by Don  

The Russian word for tomato is помидор, as in «На балконе я посадил помидоры» “I planted tomatoes on the balcony.” Russians make great use of their apartment living space, so I've seen all sorts of plants being raised on balconies in the summer time in Moscow.

Of course, once you talk about tomatoes, you have to talk about tomato sauce. How would you go about putting together a phrase like that in Russian? In English it is common to put two nouns in a row with the first modifying the second, like in "city park." Russian mostly doesn't do that: normally the first word has to be put into adjective form. To make the adjective, you start with the stem of the noun, add an adjectival suffix and case endings. For instance:

NounAdjectiveExample phrase
столстоловыйстоловая ложка tablespoon
чайчайныйчайная ложка teaspoon
чайный гриб tea mushroom
городгородскойгороской парк city park

With that in mind, a clever student might predict that "tomato sauce" in Russian would be «помидорный соус». But alas, even though there is such a word as помидорный, the Russians almost never use it in regards to the sauce. Instead they usually say томатный соус. If you think that implies that there must also be a word томат, you would be exactly right, but the noun томат is used much less often than the noun помидор. Thus one says «Я обожаю помидоры» “I adore tomatoes” using the one root, but one says «Меня обрызгал скунс, пришлось отмываться томатным соусом» “I got sprayed by a skunk and had to take a bath in tomato sauce” using the other root. Actually, they don't natively have skunks in Russia, so that won't be a big issue for you.

dedie Tomate
esel tomate
frla tomate


Comment from: Jamaal Borowiak [Visitor]

Hi there, firstly, I would like to say it’s a superb web site you got here. What I wanted to ask is, I haven’t understood the way to include your website rss in my feed subscriber - where is the link to the feed? Many thanks

Don responds: I believe that is browser dependent. In Safari/Firefox I think there is a button in the URL window that lets you do so. In Internet Explorer I have no idea. Use the browser’s help function to figure it out.

06/07/10 @ 21:15
Comment from: Laura [Visitor]

It’s also worth mentioning that помидор is derived from the French “pomme d’or” or “golden apple,” which, along with “pomme d’amour” or “apple of love,” was used to mean tomato.

10/06/08 @ 17:28

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