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Thread: Line from Chekhov's Chameleon

  1. #1
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    Line from Chekhov's Chameleon

    I apologize if there is not enough context here to allow someone to answer this question without looking the text up themself.

    "это не наша" -- продолжает Прохор -- "это генералова брата что намеднись приехал. наш не охотник до борзых"

    The line that has me stuck is "наш не охотник до борзых". The translations I've read translate it as "Our master does not care for hounds". The word "охотник" means "hunter" and "борзых" is hound, I guess "до борзых" is "with hounds, for hounds" (I know this based on the translation, that is, without the English translation I found online, I would have no idea how this phrase should be translated because in most instances I've come across the preposition, "до" means "until, to the point of, to the limit of, etc." I looked in my dictionary for a use of "до" that fit the situation in the story and have not found one that satisfied me). So how "до" is used here is one problem I can't solve. Another would be why the noun "охотник" is there as none of the translations have the word "hunter" in them. Does the sentence mean something literally like "Our master doesn't hunt with hounds" (ergo, has no need for them) or something like that? Of course, then my question would be why is the noun "hunter" used instead of the verb "to hunt". As you can see I am very much in the woods with this sentence. I hope the answer is not embarrassingly obvious. I would be very grateful to whoever could clear this up for me. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Russian word 'охотник (hunter)' is derived from verb 'хотеть (to wish/to desire)' and in it's core meant 'he who wishes to reach target'.
    So, second meaning is 'fan/lover'. It's a little outdated meaning, but still could be used in everyday speech in rare cases.
    'до' in this meaning ('of/for') is outdated old language style. In modern language it should be omitted.
    So overall meaning is "He is not fan of hounds".
    lenssideways8 likes this.

  3. #3
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    If Chekhov lived now, he would probably write "не любитель борзых"
    lenssideways8 likes this.
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

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