Nabityi durak (considerations on the origin of the idiom)

2022. № 1 (43), 206-216

Anatoly F. Zhuravlev
Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Lomonosov Moscow State University
(Moscow, Russia)


There have been several attempts to explain the origin of the common idiom "stuffed
fool" (which has analogies outside the Russian language), but for modern speakers it remains
unclear. In the author’s opinion, it can be adequately interpreted with the help of
dialectal proverbs containing the adverb vnabivku, such as «Other people’s fools are
filled loosely, and ours are tightly packed (vnabivku)» (Voronezh region). The lexical and
phraseological dialectal material, based on close associations, turns out to be quite rich.