Vocabulary in Crime and Punishment
Generally, the vocabulary in Crime and Punishment represents speech similar to other 19th century novels with the exception of uniquely Russian words and expressions. Many of the vocabulary items in the following annotations relate to the English translation choices of translator Constance Garnett. Where possible, the original Russian has been preserved and an alternative translation has been supplied to provide further insight or clarity to each expression.
Vocabulary Examples in Crime and Punishment:
Raskolnikov finally eats and drinks something and, unsurprisingly, feels immediately better. He considers the feelings of confusion he was having as "simply physical derangement"; that is, his body was out of order due to a lack of nourishment which caused his confusion and anxiety rather than any mental reasons. Despite this, Raskolnikov's mental health affects his physical health throughout the story.
Raskolnikov's request confirms the old woman's profession as a pawnbroker, or someone who lends money to others in exchange for personal property that can be sold if the money is not returned within a specific time frame. Failing to repay the pawnbroker can often lead to someone getting into a cycle of debt that is very difficult to get out of. Considering how the plot advances, this profession for Alyona Ivanovna and her relationship with Raskolnikov were key choices for Dostoevsky.
Russian currency consists of the rouble, which is a paper currency similar to the dollar or euro, and the copeck (kopeck), which is equal to one hundredth of a ruble.
"Fastidiousness" refers to a quality or characteristic of being very concerned with attention to detail and/or cleanliness. Dostoevsky states that although the man may want to care about his appearance, he has such anger inside of him that such things as how he looks in the general public are not high on his list of priorities.
In addition to the general smells of Saint Petersburg in the summer, the man also notices the strong smells coming from the pot-houses, or taverns. Considering how numerous these are, and the intoxicated men in the area, Dostoevsky paints a vivid image of a very seedy neighborhood.
Despite being located fairly far north, the foundations of the port city of Saint Petersburg were built on a swamp, which explains why during summer there would be a particular smell in the area in addition to the other things Dostoevsky shortly mentions.
While in the original Russian version Dostoevsky did not choose Jack the Giant-Killer for this passage, the translator has likely used this reference to help provide context for a Western audience to better understand the man's thought process behind this thing he is contemplating.
The emergence of the not-yet-named man from a "garret" (a small and unpleasant room or space just below the roof of a building) gives readers the impression that the man lives in poverty or has very few financial resources. Notice how Dostoevsky embellishes on this character's living arrangement below.
This refers to a special type of honor that Katerina Ivanovna received at school for excellent marks, conduct, or both. It serves as reminder of her more noble and aristocratic upbringing.
The adjective "hectic" typically means something is full of unceasing or frantic activity. However, here Dostoevsky uses it to mean that Katerina Ivanovna's cheeks are flushed because of a regularly reoccurring fever brought on by her consumption (tuberculosis).
Tallow is a substance solid at room temperature and made from animal fats. It was widely used to make candles before more convenient wax varieties became more widespread--although they continued to be the cheaper alternative for some time.
The "Image of the Beast" is an allusion to the Book of Revelations and refers to the sign of the antichrist in the Christian religion. Being made in this image, as opposed to in God's image, suggests that the person possesses sinful qualities and is undeserving of Heaven's reward of life after death.
The capitalized "He" in this sentence refers to the Christian God. Marmeladov appears to confess that he seeks trouble with drink to emphasize the holy qualities of his daughter in an effort to ensure that she will receive a heavenly reward after death. This is, however, likely more of an excuse for his drinking habit despite whatever good intentions he may have.
Another word for "pomade," pomatum is a scented oil or a kind of hair gel that is used to dress or fix one's hair in place.
A propensity to something means that someone has an inclination or a tendency to do something. In this case, the "foolish weakness" refers to (Semyon Zaharovitch) Marmeladov's alcohol addiction.
"a woman's shawl" [French]: This green shawl has significance in the story of Marmeladov's family, with Sonia using it to cover herself on the first night she returned from prostituting herself.
Similar to a cleft lip, a cleft palate is a relatively common birth defect in which a longitudinal gap forms in the middle or on either side of the roof of the mouth. While the specific reasons for why this happens are not exactly known, there is information to suggest that it is genetic--which appears to be how Dostoevsky has chosen to portray Kapernaumov's family's affliction.
The farthing was an old unit of currency in the United Kingdom which was equal to about a quarter of a penny and finally withdrawn from circulation in 1961. The translator has chosen to change kopeck to farthing in this instance (and throughout other places in the novel) to make the currency more relatable to an English-speaking audience.
We learn that this is Marmeladov's second wife who was originally a woman of noble birth, which is perhaps alluded to here when he calls her "magnanimous." In addition to meaning someone who is generous in feeling or conduct, "magnanimous" also has connotations that someone is great or noble in spirit.
The implication here is that his daughter engages in prostitution and that this yellow "passport" is a yellow-colored document that serves as an alternative form of identification and also allows her to legally work as a prostitute. Notice here the association between yellow, which Dostoevsky uses to denote contamination, age, decay, etc., and prostitution.
Marmeladov has indicated that his family lives in the same building as Lebeziatnikov. In addition to altercations with Marmeladov's wife, Lebeziatnikov also reveals himself to be somewhat of a know-it-all even though he is barely capable of comprehending the theories he espouses. This example here is evidence of this statement; he appears to believe that the notion that compassion is not allowed by science is true solely based on England's economic success.
While Marmeladov's nails could be black from dirt and filth, black nails are also a symptom of kidney or liver disease, which can be brought on by excessive and continued alcohol consumption. Considering what we've learned, he is most certainly an alcoholic and his bloated face, fat and red hands, and black nails are all evidence of this.
An oath typically refers to a pledge of loyalty or allegiance. However, oaths can also be profane, blasphemous curses or any strong insult or expletive--often substituting for a sacred name. The other people in the bar shouted offensive or rude words (oaths) at Marmeladov, likely to show their disapproval of his actions by insulting him with degrading language.
Marmeladov brings up this term of endearment, which is similar to calling someone "dear," to emphasize how happy his wife was with his returning to work and bringing home a salary. The way he relates this information to Raskolnikov implies that Katerina Ivanovna has never called him a poppet before.
Dostoevsky means that Marmeladov had success is getting his position as a titular counsellor pack--the choice of words here implies that he received a more beneficial professional situation than he had before.
Marmeladov's wife, Katerina Ivanovna, suffers from consumption, or tuberculosis. This disease manifests as fever, chest pain, and even coughing up blood. It is highly contagious and was not uncommon in the 19th century, particularly in cities and areas of poverty.
The Neva is a major river in St. Petersburg that flows from Lake Ladoga through the city and into the Gulf of Finland. The river is wide and has steep banks which have made it suitable for navigation and the transportation of goods. Marmeladov reasons for asking Raskolnikov this question are not clear--likely due to the state of his intoxication.
A "Bedlam" refers to the famous British insane asylum, the hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem in London. However, in casual use, a bedlam generally refers to a place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion. Marmeladov uses it here to emphasize the seriousness of his description.
Pulcheria doesn't mean that her daughter, Dounia, is feeling ill; rather, she means that Dounia is excited about the prospect of coming to Petersburg, getting married, and helping her brother. This "fever" Pulcheria refers to is better understood as a state of nervous excitement.
The Governing Senate was instituted by Peter the Great and served as the legislative, judicial, and executive body of the Russian Empire. In the 19th century, the Senate became the highest judicial entity in Russia and controlled all legal institutions, judges, and officials in the country.
The "ignominy" of the affair refers to the public shame or disgrace that Dounia suffered initially when Marfa Petrovna blamed Dounia for as responsible for husband's adulterous intentions.
In Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions, the mention of "Our Lady" refers to the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. She figures prominently in this faith and is venerated as the mother of God.
This idiomatic phrase refers to a job, client, or anything that brings in a steady income. Nastasya tells Raskolnikov that he shouldn't make excuses to not tutor students because it's his sole means of earning money at the moment.
A verst is an older Russian unit of distance used during the imperial age that is equal to approximately two-thirds of a mile or a little over one kilometer.
Bacchus is the Roman name for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. Saying that someone is under this gods influence is a rather creative way of saying that someone is intoxicated or suffers from alcoholism.
Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin is a fellow student and Raskolnikov's friend. In Russian, his family name is derived from the word for "reason," which, as readers will see, Dostoevsky chose for a clear purpose. Razumihin consistently tries to take reasonable approaches to helping others, and his good will helps to move the story along.
This woman was initially mentioned by Marmeladov as an "evil" woman and prostitute. Raskolnikov uses her name to stand in for another word in the same way he invoked Svidrigailov's earlier. In this case, he means that other "evil" women will find the young girl and turn her to a life of prostitution.
Raskolnikov and the police use the term "deceived" here to refer to how the young girl was sexually taken advantage of by an unknown man. He "deceived" her by getting her drunk to the point where she could not consent nor likely realize what was going on.
Even though he doesn't say what kind of professional, the implication is that Raskolnikov was referring to a professional working girl, or prostitute. However, considering how drunk she is, he doesn't believe it likely that she is a prostitute.
Casuists are prone to using clever but unsound reasoning, particularly regarding moral concerns. Raskolnikov says that this would be a temporary comfort, because we could easily solve our moral problems by applying abstract and theoretical rules to them.
A Jesuit is a member of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic group of priests. The adjective here can refer to them, but it also has connotations of someone who is prone to intrigue or equivocation.
A concubine is a woman who lives with a man without being married to him and usually maintains a lower status as a mistress. Raskolnikov states this because he sees their marriage as a poorly thought out transaction that he believes his sister would never make for her own sake, but that she would gladly sacrifice herself for the sake of her family.
A Lett is a term for the main inhabitants of Latvia. The English form "Lett" is derived from the German Lette which ultimately came from the Latin latvis.
The complete idiomatic phrase is "a bitter pill to swallow." Raskolnikov means that what happened between his sister and Svidrigailov is an unpleasant and painful thing to accept.
This is the northernmost state in Germany that borders Denmark. Historically, the name refers to a larger region than the modern borders, and Raskolnikov uses hit here figuratively to emphasize how his sister would never "barter her moral freedom for comfort."
"Anna" here refers to St. Anna who is believed to be the mother of the Virgin Mary. Rasolnikov's statement suggests that Luzhin may have been given an award for his civil or military services that depicts St. Anna, and he prominently displays it on his clothes.
Johann von Schiller was a popular German writer, historian, and poet who many consider to be the embodiment of idealism. In fact, notice how Raskolnikov uses Schilleresque as a verb to indicate this sentiment: "idealistic noble hearts." This reference comes up again later in the novel, with Raskolnikov himself accused of being a Schiller.
This idiomatic phrase means that a person's actions should suit their current circumstances; they should live according to their means. Raskolnikov accuses Luzhin of not properly respecting his future bride by not offering them better transportation to St. Petersburg even though he likely has the means to do so.
Raskolnikov refers to another religious icon of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Mother of Kazan is a particular holy icon that represented the Virgin Mary as the protector and patron of the city of Kazan. Smaller versions of this icon were often kept in homes to create private places in which to pray.
A "huckster" is also a street merchant, similar to a costermonger. However, one of the differences has to do with hucksters setting their goods out on tables while costermongers sell their goods from their carts.
A "costermonger" refers to anyone who sells goods, such as fruits and vegetables, from their handcarts (or wheelbarrows) out in the street instead of in a store.
Similar to the word "sorrel," a bay refers to a bay-colored, or reddish brown, animal--typically a horse with a reddish-brown body and a black mane and tail.
A balalaika is a stringed instrument, similar to a guitar, with a long neck and a triangular body. It originated in Russia and is popular there and in other slavic countries.
"Sorrel" can mean a a brownish orange to light brown color. However, in the context of animals it typically refers to a light brown horse that often has a white mane and tail.
This is one of the smaller islands to the north of Vasilyevsky Island and is located right next to the Tuchkov Bridge that would take Raskolnikov south towards Vasilyevsky Island and towards his home in the Central District.
North of Vasilyevsky Island, across the Tuchkov Bridge is another large island surrounded by several smaller ones. Other branches of the Neva, such as the Lesser Neva, separate each of these islands.
The Lock hospitals specialized in the treatment of venereal diseases in England and the British Empire and wouldn't have been prevalent in Russia. In the original Russian, Dostoevsky simply wrote "от венерических больниц," which translates to "from the venereal disease hospitals." However, the Lock hospitals were so well known as treatment centers for these diseases that the very name acquired that strong association.
The now obsolete word "char(e)" is obscurely related to the word "chore," which can help remember the meaning of this word: a charwoman is someone paid to do household chores.
A harpy is a type of horrifying bird-woman from Greek and Roman mythology. However, it can also be used, such as in this context, to refer to an old woman as unpleasant and covetous.
Another instance of how Raskolnikov believes Fate is helping him escape, he sees an open, empty flat to hide inside. The choice of words here, "deliverance," implies that he has been rescued by some higher power.
In this context, to fix the time means that Alyona Ivanovna told Koch to meet her at this specific time so that they could conduct their business.
This man is likely referring to the name of a bar or tavern. However, Gambrinus is a legendary, European figure who serves as a kind of culture hero for drinking, brewing, and merrymaking. He is usually depicted as heavy set, bearded, and always holding a tankard.
Right before committing the deed, Raskolnikov feels himself becoming numb, and this "sudden giddiness" that comes over him does not refer to a state of excitement; rather it means that he suddenly experiences a dizzying sensation.
To unloosen a tongue in this context means to set the tongue free and put it into motion. This expression is used to indicate that someone suddenly starts speaking with emotion and without restraint, typically to chide or insult another person. Raskolnikov has violated her personal space, and Alyona Ivanovna verbally assaults him.
The Biblical story of Noah's Ark involves Noah securing pairs of all the world's animals into the safety of his boat (ark) before God sends a flood to Earth. The head clerk Zametov likely uses this expression to mean that the building is very large and full of different people, making it difficult for anyone to have seen the murderer.
Raskolnikov is not using this word to mean that he is happy and frivolous. Rather, he is in fact feeling sick and he uses this word to indicate to the head clerk that he is feeling dizzy and faint.
This "X" is not meant to indicate exactly what Raskolnikov said. Rather it is reflecting the original style that Dostoevsky had by showing the readers that Raskolnikov did say the name of the provide, but the censors have redacted, or removed, the name from the published copy of the novel.
This word is used as an insult to indicate that someone has poor or vulgar manners and behavior. Ilya Petrovitch likely calls Raskolnikov a cad because he considers not paying his debts a dishonorable thing to do.
There are several different terms for facial hair depending on where it is located on a man's face. In this instance, "whiskers" refers to facial hair that is grown only on a man's cheeks, with the chin and upper lip areas cleanly shaven.
In German, while "rock" can refer the same word in English, it also refers to a skirt, dress, robe, or kilt. Considering that Karl pulled this man away from the window by his coat, it is likely that "rock" in this context refers to his coat tails.
"quite" or "completely" [German}
Recall that this woman is flushed, buxom, and has put on too much perfume. Dostoevsky's original adjective pishnaya (пышная) is better translated as "voluptuous" or "grand" with connotations of flamboyance.
An IOU is a signed document that acknowledges a debt that one person owes another. While Dostoevsky did not use this term in his original work, the idea remains the same: Raskolnikov promised his landlady that he would pay her but has not delivered on that promise. Now the police are involved.
"I thank you" [German]. Recall how there are large numbers of Germans in St. Petersburg and working within the Russian Empire. Hearing German or even French in the capital city was likely fairly common.
In the original Russian, Dostoevsky simply wrote "лет двадцати двух" which translates to "about twenty two years old." Russian conforms to this style of numbering by placing the larger number first and then the smaller while other languages, such as German, will say the smaller number first and then the larger ("two and twenty"). The translator possibly chose to translate the man's age this way in order to emphasize how the age is more of a speculation rather than a fact.
When used as a verb, "warrant" can add emphasis to a person's statement or belief. In this case, Nastasya is emphasizing how strongly she believes that Raskolnikov has not eaten since the day before.
Aleksandr Nikolayevic Radishchev was a Russian author whose most famous work, A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, contains his strong opinions on topics such as emancipation of serfs and better condition for peasants. Rousseau is compared to Radishchev because they were both outspoken critics of social issues.
A charlatan is a person who pretends to have knowledge of something for the purposes of deceiving other people. In this instance, Razumihin uses the word to indicate that he believes the text to be a forgery.
Since Razumihin is talking about publishing, the meaning of this word doesn't refer to someone's name. A "signature" in this context means a sheet of paper that has been folded into pages for a book. Razumihin wants to show Raskolnikov what kinds of work he is talking about and presents him a sample.
Jove is another name for the Roman god Jupiter. When used in the colloquial expression "by Jove," it adds emphasis to the speaker's statement.
The original Russian for this word is "trubochist" (трубочист) which refers to a chimney sweep. This is likely a comment on how filthy Raskolnikov looks.
Modern readers will likely find this translation a little odd, but the core meaning should come across easily. The original Russian word chudak (чудак) means an "eccentric" or an "oddball."
Aside from its biological functions, the spleen was once believed to contain human emotions. In this instance, the spleen rising means that Raskolnikov is suddenly very angry.
The original Russian word here is "zhelob" (желоб) which translates to a "trough" or "gutter." "Sink" in this context likely refers to a depressed area where water can drain, making "gutter" a more probable translation.
The original Russian word here is "orden" (орден) which does translate to "decoration" but also translates to a "medal," like what one would receive for military service for example. This is more likely the case because the value of the medal would likely be high or it might be a sentimental possession that Alyona Ivanovna kept.
Dostoevsky originally had Razumihin say that Raskolnikov is restored in a new suit (ты теперь во всем костюме восстановлен). The choice to use a more casual translation with "rig-out," which means "outfit," provides more evidence for Razumihin's jovial and playful nature.
This is another example of Razumihin choosing more playful vocabulary to describe his friend Tolsyakov. Here he uses "bird's nest" to refer to his friend's hair, which described in this way gives the impression that it's rather unkempt and possibly dirty.
In this context, Razumihin uses "slavish" to mean that Tolstyakov takes his hat off in a perfunctory or obligatory way without any real genuine feeling of politeness.
Razumihin is having a little linguistic fun with a metaphor for a friend's hat. He calls Tolstyakov's hat a "pudding basin," which is an earthenware or glass bowl used to steam puddings.
This is the island where Raskolnikov ended up burying the jewelry and purse that he stole from the pawnbroker's apartment. It is situated between the Srednyaya Nevka, Malaya Nevka, and the Krestovka rivers--all tributaries of the Neva.
This "twinge" is likely a twinge of pain or sadness. Having just told Raskolnikov what he believed to be good news, Razumihin is saddened to see that this news only provokes an indifferent reaction from Raskolnikov.
Razumihin has formed these opinions of Praskovya Pavlovna, Raskolnikov's landlady, from a supernatural point of view; that is, he can't perceive with his senses how he knows this, but he indicates that it's more of a spiritual understanding.
Dostoevsky originally wrote "Well, you dog!" (Ну ты, пес!), and the translation here is emphasizing how Nastasya considers Razumihin to be one of a kind and somewhat of a scoundrel.
"Treacle" is another word for molasses, a kind of sweet, uncrystallized syrup. Money is not sweet, and so this comparison is helping to show how dear or precious money is to the men, and how badly they need money.
This kind of evidence is indirect and inferred from circumstances that let someone make certain assumptions. However, these assumptions can be varied and subject to multiple interpretations. Circumstantial evidence is not regarded as "hard" evidence and makes it more difficult to directly connect someone to a crime.
The river town of Kolomna is situated not far from Moscow. This description refers to men who are from the city and likely familiar with jobs that involve labor or working on or around rivers.
This is a historic location in the heart of St. Petersburg's central district situated next to the Neva River. It's name, "Peski," means sand and is derived from the nature of the soil in the area.
A "spree" means that a specific activity continues or carries on without stopping for some time. In this context, Nikolay had been drinking for a sustained and extended period of time.
This description refers to the Ryazan administrative region in Russia, which is located to the east of the city of Moscow and relatively far from St. Petersburg. A statement like this serves to inform listeners that they are not from one of the main cities, and perhaps take pride or camaraderie in such things.
Razumihin again interrupts the story to give his own personal opinions on the quality of Dushkin's character: what Dushkin says is not to be trusted because it's all lies (taradiddle).
This is a variant spelling of "rigmarole," which has several meanings. In the context of the peasant Dushkin's speech, rigmarole means a long, complicated, and confusing description of what happened.
A "pikestaff" refers to the wooden shaft of a pike, a spear-like weapon. Razumihin uses this simile to mean that something was very obvious or "as plain as day."
This translation is rather direct and a little stilted, but the meaning is true to the original words, kto takoi? (Кто такой?). Zossimov wants to know what Razumihin's uncle does for a living.
This Russian proverb is similar to English sayings such as "I've got too much on my plate" or "I've got too many irons in the fire." The meaning behind all of these is that you can't accomplish your goals if you have too many things to do at once.
This is a rather obscure line in translation and in the original Russian, which says "Practicality walks about in boots" (Деловитость в сапогах ходит). Regardless of the actual meaning, it does appear that Razumihin is using this slang expression to emphasize his point that there's no practicality.
Readers will recall that Marmeladov told Raskolnikov that this man lives in the same building as the Marmeladovs, has physically harmed Marmeladov's wife, Katerina Ivanovna, in the past, and considers himself an intellectual.
At first glance, this might suggest a region of the city. However, in the original Russian, Razumihin said "on Voznesensky" (на Вознесенском) which is a main street in the central district in St. Petersburg.
Louvain is the French spelling of Leuven, a city in central Belgium known for its wool products. By choosing the words "real Louvain," Dostoevsky is emphasizing how valuable the lavender gloves are and reinforcing the image Raskolnikov is formulating in his mind about Luzhin: that the man is trying too hard to impress.
While there are many meanings of the word "invalid," in this context Luzhin is referring to how Raskolnikov has been made infirm and weak from his sickness rather than any kind of permanent disability.
This anguish is not from the physical illness that Raskolnikov has been suffering from. He has just listened to Razumihin share the whole account of the murder with Zossimov, and Raskolnikov must be suffering from hearing his friend's opinions on it and how he disagrees with the police's current investigation.
The rack is a torture device that was used throughout Europe particularly during the medieval ages. The design was slightly different in Russia, where it is called a dyba (дыба). Victims were suspended from a gallows-like structure and then whipped or burned with torches in addition to being stretched by the ropes.
Zossimov has a gold pocket watch. A hunter-case is a type of pocket watch that has a spring-hinged circular metal lid that closes over the watch-face and the crystal to protect them from harm or dust.
That is, Razumihin addressed him in such a familiar way that the gentleman was unsettled by this comment. This detail tells the readers how the gentleman is apparently used to being addressed in particular ways and is therefore not at ease in less formal situations and environments.
Dostoevsky uses this expression to remind the readers of how small and cramped Raskolnikov's garret is. Since the space is very small for only one person, it is very crowded in this moment, and Luzhin has to squeeze his way into the room to find a place to sit.
The "something" Raskolnikov expected might either refer to how Luzhin differs from what Raskolnikov expected, or it may refer to the fact that Raskolnikov expected someone completely different, perhaps a policeman, to enter the room instead of his sister's fiance.
This expression is synonymous with the word "primping" and generally means to spend time grooming oneself and dressing in a very nice and fancy way.
"Enough said!" [French] Dostoevsky and other Russian writers would sometimes include French and German phrases in their works without any translations; for example, Tolstoy was known for writing large sections of text in French. This has to due with the complicated history that the educated Russian classes have had with foreign languages with French often being a sign of erudition and almost an expectation in civilized society.
Raskolnikov calls Zametov a cock-sparrow (or little sparrow from the original Russian воробушек). This slang expression refers to someone who has the characteristics of a sparrow and typically means sometone is quick-witted or intelligent.
Russian borrowed this word and its meaning from German, which differs from how it's used in the United States. Here, it refers a school designed to prepare students for university, such as a high school or a private institute.
In the original Russian, Raskolnikov reads off a list of names to show that he is hunting through the papers. In this translation, those names are not included and simply covered by this statement to indicate that he found a lot of useless information.
This is a phenomenon in which something bursts into flame, seemingly without reason or warning. Modern scientific investigations have shown that oily rags, hay, leaves, coal, or cigarettes can be the cause of this type of incident.
A "dram" is a small amount of whiskey or liquor. In this case, a dram shop then likely refers to a location where one can purchase hard alcohol.
Close to the Hay Market, Sadovy (Sadovaya) Street is not far from where Raskolnikov stays, and it is also the street on which the pawnbroker lived. Historically and currently, it is a major street in the center of the city and has great cultural and historical significance.
Zaraysk is a town and the name of an administrative center not far from Moscow and to the south of Kolomna. Raskolnikov is trying to establish a connection between this man and the other one; however, he is met with a sarcastic rebuttal for his efforts.
A chandler can mean someone who makes candles for a living. However, when it is prefaced with a type of resource, such as corn here, then the meaning changes to someone who sells that type of resource.
In this context, this word means that Razumihin is a kind of savior for Raskolnikov's mother and sister because they know how instrumental he has been in Raskolnikov's recovery and they look to him for further guidance.
Katerina Ivanovna directly insults Madame Leppeveschel by calling her “Amalia Ludwigovna.” Ludwig is a German name, and by using it to make a Russian patronymic name, Katerina Ivanovna suggests that Leppeveschel's father was a German of questionable descent and not a Russian.
This translation is a little confusing. The original Russian could directly translate as "the doctor, apparently, lived across the house." However, the meaning here is more that the doctor lives one house over or across from where they are currently located.
This is a German word that made its way into the Russian language. Kammer is German for "chamber" and a junker is a kind of rank for civil service. In Russia, a kammerjunker represents a title for a Chamber Groom in court ranks, and serves as a title given to a courtier or an attendant to a ruler.
This translation is a little off the mark. The original Russian says, "no ved'...ty tozhe" (но ведь... и ты тоже), which better translates to, "but you, you are one too." Razumihin is ashamed of his behavior, but he also considers Zametov's comments about Dounia to also be disgraceful.
This colloquial expression is shorthand for "to skin a flint," which is to say that someone like this is very cheap and tries to save all the money they can. This is particularly descriptive of Luzhin because he has chosen to put his fiancee and her mother up in very inexpensive accommodations.
This word typically means a person who behaves in a dishonorable way. Razumihin uses this choice word to emphasize his belief that Luzhin is not a good person and has deliberately chosen poor lodgings for Dounia and her mother instead of providing them with accommodations that are more befitting.
The others in the room interpret this line much differently than the real meaning behind it. Raskolnikov can't stand the sight of his mother and sister because of the guilt he still feels. He knows how much they love and cherish him, and he finds himself unworthy of such affection in his current condition.
The young woman Luzhin mentions is Marmeladov's daughter Sonia. He uses the word "notorious" here, which means famous in a bad way, to refer to Sonia's work as a prostitute. His intention would be clear to everyone, since "a young woman of notorious behavior" has strong connotations of sinful behavior, which, for a woman, typically signified prostitution.
Raskolnikov makes an allusion to Romeo, one of the titular characters from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. This makes it clear that Raskolnikov is teasing Razumihin about being in love with Dounia, since calling someone a "Romeo" implies that they are lovestruck.
This idiomatic expression, which can also be phrased "cut to the quick," refers to someone feeling injured or emotionally upset at someone else's comments or actions. In this case, Raskolnikov has just said something rather harmless, but Razumihin feels upset and a little offended by this statement.
In the original Russian, Dostoevsky used the verb poklonitsya (поклониться) here. This translates more closely to "to bow," which in this context likely means to acknowledge. The choice of "greet" might refer to how Pulcheria Alexandrova didn't greet Sonia when the girl entered and fails to acknowledge her presence here as well.
Raskolnikov is worried that inviting Sonia to sit on the bed would send the wrong message. He has just said that he met Sonia for the first time at Marmeladov's house, and so he doesn't want to invite her to sit on the bed because it is too familiar, which in this context means "intimate."
Sonia is referring to the funeral service for her father, which is being held at Mitrofanievsky Cemetery. This cemetery was known for being a place where those with low incomes were buried in the 19th century. Dostoevsky's choice of this place for Marmeladov's funeral is another reminder of how destitute they are.
It is unclear why the translator uses "lawyer" for следователь. The original Russian word directly translates to "investigator," and readers should be aware that Porfiry is in fact a kind of detective and not a lawyer.
"To vouchsafe" means to give something to someone in a gracious or condescending manner. Raskolnikov is saying that anyone, even cows and animals, have the ability to imagine themselves to be more than they really are. This comparison of ordinary people to cattle should reinforces the callousness of his theory and attitude towards those he deems "ordinary."
New Jerusalem refers to two things in this context. First, Raskolnikov uses it to mean the end of the world as we know it with the second coming of Jesus Christ. Second, it refers to the paradise were all Christians who have had their soul saved by Jesus will spend their eternal afterlives.
“vive la guerre éternelle”–[French] “live the eternal war”
In the original Russian, Dostoevsky wrote даже способные сказать что-нибудь новенькое, which can translate as it is here, but it can be better understood as "having the ability to say something new." In this context, being able to say something new means that someone is capable of original thought, and therefore, extraordinary.
This word refers to buildings in a self-sustaining community. These kinds of buildings represent the ideal social organization for living put forth by a French Utopian socialist named Charles Fourier.
That is, Porfiry's answer demonstrates that he doesn't sympathize or care for the kind of financial situation Raskolnikov is in. Pecuniary, here, is an adjective used to describe something as relating to or consisting of money.
In the original Russian, Porfify simply says that it's a loss for the treasury (казне ведь убыток). Considering how the translator has used English currency and references in other places, this choice keeps with the assumption that the audience comes from an English background--which would associate government losses with the Crown or national government.
While Dostoevsky originally wrote that Profiry good-naturedly cried out these words (весело закричал), this translation choice adds to the actual dialogue by suggesting that "a loss to the Crown" is a cliched term used by those in government positions.
The "it" here refers to that crime, and Razumihin really wants to give Raskolnikov the benefit of the doubt; however, he is also an intelligent man and cannot ignore evidence. Based on the discussion in the previous chapter, Razumihin now knows that Porfiry and Zametov suspect Raskolnikov in the murder of the pawnbroker and he cannot help entertaining this idea as well.
This is an uncommon and generally unaccepted form of the comparison for "more just." A more plausible translation for справедливее would be "fairer."
pour vous plaire -- [French] "in order to please you"
j'ai le vin mauvais – [French] mauvais here means "mean," and so the idea is that someone who says "j'ai le vin mauvais" becomes mean or angry when they drink.
This is similar to the term "a card shark." Like that term, it indicates a professional card-playing ability, but it has a more specific meaning for someone who makes a living by cheating at card games.
This was a famous gathering place for intellectual types and advanced thinkers where they could share meals and ideas. Svidrigaïlov uses this list to emphasize what kind of city Petersburg has become for him.
bonne guerre -- [French] literally "good war" but can be understood as "fair game."
et nihil humanum – [Latin] “nothing human is alien to me.” Svidrigaïlov uses this Latin phrase to say that he is a man familiar with what it means to be human, and therefore, he has human emotions and desires.
Raskolnikov uses this expression to mean that Luzhin is criticizing and verbally assaulting Sonia. It is also reminiscent of the phrase, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones." In this case, Luzhin, who is easily offended, should not insult others for qualities and characteristics when he himself is also susceptible to similar criticism.
This is a rather odd idiomatic phrase that possibly represents an ephemeral expression from Russian in the 19th century. While its meaning is a little obscure, it could likely be understood as similar to the expression "It's not rocket science"--which means that something is easy enough to do.
schwach -- [German] This word means "weak" in English, and this is one of the few times in the story that Razumihin lies. Note, however, that he does this in order to help his friend.
Notice Dostoevsky's use of the inclusive possessive pronoun "our." Considering that his intended audience at the time of writing was most likely exclusively Russian, he uses this pronoun to stand for "Russian."
Pyotr Petrovitch uses the word "black" here to emphasize how strongly he believes the ingratitude to be. "Black" can have connotations of "evil," "hostile," or "atrocious," and this applies particularly well to how affected his character feels after being sent out from the apartment.
This is a service for someone who has died, also called a Requiem Mass, at which those assembled sing for the deceased. It is common in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.
Earlier in the story, Marmeladov told Raskolnikov that all of the Kapernaumovs have cleft palates. This likely is the reason why they "stammer" or have trouble speaking--the were born with small deformities in their mouths.
Raskolnikov likens Porfiry to a well-known clown to insult him for being short, stout, and foolish. Punchinello, Punch, or Pulcinella is a classical character from the commedia dell'arte of the 17th century.
Privy Councillors are certain people who advise the head of state of a nation, usually in the context of a monarchic government. Since Russia had a Tsar at the time, Porfiry is referring to the highest ranking councillors that advised the Tsar. "Privy" means "secret" or "private," and thus gives the idea that these councillors were some of the most powerful people advising the Tsar.
c'est de rigueur -- [French] "It is the rule [or regulation]." The choice to use French here after talking about high society is significant, because Russia's elite have historically learned to speak French.
In this context, "intimate" refers to a very close and friendly relationship rather than an intimately sexual relationship.
In the original Russian, Porfiry says в семя пошел. "семя" refers to seed and also has an association with male reproductive fluids. The context of this quote suggests that Porfiry has gone to future generations, to posterity and will not have any children or family of his own.
India-rubber is another term for natural rubber, or caoutchouc, made from the latex of certain trees and other plants in Indonesia and other places around the globe. It is highly elastic and flexible, which is probably why Porfiry uses it in his simile for emphasizing just how much he sometimes shakes with laughter.
Raskolnikov momentarily comments on the "stupid" repetition of this word. English readers might thing that this word choice is ironic considering that "capital" has meanings associated with capital punishment and capital crimes, such as murder. However, Dostoevsky uses славный in the original Russian, which translates to "glorious" or "nice." The irony then, is more that they are talking about "glorious" things that really are not.
tout court – [French] “very short” or “very brief”; Porfiry uses this as a type of apology for the familiar way he has addressed Raskolnikov because they do not know each other well enough for Porfiry to address Raskolnikov so informally.
By cutting both ways, Raskolnikov means that his delirium or psychology acts as both evidence against him and as evidence in his defense due to its circumstantial nature.
Luzhin means Madeira wine, which is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. He includes this in his list of items to try and show how irresponsibly Katerina Ivanova spent her money on the funeral lunch.
This French word translates to "we distinguish," which in this context Lebeziatnikov uses it to present his beliefs on what present society considers normal and what the future society will consider normal.
This is a mistranslation. "Libel" refers to a published false statement that damages someone's reputation. "Slander," which is the correct translation, means a false spoken statement that damages someone's reputation.
This refers to an abacus, a mathematical instrument that involves sliding beads along a wire to compute equations.
Scrofulous is a disease, likely a kind of tuberculosis, that makes glands in the body swell. It's possible that the word here refers more to Semyonovich's general personality rather than his physical condition.
Dostoevsky originally wrote "в пух и прах" which has a literal translation of "in down and dust." Idiomatically this expression has a meaning like the one here, which means dressed very nicely.
Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin makes an anti-Semitic comment, using a stereotype to chastise himself for not being generous with his money.
Jaundice is a medical condition that results in a yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes from a variety of possible causes: obstruction of the bile duct, excessive breakdown of red blood cells, or liver disease, sometimes brought on by excessive and continued alcohol consumption.
Burgomeister, or Bürgermeister in the German, refers to person who holds the position of mayor of a small town.
die Wäsche -- [German] "the laundry"
en toutes lettres -- [French] "fully spelled out
vater aus Berlin -- [German] "father from Berlin
This uncommon word is synonymous with a "slattern," or a woman considered dirty and untidy.
Marmeladov had a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a rooster in his pocket for the children. Katerina Ivanovna uses this as evidence for his being a good person in spite of his alcoholism.
That is, the widow wears make up at an age that Katerina Ivanovna considers to be too old for doing such a thing, so she views this activity as gossip worthy and suspicious.
A "sally" in this context refers to a witty remark meant as an attack or retort against someone. Much of Katerina Ivanovna's speech in this passage should make the reader suspect of her mental health and physical condition.
pan -- [Polish] "gentleman" or "sir"
This word has a chiefly military meaning, referring to a branch of the armed forces of a country that delivers food and other supplies to the soldiers.
pani -- [Polish] "lady" or "madam"
lajdak -- [Polish] a "scoundrel" or "villain"
The emphasis here is likely Dostoevsky's way of showing the readers that Katerina Ivanovna produced such an effect on the people in the room that even Luzhin, who has arranged this plan, is moved to pity.
This cry of exasperation roughly translates to "God the Merciful" or "Oh, merciful God." The important point here is that Amalia is more comfortable cursing in German instead of Russian.
This word usually takes a noun form to mean someone made to do dull, hard, and menial labor. It's less common in the verb form, and Raskolnikov uses it here to say that working as a governess was beneath his sister.
Whether someone catches, clutches, or grasps at straws, the meaning is the same: they are continuing to look for solutions or ideas, no matter how slight, to resolve a question or problem.
Siberia is located in central Russian and is one of the coldest and most difficult places to live. Traditionally, rebels, dissidents, and intellectuals were sent there for punishment. When Sonia says that she'll go to Siberia with Raskolnikov, she is effectively saying that she'll follow him to the ends of the earth.
Raskolnikov rudely tells Sonia to stay and listen to him, ignoring her concerns that Katerina Ivanovna and the children might be in trouble. Such lack of concern on his part reinforces how egotistical and self-important Raskolnikov still is.
Was willst du mehr -- [German] "What, you want more." This is a more literal translation; however, in the context, we can understand this German phrase more like, "What's next?" or "What else do you want?"
Glissez, glissez! pas de basque... -- [French] "Slip, slide! Don't do the basque..." In this context, Katerina Ivanovna uses French to tell her children to move more gracefully and not do ballet steps.
Marlborough s'en va-t-en guerre – [French] “Marlborough is going to war”
tenez vous droite -- [French] "stand up straight." Many members of the upper class in Russia fluently spoke French. Katerina Ivanovna's use of French here, however, is out of place and clearly done in an affected way.
Since a "gutter" is a low play on a roof or street designed to carry off rainwater, using this word to describe children indicates that they are very low on the social ladder, possibly orphans.
Dostoevsky originally used the Russian verb очнуться here, which can mean "to wake up" but in this context would have been better translated as "to come to oneself." The idea is that Lebeziatnikov got lost in his thoughts and suddenly realized what was going on around him.
tête-à-tête – [French] “one-on-one;” "head-to-head"; typically referringt to a private meeting
This translation does not adequately represent the original Russian. Dostoevsky wrote "Молодец Миколка, что признался" which can be translated and understood as "Good job, Mikolka, for confessing." Mikolka is an affectionate nickname for Nikolay. Razumihin should be understood as praising Nikolay rather than insulting him.
Since Svidrigaïlov orders them to sing the requiem service twice a day, then the original Russian word панихида, here translated as "requiem service," could also be translated as a "dirge," or a song of lament for the dead.
Porifry is referring to suicide. While he doesn't believe Raskolnikov would try to kill himself, he does state these lines to subtly reinforce the notion that this would be a weak-willed way to end things and that Raskolnikov would be best served by confessing.
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1905) was a German romantic poet. Based on his works and ideas, his name became synonymous with things or behavior that are considered noble, good, and worthwhile. Someone described as "schiller-like" would not do depraved or vulgar things.
Porfiry alludes to a passage from biblical book of Matthew 7:7-8 (also found in Luke 11:9-10) to make his point that Raskolnikov ought to realize that life has meaning and is worth living. The biblical verse not only reinforces the theme of redemption in the story, but it also helps to provide context for Raskolnikov to understand that he does not have to be destined for punishment if he only seeks out forgiveness.
That is, Porfiry is waiting for Nikolay to admit that he has made up all of the evidence and his confession regarding the killing of the old woman.
In the original Russian, the syntax is different. For instance, instead of "Old Believer," Dostoevsky wrote "raskol'nik" (раскольник), which translates to "schismatic." Instead of "schismatic", he wrote "sektant" (сектант), which translates to "sectarian" in English. Russian schismatics were people who belonged to sects that broke from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century. Interestingly, the Russian word for sectarian, or schismatic, is raskol'nik (раскольник).
morgen früh -- [German] "tomorrow morning" or "early in the morning"
umsonst -- [German] "to no avail" or "in vain"
Recall that when Porfiry's profession was first introduced, the word "lawyer" was questioned. The original Russian word "следователь" directly translates to "investigator," and here, Porfiry is saying that even though he tries to be a rationally minded crime investigator, he can't help but realize that he has his own biases.
The double negative in the syntax here is a little confusing. Originally, Dostoevsky wrote "а то я и не знаю, до чего бы между нами дошло," which loosely translates to "but I do not know what would have happened between us."
Raskolnikov feels this "disgust" shortly after Porfiry starts speaking for a few reasons. "Disgust" typically refers to strong feelings of revulsion or profound disapproval, and when Porfiry begins with "his professional tricks again," Raskolnikov not only remembers how badly their previous interview went, but he also feels a sense of disgust at Porfiry speaking with him as if they weren't intellectual equals.
While this construction may appear odd in English, the original Russian has a different connotation. The doctor is just telling these things to Porfiry without expecting a response--almost as if he were just hitting him with the words.
Considering the context of this sentence, it is likely that this word indicates that Svidrigaïlov is somewhat intoxicated from the wine. "Exhilarated" normally means very happy and animated, and so the idea that he is acting this way honestly is a little tarnished by the fact that he's also been drinking.
assez causé -- [French] "enough talk." Svidrigailov is using this French expression to say that he's too drunk to continue speaking to Raskolnikov, which also potentially indicates that he realizes he has said more than he intended.
adieu, mon plaisir -- [French] directly "farewell, my pleasure." Plaisir, in this instance, acts as a term of endearment.
O la vertu va-t-elle se nicher? – [French] “Where does virtue go to lodge?”
This is a type of dance that originated in France around the middle of the 19th century. When it was revealed, it created moral outrage because of how scandalous it was considered. (The female dancers showed their legs.)
la nature et la vérité -- [French] "the nature and the truth"
cher ami -- [French] "dear friend"
This word means chaste or pure and is derived from the Roman goddess Vesta who represented the concepts of virginity, home, and family.
While this word originally referred to a prostitute, this meaning has become archaic over the years, and it is now either used humorously or derisively to refer to any girl or young woman.
This has typically referred to the land in south-western Asia that is predominantly occupied by present-day Turkey. The implication is that Dounia has such a noble bearing that she would have been perfectly at home in a high-class and exotic place.
oraison funèbre -- [French] "funeral oration" or a "eulogy"
People who could not pay debts to landlords or other institutions were sent to a special kind of prison. These were fairly common throughout the 19th century, and those with debt would be sentenced to labor until they had worked off their debt. For those will very large debts, this would have amounted to near-permanent servitude to the state.
Since there is no explicit subject in the original Russian, the choice of "it" in the translation refers to what Svidrigailov has told Dounia. The original Russian reads, "Сильно подействовало," and it can also be translated as "It has a strong affect." Considering Svidrigailov's character, it is possible that he is saying these things to Dounia for selfish and evil purposes.
une théorie comme une autre – [French] “one theory is like another”
Svidrigailov's choice of saying that he's going "to America" represents the notion that America was a land of purity and freedom, removed from Europe and its problems. For many Russians, traveling to America was prohibitively expensive. In this way, "America" refers to an impossible ideal, dream, or a kind of heaven.
The guard's protest has two meanings: First, he (or anyone, for that matter) wouldn't want someone to commit suicide at their place of work. Second, he is also saying that there is never a "good place" for suicide to occur.
It's possible that Dostoevsky uses this description to illustrate how difficult life was for Jewish people in Imperial Russia and Europe. In many places, Jewish citizens were considered subordinate to Russians, which likely is represented by the "peevish dejection" that Dostoevsky uses to describe this man's face.
café chantant -- [French] "singing cafe." Svidrigailov is referring to a a kind of café that featured music, sometimes lighthearted and sometimes risqué. It's possible he thinks of this because of how shabbily his clothes must look.
A "Vauxhall" was originally a particular and famous pleasure resort and restaurant from the 17th century that featured music. Due to its popularity, the name became synonymous for any outdoor restaurant as well as gardens throughout Europe that imitated it.
nihil est --- [Latin] "Nothing is." Nihilism comes from this latin expression, and alludes to the negativism of the nihilist movement in 19th century Russia.
The story of Abraham features prominently in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and all Abrahamic religions. The choice of "age of Abraham...had not passed" in this passage in meant to invoke a feeling of the ancient and ideal past before the troubles and worries of modern civilization.