12 Ways of Saying “Hello in Russian” that You Shouldn’t Miss


Hello in Russian

From this article you’ll learn how to say hello in Russian correctly, what word to use exactly in each situation to sound natural. Here you’ll see the must-know greetings with free audio and video. I also gathered some popular colloquial greetings that I hear on a daily basis and their explanations for you to sound like a native speaker.

How to say hello in Russian

You can say hello in Russian in many different ways, so I divided them into formal and informal ones. Use formal hello when you talk seriously or with people you don’t know or don’t know well. Informal language, is by contrast, for friendly casual talk. It’s important not to mix them, otherwise you can sound overly familiar.

By the way, you can watch the video.

Hello in Russian Formal

In Russian In English Audio Pronunciation Where to use
Здравствуйте Hello
Zdrа́s—tvuj—ti Formal
Доброе утро Good morning
Dób—rae ut—rá Formal
Добрый день Good afternoon
Dób—rij dе́n’ Formal
Добрый вечер Good evening
Dób—rij vjе́—chir Formal
Доброй ночи Good night
Dób—raj nó—chi Formal
Приветствую Hello
Pri—vе́tst—vu—ju Formal

Здравствуйте (Hello) is a formal greeting  that you should remember at first place is.

Originally, Здравствуйте was used to wish someone good health, but nowadays it is used as a more general greeting.

Pay attention that we skip the letter “в” in the middle while saying, because pronunciation of four consonants in a row is too difficult, even for Russians. I agree, it’s a pretty tough word to pronounce, but it opens the door for conversation with any unfamiliar person because it is a polite way to say hello.

Here are another four phrases that are frequently used in formal talks:

  • Доброе утро (Good morning)
  • Добрый день (Good afternoon)
  • Добрый вечер (Good evening)
  • Доброй ночи (Good night)

Most of the greetings include the word добрый, which means “kind” and a certain time of a day. These words are suitable for all formal situations that may happen in your life.

Just like in the English language Russian Доброе утро (Good morning) may be applied in formal situations and to a member of a family.

You should also keep in mind, that Доброй ночи in the Russian language may have a role of both a greeting and a farewell.

Let me explain. Not so long ago I was stopped by a policeman late at night for a document check and he greeted me: Доброй ночи.  When I was leaving he also said Доброй ночи but this time he meant a farewell.

Another official word is Приветствую. It is used to welcome someone. A ceremony host, for instance, can say: “Приветствую вас, дамы и господа” (Welcome, ladies and gentleman!)

Hello in Russian Informal

In Russian In English Audio Pronunciation Where to use
Привет Hi
Pri—vе́t Informal
Доброе утро Good morning
Dób—rae út—ra Informal
Приветик Hi there
Pri—vе́—tik Informal
Приветики Hiya
Pri—vе́—ti—ki Informal
Здорово Wazzup
Zda—ró—va Informal
Салют Salut
Sa—lút Informal

Of course, the Russian language has informal greetings as well. So, this is how we say hi in Russian:

  • Привет (Hi)

This word is composed of the prefix при-, which means “approaching,” and the old root -вет-, which refers to speaking. So, the literal interpretation of this word would be, “I approach to talk.”

The phrase Доброе утро, that you’ve seen earlier, in the formal passage, may be used in informal situations as well. You can say this phrase when you enter your office to greet colleagues at the beginning of the working day or when you step into your little son’s room to wake him up in the morning.

You can say:

  • Доброе утро, коллеги. (Good morning, colleagues) and
  • Доброе утро, сынок.(Good morning, son)

New ways to say hi in Russian greet crop up every year. Some of them disappear quickly, but some become part of the language. Personally I use colloquial:

  • Приветик(Hi there)
  • Приветики(Hiya)
  • Салют(Salut)

Здорово (Wazzup) – is a word used mostly by males. Pay attention to the stress and don’t mix this greeting with здорово which means great.

I have noticed that many people like to pick one main informal greeting, and this word tends to reflect their personality. Which one suits you?

Conclusion

As you see, there is a large variety of options you can use to greet someone in Russian. If you’re a beginner, I would advise you to limit yourself with Здравствуйте (Hello) for all formal occasions and Привет (Hi) for all informal ones.

More advanced learners should operate with broader vocabulary. If you’re one of them, make sure that you know at least Доброе утро, Добрый день and Добрый вечер. And don’t be afraid to include informal greetings to your speech when you talk to friends, because they reflect your own personality and your attitude to other people much brighter!

What’s your favorite greeting? Do you use or heard about any greetings, I haven’t included in the article? Share in comments, I’m very curious about about your experience.

Helpful resources

If you feel that you need more information, I’m glad to share some links with you.  I looked through a lot of websites and found some worthy ones that might be helpful if you want to know more about Russian greetings.

Anastasia Korol

Anastasia Korol is an enthusiastic Russian language tutor. She gives effective, goal-oriented lessons to students all over the world. Thousands of people have already followed her Instagram.

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