100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (2023)

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (1)

Today I'm delighted to feature a guest post by Lesley Vos about basic Ukrainian phrases.

If you've got Ukrainian friends or are planning a trip to the country, then the 100+ phrases you learn here are sure to come in handy!

By the time you finish this post, you'll be ready to have your first conversations and deal with common situations in Ukraine with confidence. Enjoy!

Over to Lesley…

Let’s face it…

Even if you’re planning a trip to Ukraine, you’re not probably thinking of learning Ukrainian unless you expect to stay a long time.

It’s one thing if you’re visiting for a number of months, but it’s hard to motivate yourself to put in so much effort learning Ukrainian if you’re just visiting for a few days.

But whether you’re planning a short or a long trip to Ukraine, learning a little of the language is a worthwhile thing to do!

Yes, most young people in Ukraine speak English; and they are responsive, hospitable, and ready to help.

But if you speak some basic Ukrainian, your chances of enjoying the trip and understanding the local culture are significantly higher!

Plus, the appreciative smiles you receive from the locals will more than justify your efforts to learn the basics!

In this post, you’ll learn 100+ common words and basic Ukrainian phrases so you can have your first interactions in the language.

To make it easier for you, I’ve divided the phrases up into the main sections that form the building blocks of conversation:

  1. Saying Hello In Ukrainian
  2. Basic Ukrainian Phrases For Getting To Know People
  3. Ukrainian Question Words
  4. Getting Around In Ukraine
  5. Asking For Directions
  6. Having A Bite To Eat
  7. Asking For Help
  8. Dealing With Problems
  9. Being Polite
  10. Getting Emotional In Ukrainian
  11. Essential Everday Ukrainian Words
  12. Saying Goodbye
  13. Ukrainian Idioms

By the end of this post, I bet you’ll have fallen in love with this beautiful language!

(Note: All of the examples in this post are written in the Cyrillic alphabet, which Ukrainian uses. However, we’ve also included transliterations in case you don’t read Cyrillic yet!)

Saying Hello In Ukranian

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (2)

Ukrainian is a rich language with dozens of words to meet and greet people.

Of course, you don’t have to know them all when want to say hi; but being familiar with the most common ones will help you make a positive impression.

1. Привіт! (pry-vIt) — Hello!]

2. Вітаю! (vi-tA-ju) — Greetings

3. Доброго ранку! (dO-bro-ho rAn-ku) — Good morning!

3. Доброго дня! (dO-bro-ho dnja) — Good afternoon!

4. Доброго вечора! (dO-bro-ho vE-cho-ra) — Good evening!

5. Як ся маєш? (jak sjA mA-jesh) — How are you doing?

6. Як справи? (jak sprA-vy) — How are you?

7.Добре, дякую! (dO-bre, djA-ku-ju) — I’m fine, thanks!

8. А в тебе? (a v tE-be) — And you?

9. Не дуже (ne dU-zhe)— So-so.

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Basic Ukrainian Phrases For Getting To Know People

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (3)

Ukrainians are open-minded people, happy to make new friends.

Try these expressions to introduce yourself and get to know locals.

10.Дозвольте представитися (do-zvOlʹ-te pred-stA-vy-ty-sja) — Let me introduce myself.

11. Мене звати… (me-nE zvA-ty) — My name is…

12. Як тебе звати? (jak te-bE zvA-ty) — What is your name?

13. Радий познайомитися! (rA-dyj po-zna-jO-my-ty-sja) — Nice to meet you!

14. Я з… (ja z…) — I’m from…

15. Звідки ти? (zvI-dky tY) — Where are you from?

16. Скільки тобі років? (skILʹ-ky to-bI rO-kiv) — How old are you?

17. Мені 25 років (me-nI 25 rO-kiv) — I am 25.

18. Де ти живеш? (dE tY zhy-vEsh) — Where do you live?

19. Дуже приємно! (dU-zhe pry-jEm-no) — Nice to meet you!

20. Я іноземець (ja i-no-zE-metsʹ) — I am a foreigner.

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Ukrainian Question Words

Naturally, if you’re going to keep a conversation going you can’t just talk about yourself! You’ll need to be able to ask a few questions too! Here are the Ukrainian question words you’ll need to learn?

21. Хто…? (khto) — Who?

22.Що…? (scho) — What?

23. Коли…? (ko-LY) — When?

24. Який…? (ja-kYj)/ Яка…? (fem.) (ja-kA) — Which?

25. Де…? (de) — Where?

26. Як…? (jak) — How?

27. Чому…? (cho-mU) — Why?

28. Скільки…? (skIL’-ky) — How much?

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Getting Around In Ukraine

Once in Ukraine, you won’t want to miss the chance to walk and see the beauty of the cities and countryside.

These words will help you to understand what buildings you see in front of you or ask people how to get there.

29. Вулиця (vU-ly-tsja) — Street

30. Вокзал (vok-zAL) — Railway station

31. Пошта (pO-shta) — Post office

32. Кафе (ka-fE) — Cafe

33. Ресторан (re-sto-rAn) — Restaurant

34. Ринок (rY-nok) – Market

35. Супермаркет (su-per-mAr-ket) — Supermarket

36. Музей (mu-zEj) — Museum

37. Лікарня (li-kAr-nja) — Hospital

38. Метро (me-trO) — Metro

39. Автобус (av-tO-bus) — Bus

40. Трамвай (tram-vAj) — Tramway

41. Таксі (ta-ksI) — Taxi

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Asking For Directions In Ukrainian

Ok, so know you know the names of the places you want to go, but what if you get lost?

These are Ukrainian phrases to help you ask for directions:

42. Де це? (dE tse) — Where is it?

43. Це далеко? (tse da-LE-ko) — Is it far from here?

44. Туди чи сюди? (tu-dY chy sju-dY) — Is it this or that way?

45. В яку сторону… (v jakU stO-ro-nu) — Which side…

46. Як пройти до… (jak proj-tY do) — How to go to…

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Having A Bite To Eat In Ukrainian

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (4)

Do you know anything about Ukrainian cuisine?

If not, you’re in for a treat!

When in Ukraine, make sure to visit the local cafes and ask for some of the following delicious foods and drinks:

(Note: If you don’t know what they are you can good the names of the foods to see what they look like!)

47. Борщ — Borsch

48. Пампушки — Pampushky

49. Сало — Salo

50. Сметана — Smetana

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51. Вареники — Varenyky

52. Галушки — Halushky

53. Ковбаса — Kovbasa

54. Голубці — Holubtsi

55. Сирники — Syrnyky

56. Медовуха — Medovukha

Some other food and eating-related words and phrases might come in handy are:

57. Я голодний (ja ho-LOd-nyj) — I am hungry

58. Я хочу пити (ja khO-chu pY-ty) — I am thirsty

59. Принесіть, будь ласка… (pry-ne-sItʹ, budʹ LAs-ka)— Bring me, please…

60. Я візьму… (ja vizʹ-mU) — I’ll take…

61. Меню (me-njU) — Menu

62. Сніданок (sni-dA-nok) — Breakfast

63. Обід (o-bId) — Lunch

64. Вечеря (ve-chE-rja) — Dinner

65. Десерт (de-sErt)— Dessert

66. Вино (vy-nO) — Wine

67. Вода (vo-dA) — Water

68. Сік (sik)— Juice

69. Сир (syr) — Cheese

70. Фрукти (frUk-ty) — Fruits

71. Риба (rY-ba) — Fish

72. М’ясо (mjA-so) — Meat

73. Хліб (khlib) — Bread

74. Сіль (silʹ) — Salt

75. Смачного! (sma-chnO-ho) — Enjoy your meal!

Notice that Ukrainian letters Г and Х can have the same transliteration which is /h/ (although we use /kh/ for Х here).

However, these are two different sounds: Г sounds somewhere between /g/ and /h/, while Х is more literally a /h/.

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Asking For Help In Ukrainian

76. Вам допомогти? (vam do-po-moh-tY) — Do you need help?

77. Допоможіть мені, будь ласка do-po-mo-zhItʹ me-nI budʹ LAs-ka) — Help me, please.

78. Котра година? (kot-rA ho-dY-na) — What time is it?

79. Дозвольте… (doz-vOLʹ-te) — Let me… (Allow me…)

80. Чи можу я…? (chy mO-zhu ja) — May I…

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Dealing With Problems In Ukrainian

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (5)

Of course, not every conversation will go smoothly.

What should you do when you don’t understand something?

Or if you need to ask someone for help?

It’s important to know some basic phrases you can use for dealing with problems when they arise.

If you need someone to speak more slowly or to repeat something, the best thing to do is just ask them!

Don’t worry about your accent: no one will laugh at you if you speak slowly or make mistakes!

81. Я вас не розумію (ja vas ne ro-zu-mI-ju) — I don’t understand you.

82. Ви розумієте мене? (vy ro-zu-mI-je-te me-nE) — Do you understand me?

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83. Я не знаю (ja ne znA-ju) — I don’t know

84. Повторіть, будь ласка! (pov-to-rItʹ budʹ LAs-ka) — Could you repeat, please?

85. Я заблукав (ja za-blu-kAv) — I’m lost

86. Я не розмовляю українською (ja ne ro-zmov-ljA-ju uk-ra-jInsʹ-ko-ju) — I don’t speak Ukrainian

87. Що це? (scho tse) — What’s that?

88. Що це означає? (scho tse o-zna-chA-je) — What does it mean?

89. Говоріть повільніше, будь ласка (ho-vo-rItʹ po-vilʹ-nI-she budʹ LAs-ka) — Could you speak slower?

90. Ви говорите англійською? (vy ho-vO-ry-te anh-LIjsʹ-ko-ju) — Do you speak English?

91. Як туди пройти? (jak tu-dY pro-jtY) — How can I go there?

92. Що з вами? (scho z vA-my?) — Are you okay?

93. Що ви хочете? (scho vy khO-che-te) — What do you want?

94. Скільки це коштує? (skILʹ-ky tse kOsh-tu-je) — How much does it cost?

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Being Polite In Ukrainian

No matter what language you speak, politeness goes a long way towards making a positive impression.

Whether you need to make an apology or just want to thank someone, you’re going to use these phrases a lot!:

95. Дякую! (djA-ku-ju) — Thank you!

96. Дуже дякую! (du-zhe djA-ku-ju) — Thank you very much!

97. Будь ласка! (budʹ LAs-ka) — You are welcome!

98. Нема за що! (ne-mA za scho) — My pleasure!

99. Перепрошую… pe-re-prO-shu-ju) — Excuse me…

100. Вибачте! (vy-bach-te) — I’m sorry! (for a mistake)

101. Мені шкода me-nI shko-dA) — I’m sorry (for something bad happened

102. Нічого (ni-chO-ho) — Nevermind

103. Не переживай (ne pe-re-zhy-vAj) — Don’t worry

104. Я розумію (ja ro-zu-mI-ju) — I understand

105. Все гаразд (vse ha-rAzd) — It’s okay

106. Молодець! (mo-lo-dEtsʹ) — Well done!

107. Вітаю! (vi-tA-ju) — Congratulations!

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Getting Emotional In Ukrainian

Once you’ve mastered the most basic phrases, you may want to get more expressive and talk about your emotions in Ukrainian. Here’s how to do it:

108. Я кохаю тебе! (ja ko-khA-ju te-bE) — I love you

109. Овва! (Ov-va) — Wow!

110. На жаль… (na zhAlʹ) — Unfortunately…

111. Шкода (shko-dA) — It’s a pity

112. Агов! (a-hOv) — Hey!

113. Хай йому грець… (khAj jo-mU hretsʹ) — Damn it…

114. Якого дідька? (ja-kO-ho dIdʹ-ka) — What the hell?

115. Тьху на тебе! (tʹkhU na tE-be) — Darn you!

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Essential Everyday Ukrainian Words

There are some words that don’t fit nicely into any one category.

But, they are common, and you probably won’t be able to communicate much without them.

Short and easy to remember, these should be some of the first words you learn in Ukrainian:

116. Так (tak) — Yes

117. Ні (ni) — No

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118. Можливо (mozh-LY-vo) — Maybe

119. Завжди (zav-zhdY) — Always

120. Ніколи (ni-kO-ly) — Sometimes

121. Звичайно! (zvy-chAj-no) — Sure!

122. Інколи (In-ko-ly)— Sometimes

123. Сьогодні (s’o-hOd-ni) — Today

124. Завтра (zAv-tra) — Tomorrow

125. Вчора (vchO-ra) — Yesterday

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Saying Goodbye In Ukrainian

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (6)

Whether you like it or not, the time will come to say goodbye to your new Ukrainian friends!

Their language has lots of different options for how to express yourself in this situation. Here are some of the most useful ones:

126. Бувай! (bu-vAj) — Bye!

127. Па-па! (pa-pA) — See ya!

128. До завтра! (do zAv-tra) — See you tomorrow!

129. До зустрічі! (do zU-stri-chi) — See you soon!

130. До побачення! (do po-bA-chen-nja) — Goodbye!

131. Всього найкращого! (vsʹo-hO na-jkrA-scho-ho) — All the best!

132. Будьте здорові! (bUdʹ-te zdo-rO-vi) — Take care!

133. Гарного вечора! (hAr-no-ho vE-cho-ra) — Have a nice evening!

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Bonus Phrases: Ukrainian Idioms

Among the most fascinating aspects of any language are its idioms.

There are expressions with particular meanings that are different from the meanings of each word on their own, and they can often sound funny and illogical.

But isn’t that what makes them interesting to learn them?

English is rich in idioms, but so is Ukrainian!

Here are a few common ones with their literal as well as real translations:

134. Як кіт наплакав (jak kit na-pLA-kav)

  • Literally: Like a cat cried
  • Meaning: A drop in the ocean

135. Кіт в мішку (kit v mish-kU)

  • Literally: A cat in a bag
  • Meaning: A pig in a poke

136. Собаку з’їсти (so-bA-ku zjIs-ty)

  • Literally: To eat a dog at something
  • Meaning: To be a dab hand at something

137. Вбити двох зайців одним пострілом (vbY-ty dvokh zAj-tsiv od-nYm pO-stri-lom)

  • Literally: Kill two hares with one shot
  • Meaning: Kill two birds with one stone

138. Перший хлопець на селі (per-shyj khlo-petsʹ na se-LI)

  • Literally: The first guy in a village
  • Meaning: A big frog (fish) in a little pond

139. Глухий кут (hlu-khYj kut) – A dead end

140. Сісти в калюжу (sIs-ty v ka-ljU-zhu)

  • Literally: To sit in a puddle
  • Meaning: To be left with egg on one’s face

141. Як корова на льоду (jak ko-rO-va na lʹo-dU)

  • Literally: Like a cow on an ice
  • Meaning: Like a bull in a china shop

142. Спокійний як удав (spo-kIj-nyj jak u-dAv)

  • Literally translation: As calm as a boa
  • Meaning: As cool as a cucumber

As you may have noticed, some of these idioms have words with the letter Ї in them (such as з’їсти or сивої).

This is a unique letter of the Ukrainian alphabet, which doesn’t appear in other languages that use Cyrillic.

It’s one of the things that makes Ukrainian so melodic.

Pay attention to its pronunciation: it’s /ji/, not /i/ or /y/, so you might need to practice a bit to sound like a Ukrainian.

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Now You’re Ready For Your Ukrainian Adventure

100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker (7)

So there you have it! – 100+ words and basic Ukrainian phrases for you to start an unforgettable trip to Ukraine.

With these phrases, you will be able to have basic conversations in this beautiful language as well as understand the locals and get inspired to learn or improve your Ukrainian.

Lesley Vos, a web writer and blogger behind PlagiarismCheck.org. A self-proclaimed bookworm and coffee addict, she travels a lot through her heart lies in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. See more of her work and say hello on Twitter.

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Are you learning Ukrainian? What's your motivation to do so? Let us know in the comments below!


What are some common Ukrainian phrases? ›

General Expressions
  • Good morning. — Доброго ранку! [Dobroho ranku!]
  • Hello. — Привіт. [Pryvit.]
  • Good night. — Надобраніч. [Nadobranich.]
  • thank you — дякую [diakuiu]
  • please/here you are — будь ласка [bud laska]
Apr 6, 2022

Do Ukrainians say TAK or DA? ›

Так /tak/ = Yes

“Так” means yes. Sometimes you can hear “da” (it's Russian, but Ukrainians like to use it too) as well.

What is a typical Ukrainian greeting? ›

The common verbal greeting used among close friends or other informal encounters is 'Pryvit! ', which is the equivalent of “Hi!”. In more formal scenarios, the common greeting is 'Dobryi den', which means “Good day”.

What do Ukrainians say before taking a shot? ›

What do Ukrainians say before they drink? Budmo! Budmo (pronounced Bood – more) is at the heart of all Ukrainian celebrations and encompasses far more than just saying cheers.

Is it OK to say Slava ukraini? ›

Soviet era and late 20th century

In the Soviet Union, the slogan "Slava Ukraini!" was forbidden and discredited via a decades-long propaganda campaign alongside the diaspora Ukrainian nationalists who used it. They were dubbed "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists", "Banderites", and "Nazi henchmen" by Soviet authorities.

What does Tato mean in Ukraine? ›

They're not my parents, but after two years of living in Ukraine, they grew to become my Tato and Mama – Ukrainian for “mom” and “dad.”

What does sich mean in Ukrainian? ›

A sich (Ukrainian: січ), or sech, was an administrative and military centre of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. The word sich derives from the Ukrainian verb сікти siktý, "to chop" – with the implication of clearing a forest for an encampment or of building a fortification with the trees that have been chopped down.

What does Bitaemo mean in Ukrainian? ›

"Ukrainian", "bread"

What does Tov mean in Ukrainian? ›

TOV (Товариство з обмеженою відповідальністю, ТОВ) - Ukrainian "Limited liability company" with obligate charter capital.

What is the letter Z in Ukrainian? ›

Letter names and pronunciation
UprightItalicsMost common transliteration
З зЗ зz
И иИ иy
І іІ іi
Ї їЇ їyi, i
20 more rows

What do Ukrainians say instead of Cheers? ›

Budmo! Budmo (pronounced Bood – more) is at the heart of all Ukrainian celebrations and encompasses far more than just saying cheers. Budmo means 'let us be' and is the shortest and the most popular Ukrainian toast.

How do you say hello it's nice to meet you in Ukrainian? ›

19. Дуже приємно! (dU-zhe pry-jEm-no) — Nice to meet you!

What is said after Slava ukraini? ›

A farewell, a sign-off indicating support to Ukraine during the Russian invasion of 2022, used as a response to slava Ukraini!.

What does будьмо mean? ›

Interjection. бу́дьмо • (búdʹmo) cheers (toast)

How do you say drink up in Ukrainian? ›

While 'na zdorovya' is perfectly acceptable in Ukraine, you will also hear it in Russia and Poland. A more 'Ukrainian' variant is 'budmo' (cheers). To really impress your Ukrainian friends, yell out 'budmo' and the rest of the crowd will yell back 'hey'!

What is the most eaten food in Ukraine? ›

The national dish of Ukraine is borscht, the well-known beet soup, of which many varieties exist. However, varenyky (boiled dumplings similar to pierogi) and a type of cabbage roll known as holubtsi are also national favourites and are a common meal in traditional Ukrainian restaurants.

What does Viva Ukraine means? ›

"Viva Ukraine" means "Long Live Ukraine", and can be seen written on a banner on Muddy Mo's Coffee House in Yankton. Owners are donating proceeds this week to help victims in Ukraine.

How do you say best wishes in Ukrainian? ›

If you are willing to say best wishes in this beautiful language, say найкращі побажання.

How do you say Glory to God in Ukraine? ›

[slava bohu / slava isusu khrystu] – Glory to God / Jesus Christ!

What does Baba mean in Ukrainian? ›

Babka relates to the Ukrainian word baba, meaning "old woman" or grandmother".

What does Puka mean in Russian? ›

(transitive, intransitive) to shoot, fire.

What does babushka mean in Ukraine? ›

An old woman in Russia or Ukraine is called a babushka. With small pensions and savings eroded by inflation, many are now forced to make a living doing poorly paid public jobs or selling small items on the streets.

What does Moskal mean in Ukrainian? ›

Moskal is an ethnic slur (formerly neutral term) that means "Russian", literally "Muscovite", in Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish and Belarusian. Moskal may also refer to: Moskal (surname)

What does Obolon mean in Ukrainian? ›

In Ukrainian language the word obolon' (оболонь) means a 'low country near a river' (floodplain) or 'flood-meadows' (Ukrainian: заплавні луки).

What does Rada mean in Ukrainian? ›

'Supreme Council of Ukraine', Ukrainian abbreviation ВРУ), often simply Verkhovna Rada or just Rada, is the unicameral parliament of Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada is composed of 450 deputies, who are presided over by a chairman (speaker).

What does kohana mean in Ukrainian? ›

Pronunciation: kohannya. Meaning: a feeling of deep heartfelt affection for a person – love.

What does the word Azov mean? ›

Azov. / (ˈɑːzɒv) / noun. Sea of Azov a shallow arm of the Black Sea, to which it is connected by the Kerch Strait: almost entirely landlocked; fed chiefly by the River Don.

What does Slavo mean in Ukrainian? ›

that "Slava Ukraini" means "glory to Ukraine"- a patriotic expression like "viva la France","long live the Queen","Let Poland be Poland".

What does Boca Tov mean? ›

[Pronounced bo-ker Tohv] Literally, “good morning.” Nice replies are “boker tov” right back, or “boker or,” meaning “morning light.” Erev tov.

What does B mean in Ukrainian? ›

For instance, letter "B" in Ukrainian represents a sound similar to the English "v".

What does Yom Tov mean in English? ›

Origin of yom tov

Literally, “good day

How does Ukraine say goodbye? ›

До побачення! (do po-bA-chen-nja) — Goodbye!


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