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I am rereading accounts of the 1996 climbing disaster on Everest. Two books by Anatoli Boukreev, The Climb and Above the Clouds put emphasis on a climber's samochuvstvie.

Above 5,000 meters the participants' good form was reassuring. They had a fighting spirit and, from their external appearances, didn't look as if they had any serious problems with their health or samochuvstvie.

The translator says this word has no equivalent in English, and explains it as:

A Russian concept. An impression of a person's state of being, the combined and observable aspects of a person's mental, physical and emotional state. (The Climb, Chapter 6, Doing the Details)

A Google search pulls up an entry from Bab.la Russian-English Dictionary

general condition

This may be the best one can do for a concise translation, but it doesn't adequately describe what an Everest guide is looking for in a wanna-be Everest climber.

I'm not looking for a single word, but a concise translation that captures the spirit of the Russian. If the translator's note is as concise as it gets, that is an answer. Please note: this Q is purely curiosity-driven; I'm not looking for a free translation service.

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  • It seems to me that the first quote you gave is a good explanation of the word. Are you asking to have that sentence restated in some way? – Jason Bassford Aug 28 '18 at 22:24
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    @Jason Bassford I wonder if there is a more concise definition. I know words don't map one to one between languages, but there is a big difference between one word and a longish sentence. Every time I read that "translation", I get an itch. – ab2 Aug 28 '18 at 22:29
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    I would be inclined to use something like "physical readiness" in a situation like the Mt Everest climb, where the objective is clearly defined and the participants' health is being gauged (rather specifically) in terms of how well prepared they are physically to undertake the remaining stages of the challenge. If you needed to include a psychological dimension, you could say "morale and physical readiness." – Sven Yargs Aug 29 '18 at 0:12
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it would be best suited for a Russian language site. – KarlG Aug 29 '18 at 0:34
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    @KarlG- Not sure that asking "What's the best English translation of 'samochuvstvie' on the Russian site makes any sense. We'd certainly close a question here that asks, "What's the best Russian translation of 'tubular'." – Jim Aug 29 '18 at 1:11
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The word самочувствие (transliterated here as 'samochuvstvie') has a simple sense and literally it's 'feeling yourself' (sam = self, 'o' is a linking letter, 'chuvstv' is a root of words like 'feeling' or 'to feel', and 'ie' is an ending making the whole word a noun). So it is just about how a person feels (good and healthy or sick). 'What's your [samochuvstvie]?' (how do you feel?) is a typical question a doctor asks after a patient gets some treatment. 'Samochuvstvie' can be literally 'good' or 'bad' if not described specifically by that person.

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I don’t know Russian, but, just looking at it as a fill-in-the-blank puzzle (in English), I believe that “morale” fits.  Or “the state of being psyched [up]” in the sense of “[put into] the right psychological frame of mind” (AHD), “to prepare [oneself] psychologically” (Collins), “mentally ready for something” (Macmillan Dictionary), or “Mentally prepare (someone) for a testing task or occasion” (ODO).

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You might try "ready, willing, and able"

Farlex1 describes is as:

A phrase used to describe someone who is capable of and eager to do something. Our team is ready, willing, and able, boss—we just need the order to start production. The senator has inspired a huge number of volunteers who are ready, willing, and able to campaign for her presidential election bid.

and The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms2 as:

Well prepared and eager to do something, as in Any time you want me to babysit, I'm ready, willing, and able.


1 Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
2 The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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