Mar 31, 2021
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The meaning and origin of the phraseologism “beyond the distant lands”

Fabulous expression “Beyond the land” familiar to everyone from childhood. Have you ever wondered how many of these lands really are? Twenty seven? Thirty? Or just a lot? And where are they? .. There are many questions! Let’s look for answers.

The meaning of phraseological units

In modern Russian, “beyond the distant lands” means “very far”, “at the end of the world”. So they say when they want to emphasize the transcendence of the distance separating people or objects from each other.

It is curious that in such a purely utilitarian, geographical sense, phraseological units began to be used relatively recently: from the end of the 18th-beginning of the 19th century.

Prior to this, the expression had a sacred meaning, inextricably linked with a myth, a fairy tale. This echo of magic is heard in the phrase today.

If we say that something or someone is from us “far off the ground”, the imagination is presented with a sublime picture of a huge space spread over many kilometers. There is no irony in this expression, unlike, for example, the synonymous “the devil in the middle of nowhere.”

It is easy to imagine a girl in love who confides in her friend her heart’s secrets, announcing that her lover is now “far away” from her. Such is the beauty of a relationship …

The origin of the phraseological unit

The homeland of phraseological units is a Russian fairy tale. It was there that for the first time such phrases as “distant lands”, “distant kingdom, thirtieth state” appear.

Nine was once the ultimate counting unit, then our ancestors switched to the decimal system. That is, nine is the distance, the limit. And three times nine (a fabulous threefold repetition is an indispensable element of the miraculous) – this is very, very, very far, so far that it is impossible to imagine.

The tale originates in archaic myths, where the Far Away Kingdom is regarded as one of the toponyms associated with the world of the dead.

The space that is beyond the border of life has always been perceived by people as sacred. The heroes of fairy tales go there to return their beloved (an echo of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice), to get the lost object, to gain immortality.

So this phraseological unit is multi-layered, not simple, in it, like in a chest with fairy tales, many meanings are hidden.


Expressions with a similar meaning include well-known phrases:

  • where Makar did not drive the calves;
  • on the edge of the world;
  • to hell with the horns;
  • on Kudykina Gora.

Each of these synonyms can be written in a separate article: they also go back to myth.

Everything that is connected with distance, infinity, eternity evokes fantastic images in the soul of the Russian person. The magic words “beyond the distant lands” open the gates to the wonderful world of childhood dreams of mankind.

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