Russian avos'

The Russian avos' (Russian: авось) describes a philosophy of behavior, or attitude, of a person who ignores possible problems or hassles and, at the same time, expects or hopes for no negative results or consequences. It is an attitude that treats life as unpredictable and holds that the best one can do is count on luck.[1][2]


Avos' (авось) proper is a Russian word of Iranian origin that can be used either as a particle or a noun. As a particle, avos' is close in meaning to "hopefully" or "maybe." When used as a noun, avos' means "pure luck" or "blind faith." It means to have hope, but not necessarily based on anything. Culturally, it can be considered both good and bad. On one hand it is a form of resiliency, but on the other a form of fatalism, where a person won't take any measures to save themself or improve their situation, but relies purely on avos'. The avos' attitude is believed by many to be intrinsic to the Russian character, just as is the notion of sud'ba (судьба) meaning "destiny," or "fate."

This kind of attitude has been described in Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov; earlier, Alexander Pushkin ironically called avos' "the Russian shibboleth" (Eugene Onegin, chapter X).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wierzbicka, Anna (1992). Semantics, Culture, and Cognition. p. 435. ISBN 0-19-507326-6.
  2. ^ Novicow, Jacques; Yakov Aleksandrovich Novikov (1904). The Expansion of Russia: Problems of the East and Problems of the Far East. p. 168.
  • Зализняк Анна А., Левонтина И. Б. Отражение национального характера в лексике русского. языка // Russian Linguistics, vol. 20, 1996.

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