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What is хлеще the comparative of?

Russian Language Asked by CocoPop on October 4, 2021

I read the following comment online:

Не сомневаюсь, что и вы умеете выражаться, да ещё похлеще, думаю.

From the context, I gather that it means I have no doubt that you know how to go off on someone – and even worse/harsher(?) than this, I’d imagine, but I can’t figure out what adjective it comes from and whether it’s похлеще or похлёще.

One Answer

The adjective is хлёсткий ("good at lashing"), the comparative is хлеще (not *хлёще)

It comes from хлестать "to lash" and means "trenchant, scathing, vitriolic".

Note that all these words, Russian and English alike, are metaphors which literally mean "causing damage or pain"

The pattern which is used to form this adjective (verb root + кий) means "good at doing something"

  • ловить "to catch" > ловкий "dexterous, cunning" (literally "good catcher")
  • ять "to take, to have, to seize" > ёмкий "capacious, concise" (literally "good taker or storer")
  • звенеть "to ring" > звонкий "sonorous, resonant"

or "easily affected by something":

  • ковать "to forge" > ковкий "malleable"
  • плавить "to fuse" > плавкий "fusible"
  • пасть "to fall" > падкий "susceptible, prone" (literally "easy to fall for something")

Correct answer by Quassnoi on October 4, 2021

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