Why do sailors shout: "Polundra!"? What does "halfway" mean?

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Why do sailors shout: "Polundra!"? What does "halfway" mean?
Why do sailors shout: "Polundra!"? What does "halfway" mean?

Sometimes in the movie, someone yells "Half!" What does this word mean? This is how boys in the yard can scream when one of the adults approaches them - a teacher or an angry passerby. So in films they warn about the danger of being noticed by someone from whom they hide their actions. The meaning of the word is not very clear: is it a designation of danger, an order to scatter, or something else? What do dictionaries say about the etymology of the word "polundra"? Where did it come from?

What does "polundra" mean and how did this term appear

You may be surprised, but the word "polundra" did not appear in Russia. It's an old sailor's term. It was spoken in English and Dutch. It sounds about the same. Compare:

  • English: fallunder - "to fall down";
  • Dutch: van onderen - "from below".

This cry was heard during the unloading of the ship, the attack, while working on top. He meant the order to becareful when a load falls from above. Historians testify that the Dutch sailors could take refuge in the hold when shouting "half a day"

Peter the Great and the Russian Navy

When the tsar-innovator decided to build the Russian fleet, he thoroughly got down to business. He himself delved into all the subtleties of the nautical order. Of course, he tried to introduce Russian terms, but international maritime words already existed. It was not only frivolous, but also dangerous to brush them aside. In emergency cases, the team's understanding of orders must be unconditional, there is no time for an interpreter.

Peter the Great

Russian sailors renamed the term "polundra". The meaning of the word has not changed, it still meant danger. But now the meaning has expanded a little and had a connotation of "beware." Over time, the term left the fleet of Western countries, but remained in the marine terms of Russia. English-speaking countries use stand from under instead, which means "leave from below".

Spreading the term to other professions

Ushakov's dictionary mentions the use of the term by firefighters. The Naval Dictionary specifies what a sailor's "half-time" is: it is a shout for people on deck, which orders to move away from the trajectory of a dropped object. Efremova's dictionary includes a modern interpretation of the word, which means a warning about danger.

In Vyatka there was a fire truck, which bore its own name - "Polundra". The car had a fire chimney on a gasoline engine. They gave this to Vyatka firefightersmiracle of technology in 1922. It was the first car in the fire department. The team's readiness time began to range from 15 to 25 seconds. Now you can buy a modern toy - a fire truck "Polundra". And in St. Petersburg, that was the name of the fire steamer.

Firefighters and semindra

During the war, shouting "Polundra!" the sailors went on the attack. They used it instead of the traditional "Hurrah!"

Promotion of the term in cinema and literature

The style of realism arose more than a century ago. With the beginning of the era of cinema, he also penetrates the screens. Writers and screenwriters in the twentieth century began to actively use professionalism. Real nautical terms appeared in the sailors' dialogues. So the audience learned what "half a day" means. Along with literature, the language also developed, actively including professionalisms in everyday vocabulary. They began to quote the heroes of the films who were already closer to the people.

Some movie quotes:

  • In the 1979 cartoon about Captain Vrungel, his assistant shouts: "Half! We're sinking!" In the film "Battleship Potemkin", which was filmed much earlier, they would have used the command "Whistle everyone up!". Why? It's just that this word was not yet familiar enough to the mass audience.
  • In the cartoon "We are looking for an inkblot", the teaser "Uncle Fedya ate the bear" was followed by an exclamation: "Polundra!"
  • In the film "Volga-Volga", when the ship ran aground, people shouted: "Polundra!"
  • In the film "Ivan Brovkin onvirgin soil" Ivan Silych says: "Polundra! Vlip!"
  • In the film "Love and Doves" Vasily and Uncle Mitya poured port wine into cups. Suddenly Uncle Mitya whispered: "Vasily! Polundra!" And Baba Shura immediately came in.
  • In the film "Striped Flight" the hero, seeing footprints, shouts: "Polundra! Animal footprints!"
Polundra, Vasily!

In literature, slang words and professionalism began to flicker especially often from the beginning of the seventies. Before that, even in the works of Kaverin, Rybakov and Gaidar, schoolchildren spoke a pure literary language.

How the word is used now

So the word came into use, and people began to use it in an informal setting to indicate some kind of danger. Now they could, in any unpleasant situation requiring immediate action, say: "Polundra!" Synonyms for the word:

  • atas;
  • save yourself who can;
  • beware;
  • nix.

In the youth environment in the seventies of the last century, the word "polundra" became slang. It got into the active vocabulary through the demobilized guys, who, after completing their service, were considered samples of real men. Young guys listened to their conversations and absorbed new words. Especially shrouded in such romanticism.


Now there is a radio, an interactive game, a film, songs and musical compositions, in the titles and texts of which there is the word "polundra". What does it mean - "beware".

Eggplant Polundra

The word "polundra" has become colloquial, entered the lexical composition of everyday words. It can be found in an unexpected place - on a counter with seeds, for example. And this surprises no one.

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