Russian Greetings and Goodbyes that You Will Not Find in Textbooks

Posted on August 10th, 2011

Greetings in RussianJust when you thought you knew how to greet someone in Russian… As it appears, there is more than just “Здравствуйте” to Russian greetings. This is why I thought I would share the most common Russian greetings with you today.

The Most Common Greetings in Russian

Здравствуй [ZDRAST-vooy] – hello
Здравствуйте [ZDRAST-vooy-tye] – hello

“Здравствуйте” is a formal greeting and you would use it when speaking to someone you don’t know very well, or someone whom you would usually address in “вы” in Russian. You can also use “здравствуйте” when addressing multiple people.

If you are speaking with your friends you can say “Привет” to greet them in Russian. There are variations of the “Привет” that are very popular in Russian:

Привет [pree-VYET] hi
Приветик [pree-VYE-teek] this is a diminutive form of “привет” and it means “hi”
Приветики [pree-VYE-tee-kee] also a diminutive form, and also means “hi”

During the different times of the day, you would use different greetings:
Доброе утро [dob-ra-ye OOT-ra] good morning
Добрый день [dob-riy DYEN’] good afternoon
Добрый вечер [dob-reey VYE-chyer] good evening

And this is how you can wish “good night” in Russian:
Доброй ночи [dob-roy NO-chee] good night
Спокойной ночи [spa-KOY-nay NO-chee] good night

Here is a video summarizing the Russian greeting you have learned above:

Ways to Say Good-Bye in Russian

There are many ways to say “bye” in Russian,  you may already know “До свидания” [da svee-DA-nee-ya], and you can learn more below:
До встречи! [da FSTRYE-chee] See you later!
До завтра! [da ZAF-tra] See you tomorrow!
До послезавтра! [da pas-lee-ZAV-tra] see you the day after tomorrow!
До вечера! [da VYE-chi-ra] See you tonight!
Прощай! [pra-SHAY] Good-bye
You would use word “Прощай!” if you think that you will never see that person again.

However, if you know exactly when you will see your friend, you can say:
До пятницы! [da PYAT-nee-tsi] till Friday
До апреля! [da ap-RYE-lya] till April
Увидимся в воскресенье! [oo-VEE-deem-sya v vask-ri-SYEN’-ye] See on Sunday!
Note, you can substitute days of the week or months above with any other day of the week a month, or a date.

Here are a few more “good-byes” in Russian that would definitely impress your Russian friends (Note: all of the words below are informal, please use them only with people you know very well):

Пока! [pa-KA] Bye (informal)
Покедово! [pa-KYE-da-va] bye (informal)
“Покедово!” comes from of “Пока!” and you would usually hear it among your friends.

Ну всё, пока! [noo FSYO pa-KA] All right, bye!
Yes, that’s right, this is another way to say “bye” in Russian:  “Ну всё, пока!”

Давай! [da-VAY] bye
When translated literally “Давай!” means “Give!” or “Let’s…”, but in this case it’s used as a way of saying “good-bye” in Russian. You can also say:
Ну всё, давай! [noo FSYO da-VAY] All right, bye!

“See you” in Russian is:
Увидимся! [oo-VEE-deem-sya] See you!

You might also encounter with:
Услышимся! [oos-LI-sheem-sya] it means “I’ll hear you later..” or in other words, “I’ll speak to you on the phone soon”.

And:

Спишемся! [SPEE-shim-sya] We’ll email each other soon (You would use this “good bye”, if you are saying that you would get reconnected via email).

Here is the video that summarizes Russian goodbyes discussed above:

Simple Conversation Starters in Russian

Now that you know how to say “hi” and “good-bye” in Russian, you are ready to start a conversation. Below are a few most popular conversation starters in Russian:

Как дела? [KAK di-LA] How are you?
Как делишки? [KAK dye-LEESH-kee] How are you?
“Делишки” is a diminutive form of “дела” and is used in informal speech only.

“Как делишки, как детишки?”

You might hear this  question-joke in Russian: “Как делишки, как детишки?” When translated literally it means “How are you? How are your kids?” However, if someone asks you in Russian “Как делишки, как детишки?” it doesn’t mean that they think you have children. It’s just another fun way of asking “how are you?”. Why “детишки” you might think? Because it rhymes with “делишки” in Russian!

Как ты? [KAK tee] is another way to ask “how are you?”
Как поживаешь? [KAK pa-zhee-VA-yesh] How’s life?
Как жизнь молодая? [KAK ZHIZN’ ma-la-DA-ya] How’s young life?
Как настроение?[KAK nas-tra-YE-nee-ye]  How are you feeling?
Literally it means – “are you in a good mood?” Usually, when we ask someone if he or she is in a good mood, we risk to put them in a bad mood with our question…  :-)) So, don’t worry, this question actually means “are you in good spirits?” or “How are you feeling?”

Here are some of the answers to the questions above:
Отлично! [at-LEECH-na] perfect!
Прекрасно! [prik-RAS-na] excellent!
Супер! [SOO-pyer] super!
Замечательно! [za-mi-CHA-tyel’-na] remarkable
Чудесно! [choo-DYES-na] wonderful
Чудненько! [CHOOD-nin’-ka] comes from “” and means “very good”
Превосходно! [pri-vas-HOD-na]
Лучше всех! [LOOCH-she VSEH]  Better than everyone else
Хорошо! [ha-ra-SHO] Good!
Нормально [nar-MAL’-na] Ok
Неплохо [nip-LO-ha] not bad
Всё отлично! [FSYO at-LEECH-na] Everything is fine
Всё хорошо! [FSYO ha-ra-SHO] Everything is fine

Use this infographic to practice Russian greetings and goodbyes!

Russian greetings

Below are a few example conversations to help you to understand how greeting can be used in Russian speech:

Scenario One: Formal Conversation

– Добрый вечер!
– Здравствуйте!
– Как у вас дела?
– Хорошо, спасибо. А у вас?
– Неплохо.
– До свидания, увидимся в субботу!
– До встречи!

Scenario Two: Informal Conversation

– Привет! Как делишки?
– Приветик! Супер. А у тебя?
– Чудненько!
– Ну давай, увидимся!
– Хорошо, пока!

These are all of the greetings I have in store for you today. How do you usually say “Hi” and start a conversation in Russian?  I’d love to hear from you! So, please leave a comment below and share your Russian speaking experience!

If you would like to learn Russian every day with me, subscribe to A Russian Word a Day Every Day program and you will receive an email with one Russian word every day. The Russian word will be accompanied with an English translation and an example of how it’s used in Russian language. You can visit this page for more details – A Russian Word a Day.

For more free Russian language lessons visit Fun Russian YouTube Channel!

Have fun learning Russian!

Viktoria.

  1. George

    привет из Нью-Йорка

    Ya Tozhe izuchajo russkiy yazik

    I believe there is a way to say “take care” in Russian,
    as a farewell or goodbye. A Russian man once told it to me & I believe I heard it in a radio “urok”. Is it BEREGISITA or similar? google translate gives береги себя which sounds similar to the way I am hearing it, but I’m not sure.

    Thank you

    & Ya vam pahzhelayu horoshi denya

    • Viktoria

      Hi George,

      That’s correct “take care” is translated into Russian as “береги себя”. Спасибо! Вам тоже хорошего дня!

  2. Anoop

    Hi Victoriya,

    Firstly thank you so much for all the available resources. It really helps. Do you have any recommendation for a good book to learn Russian?

    Regards
    Anoop

  3. poornendu

    Thank you very much. It’s been 4 years since I dropped out of my Russian class, sadly in the 3 years of studying Russian I did not learn a great deal simply because because my teacher made the class very serious and Moreover I had great difficulty with the grammar. But by chance I came across your site and the past few hours I have been going thru the lessons and it had been such a fruitful feeling. I am determined to continue studying with your lessons.

  4. Adam

    Hi Viktoria,

    Thanks you for this great site.

    I have been looking all over for the Russian saying you are supposed to say to someone who is about to take a test or exam. All I can remember is that it starts something like “Ni plocha ni piriya” and the person who is about to do the test/exam must reply “K’chorto, k’chorto, kchorto” for luck! Do you know the full greeting? I guess it is similar to “Break a leg” in English.

    Thanks in advance,

    Adam

    • Viktoria

      Hi Adam,

      The saying you are looking for is:

      Ни пуха, ни пера!
      [nee POO-ha nee pye-RA]

      The person who is about to take the test will reply:
      К чёрту!
      [k CHOR-too]

      Hope this helps!

  5. Roger

    Добрый вечер у вас Виктору! Я изучаю русский язьык, и я очень люблю ваши уроки!
    Я живу в Бельгии ,и говорю по франсцузки,
    Я так делаю два урока вместе! -)
    Cпасибо и до свидания!

    Рожэ

    • Viktoria

      Спасибо, Роже, за Ваш комментарий! Мне очень приятно. Удачи в изучении русского языка!

  6. Tom in USA

    Hello Viktoria,
    Thank you for the lessons!
    I am going to go to a Russian food store here in my town to try a few words out.
    I am wondering if it is OK to ask them how their business is going, how long they have been in USA, and questions like that, or would that seem to intrusive to a native Russian?
    I just want to be friendly, and not sound like an IRS agent, or customs officer! haha!
    Thank you very much for your advice.

    • Viktoria

      Hi Tom,

      I think you should be okay. Although, Russians may seem a little preserved and don’t usually smile at strangers, they are very friendly and always happy to help. I think if they have lived in the USA for some time now and have a business here, they will be more open-minded about chatting to a stranger.

      Just please don’t take it personally, if you get a cold response. Maybe they are busy, or not in the mood to talk or there could be other reasons.

      Good luck! And let me know how it goes!

  7. Vadim

    I love your videos and I just started to get your newsletter and I love it as well. I am doubtful that I will ever learn Russian, or any other language, but I do like trying. Your broader view of sayings is refreshing–and closer to reality than most.
    I also want to let you know of a mistake in English that is more common is Americans than it should be and that is the word Than, versus Then. It shows up in your intro to this newsletter. as follows:
    Just when you thought you knew how to greet someone in Russian… As it appears, there is more THEN (should be than) just “Здравствуйте” to Russian greetings.

    спасибо, Vadim

    • Viktoria

      Hi Vadim,

      Thank you for your comment and for the correction. I’ve fixed the typo. I guess I need to brush up on my English skills. 🙂

      Have fun learning Russian!

  8. chad b,

    Thank you for the very Nice lesson on Pyccknn greetings!!

    I am learning Rousskii for about a year now and am just now getting to the word learning part but it is sites like this that keep it fun for me!!

    Hi from America, USA.

    • Viktoria

      Hi Chad,

      Thank you for your comment! I’m happy I could help you to learn new Russian words. Hope your Russian studies are going well!

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