Blin


Hey there. My name is Rakhim and I love English. I love it so much I write little notes about quirks and not-in-the-textbook stuff about English. My notes are in Russian, which happens to be my first language. So I thought why not publish the same kind of notes the other way around – about Russian. So, here we go. The first one is about “blin”

Blin is a type of a pancake common in Russia and exUSSR countries like Kazakhstan. Here are some tasty blins:

But «blin» is also a commonly used interjection, a word used to describe frustration. It is very VERY common in any Russian dialect and the closest analogy from English I can think of is «shit!» or «crap!» or «snap!». It is soft, isn’t considered curse, but is really simple indeed and somewhat vulgar.

Я забыл презервативы!.. Блин! I forgot the condoms! Shit!

Блин, сколько можно ждать?! Damn, how long should I wait?!

It is also used to describe some sort of disappointment or regret.

Блин… она никогда не вернется ко мне… Damn… she will never come back to me…

You probably wonder, why «блин» of all words? What pancake has to do with this emotion? The truth is — nothing. The same as «shoot!» or «fudge!», «Блин» just happens to sound alike with «блядь», which literally means «whore» and considered a real curse word, something parents don’t like their children to say. «Блядь» can play the same role and make the emotion stronger:

Блядь, что это за место? What the fuck is this place?

Блядь! Что ты делаешь?! Fuck! What are you doing?!

If a mosquito bit you in the nose you can say «А, блин!», that would correspond to «Ah, snap!». But if someone hit you with a baseball bat in the head while you were carrying a full cup of boiling water in one hand and a wild cat which spent 8 years in the sewers catching rats in another, you’d say «А, бляяяядь!» («Aaah, fuuuuuuuuck!») and start your new life of a vegetable.

It is important to understand that both «блин» and «блядь» can be used in the middle of the sentence and would be equivalent to English «freaking» or «fucking». In the text they should be put between commas.

Чаю, блин, принеси! Bring me the freaking tea!

Рот, блядь, закрой! Shut the fuck up!

And the last thing: there is also something in between: not yet «блядь», but already not «блин». It is «бля» — a short, somewhat less curse, but still very bad and vulgar.