, я замёрз (Veter takoy sil’nyy, ya zamyorz) — “The wind is so strong, I’ve frozen.”

  • Солнце (solntse) — “sun”
    • Солнце печёт (Solntse pechyot) — “The sun is so strong.”

  • Луна (luna) — “moon”
    • Смотри, сегодня полная луна (Smotri, segodnya polnaya luna) — “Look, there is a full moon today.”

  • Дерево (derevo) — “tree”
    • Давай присядем у того дерева (Davay prisyadem u togo dereva) — “Let’s have a seat near that tree.”

  • Снег (sneg) — “snow”
    • Снег идёт (Sneg idyot) — “It’s snowing.”

  • Небо (nebo) — “sky”
    • На небе ни тучки (Na nebe ni tuchki) — “Not a single cloud in the sky.”

  • Море (more) — “sea”
    • Я хочу на море! (Ya khochu na more!) — “I wanna go to the seaside!”


5- Animals


[Four Cats
  • Животное (zhivotnoye) — “animal”
    • У тебя есть домашние животные? (U tebya yest’ domashniye zhivotnyye?) — “Do you have any pets?”

  • Собака (sobaka) — “dog”
    • У меня есть собака (U menya yest’ sobaka) — “I have a dog.”

  • Кошка (koshka) — “cat (female)”
    • У меня есть кошка (U menya yest’ koshka) — “I have a cat.”

  • Кот (kot) — “cat (male)”
    • Ласковый кот (Laskovyy kot) — “an affectionate, sweet cat”

  • Комар (komar) — “mosquito”
    • Комар жужжит под ухом (Komar zhuzhzhit pod ukhom) — “A mosquito is buzzing near my ear.”

  • Рыба (ryba) — “fish”
    • Я бы хотел рыбу на ужин, а ты? (Ya by khotel rybu na uzhin, a ty?) — “I’d love some fish for dinner, what about you?”


6- House


Nouns 3
  • Дом (dom) — “house”
    • Двухэтажный дом (dvukhetazhnyy dom) — “two-storied house”

  • Квартира (kvartira) — “flat; apartment”
    • Двухкомнатная квартира (dvukhkomnatnaya kvartira) — “an apartment with two rooms”

  • Дверь (dver’) — “door”
    • Закрыть дверь на ключ (zakryt’ dver’ na klyuch) — “to close the door with a key”

  • Окно (okno) — “window”
    • Открыть окно (otkryt’ okno) — “to open the window”

  • Стол (stol) — “table”
    • Положи на стол (Polozhi na stol) — “Put (it) on the table.”

  • Комната (komnata) — “room”
    • Это моя комната (Eto moya komnata) — “This is my room.”

  • Книга (kniga) — “book”
    • Моя любимая книга (moya lyubimaya kniga) — “my favorite book”

  • Свет (svet) — “light”
    • Включи свет, пожалуйста. (Vklyuchi svet, pozhaluysta.) — “Switch on the light, please.”


Wanna know how to name other things around your house? Here’s our vocabulary list on home appliances.

7- Daily Life


Chatting on the Phone
  • Деньги (den’gi) — “money”
    • Зарабатывать деньги (zarabatyvat’ den’gi) — “to earn money”
    • Note that this noun doesn’t have a singular form; it’s always in the plural form.

  • Работа (rabota) — “work; job”
    • Я люблю свою работу (Ya lyublyu svoyu rabotu) — “I love my job.”

  • Письмо (pis’mo) — “letter; e-mail”
    • Отправить письмо (otpravit’ pis’mo) — “to send a letter”

  • Школа (shkola) — “school”
    • Ходить в школу (khodit’ v shkolu) — “to go to school”

  • Университет (universitet) — “university”
    • Я учусь в университете (Ya uchus’ v universitete) — “I study in university.”

  • Машина (mashina) — “car”
    • Я приехал на машине (Ya priyekhal na mashine) — “I came by car.”

  • Компьютер (komp’yuter) — “computer”
    • Работать за компьютером (rabotat’ za komp’yuterom) — “to work from the computer”

  • Ноутбук (noutbuk) — “laptop”
    • Включить ноутбук (vklyuchit’ noutbuk) — “to switch on a laptop”

  • Телефон (telefon) — “phone”
    • Мобильный телефон (mobil’nyy telefon) — “mobile phone”

  • Наушники (naushniki) — “earphones”
    • У тебя есть наушники? (U tebya yest’ naushniki?) — “Do you have earphones?”

  • Зарядка (zaryadka) — “charger”
    • У тебя есть зарядка для телефона? (U tebya yest’ zaryadka dlya telefona?) — “Do you have a phone charger?”

  • Сайт (sayt) — “website”
    • Искать на сайте (iskat’ na sayte) — “to search on the website”

  • Приложение (prilozheniye) — “app”
    • Открой приложение (Otkroy prilozheniye) — “Open the app.”

  • Игра (igra) — “game”
    • Крутая игра (krutaya igra) — “a cool game”

  • Помощь (pomoshch’) — “help”
    • Тебе нужна помощь? (Tebe nuzhna pomoshch’?) — “Do you need help?”

  • Завтрак (zavtrak) — “breakfast”
    • Полезный завтрак (poleznyy zavtrak) — “healthy breakfast”

  • Обед (obed) — “lunch”
    • Перерыв на обед (pereryv na obed) — “lunch break”

  • Ужин (uzhin) — “dinner”
    • Ужин при свечах (uzhin pri svechakh) — “dinner with candle-lights (usually romantic)”


The digital world has already become a huge part of our lives, so for more words needed for the Internet, check out our vocabulary list.

For students, daily life vocabulary will be full of nouns essential for school. Have a look at our vocabulary list on this topic.

Also, if you’re planning to visit Russia, you’ll find a vocabulary list about restaurants useful.

8- Time


A Man Checks the Time on His Watch
  • Время (vremya) — “time”
    • У меня нет времени, говори быстрее (U menya net vremeni, govori bystreye) — “I don’t have time, talk faster.”

  • Минута (minuta) — “minute”
    • Можно тебя на минуту? (Mozhno tebya na minutu?) — “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

  • Час (chas) — “hour”
    • Музей откроется через час. (Muzey otkroyetsya cherez chas.) — “A museum will open in an hour.”

  • День (den’) — “day”
    • Куда ты хочешь пойти завтра днём? (Kuda ty khochesh’ poyti zavtra dnyom?) — “Where do you wanna go during the daytime tomorrow?”

  • Неделя (nedelya) — “week”
    • На следующей неделе я в отпуске (Na sleduyushchey nedele ya v otpuske) — “I’ll have a vacation next week.”

  • Понедельник (ponedel’nik) — “Monday”
    • Понедельник – день тяжёлый (Ponedel’nik – den’ tyazhyolyy) — “Monday is a hard day.”
    • Russians say this expression a lot when it’s hard to go back to work or study on Monday after the weekend.

  • Вторник (vtornik) — “Tuesday”
    • Вечером во вторник у меня тренажёрка (Vecherom vo vtornik u menya trenazhyorka) — “I’m going to the gym on Tuesday night.”

  • Среда (sreda) — “Wednesday”
    • В среду у меня свидание (V sredu u menya svidaniye) — “I have a date on Wednesday.”

  • Четверг (chetverg) — “Thursday”
    • Четверг – это маленькая пятница. (Chetverg – eto malen’kaya pyatnitsa.) — “Thursday is a small Friday.”
    • This is a famous Russian saying. It refers to the fact that there’s not that many days left until the weekend on Thursday, so it may be compared to Friday.

  • Пятница (pyatnitsa) — “Friday”
    • Пятница-развратница (pyatnitsa-razvratnitsa) — “fun Friday”
    • Literally, old ladies call young women развратница (razvratnitsa) if they dress up too provocatively or go out with a lot of different men. In the expression пятница-развратница (pyatnitsa-razvratnitsa), the word started to be used because it rhymes nicely with Пятница (pyatnitsa), or “Friday.”

  • Суббота (subbota) — “Saturday”
    • В субботу я ходил с друзьями в кино. (V subbotu ya khodil s druz’yami v kino.) — “On Saturday, I went to the cinema with my friends.”

  • Воскресенье (voskresen’ye) — “Sunday”
    • В воскресенье я убирался дома (V voskresen’ye ya ubiralsya doma) — “On Sunday, I cleaned up my apartment.”

  • Будни (budni) — “weekdays”
    • В будни скидка на обед – 20%. (V budni skidka na obed – dvadtsat’ protsentov.) — “There is a twenty percent discount for lunch on weekdays.”

  • Выходные (vykhodnyye) — “weekend”
    • На выходных мы поедем на шашлыки (Na vykhodnykh my poyedem na shashlyki) — “We are gonna go out to make a barbecue on the weekend.”

  • Месяц (mesyats) — “month”
    • В этом месяце (v etom mesyatse) — “in this month”

  • Год (god) — “year”
    • В следующем году (v sleduyushchem godu) — “in the next year”

  • Ночь (noch’) — “night”
    • Это была длинная ночь. (Eto byla dlinnaya noch’.) — “This was a long night.”

  • Жизнь (zhizn’) — “life”
    • Это жизнь. (Eto zhizn’.) — “This is life.”
    • Russian people use this phrase to say that bad things happen along with the good during life.

  • Утро (utro) — “morning”
    • Доброе утро! (Dobroye utro!) — “Good morning!”

  • Вечер (vecher) — “evening”
    • Добрый вечер! (Dobryy vecher!) — “Good evening!”
    • If you want to learn more Russian greetings, check out our article.

  • Начало (nachalo) — “beginning; start.” Please, note that the noun that follows the word начало (nachalo) should be in the Genitive case:
    • Начало фильма в 8. (Nachalo fil’ma v vosem’.) — “The film’s start is at eight.”
    • Мне не понравилось начало книги. (Mnye nye ponravilos’ nachalo knigi) — “I didn’t like the beginning of the book.”

  • Конец (konets) — “end.” Please, note that the noun that follows the word конец (konets) should also be in the Genitive case:
    • Это конец сериала. (Eto konets seriala) — “This is the end of the series.”


If you feel that you need to deepen your knowledge of this topic, read our article where we’ve prepared a full guide on the most common nouns in the Russian language about time.

9- Body Parts


Nouns 4
Here, you’ll find the most common nouns in the Russian language related to body parts.

  • Голова (golova) — “head”
    • Что это у тебя на голове? (Chto eto u tebya na golove?) — “What’s on your head?”

  • Лицо (litso) — “face”
    • У неё лицо не видно. (U neyo litso ne vidno) — “Her face isn’t seen.”

  • Глаз (glaz) — “eye”
    • Закрой глаза. (Zakroy glaza.) — “Close your eyes.”

  • Нос (nos) — “nose”
    • Не суй свой нос куда не следует. (Ne suy svoy nos kuda ne sleduyet)—”Mind your own business.”
    • Literally: “Don’t stick your nose into where it isn’t supposed to be stuck.”

  • Ухо (ukho) — “ear”
    • Быть влюблённым по уши (byt’ vlyublyonnym po ushi) — “to be over head and ears in love.”
    • Literally: “In love till ears.”

  • Голос (golos) — “voice”
    • А почему голос такой сонный? (A pochemu golos takoy sonnyy?) — “Why is your voice so sleepy?”

  • Тело (telo) — “body”
    • Худое тело (khudoye telo) — “a thin body”

  • Рука (ruka) — “arm; hand”
    • Дай мне руку. (Day mne ruku) — “Give me (your) hand.”
    • It’s interesting to know that Russians call arms and hands the same thing: рука (ruka).

  • Нога (noga) — “leg”
    • У тебя на ноге комар. (U tebya na noge komar) — “There is a mosquito on your leg.”

  • Палец (palets) — “finger”
    • У него кольцо на пальце. (U nego kol’tso na pal’tse) — “He is married.”
    • Literally: “He has a ring on his finger.”

  • Спина (spina) — “back”
    • У меня спина болит. (U menya spina bolit) — “My back hurts.”

  • Сердце (serdtse) — “heart”
    • У меня сердце колотится. (U menya serdtse kolotitsya) — “My pulse hammers.”

  • Кровь (krov’) — “blood”
    • У тебя кровь из носа идёт. (U tebya krov’ iz nosa idyot) — “There is blood coming from your nose.”


10- Language


[Four Friends Are Talking
  • Слово (slovo) — “word”
    • Это всё слова (Eto vsyo slova) — “Those are just words.”

  • Вопрос (vopros) — “question”
    • У меня вопрос (U menya vopros) — “I have a question.”

  • Ответ (otvet) — “answer”
    • Кто знает ответ? (Kto znayet otvet?) — “Who knows the answer?”

  • Разговор (razgovor) — “talk; conversation”
    • У меня к тебе серьёзный разговор (U menya k tebe ser’yoznyy razgovor) — “I’m having a serious conversation with you.”

  • Язык (yazyk) — “language; tongue”
    • Русский язык (russkiy yazyk) — “Russian language”


3. Conclusion



Now you know the top 100 most common Russian nouns. A good way to practice these words is to make word cards to learn them with. As these nouns are the core of Russian vocabulary, you can’t afford to skip out on really learning them! Make sure to learn the nouns in Russian phrases and sentences, as well. This way, you’ll be able to use every noun correctly in context, start to build the base for Russian noun declension, and use nouns in Russian sentences correctly.

To practice your listening skills, watch our fun video on the top twenty-five nouns in the Russian language. You’ll find more example sentences there.

To dig deeper into Russian noun declension and to get a full understanding of it, try out RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian learners. Native Russian teachers with impressive teaching backgrounds will help you to understand all the rules as quickly as possible, and boost your language-learning process. Just take a trial lesson to see how it works for you. ;-)

Before you go, let us know in the comments what new Russian nouns you’ve learned today! Are there any you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in Russian & More

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Did you know that there’s a Russian holiday called Крещение (Kreshcheniye), or “Baptism,” when everyone jumps into прорубь (prorub’), or an “ice hole” in just their underwear? This holiday is in January, so it might be -10°C or -20°C, or even -50°C outside. Russian people believe that it washes off their sins and improves health. This holiday salutes the end of Russian winter holidays, each of which contains even more peculiar traditions. (You thought you were just going to learn Happy Birthday in Russian, didn’t you?)

To feel confident in living in Russia and communicating with Russian people, it’s important to know these traditions, especially how people congratulate each other. So, let’s dig into the festive side of life and learn how to become a part of it while in Russia.

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Table of Contents

  1. Happy Holidays in Russian
  2. How to Say Happy Birthday in Russian
  3. How to Say Merry Christmas in Russian & A Happy New Year in Russian
  4. Russian Congratulations: Baby News & Pregnancy
  5. Happy Graduation in Russian
  6. Congratulations for a New Job or Promotion
  7. Russian Congratulations for Retirement
  8. Russian Congratulations: Weddings & Anniversaries
  9. Death and Funerals: Russian Condolence Messages
  10. Bad News
  11. Injured or Sick
  12. Other Holidays and Life Events
  13. Conclusion

1. Happy Holidays in Russian

Basic Questions

No matter what holiday or life event you’re observing, you can always say “I congratulate you,” and most of the time, this is enough. In Russian, it can be said with just one word: Поздравляю! (Pozdravlyayu!). If you’re representing a group of people—or just somebody other than yourself—change the word into Поздравляем! (Pozdravlyayem!).

Make sure to use it instead of the full congratulation when it’s obvious what you’re congratulating someone on. For example, in social networks, when a lot of people are posting congratulations for a birthday or New Year, posting Поздравляю! (Pozdravlyayu!) will be enough; it’s obvious what you’re celebrating.

If it’s not obvious enough, be ready for the person to ask you: С чем? (S chem?), meaning “With what?”

You might also be wondering about greetings and best wishes in Russian. As for greetings, there’s a big article prepared by RussianPod101 for you. As for best wishes, there’s a nice way to say that: Всего наилучшего! (Vsyego nailuchshego!), which simply means “Best wishes!”

2. How to Say Happy Birthday in Russian

Happy Birthday

Birthdays in Russia are very important. Many people take the day off from work and go on vacation; most people wait until the nearest weekend to gather all their friends and close relatives for a party. Birthday gifts to friends are usually more expensive compared to gifts for the New Year. If you’re wondering what kind of gifts would be most appropriate, here are a few examples for you:

  • Chocolate and a cute souvenir to a coworker
  • A book, a box of nice candies, and a flower to a girlfriend
  • A bottle of expensive alcohol to your boss (just make sure that he actually drinks alcohol beforehand)
  • Two tickets to a theatre/reality quest/concert for your friend (ask in advance if that evening or day is free)

The closer your relationship is, the more expensive the present becomes. For example, a wife or girlfriend can congratulate her husband or boyfriend with an expensive watch.

Now, how do you wish someone a happy birthday in Russian?

1- С днём рождения!

  • Romanization: S dnyom rozhdeniya!
  • English Translation: “Happy Birthday!”

This is a basic congratulation that will sound great both for formal and informal situations, in speaking and in writing. To make it sound more solemn, you can say Поздравляю с днём рождения! (Pozdravlyayu s dnyom rozhdeniya!), which means “I congratulate you on your birthday!”

Besides the main congratulatory phrase, you can also add some wishes. For example, Всего самого наилучшего! (Vsyego samogo nailuchshego!), which means “All the best” in Russian.

2- С прошедшим!

  • Romanization: S proshedshim!
  • English Translation: “Belated Happy Birthday!”

If you just found out that someone had a birthday during the last week, it would be great to congratulate him even though you’re a little late. The Russian phrase for congratulations С прошедшим! (S proshedshim!), meaning “Belated Happy Birthday!” in Russian, sounds great in informal situations. For formal situations, make it longer: С прошедшим днём рождения! (S proshedshim dnyom rozhdeniya!), or “Belated Happy Birthday!”

3- Ещё раз с днём рождения!

  • Romanization: Yeshchyo raz s dnyom rozhdeniya!
  • English Translation: “Once again Happy Birthday!”

Usually, Russian people enjoy making congratulations more personal by wishing a lot of different blessings. At the end of such a congratulation, they sum it up by saying Ещё раз с днём рождения! (Yeschyo raz s dnyom rozhdeniya!), which means “Once again Happy Birthday!” in Russian.

These are the most basic birthday congratulations in Russian. If you’re texting it to your friends, you might need text slang modifications to sound more natural. For that, check out our article on Russian Internet slang. Also, we’ve prepared special podcasts on how to ask “When is your birthday?” in Russian and how to make a post on social network about your own birthday.

3. How to Say Merry Christmas in Russian & A Happy New Year in Russian

New Year.

The New Year in Russia is the biggest and longest holiday. Official holidays last from seven to ten days. People spend time with their families and friends, travel, and enjoy winter sports.

Christmas in Russia is celebrated after the New Year, on January 7 according to the Gregorian calendar. It’s a smaller holiday compared to New Year, and is mostly celebrated by religious people.

Let’s see how to say Merry Christmas in Russian and look at some Russian New Year congratulations!

1- С наступающим!

  • Romanization: S nastupayushchim!
  • English Translation: “With the upcoming New Year!”

So, how do you say “Happy New Year” in Russian? First of all, there’s a very common phrase to congratulate people with before New Year, such as colleagues or friends that you won’t be able to see during the holidays. It’s С наступающим! (S nastupayushchim!), which means “With the upcoming New Year!” This is one of the most popular New Year wishes in Russian for before the New Year holidays.

    An interesting fact. One of the meanings of the word наступать (nastupat’) is “to step on (someone’s foot).” That’s why there’s a pretty cheesy Russian joke when a person intentionally steps on your foot and says С наступающим! (S nastupayushchim!), or “With the upcoming New Year!”

2- C новым годом!

  • Romanization: S novym godom!
  • English Translation: “Happy New Year!”

After the Kremlin clock has tolled twelve times and a new year has begun, you can change your congratulatory words from С наступающим! (S nastupayushchim!), or “With the upcoming New Year!”, to C новым годом! (S novym godom!). That is how to say “Happy New Year!” in Russian. Though literally, it means “With New Year!” You can also say, more solemnly, Поздравляю с новым годом! (Pozdravlyayu s novym godom!), which means “I congratulate you with a happy New Year!” in Russian.

Some older people love to say C новым годом, с новым счастьем! (S novym godom, s novym schast’yem!), which means “With New Year, with new happiness!” That’s one of the old New Year wishes in Russian and may sound a bit cliche.

After saying this phrase, you can add some New Year wishes in Russian. For example: Я желаю тебе здоровья, счастья и удачи в новом году (Ya zhelayu tebe zdorov’ya, schast’ya i udachi v novom godu), meaning “I wish you health, happiness, and good luck in the new year.”

You can also add Всего самого наилучшего! (Vsyego samogo nailuchshego!), which means “All the best” in Russian.

3- C Рождеством!

  • Romanization: S Rozhdestvom!
  • English Translation: “Merry Christmas!”

In Russian, “Christmas” is Рождество (Rozhdestvo). So, here’s how to say Merry Christmas in Russian: C Рождеством! (S Rozhdestvom!). Don’t worry whether they’re religious or not; it’s still one of the traditional holidays.

To improve your listening skills on this topic, listen to our podcast “How Will You Spend New Year’s in Russia?”.

4. Russian Congratulations: Baby News & Pregnancy

Talking About Age

In Russia, baby showers aren’t really common. Usually, people celebrate and give presents to happy parents when the child is already born. So, there are no actual Russian baby shower traditions. If Russians put on a baby shower, they copy traditions from English-speaking countries.

1- Поздравляю с беременностью!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s beremennost’yu!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on the pregnancy!”

This is a basic phrase that you can tell a woman when you see that she is pregnant. It’s more common to omit the word беременность (beremennost’), or “pregnancy,” and just say Поздравляю! (Pozdravlyayu!), meaning “Congratulations!”

2- Поздравляю с рождением ребёнка!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlayu s rozhdeniyem rebyonka!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on the baby’s birth!”

This a formal congratulation suitable for writing (e.g. in a card or a message), or for a toast.

3- Поздравляю с рождением мальчика/девочки!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlayu s rozhdeniyem mal’chika/devochki!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on the birth of the boy/girl!”

If you want to specify the gender and congratulate upon a gender, then this phrase will suit your needs the best. It’s great both for speaking and writing in formal and informal situations.

To learn the most common phrases to talk about a baby, watch our free educational video lesson.

5. Happy Graduation in Russian

Graduation.

Like everywhere in the world, graduation in Russia is an important occasion, especially if it’s graduation from a school or university. Learn how to give graduation congratulations in Russian to your friends or friends’ kids.

1- Поздравляю с окончанием школы!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s okonchaniyem shkoly!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) school graduation!”

This may sound a bit too official, though. If you want to sound more casual, omit the word Поздравляю (Pozdravlyayu), or “Congratulations.”

2- Поздравляю с окончанием университета!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s okonchaniyem universiteta!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) university graduation!”

Like with the previous congratulation, omitting Поздравляю (Pozdravlyayu), or “Congratulations,” will make the phrase sound more casual.

3- Добро пожаловать во взрослую жизнь!

  • Romanization: Dobro pozhalovat’ vo vzrosluyu zhizn’!
  • English Translation: “Welcome to an adult life!”

This phrase should come from someone older than the graduate himself. Usually, this congratulatory phrase comes from older relatives.

6. Congratulations for a New Job or Promotion

Promotion.

Promotions aren’t a very common cause for celebration or giving congratulations, but it will be considered very attentive and kind of you if you do congratulate your colleagues or friends on a promotion. Usually, promotions are celebrated by having a family dinner, so if you have a Russian spouse or parents-in-law, the following congratulations in Russian will be a great choice.

1- Поздравляю с новой работой!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s novoy rabotoy!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on a new job!”

This is a general phrase that will sound good whether you’re saying it to your colleague—or wait, ex-colleague—or a friend. Don’t hesitate to use it.

2- Поздравляю с повышением!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s povysheniyem!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) promotion!”

This is another general phrase that can be used in any situation.

3- Успехов на новой работе!

  • Romanization: Uspekhov na novoy rabote!
  • English Translation: “Have success in your new job!”

This is an addition to the main congratulation. It sounds a bit formal, so it’s better to use it only for toasts or cards.

7. Russian Congratulations for Retirement

Usually, colleagues organize a big celebration when somebody retires. You can write the following congratulations in Russian on a card or just say them personally.

1- С выходом на пенсию!

  • Romanization: S vykhodom na pensiyu!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) retirement!”

This is a general congratulation that will sound great in both formal and informal situations.

2- Здоровья и долголетия!

  • Romanization: Zdorov’ya i dolgoletiya!
  • English Translation: “Have great health and a long life!”

This is a good addition to the previous congratulation. You can also use it for birthday congratulations in Russian if the person who’s birthday is being observed is up there in years.

3- Пусть ваша жизнь будет долгой, счастливой и наполненной самыми добрыми событиями!

  • Romanization: Pust’ vasha zhizn’ budet dolgoy, schastlivoy i napolnennoy samymi dobrymi sobytiyami!
  • English Translation: “Let your life be long, happy, and filled with the kindest occasions!”

This is a nice and long congratulations phrase suitable for a toast or a card.

8. Russian Congratulations: Weddings & Anniversaries

Marriage Proposal

Russian weddings are full of peculiar traditions. It would be a great experience if you could get to a real Russian wedding to see it with your own eyes. But first, let’s learn some expressions and congratulations that would be useful during a Russian wedding.

1- Совет да любовь!

  • Romanization: Sovet da lyubov’!
  • English Translation: “May you live happily!”

Literally, these words mean: “Advice and love!” The thing is that, in the past, the word совет (sovet) had another meaning, “friendship,” so basically this phrase is a wish of friendship and love between the newlyweds.

2- Поздравляю с днём вашей свадьбы! От всей души желаю семейного счастья, искреннего взаимопонимания, любви и благополучия!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s dnyom vashey svad’by! Ot vsey dushi zhelayu semeynogo schast’ya, iskrennego vzaimoponimaniya, lyubvi i blagopoluchiya!
  • English Translation: “I congratulate you on your wedding day! I wish your family happiness, true understanding, love, and prosperity.”

After you say this, you can also add: Всего самого наилучшего! (Vsyego samogo nailuchshego!), which means “All the best” in Russian.

Usually, Russians give a whole speech when congratulating a marriage. This is a short version of it that you can still use though. And to distract attention from how short it is, once you finish, shout the congratulation below. :)

3- Горько!

  • Romanization: Gor’ko!
  • English Translation: “Bitter!”

This is a famous phrase that you’ll hear at all Russian weddings. Guests love to finish their congratulations with it. After this word is pronounced, all other guests start chanting it. To stop it, newlyweds need to kiss—that is metaphorically sweet, so the guests don’t feel bitter anymore. :)

Also, listen to our special podcasts on how to give a wedding toast in Russian and what wedding gift to choose for a Russian couple.

9. Death and Funerals: Russian Condolence Messages

If you get invited to a Russian funeral, it’s good to know the most common phrases Russian people say regarding the deceased.

1- Пусть земля ему/ей будет пухом

  • Romanization: Pust’ zyemlya yemu/yey budyet pukhom.
  • English Translation: “May the earth rest lightly on him/her.”

This is a very famous phrase said during funerals. You can also address it directly to the deceased: Пусть земля тебе будет пухом (Pust’ zyemlya tyebye budyet pukhom), which means “May the earth rest lightly on you.” The etymology of this phrase is very interesting as it’s a translation from Latin: Sit tibi terra levis. It was first used in Roman times. Some historians believe that it was a curse to deceased people, but there is no definite proof for that hypothesis.

2- Помним, любим, скорбим

  • Romanization: Pomnim, lyubim, skorbim.
  • English Translation: “We remember, love, and mourn.”

This official phrase is great in writing. You can use it for a card.

3- Ты навсегда останешься в моей памяти

  • Romanization: Ty navsegda ostanesh’sya v moyey pamyati.
  • English Translation: “I will always remember you.”

This phrase sounds really sincere when you’re talking with a deceased person one last time.

10. Bad News

Bad situations can happen suddenly to anyone, and it’s good to know how to react when they do happen. Let’s learn the most-used condolences phrases in Russian.

1- Сочувствую

  • Romanization: Sochuvstvuyu.
  • English Translation: “I feel for you (for your feelings).”

This is a great phrase to show that you care about the person when something less serious than death happened. It’s great to use in all situations.

2- Сожалею об утрате

  • Romanization: Sozhaleyu ob utrate.
  • English Translation: “My condolences for your loss.”

This is a good phrase to express your condolences. Nowadays, it’s usually shortened to Я сожалею (Ya sozhaleyu), or “My condolences!”

3- Мои соболезнования

  • Romanization: Moi soboleznovaniya.
  • English Translation: “My condolences.”

This is an official phrase that will definitely fit any situation when you don’t know people well, or when you are talking with older people. It’s also great for a message or a letter.

11. Injured or Sick

Sick.

When Russian people know that someone is sick, they usually want to cheer that person up by saying one of the following phrases.

1- Поправляйся!

  • Romanization: Popravlyaysya!
  • English Translation: “Get better!”

This phrase is good for informal situations. It will make a great message to a friend.

2- Не болей!

  • Romanization: Nye boley!
  • English Translation: “Don’t be ill!”

This might sound weird, but Russian people actually say that to cheer someone up and show that they care. It’s also an informal phrase.

3- Скорее выздоравливай!

  • Romanization: Skoryeye vyzdoravlivay!
  • English Translation: “Recover faster!”

This phrase is more formal, but if you want to be very respectful, change it to Скорее выздоравливайте! (Skoreye vyzdoravlivaytye!), which also means “Recover faster!”

Sickness is an important topic in any language. If you want to dig deeper, start with our special podcasts on how to ask for medical assistance and what words and expressions to expect from a Russian doctor.

12. Other Holidays and Life Events

There are many other different national holidays and life events in Russia. Here are the biggest ones.

1- How to Say Happy Mother’s Day in Russian

Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of November in Russia. It will be really considerate of you to congratulate women with children on this wonderful holiday. Here’s a common phrase:

  • С днём матери! (S dnyom materi!) — “Happy Mother’s Day!”

2- Defender of the Fatherland Day

This day is an official holiday in Russia, celebrated on February 23. Originally, it was a holiday for people who serve, or served, in the military forces, but modern people congratulate all men with it. Girls prepare surprises and give presents to all the men around them. Here is how you can congratulate men around you:

  • С 23 февраля! (S dvadtsat’ tret’im fevralya!) — “Congratulations on February 23!”
  • С днём Защитника Отечества! (S dnyom Zashchitnika Otechestva!) — “Happy Defender of the Fatherland Day!”

3- Happy International Women’s Day in Russian

A couple of weeks after the Defender of the Fatherland Day, International Women’s Day became a holiday for all women. It’s the men’s turn to prepare surprises and presents. Here are some common congratulations:

  • С 8 марта! (S Vos’mym marta!) — “Congratulations on May 8!”
  • С Международным женским днём! (S Mezhdunarodnym zhenskim dnyom!) — “Happy Women’s Day!”
  • С праздником весны! (S prazdnikom vesny!) — “Congratulations on the spring holiday!”

We’ve prepared a special educational video lesson about International Women’s Day in Russia. Have a look!

4- Happy Anniversary in Russian

It would be nice of you to remember your friends’ wedding anniversary and congratulate them, especially if you attended their wedding. The first wedding anniversary is a big day, and some people even celebrate it with some of their guests from the wedding.

Here’s how you could wish them a happy anniversary in Russian:

  • С годовщиной свадьбы! (S godovshchinoy svad’by) — “Happy wedding anniversary!”

5- Happy Valentine’s Day in Russian

Valentine’s Day became a pretty big holiday in Russia. So, it will be useful to learn the most popular phrases for how to say Happy Valentine’s Day in Russian:

  • С днём Святого Валентина! (S dnyom Svyatogo Valentina!) — “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
  • С днём всех влюблённых! (S dnyom vsekh vlyublyonnykh!) — “Congratulations on the day of all people who are in love!”

These phrases are great both for writing and speaking, and for formal and informal situations.

If you want to know more about Valentine’s Day in Russia, watch our free educational video lesson.

13. Conclusion

So, now you won’t be empty-handed in any life situation—you know how to say Merry Christmas in Russian, Happy New Year in Russian, Happy Birthday in Russian, and loads more. To learn more about national holidays in Russia, listen to our audio lesson.

If you feel excited about the Russian language, or simply need it for work or travel, consider participating in RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian learners. We have impressively experienced native Russian teachers who will explain all grammar points so that you can understand them easily. They can also help you enrich your vocabulary, overcome a language barrier, and, of course, make sure that you start talking with Russians in Russian in no time. Just try it. ;-)

And before you go, let us know in the comments which of these Russian life event messages you plan on trying out first, or if we missed any. We’d love to hear from you!

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Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

Learning A Language on Your Own

Can You Really Learn Russian Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn Russian or any language without traditional classroom instruction: RussianPod101 has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is RussianPod101 specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning Russian or any language alone.

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3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learning Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn Russian alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn Russian alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study Russian and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning Russian Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with RussianPod101

Learning with RussianPod101

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of Russian Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual Russian conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. RussianPod101 has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by real Russian instructors and every lesson is presented by professional Russian actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with Russian Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although RussianPod101 has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, RussianPod101 has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and Russian learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, RussianPod101 has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
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Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn Russian alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn Russian on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

RussianPod101 is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, RussianPod101 makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From RussianPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at RussianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Russian together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Russian with RussianPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the RussianPod101.com Team!