March 01, 2009

825 Yards for Barack

825 Yards for Barack

the world economic crisis demands a linguistic stimulus package for Survival Russian readers, especially since we have not focused on monetary lingo here for over a decade.

Back in 1995, we noted that a popular term for money was капуста (cabbage) and that making money was рубить капусту (to cut cabbage). Today, капуста has ceded primacy to the horrific term бобло (which has given the small village in Moscow region, Боблово, a new meaning). Бобло was likely born “from the remnants” of бабки, a bit of jargon which is still “legal tender.” The diminutive for бобло is боблишко. And it has a near synonym of бабосы. So now, instead of рубить капусту, we rather tend to отжать бобла (squeeze out some money).

When it comes to using your бабки, if you want to be plain and uninteresting, you can say платить деньгами (наличными) – pay with money (with cash). But why not spice things up and replace платить with the unconventional отстегнуть (unhook, unfasten) or better yet – отслюнявить (literally “to salivate away,” evoking the image of an old cashier spitting on his thumb to make it easier to count notes)?

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