The Longest and Hardest Words in the Russian Language

The harsh and cold Russian
The harsh and cold Russian | © 8moments/Pixabay | | © 8moments/Pixabay
Anastasiia Ilina

Russian is not a language that can be learned overnight. After mastering a new alphabet, some very complicated grammar and frustrating spelling rules, there are still some lengthy words to remember. Here are some of Russian’s one-word tongue twisters; try not to get lost in this array of vowels and consonants.

Loved by over 40s

Облагодетельствованный (o-bla-go-de-tel’-stvo-van-ni-e) / to receive favours

The length of this word is mostly owed to the many suffixes. The root can be traced back to the word благо (bla-go) which is synonymous to ‘good’ when used as a noun. So, it basically describes a person for whom someone else is doing favours. This word is gradually becoming archaic and is losing many of its common uses but can still be used in written Russian.

St Basil’s Cathedral in winter

Интерпретировать (in-ter-pre-ti-ro-vat’) / to interpret

This is a word of Latin origin that found its way into Russian (many long Russian words that aren’t heavy with prefixes and suffixes come from a foreign language). In English, ‘interpret’ can be used two ways: to describe how you’re understanding the meaning of something, or ‘to translate’. However, in Russian, it’s only used for the former.

Выгравированый (vi-gra-vi-ro-van-ni) / engraved

A word of French origin, it first appeared in Russian during the 18th century when it became popular for noble people to speak French with each other. The original French meaning refers the art of engraving. In the English and Russian though, it can also mean to carve something out.

Orthodox church in Sergiev Posad

Усовершенствование (u-so-ver-shen-stvo-va-ni-ye) / improvement

With the eventual goal of achieving совершенство (so-ver-shen-stvo), the prefix у (u) adds the meaning of getting closer to perfection. Усовершенствование can be made to just about anything, be it a skill, an object or pronunciation of Russian. A frightful cluster of four consonants makes this word a delightful mouthful.

Предшествовавший (pred-she-stvo-vav-shi) / preceding

This is an interesting word to take apart: the root comes from the verb шествовать (shes-tvo-vat’), which once meant “to march in a festive manner.” Used with the prefix пред (pred), the word describes something that comes before something else, or it ‘precedes’ it.

Skating on Lake Baikal

Покровительствовавший (po-kro-vi-tel’-stvo-vav-shi) / to cover

Digging into the roots of the word, it literally means to provide cover for somebody. In English, the equivalent is similar to when you ask someone ‘to cover’ for you. In the past tense, there is an additional suffix, which makes it even longer.

Компрометирующий (kom-pro-me-ti-ru-yu-schi) / compromising

The English and Russian versions of these words sound similar and have the same meaning: ‘to arrive at a mutual agreement’. The root is derived from the French word promettre, which means ‘promise’. Russian inherited the term in its entirety and has a derivative noun, verb and adjective, as seen above.

View onto Vasilievksy Island

Воспользовавшийся (vos-pol’-zo-vav-shiy-sya) / used

Although the general translation is ‘used’, the more precise translation is somebody who has made use of something. So, this word refers to the subject rather than the object. In Russian, this differentiation is made in the prefixes.

Беспрецедентный (bes-pre-tsen-dent-niy) / unprecedented

Yet another Latin word that was incorporated into Russian, this one refers to something that has never happened before. There are other Russian words with similar meanings, but this is a more formal expression and is often used in a legal context.

A snowy Russian forest
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.