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Describe Yourself in Russian: How to Talk about Characteristics

Being able to describe someone is useful in a variety of scenarios, whether you’re describing a stranger, paying a compliment, or describing an event. Learn how to describe yourself and others in Russian to add valuable words to your Russian vocabulary.

While self-study can work, textbooks often contain words that are no longer in use, and it can be difficult to understand materials when you work on your own. To speed up your learning, and to make it much easier, learn Russian with a tutor during online lessons to learn the language from a native speaker.

How to Describe People in Russian

All people look different, and there are many ways to describe someone. Let’s focus on the basic vocabulary you can use in everyday situations.

You may say that someone has a round face, “круглое лицо” (krugloe litso), or a long face, “вытянутое лицо” (vytyanutoe litso).

Hair can be different colors:

  • черные (chyornye – black)

  • светлые (svetlye – blond)

  • рыжие (ryzhie – red)

  • коричневые (korichnevye – brown)

For example,

  • У этой девушки светлые волосы. Она блондинка. (U etoi devushki svetlye volosy. Ona blondinka.) – This girl has blond hair. She is blonde.

  • Эта девушка шатенка. (Eta devushka shatenka.) – This girl has brown hair.

  • У ребенка круглое лицо и длинная шея. (U rebyonka krugloe litso i dlinnaya sheya.) – This kid has a round face and a long neck.

People say the eyes (“глаза” – glaza) are the windows to the soul (“зеркало души” – zerakalo dushi). How can you describe them? You can start with their color.

  • карие глаза (karie glaza) – brown eyes

  • голубые глаза (golubye glaza) – blue eyes

  • зеленые глаза (zelyonye glaza) – green eyes

  • серые глаза (serye glaza) – grey eyes

For example,

  • У меня карие глаза. (U menya karie glaza.) – I have brown eyes.

  • You can also say that a person has big, beautiful eyes – большие красивые глаза (bol’shie krasivye glaza).

Use these words to describe the rest of the face:

  • прямой нос (pryamoi nos) – straight nose

  • нос с горбинкой (nos s gorbinkoi) – crooked nose

  • нос картошкой (nos kartoshkoi) – snub nosed (lit. nose like a potato)

  • светлая кожа (svetlaya kozha) – light skinned

  • смуглая кожа (smuglaya kozha) – dark skinned

  • пухлые губы (pukhlye guby) – full lips

  • тонкие губы (tonkie guby) – thin lips

For example,

  • Я так завидую людям, у которых прямой нос! (Ya tak zaviduiu liudyam u kotorykh pryamoi nos!) – I’m so jealous of people who have straight noses!

  • У нее такая светлая кожа, что ей нельзя загорать. (U neyo takaya svetlaya kozha, shto ei nel’zya zagorat’.) – Her skin is so light that it’s dangerous for her to sunbathe.

  • У малышки пухлые губы. (U malyshki pukhlye guby.) – This baby girl has full lips.

When describing the characteristics of a person’s body, use these words:

  • Высокий (vysokii)/высокого роста (vysokogo rosta) – tall

  • Низкий (nizkii)/маленького роста (malen’kogo rosta)/невысокий (nevysokii) – short

  • Среднего роста (srednego rosta) – average height

  • Стройная (stroinaya) – slim

  • Спортивная (sportivnaya) – sporty

  • полный (polnyi) – obese

  • избыточный вес (izbytochnyi ves) – overweight

For example,

  • Преступник был среднего роста. (Prestupnik byl srednego rosta.) – The criminal was of average height.

  • Я бы хотела быть стройной, но у меня избыточный вес. (Ya by khotela byt’ stroinoi, no u menya izbytochnyi ves.) – I would like to be slim, but I carry excess weight.

Other Useful Vocabulary

Here is an additional list of adjectives that can be used to describe someone’s appearance.

  • Привлекательный (privlekatelnyi) – good-looking, attractive Привлекательная девушка (privlekatelnaya devushka) – attractive girl

  • Красивый (krasivyi) – beautiful Красивый мужчина (krasivyi muzhchina) – handsome man

  • Симпатичный (simpatichnyi) – pretty Симпатичная девочка (simpatichnaya devochka) – pretty girl

  • Некрасивый (nekrasivyi) – unattractive, ugly Некрасивый костюм (nekrasivyi kostium) – ugly suit

  • Хорошо одетый (khorosho odetyi) – well-dressed Хорошо одетый человек (khorosho odetyichelovek) – well-dressed person

  • Модный (modnyi) – fashionable Модный образ (modnyi obraz) – fashionable look

  • Аккуратный (akkuratnyi) – neat Аккуратный пошив (akkuratnyi poshiv) – neat tailoring

  • Неряшливый (neryashlivyi) – dowdy Неряшливый парень (neryashlivyi paren’) – dowdy guy

  • Яркий (yarkii) – bright Яркая внешность (yarkaya vneshnost’) – bright appearance

  • Ухоженный (ukhozhennyi) – well-coiffed Ухоженная женщина (ukhozhennaya zhenshchina) – well-coiffed woman

Learn How to Describe People in Russian by Studying with a Tutor

Now try to describe someone using the new words and phrases you have learned. When you learn new words, always try to use them in your speech, as it helps you to remember. Learn more Russian words with our tutors during an online lesson.

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