Sep 4, 2022
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The meaning of the proverb “Grow big, don’t be a noodle”

The meaning of the proverb

The saying about noodles, which little children risk becoming, is known to everyone from infancy. At the same time, the word “noodles” is perceived as the antonym of the word “big”. What is the logic of such opposition and what does the mysterious spell mean?

The meaning of the proverb

Expression “Grow big, do not be a slag” – This is a well-wish addressed to a child or a young person. It means that you need to cultivate not only the body, but also the mind. It’s not enough to be big, you need to have a strong character and a sober mind, otherwise you will grow up to be a deadhead, a simpleton, a fool.

Very often the phrase is pronounced after someone sneezes. In this case, it can be perceived as a wish for health and strength. Sometimes it is used as a proverb in a conversation with a child.

If the phrase is spoken in a friendly and humorous way, it will always be remembered as a kind joke, but if you put all your seriousness into it, the prospect of becoming shapeless noodles will become a childhood nightmare, like the food that will be after you if you do not finish it.

Origin of expression

The full version of the proverb goes like this: “Grow big, but don’t be noodles, stretch a verst, but don’t be simple!”. Most likely, the expression developed as worldly wisdom and acquired completeness thanks to internal rhyme. In this form, it is recorded in the collection of proverbs by V. I. Dahl. It is the continuation of the well-known fragment that strengthens and explains the meaning of the first part.

The comparison of a child with noodles is very figurative: a lethargic, structureless person really resembles boiled pasta. I would like to counter it with something solid and energetic, and therefore the culinary metaphor here is very convincing.

Test for knowledge of phraseological units →


You can wish a person external strength and internal strength in different ways. The Russian people did it very picturesquely:

  • Do not be what floors are washed;
  • Do not become limp, like jelly;
  • Keep your nose to the wind.

Being big and not like pasta is a good parting word for a person entering into life. In addition, it awakens the imagination and gives rise to unexpected plot twists. Invite your child to compose a fairy tale about how “one boy” became a noodle – and you will see for yourself!

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