Russian avos'  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Russian avos' (Template:Lang-ru) describes a philosophy of behavior, or attitude of a person who ignores possible problems or hassles and, at the same time, expects or hopes for no negative results or consequences. It is an attitude that treats life as unpredictable and that the best one can do is count on luck.


"Avos" (авось) proper is a Russian word that can be used either as a particle or a noun. As a particle, "avos" is close in meaning to "hopefully" or "maybe" (when talking of something hoped for and uncertain). When used as a noun, "avos" means "hit or miss", "hope against hope", or "something done under risk and in the hope for good result in the end". The avos' attitude is believed by many to be intrinsic to Russian character, just as is the notion of "sud'ba" (судьба) which roughly translates, depending on the context, as "destiny," "convocation," "fate," or "fatum."

This kind of attitude has been described in Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov; earlier, Alexander Pushkin ironically called avos' "the Russian shibboleth" (Eugene Onegin, chapter X).

See also

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