Davai Meaning in Russian, Usage, Examples, and Pronunciation

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Davai (давай) literally means "give" in Russian. However, the word is used in many expressions with different meanings, the most popular of which is "come on." In this article, we look at ten different ways to use давай.

Davai Meaning

The verb давай is in the imperative singular mood in the imperfective aspect. Due to the fact that Russian only has three tenses—past, present, and future—aspects are necessary in order to show if an action is complete or incomplete.

The imperfective aspect points to an ongoing or incomplete action. This means that in the case of давай, the aspect of the verb indicates that the "giving" is ongoing. Although this verb is literally translated as a command "continually give," it is most often not used as such and performs instead as "let's," "bye," or "come on."

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Ну всё, давай.

Pronunciation: noo VSYO, daVAI

Translation: then that's all, give

Meaning: all right then, bye

Used as a friendly goodbye, this expression is suitable for informal speech only and indicates that the speaker has positive intentions and wishes the other person good luck.


- Ну всё, давай, пока. (noo VSYO, daVAI, paKAH)
- Okay then, see you, bye.

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Давай я тебе покажу

Pronunciation: daVAI ya tyBYE padaZHOO

Translation: give I will show you

Meaning: let me show you

Used to mean "let's," this way of using давай is suitable for any register, formal or informal. Remember to conjugate the verb according to the correct second person (singular/familiar ты or plural/respectful вы):

давай (daVAI) - singular "you"
давайте (daVAItye) - plural "you"


- Давайте я вам всё сейчас расскажу. (daVAItye ya vam VSYO syCHAS raskaZHOO)
- How about I tell you all about it now.

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Давай мириться

Pronunciation: daVAI myREETsa

Translation: give to make up

Meaning: let's make up

Used in a similar way to the previous expression, here давай means "let's" and is suitable for any register.


- А давай поженимся? (a daVAI paZHYEnimsya?)
- And what if we get married?

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Давай не будем

Pronunciation: daVAI ny BOOdym

Translation: give we will not be

Meaning: let's not, let's not start

Another universal meaning of давай, this expression is suitable for all registers but has negative connotations.


- Вот давай только не будем друг другу врать. (vot daVAI TOL'ka ny BOOdym DROOK DROOgoo VRAT')
- Let's just not lie to each other, alright?

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Давай, иди! and Иди давай!

Pronunciation: daVAI, eeDEE/eDEE daVAI

Translation: give, go!/go, give!

Meaning: go on, go!/go on, get out!

A somewhat aggressive command, this expression is suitable for informal speech only.


- Ну и что ты стоишь? Давай, иди! (noo ee SHTOH ty staEESH? daVAI, eeDEE!)
- What are you still standing here for? Go on, get out!

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Давайте подождём

Pronunciation: daVAItye padazhDYOM

Translation: give we will wait

Meaning: let's wait (plural)

A universal and polite request, this way to use давай is fine for any social situation.


- Давайте подождём, наверняка они скоро подойдут. (daVAItye padaZHDYOM, navyrnyKAH aNEE SKOra padayDOOT)
- Let's wait for them, I'm sure they will be here soon.

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Давай не надо

Pronunciation: daVAI ny NAda

Translation: give not needed

Meaning: don't, don't start, let's not start

Very similar to давай не будем, the expression is more informal due to the deliberately awkward grammar.


- Вот давай только не надо, надоело уже. (vot daVAI TOL'ka ny NAda, nadaYEla ooZHE)
- Can we just not, it's getting old.

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Ну давай уж

Pronunciation: noo daVAI oozh

Translation: well give already

Meaning: fine then, fair enough, okay fine

Another informal expression, ну давай уж indicates that the speaker either seeks a compromise or generously agrees to one.


- Ну давай уж хотя бы завтра, а? (noo daVAI oozh naTYA by ZAFtra, ah?)
- Come on, how about at least tomorrow, please?

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Ну тогда давай

Pronunciation: noo tagDA daVAI

Translation: well then give

Meaning: in that case let's (do it)

Another agreement-related expression, this is more universal and can be used in most social situations.


- Ну тогда давай, уговорил. (noo tagDA daVAI, oogavaREEL)
- Fine, let's do it then, you've convinced me.

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Давай уж как-нибудь

Pronunciation: daVAI oozh kak-nyBOOD'

Translation: give already somehow

Meaning: let's somehow, try your best

Another expression that has more than one meaning, давай уж как-нибудь usually means that the speaker is trying to sort out a situation by persuading someone. However, it can also be used in a sarcastic way to mean "do your best" or "manage somehow."


- Давайте уж как-нибудь всё это сделаем, я вас очень прошу. (daVAItye oozh kak-neeBOOD' vsyo EHta SDYElaem, ya vas Ochen' praSHOO)
- Let's get this done somehow, I'm begging you.

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Nikitina, Maia. "Davai Meaning in Russian, Usage, Examples, and Pronunciation." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/davai-meaning-in-russian-4773317. Nikitina, Maia. (2020, August 28). Davai Meaning in Russian, Usage, Examples, and Pronunciation. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/davai-meaning-in-russian-4773317 Nikitina, Maia. "Davai Meaning in Russian, Usage, Examples, and Pronunciation." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/davai-meaning-in-russian-4773317 (accessed June 10, 2023).