In 1873, Dostoyevsky claimed, in the first volume of “A Writer’s Diary,” that a Russian could express the entire range of his feelings with a single word. He didn’t actually name the word, which was not deemed printable at the time. But the word appears today in graffiti on millions of Russian fences, on the doors of public toilets, and on school walls; it is carved into tree trunks and scratched into ancient monuments everywhere that Russians have traveled. The word in question, khuy (хуй ), a term for the male sexual organ, is one of the four cornerstones of mat-along with the nouns pizda (пизда́=”cunt”), blyad’ (блядь =”whore” or “bitch”) and the verb ebat’ (еба́ть=”to fuck”). The term mat (мат) itself derives from the Russian word for “mother” (мать), a component of the key phrase yob tvoyu mat’ (Ёб твою мать=”fuck your mother”), which until recent times was taken so literally that the bloody brawls it incited often ended in murder, especially if they started in Russian prisons.
The unique power of Russia’s underground language
4:05 am • 18 August 2012 • 4 notes