Register me


How to describe a person's appearance in Russian. Detailed description

Hello, dear student!

Today I would like to give consideration to the topic of a person's description. We often need to describe appearance or character of someone, but it's rather difficult for foreigners, who learn the Russian language, to use proper words and frame sentences. Let's look from what we should start and how to do it easily and proper.

I suppose, in Russian it's better and easier to start your description of appearance with a person's face. It's part of appearance that strikes our eye and draws our attention from the very beginning. There is even such idiom in Russian or as we often say "set expression" that conveys undermeaning:

Не ударить лицом в грязь! [Ne udarit' litsom f gryaz'] - The Russian traditional idiom which means not to lose yourself in kind of difficult or confusing situation. - give a good account of oneself.

This expression means that a person should not shame him-/herself or do something disgraceful. Thus, you can understand that a person takes an important place in the description of appearance in Russian. So how should we describe a face and what words should we use? For example, let's look at some words:

Круглое лицо/ круглолицый человек [Kruglae litso/kruglalitsyj chilavek] - A chubby, moon-faced person
Светлое лицо [Sfetlae litso] - A fair face
Нежное лицо [Nezhnae litso] - A gentle face person
Свежее лицо [ Svezhee litso] - A kind of fresh face person

У девушки было приятное лицо, нежное и светлое [U devushki bylo priyatnae litso, nezhnae i svetlae] - A girl had a pleasant face, quite gentle and fair.

Он выглядел отлично и лицо у него было свежее [On vyglidel atlichna i litso u nivo byla svezhee] - He looked great and his face was fresh.

Круглолицая девушка забежала в автобус и улыбнулась мне [Kruglalitsaya devushka zabezhala v aftobus i ulybnulas' mne] - The round-faced girl ran into the bus and smiled to me.

After we've described face in a word, we should describe something that is very important - person's face. What do you think it can be? Many people think that next important part of a person's appearance is eyes. If you recall the history of Russian people and the Russian language in particular, you can see such expression as "глаза - зеркало души" - Eyes are the window to the soul. The thing is that they did not say the word "глаза" but use the word "очи". And often when spouses addressed each other, they used such phrase as "свет моих очей" (apple of my eye), which means emotional bond and very sincere attitude of a person to those who he/she loves and respects. Within time, people have stopped using the word "очи" [ochi] and start using "глаза" [glaza]. So how should we describe eyes in Russian? In fact, it's very easy so you can describe eyes endlessly beginning with color and ending with their form and expression.

Красивые глаза [krasivye glaza] - Beautiful eyes

У Ани очень красивые глаза [U Ani ochen' krasivye glaza] - Ann has very beautiful eyes.

Яркие глаза [yarkiye glaza] - bright eyes

У старушки были яркие глаза, несмотря на ее возраст [U starushki byli yarkie glaza, nismatrya na eyo vozrast] - The old lady had bright eyes, despite her age

Большие глаза [bal'shiye glaza] - big eyes

У девочки большие, как у куклы, глаза [U devachki bal'shie, kak u kukly,glaza] - The girl has big eyes, just like a doll.

Широкопоставленные глаза [shirakopastavlenye glaza] - wide eyes

Люди у которых широко поставлены глаза, очень интересны [Lyudi u katorykh shirako pastavleny glaza, ochen' interesny] - People who have wide eyes are very interesting.

Узенькие, прищуренные глаза [uzen'kiye, prishchyuriniye glaza] - narrow, squinty eyes

У парня были прищуренные глаза, словно он собирался сделать что-то хитрое [U parnya byli prisshurenye glaza, slovna on sabiralsya zdelat' shto ta khitrae] - A boy had narrowed eyes, just like he was going to do something tricky

Светлые, голубые глаза [svetlyee, galubye glaza] - light-colored, blue eyes

У большинства русских людей глаза светлые [U bal'shinstva ruskikh lyudej glaza svetlye] - Most Russian people have light-colored eyes

To describe other parts of face, you can use the following words:

Курносый нос/орлиный нос [kurnosyy/arlinyy nos] - turned-up nose / aquiline nose

У Варвары курносый нос [U Varvary kurnosyj nos] Varvara is a snub-nosed girl

Turned-up nose means that a tip of nose is turned up and the nose itself is short. Aquiline nose is usually belonged to people who have crook in the nose.

Розовые щеки, смуглая кожа [rozovye shchyoki, smuglaya kozha] - pink cheeks, dark skin

У малышки розовые щечки [U malyshki rozavye schechki] - A baby girl has pink cheeks

Pink cheeks are also characteristic of fair people who have a light skin, eyes and fair hair. Dark skin is a type of skin which becomes darker and tanned due to the sun.

Пухлые/тонкие губы [pukhlye/tonkiye guby] - plush/thin lips

У женщины напротив очень красивые пухлые губы [U zhenschini naprotiv ochen' krasivye pukhlie gubi] - The woman next to me has so beautiful plush lips.

Now let's turn to the description of a person's figure. You can use the following words:

Пухлая [Pukhlaya] - a plump person
Стройная [Strojnaya] - Slender
Спортивная [Spartivnaya] - Sporty
Тучная [Tuchnaya] - Obese

To describe height, you can use the following expressions:

Девушка высокого роста [Devushka vysokava rasta] - A tall girl
Он был низеньким старичком [On byl nizen'kim starichkom] - He was a shorty old man

Adjectives in Russian are often used in a "pet form" as it's happened with the adjective "низкий" - "низенький" [niskiy - nizin'kiy] - short - shorty.

Also you can describe legs:

Короткие/длинные [Karotkie/ dlinye] - Short/long legs
Худые/стройные/пухлые [Khudye/strojnye/pukhlye] - Thin/slender/chubby

To describe back, you can use the following adjectives:

Горбатая [Garbataya] - Hunchbacked
Прямая [Pryamaya] - A straight back
Сутулая [Sutulaya] - A stooped back
Широкая [Shirokaya] - A wide back

We often need to say some words about character of a person and his moral virtues in addition to his appearance. Russian people even have a very relevant proverb: "встречают по одежке, а провожают по уму" - First you judge how nice, then you judge how wise. It means that except appearance people pay great attention to intellect and character of a person - to what he is distinguished by. To describe dress, we can use such simple adjectives as:

Красивая [Krasivaya] - Beautiful
Модная [Modnaya] - Fashionable, trendy
Яркая [Yarkaya] - Bright
Аккуратная [Akuratnaya] - Neat
Вечерняя [Vichernyaja] - Evening wear/dress
Деловая/офисная [Dilavaya/ofisnaya] - Dress code, office/business clothes, formal clothes

У нас на работе принято носить деловую одежду [U nas na rabote prinyata nasit' dilavuju adezhdu] - We have to wear formal/business clothes at our work

Таня любит яркую и модную одежду [Tanya lyubit yarkuyu i modnuyu adezhdu] - Tanya is keen on bright and fashionable clothes

And now let's look at the qualities which we need for the second part of our proverb - at that which is referred to intellect, upbringing and behavior.

Воспитанный (человек) [Vaspitanyj chilavek] - A well- bred person
Неряшливый [Niryashlivyj] - An untidy/sloppy
Неаккуратный [Neakuratnyj] - A ragged person
Добрый [Dobryj] - A kind person
Открытый [Atkrytyj] - An open-hearted person
Скрытный [Skrytny] - A secretive person
Раскованный [Raskovany] - An uninhibited person
Стеснительный [Stisnitel'nyj] - A shy person
Уверенный [Uverenyj] - A confident person
Умный [Umny] - A smart/intelligent person

You can find Russian language schools and teachers:

Translation (ru-en)
Only registered users can use this function