daily-russian-saying-2 doesn’t actually post new sayings every day, but every few days is good enough for me. They tend to go for the pungent and funny:

Мужчина как загар – сначала пристаёт, а потом смывается ‘A man is like a suntan – at first he sticks [to a woman], and then he fades away’
Лучше перебздеть, чем недобздеть ‘Better to over-fart than to fart incompletely’ [i.e., better safe than sorry: “fart” = “be afraid/cautious”]

And while I’m at it, it’s high time I posted Sashura’s Achtung, or Why job-is-done sounds offensive (Russian office slang), which is also pungent and funny:

Асап – [asʌp] from English abbreviation ASAP (as soon as possible). It has acquired verbal forms (проасапить – to do smth asap) and has become part of a paraphrase of the Russian proverb “поспешишь – людей насмешишь” (haste and make yourself a laughing stock, close to ‘no haste, no waste’) – “ноу асап – ноу факап” (no asap – no fuckup). The rhyming here comes from phonetic pronunciation of asap.


  1. Лучше перебздеть, чем недобздеть is a rough equivalent of “better safe than sorry”. Whatr seems to be “to over-fart” has an actual meaning of “to be overly cautious”

  2. I don’t think “поспешишь” comes from the coinage “асап”.
    “Спеш” stems from the palatalized form of “спех” – from pSl. ‘spexŭ’ meaning I think ‘luck’ in the root.
    Bulgarian has a cognate form, “успех”, meaning just ‘luck’, and “спешно” (from pSl. spexĭno > speš(ĭ)no) which means “hastily”. That middle vowel may be an “ě”, possibly, but I don’t think so.
    Isn’t this a more likely etymology than a completely new coinage from “ASAP”? Just a thought.

  3. Seems it is “spěxŭ” and means ‘effort’, not ‘luck’. Sorry about that.
    Nonetheless I think the derivations to ‘luck’ and ‘haste’ are both clear.

  4. Ariston, I don’t think the original author was making any claim about the etymology of поспешишь, which is clearly a Slavic word. The author was saying that the new expression “ноу асап – ноу факап” was constructed in some sort of imitation of the existing expression “поспешишь – людей насмешишь”.
    The talk about the nativization of асап gave проасапить as its only example.

  5. ACW, you’re completely right. I missed the point of that exchange entirely.
    I apologize fulsomely.

  6. Trond Engen says

    ноу асап – ноу факап
    I’ll keep that for project meetings. «ноу асап – ноу факап, as the Russians say.»

  7. I think an engineer could get some use out of «Лучше перебздеть, чем недобздеть, as the Russians say», especially at one of those meetings with all the windows closed.

  8. «Лучше перебздеть, чем недобздеть, as the Russians say»
    Not the engineering types among the Russians, I suppose. It sounds like crude, underage street-gang sort of slang to my ear, a derivation of a school-bully’s taunt “не бзди!” = Chicken!
    Speaking unrelated of would-be fecal matters of linguistics… I got the following verse recently from a friend who follows d3. A great discussion here.
    Элефанты и леонты
    И лесные сраки,
    И орлы, оставя монты,
    Учиняют браки.
    О, колико се любезно,
    Преискренно взрачно,
    Нарочито преполезно,
    И сугубо смачно
    Стрекочущу кузнецу,
    В злёном блате сущу,
    Ядовиту червецу,
    По злаку ползущу.

  9. Лучше перебздеть, чем недобздеть – ‘Better to over-fart than to fart incompletely’ – is quite similar to the German “wennschon, dennschon!”, except for the bad-air analogy. I think one of the rather anal-compulsive members of these streetgangs needs to explain what “overfarting” is.

  10. Hat, thanks for posting this.
    Just to confirm what Dmitry says above: бздеть (to bzdet’) is a stylistically low colloquial for being afraid, scared, cautious, metaphorically – to fart from fright. The noun form is бздун (bzdoon). Curiously, it’s more commonly used by subordinates to refer to indecisive bosses.

  11. I’ve only heard лучше перебдеть, чем недобдеть, which is perfectly polite and uses the old-fashioned/Slavonic бдеть “to be awake,” “to keep watch.”

  12. Trond Engen says

    I read ноу асап – ноу факап as identical in meaning to Norwegian hastverk er lastverk, i.e. “not taking the time to do it ptoperly will be a mistake”. Лучше переб(з)деть, чем недоб(з)деть is rather better safe than sorry, i.e. “I’d rather be accused of being a control freak than letting anything unwanted happen”. (I like the fact that a vulgar pun seems to have replaced the original expression, at least for many speakers.)

  13. uses the old-fashioned/Slavonic бдеть “to be awake,” “to keep watch.”
    which, in turn, comes from the popular Kozma Prutkov’s aphorism “Бди!” (Watch it!), a mockery of over-zealous loyalist patriots.
    I think the bzdet’ form is simply a derivative that accentuates Prutkov’s satirical message.

  14. “Бди!” is like a good sculptor’s work cutting away the unnecessary syllables from the actual phrase, “Будьте бдительны!”, “Be vigilant!”
    There may be many more sayings in this row of “better overdo than…” constructs, but the only one I remember as popular, off the top of my head, is “лучше переесть чем недоспать”, “better to overeat than to under-sleep” (e.g. in this students’ drinking song)

  15. aha,
    also: better to be healthy and rich, than poor and sick. Disgusting.

  16. “Лучше перебздеть, чем недобздеть ‘Better to over-fart than to fart incompletely'”
    I’m not sure I agree with that, “over farting” sounds disturbingly like “sharting” (indulge yourself on Urban Dictionary if you dare).

  17. Yeah, I was just passing on their literal translation—as others have said, in slang terms “fart” = “be afraid/cautious.”

  18. better to be healthy and rich, than poor and sick
    It doesn’t use prefixes пере- / недо- (over- / under- ) but I guess it does fit the theme of “too much” being better than “too little” LOL.
    If so, then this one would fit too 😉 :
    Лучше 40 раз по разу, чем ни разу 40 раз
    Not sure how to translate it … my adopted language fails me here … 40 times one at a time is better than that 40 at a time, not happening even once?

  19. Dmitry, perhaps the following anecdote captures it?
    An old bull and a young bull were eating grass in a pasture when the wind changed and they suddenly smelled a herd of cows (perhaps forty, who knows?) over the next hill.
    Said the young bull, “Let’s charge over the hill and each have a cow!”
    Said the old bull, “Let’s walk over the hill and each have every cow.”

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