Words new to me: плашмя
The word плашмя caught my eye because it’s not one of the neuter nouns in -мя that beginning Russian students know so well, or a verbal adverb with a -я ending after an м like гремя. Instead it’s an adverb that means “with the flat, broad side down.” If you fall плашмя it can mean either face up (навзничь) or face down (ничком). It’s also possible to hit something with a sword плашмя (with the flat side of one’s sword). In Leskov an Old Believer offers his hand плашмя at an introduction, which I take to mean in an awkward or at least unconventional position for a handshake. That seems to be the only instance in Leskov, and Dostoevskii and Lev Tolstoi seem not to have used it at all. It’s used emphatically in a scene from Turgenev’s On the Eve (Накануне, 1860). The word became more common in the twentieth century and was used by Pasternak, Zamiatin, Bulgakov, Grossman, Dombrovskii, Shalamov, Solzhenitsyn, and Aksenov. According to Fasmer it is “probably connected to плоский [‘flat’]” and the Polish word płaski. He also gives ребром (from ребро ‘rib’) as the opposite of плашмя.
In Isabel Hapgood’s 1907 translation of the Turgenev passage, плашмя becomes “spla-ash, ker-flop”:
But louder and longer than all the rest, shouted Uvár Ivánovitch; he roared until he had a stitch in the side, until he sneezed, until he strangled. He would quiet down a little, and say through his tears: “I… think… that that knocked him out… but… he…. splash, ker-flop!”… And with the last, convulsively expelled word, a fresh outburst of laughter shook his whole frame. Zóya spurred him on still more. “I see his legs in the air,” said she…
“Yes, yes,” chimed in Uvár Ivánovitch,—“his legs, his legs… and then! and he went spla-ash ker-flop!”
“Yes, and how did he manage it, for the German was twice as big as he?” asked Zóya.
“I’ll tell you,”—replied Uvár Ivánovitch, wiping his eyes,—“I saw him seize the man by his belt with one hand, thrust under his leg, and then slap-dash! I hear: ‘What’s this?’… but he went splash, ker-flop!” (Russian text)
The “splash” is from context: Insarov has just carried out his threat to throw an impudent German into a pond. Hapgood deflates the hyperbole a little going into English: втрое больше ‘three times as big’ becomes “twice as big.”