Tough Guy/Girl (Fortitude)

RhoKappa

Senior Member
Standard American English
Hopefully we have here a native English speaker as well as Russian. Saying one is "tough" in English means he is very brave, courageous, hard to defeat and the like. For example, a tough guy is somebody you do not want to get into a fight with because he will beat you up. Another example is a character like John Rambo from the 80's movies First Blood, where he kills all his enemies and nobody can hurt him. Aside from physical toughness, being tough also refers to inner strength, that he is very strong inside and has no personal weaknesses. For example, the great Soviet goalkeeper Лев Яшин will forever be known as a tough goalkeeper because no matter how hard strikers attack him, he has no fear of them and invariably succeeds at blocking their goal attempts. I am very sure there are ways of saying it in Russian, so let's start. Как сказать по-русски?
 
  • Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    As it often happens, there is no universal Russian word for all cases you described. Probably, the most general one today is крутой (парень, мужик, чувак, etc.), but it fits bad to Yashin and means something different with women (for example, крутая девчонка would rather refer to her appearance).
    Besides, the word крутой may and often means not only braveness and other mental properties: крутая тачка (машина), крутой дом (дорогой) and so on.
    As for Яшин, I'd say he was бесстрашный, сильный духом, etc.
     

    Saluton

    Banned
    Russian
    There's the slangish adjective крутой (крутой парень, крутой дядя, крутая девка) used in the sense you described. However, it works as a general characteristic and can only be used with words like those. Saying Лев Яшин - крутой вратарь would imply he's a "cool" (= very good) goalkeeper. Брюс Ли - крутой боец - Bruce Lee is a cool fighter, etc. (cross-posted)
     

    RhoKappa

    Senior Member
    Standard American English
    I have always understood крутой as "cool" instead of "tough." "Cool" means socially regarded as admirable; "tough" means formidable. My dictionary defines formidable as грозный, but would that seem bookish?

    A good example of being tough would be this. On a schoolyard there are four boys: three bullies are picking on one guy who is not afraid of them and is willing to fight all three of them. One of the three boys slap the lone boy, who instead of running away, raises his fists and gets ready to fight all three of them. He admonishes, "You boys think you are tough? Throw the first punch and see if you really are! I will beat all you guys up!"

    I honestly can't see крутой as the correct adjective in this case.
     

    Словеса

    Senior Member
    Русский
    RhoKappa, this is not how a language functions. Therefore, this is not how this forum functions. You cannot make a specification for a word and expect it named; you can ask for translations in specified contexts. Case closed.
    In the context you have just described, крутой is the best fit, very exact for the situation («Вы думаете, вы крутые? А ну подходи, кто первый! Всех замочу!»). That does not tell anything about other contexts.
     

    Boyar

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I have always understood крутой as "cool" instead of "tough."
    "Крутой" is first and foremost a person who's kicking ass and taking names (=very tough person).

    Aside from physical toughness, being tough also refers to inner strength, that he is very strong inside and has no personal weaknesses. For example, the great Soviet goalkeeper Лев Яшин will forever be known as a tough goalkeeper because no matter how hard strikers attack him, he has no fear of them and invariably succeeds at blocking their goal attempts.
    A person who is very strong inside can be referred to as "стойкий боец" (or стойкий человек). This expression is often used for describing sportsmen. When Aleksey Alipov (a Russian Olympic Trap shooter) failed in one of his attempts, his trainer said this in an interview: "Для Алексея это не удар. Он стойкий боец." (For Aleksey, it's not a fatal blow. He's a tough guy.)
     

    Bostan

    New Member
    Romanian & Russian
    For the tough guy I'd also add "крепкий орешек", some people use this when describing a tough guy (sometimes even ironically). This is also the Russian translation for the Bruce Willis film "Die Hard", Bruce Willis being a tough guy in the movie.
     

    Slova

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In this particular context I would use "непробиваемый голкипер" (air tight goalie).
     

    Garbuz

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Frankly speaking, I didn't like any of the Russian translations for "tough goalkeeper" suggested above. To me "классный вратарь" sounds quite colloqual and natural. I think it's a question of combinability. It s possible to say both крутая тачка and классная тачка" (good car) without any difference in meaning. But крутой вратарь doesn't sound good.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Frankly speaking, I didn't like any of the Russian translations for "tough goalkeeper" suggested above. To me "классный вратарь" sounds quite colloqual and natural. I think it's a question of combinability. It s possible to say both крутая тачка and классная тачка" (good car) without any difference in meaning. But крутой вратарь doesn't sound good.
    The problem is "классный вратарь" has a completely different meaning from "tough goalie". In this case, I would probably completely change up the sentence. For example, I would translate "he's a tough goalie" as "в его ворота нелегко забить".
     

    Garbuz

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Completely different? What is the difference?

    BTW it's better "ему нелегко забить" rather than "в его ворота ... "
     

    Garbuz

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I wouldn't say negative, maybe 'aggressive', in addition to 'top quality'. Классный doesn't suggest aggression. Maybe that is the reason why it is better than крутой with вратарь.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I wouldn't say negative, maybe 'aggressive', in addition to 'top quality'. Классный doesn't suggest aggression. Maybe that is the reason why it is better than крутой with вратарь.
    You're right that it's not exactly "negative". "Tough" does not mean "top quality" at all, and may even imply low quality (but effective).
     

    Garbuz

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So what? To give an adequate translation you need to know the semantics of the equivalent in the target language. That's what we are discussing.
     
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