January 01, 2009

Soaping Your Way

Soaping Your Way

Whenever there is a mistake or a typo in Russian Life, it is because the editor has a замыленный глаз (literally “a soaped eye,” meaning one clouded by a layer or soap). Said editor of course must be punished. Or as we say, “ему надо намылить шею” (“his neck needs a good soaping”), or “намылить уши” (same, but for the ears). To each their own. And, in particularly offensive cases, say where an editor overlooks a typo in this column, one might even think (allegorically, of course) that it is time to  намылить верёвку (soap the rope), i.e. to hang the culprit.

Another pejorative soap idiom is Машка с мыловарного (Masha from the soap factory). It refers to a rough-mannered, masculine girl from the countryside. Probably not the sort of girl you might like to be dating your son. By the way, if that son is heading out of the house on a Friday night to be with his Masha, you can ask jokingly, “куда это ты намылился” (“where are you soaping yourself to”)?

When Russian fans are displeased with a ref’s decision they may yell “Судью на мыло!” (“Turn the ref into soap!”)

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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