2015. № 1 (4), 138-169

Vinodradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences


This article contributes to semantics and etymology of three Russian phrases: nakryt’ mokrym riadnom lit. ‘to cover s.o. with wet fabric’ — “to catch smb. in a lie, expose smb. as a liar”; podlozhit’ svinyu lit. ‘to put a sow under s.o.’ — “to play a dirty trick”; na vore shapka gorit lit. ‘the  hat burns on a thief’ — “the nocent can't help but expose him-/herself”. The author comes to a conclusion that semantics of ‘water’ and semantics of ‘fabric (raw material for a fabric)’ as well as those of ‘covering, packing by a fabric’ unites the Russian with other Slavic and some non-Slavic phraseological expressions and specifies development of meaning of the phrase nakryt’ mokrym riadnom. The author assumes further that expression podlozhit’ svinyu ‘to play a dirty trick’ originally has arisen in speech of stovemakers and could have a reference meaning ‘to make a centering under the future arch of the furnace’, and then — ‘to make a mistake, to allow a curvature of it, thus having caused trouble to owners of a house where the furnace is being erected’. As a result of a review of extensive phraseological and ethno-linguistic material of several Slavic traditions, the author comes to a conclusion that expression navore shapka gorit could be modifying another expression “on the good fellow a cap burns”, both of them are relevant to semantic fields of burning and deceit (in the latter case, probably, in erotic sphere).