January 01, 2010

Tender Insults

Tender Insults

There is nothing like the tender, inoffensive insult to patch up strained relations (like those from the marital squabbles described in this space last time). Sure, a “tender insult” sounds like an oxymoron, but only on the surface. Thus, the hero of Eldar Ryazanov’s film Forgotten Melody for a Flute (actor Leonid Filatov), after quarrelling with his date in a car, hugs her and says: “Дурында, ты моя!” And she melts and, well, surrenders.

An internet dictionary gives the following definition: Дурында – ласковое, не обидное обращение к девушке (tender, inoffensive way to address a girl). A synonym is дурёха. Both come from the insulting word “дура” (fool, silly person) and are formed through suffixation. The same Leonid Filatov (also a talented poet) used the word дурында in his poetic, humorous fairytale for the theater, Про Федота-стрельца (About Fedot the Archer):

Вот ответь мне – слов не трать!
Где царевне мужа брать?
Чай, сама, дурында, видишь –
Женихов у ей не рать

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