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Translation of “есть”, used by soldiers

I have watched some Russian military dramas on the Internet. When soldiers give a response to an order they often say something which sounds something like “есть”. It has nothing to do with eating or the presence of some object. It seems to mean “Yes, I will do it immediately”. I am intrigued by this usage and would appreciate any explanation about its derivation.

Thank you
1 answer
Answered by on

Hi George,

Есть, used by soldiers, can be translated as "yes, sir". Есть can be translated as "it exists", so, I think, when soldiers use it, they mean that they will do something inmediately. They say that this word appeared in the XIX century in the Russian navy and that it can probably be derived from the English word "yes", because the Russian marine had more contacts with foreign soldiers. Here is the source:

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