57 Awesome Words From Ukrainian that You Should Know
57 Awesome Words From Ukrainian that You Should Know

57 Awesome Words From Ukrainian that You Should Know

Всім привіт!

Ukraine is a country with a deeply complex and tragic history. The Ukrainian language, despite its wealth of cultural offerings, often gets overshadowed by its cousin, Russian. Many years ago, when I was in Ukraine (Kiev and Kharkiv) I noticed that almost everybody spoke Russian. While I am a student and fan of the Russian language, I think it is important to give the Ukrainian language its fair share of attention.

Native speakers of English may have a hard time distinguishing Russian from Ukrainian. In fact, before the current crisis, most Americans did not know that there was some difference between Russians and Ukrainians. I recall telling someone I was going to Kiev and she said “Is that in Russia?”

Ukrainian differs from Russian in some key ways:

  1. Alphabet: While both languages use the Cyrillic alphabet, Ukrainian has an additional letter not found in Russian – ґ (g).
  2. Vocabulary: Although there are many similarities, Ukrainian and Russian have a significant number of distinct words. For example, the word for ‘day’ is ‘день’ in Ukrainian and ‘день’ in Russian, while ‘evening’ is ‘вечір’ in Ukrainian and ‘вечер’ in Russian.
  3. Grammar: The grammar systems also differ. Ukrainian has more in common with Polish in terms of grammar than Russian. The verb endings in Ukrainian are more variable, and there are differences in the usage of cases.
  4. Pronunciation: There are differences in pronunciation between the two languages. Ukrainian pronunciation is considered to be melodious and “singing”, while Russian is more “flat”.
  5. Influence: Ukrainian has been influenced by Polish, Slovak, and Hungarian, while Russian has been influenced by Old Church Slavonic, Mongolian, and Tatar. Other languages such as French, German, and English have had some influence on both Ukrainian and Russian.
  6. Writing System: In writing, Ukrainians use a variant of the Cyrillic script known as the Ukrainian alphabet, which is slightly different from the Russian Cyrillic script.

Cool Ukrainian Words

Here are some unique and interesting Ukrainian words:

  1. Підквасок (Pidkvasok): This word is used for the sourdough starter used in baking bread. It’s a testament to the importance of bread in Ukrainian culture.
  2. Тиша (Tysha): A beautiful word that stands for “silence”. It’s used to denote peaceful, quiet moments.
  3. Краля (Kralya): A unique term for a beloved woman, often translated as “queen”. It speaks volumes about the Ukrainian culture’s respect and adoration for women.
  4. Дружба (Druzhba): This word means “friendship”, highlighting the importance of social connections in Ukrainian society.
  5. Батьківщина (Bat’kivshchyna): A poetic word for “motherland” or “fatherland”. It’s a word that reflects Ukrainians’ deep love for their country.
  6. Горобець (Horobets): This is the Ukrainian word for “sparrow”, a common bird in the region. It’s often used metaphorically in Ukrainian literature and songs.
  7. Воля (Volya): Meaning “freedom”, this word is a key value for Ukrainians and is considered a national ideal.
  8. Здоров’я (Zdorov’ya): This is the Ukrainian word for “health”, underscoring the society’s stress on well-being and vitality.

Funny Ukrainian Words

Here are some humorous Ukrainian words and phrases:

  1. Тютюнник (Tyutyunnyk): Translates to “tobacconist” but is often used to refer to a very chatty or talkative person.
  2. Повітроплавство (Povitroplavstvo): A quirky word for “aeronautics”. It translates to “air-floating-ism”.
  3. Черевики (Cherevyky): This word means “boots”, but can also refer to a person who is not very smart.
  4. Сонячний Зайчик (Sonyachnyy Zaychyk): This phrase means “sunny bunny”, and can be used to refer to a cheerful person.
  5. Вухо (Vukho): This word means “ear”, but it can also be used to refer to someone who is a good listener.
  6. Картопля (Kartoplya): This is the Ukrainian word for “potato”. It can be used to affectionately call someone a “couch potato”.

As you can see learning Ukrainian will also enhance your sense of humor!

Beautiful Ukrainian Words

  1. Зірка (Zirka): This is the Ukrainian word for “star”, symbolizing light, guidance, and dreams.
  2. Мрія (Mriya): This means “dream” in Ukrainian, reflecting the people’s hope and ambition.
  3. Світанок (Svitanok): This word refers to “dawn” indicating the start of a new day and new beginnings.
  4. Любов (Lyubov): This is the Ukrainian word for “love”, a universal emotion that needs no explanation.
  5. Спокій (Spokiy): This word means “peace”, mirroring the desire for harmony and tranquility.
  6. Птах (Ptakh): This is the Ukrainian word for “bird”, often used to symbolize freedom and flight.
  7. Сміх (Smikh): This word means “laughter”, representing joy and happiness.
  8. Надія (Nadiya): This signifies “hope” in Ukrainian, an essential element of the human spirit.

Remember, language is not just about communication, it’s also about understanding a culture and its values!

Romantic Ukrainian Words

Ukrainian women are famous for their elegance and beauty. Here are some romantic Ukrainian phrases. Guys, always behave as gentlemen and don’t forget to add flowers to your compliments!

  1. Я тебе кохаю (Ya tebe kohayu): This is the most straightforward way to say “I love you” in Ukrainian.
  2. Ти мені подобаєшся (Ty mene podobayesh’sya): This phrase means “I like you”. It’s a less serious way to express your feelings, perfect for the early stages of a relationship.
  3. Ти – моя зірка (Ty – moya zirka): This translates to “You are my star”, a poetic way to tell someone how special they are to you.
  4. Ти в моєму серці (Ty v moyemu sertsi): This phrase means “You are in my heart”, indicating deep feelings of love and affection.
  5. Ти – мій сонцестрал (Ty – mii sontsestral): This romantic expression translates to “You are my sunray”, signifying that someone brings light and happiness into your life.
  6. Ми долями сплетені (My dolyami spleteni): This phrase means “We are intertwined fates”, suggesting a strong and inseparable connection between two people.

Words Used in Ukrainian Literature

Ukrainian literature has had its share of geniuses. The most famous is Taras Shevchenko, whose biography is more eventful than most works of literature. He rose from humble beginnings to shape Ukrainian poetry. Here are some Ukrainian phrases that are used in Ukrainian literature.

  1. Гідність (Hidnist’): This translates to “dignity”, a concept deeply ingrained in Ukrainian culture and often portrayed in their literature.
  2. Туга (Tuga): This poignant word translates to “sorrow” or “grief”, and is frequently used in literary works to express the hardships of the Ukrainian people.
  3. Мужність (Muzhnist’): This word means “bravery” and is often used in Ukrainian literature to depict their history of courage and valor.
  4. Свобода (Svoboda): Translating to “liberty”, this word is commonly seen in works dealing with the nation’s fight for independence.
  5. Мир (Mir): Meaning “peace”, this word embodies the Ukrainian people’s yearning for tranquility and harmony, which is often depicted in their literature.
  6. Боротьба (Borot’ba): This word means “struggle” and is a recurring theme in Ukrainian literature, reflecting the nation’s long history of fighting for their rights and independence.
  7. Краса (Krasa): Symbolizing “beauty”, this word often appears in Ukrainian literature, celebrating the nation’s natural landscapes and cultural heritage.
  8. Слава (Slava): Translating to “glory” or “fame”, this powerful word is often used in Ukrainian literature to depict the nation’s rich history and cultural achievements.
  9. Життя (Zhyttya): This word simply means “life” and is a common motif in Ukrainian literature, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of everyday people.

These are just a few examples of Ukrainian words that hold significant meaning in their literature.

Ukrainian Proverbs

Ukrainian proverbs partially reflect how life was in Ukrainian history. Since Ukraine was at times a frontier and subject to political instability, Ukrainian proverbs have a very pragmatic aspect!

  1. Хочеш їсти калачі — не лежи на печі. (If you want to eat buns, don’t lie on the stove.) This proverb emphasizes the importance of hard work and initiative.
  2. Лихо не з криниці п’є, а з людської голови. (Misfortune doesn’t drink from the well but from the human head.) This proverb reminds us that bad decisions often lead to unfortunate outcomes.
  3. Як сяєш, так і маєш. (As you sow, so shall you reap.) This proverb emphasizes the consequences of our actions.
  4. Хто рано встає — тому Бог дає. (God gives to those who wake up early.) This proverb encourages hard work and productivity.
  5. Гора з гори не зійде, а людина з людиною зійдеться. (A mountain won’t meet a mountain, but a person will meet a person.) This proverb emphasizes the importance of relationships and interactions.
  6. Без труда не виймеш і рибку з пруда. (Without labor, you can’t even pull a fish out of the pond.) This proverb reiterates the value of effort and hard work.
  7. Все тече, все міняється. (Everything flows, everything changes.) This proverb reflects the transitory nature of life.
  8. Де любов, там і щастя. (Where there is love, there is happiness.) This proverb imparts the significant role love plays in achieving happiness.
  9. Все добре, що добре закінчується. (All’s well that ends well.) This proverb emphasizes the importance of a positive outcome, despite initial difficulties.
  10. Вік живи — вік учись. (Live for a century — learn for a century.) This proverb elucidates the concept of lifelong learning.

Ukrainian Idioms

  1. На воротах не висіла. (Wasn’t hanging on the gates.) This idiom describes someone very active and curious.
  2. Бити байдики. (Beat the drums.) This idiom is used to describe someone who is wasting time doing nothing.
  3. Мати золоте дно. (To have a golden bottom.) It refers to someone very lucky.
  4. Не моя хата з краю. (Not my hut from the edge.) This is an idiom used to express indifference or to avoid responsibility.
  5. Тягнути кота за хвіст. (Pull a cat by the tail.) This idiom is used when someone is procrastinating or delaying a task.
  6. Робити з мухи слона. (Make an elephant out of a fly.) This idiom is used to describe when someone is exaggerating a problem.
  7. Як води в роті набрали. (As if they took water in their mouth.) This idiom is used to describe someone who is suddenly silent or refuses to comment.
  8. Купувати кітка в мішку. (Buy a cat in a sack.) This idiom is used when someone makes a deal or purchase without proper inspection, taking a big risk.
  9. Вітер у голові. (Wind in the head.) This idiom is used to describe someone who is scatterbrained or careless.
  10. Вовка боятися — в ліс не ходити. (If you’re afraid of wolves, don’t go into the forest.) This idiom implies that if you’re afraid of risks, you should not undertake a task.

I hope this inspires you to go out and learn some Ukrainian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *