Are you fed up with the daily grind? Exhausted by the news? Sick of bad weather? You need a break – and Russian comes to the rescue.
Russian has a multi-purpose word for a break: перерыв. Перерыв can be long or short, take place by night or day, and allow you to do anything, from grabbing a bite to eat to taking a couple of years off from your job. During the work day, you might take обеденный перерыв (lunch break); перерыв на кофе (coffee break); перерыв на ужин (dinner break); not to mention небольшой перерыв, чтобы сходить в туалет (bathroom break). If you get sick of the word перерыв and work with Russian hipsters, you can say кофе-брейк (coffee break) instead.
On the way home, you plan to stop in at the shoe repair shop and pick up your boots, but when you arrive you see a handwritten sign: Технический перерыв. Your heart falls. The sign means a service break, but actually vendors stick it on the door of their shops for any sort of temporary closure, from a five-minute smoke break to a five-hour power outage. Plan to pick up your boots tomorrow.
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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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