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Russian swear words and their euphemisms | Swear like a Russian

Learning Russian swear words is a controversial topic for Russian language teachers. Some teachers will say that it's a taboo and a good Russian teacher should by no means teach foreign students to swear in Russian. Others will say that it's fine to explain some words to students only if they ask. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in explaining Russian swear words to students. First of all, it's better if they learn them from me rather than from a Russian friend who has no knowledge at all of the origin of these words and will teach a student only the vulgar and offensive curse words. Secondly, it's always better to know Russian swear words before going to Russia as one never knows what words he or she will hear on the streets. And by knowing the most common Russian swear words you might avoid some awkward situations. Thirdly, even though Russian swear words are prohibited to use on the TV, the Internet is the place where everything is allowed and there are lots of Russian YouTube shows where a Russian language learner will eventually hear these words.

But most importantly, Russian swear words are a part of the Russian language whether we want it or not. And we can even say that it's somewhat a part of our culture because one cannot imagine a Russian language without curse words. And no, it's not because Russian natives are rude and impolite people who constantly want to insult someone or to grumble about life (which is somewhat true). Russian curse words actually serve as the means to express emotions (both negative and positive). There are situations when simple words are not enough to describe how happy or frustrated a person is. So, in simple words, Russian swear words and their euphemisms help people convey their real emotions. Like we say in Russian, one swear word worth a thousand of words (Вместо тысячи слов). But, of course, Russian natives perfectly understand when to use and when not to use swear words. Just as in any other language, there are situations when swearing is strictly prohibited (in public places, on TV, in formal situations, etc.).

But instead of being afraid to teach Russian swear words, I prefer to give my students interesting insights about the origin of these words. Surprisingly, the majority of Russian swear words in the past did not signify anything bad or insulting. You can watch my video on Russian curse words to learn more on this topic.

Learn Russian swear words

Russian language is rich and it also related to Russian swear words. That's is just crazy how many swear word variations were created by Russian people. Some Russian swear words are very rude and actually disgusting (mostly words related to human reproductive organs). It's better not to use them at all. Therefore, Russian people created euphemisms for really strong Russian swear words. You can use these euphemisms without a fear to be judged by people. Just make sure not to use these words in formal situations (during official meetings, at work, job interviews, etc.). Watch the next video lesson to learn more on this topic.

Exclamations and swear euphemisms

I hope that you found these lessons useful. Just don't swear too much in Russian.

If you have recently started to learn Russian language, then you absolutely need to get my free guide 'Essential Russian Words and Expressions to Understand Spoken Russian'.

This guide also contains audio files so that you can listen to these phrases on the go: while driving, walking, doing sport or brushing your teeth. Make sure that you repeat these phrases yourself and try to imitate my accent.

It's also very important to know how to pronounce Russian words correctly as not every Russian letter is pronounced the same way as it's written. There are certain Russian pronunciation rules that are really easy to learn.


Hello! My name is Mila and I am a founder of Hack Your Russian language platform. You can find me here:

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