Updated: Apr 9
List of Russian words similar to English (cognates)
Did you know that there are approximately 2000 words that are similar
in both Russian and English languages!
Yes, you heard it right! These words are called cognates - they sound almost the same and have the same meaning. As you can see, Russian and English are not completely alien languages as they both come from the same Indo-European language family. So, if you are just starting learning Russian language you already know at least 800 Russian words (because the rest are mainly medical or political terms we don't use in everyday life).
And the good news is that many of these Russian-English similar words and cognates can be learned very quickly as the follow the same system of word formation. In simple words, their endings correspond to each other and as long as you know which Russian ending corresponds to its English equivalent, you can form these words easily.
You just need to pronounce them with a Russian pronunciation. Isn't it amazing?
It is curious to see how languages are flexible and constantly evolving. Some of these words are cognates of the same Indo-European origin, others have been borrowed from languages, like German, French, English, Greek and Latin.
Ok, let's begin! You can watch this video first to learn the main word endings of Russian-English cognates and check yourself by playing a game. After watching this video you will find more Russian-English similar words divided by topics down below (after a brief summary).
Free Russian Video Lesson - Russian words similar to English
Brief summary of the video "Russian-English cognates and similar words"
Pay attention to the endings of words. In some cases it is quite easy to form a Russian word from its English equivalent:
English words which end in ‘TION‘, ‘CION’, ‘SION‘ are equivalent to Russian words ending with ‘ЦИЯ‘ or ‘СИЯ‘.
English words ending with a letter ‘Y‘ correspond to Russian words ending with ‘ИЯ’ Example: ‘категория‘ = category (But it is not a general rule, so be careful).
English words ending on ‘LOGY‘ and ‘TICS‘/’MICS’ are of Greek origin and havetheir equivalents in Russian language as ‘ЛОГИЯ‘ И ‘ТИКА‘/’МИКА’ accordingly.
Many professions and job titles share the same ending in English and Russian: ER (eng) = ЕР (ru) like in designer (дизайнер); ER (eng) can also be transformed in ЁР in Russian like in partner (партнер); OR (eng) = ОР (ru) like in doctor (доктор); OR (eng) can also be transformed in ЁР in Russian like in actor (актёр); Less frequent is the ending EUR (eng) which is usually ЁР in Russian - shauffeur = шофёр. It is also the case for some words in a professional sphere. Examples: Factor = фактор, printer = принтер, etc.
There are tons of Anglicisms (modern words borrowed from English language) which Russian people use everyday without even noticing it. You can even pronounce these words as they are and most Russian people will understand them
But be careful using them as an older generation (especially 'babushkas') might not understand you and even tell you some bad words (it's a joke). Some really interesting examples of modern Anglicisms are the following:
ЮЗЕР = user; a Russian word for this is 'пользователь' (pól'zavatel')
ПАССВОРД = password; a Russian word for this is 'пароль' (paról')
КОУЧИНГ = coaching; a Russian word for this is 'обучение' (abuchéniye)
ОКЕЙ = ok; a Russian word for this is 'хорошо' (harashó)
ГОУ = let's go; a Russian word for this is 'пойдем' (paidém)
УИКЕНД = weekend; a Russian word for this is 'выходные' (vyhadn'ýye) ...and so many others that I am not going to give you because you need to learn more real Russian words! (even though many of them are also borrowed from other languages).
The ending 'IST' of Greek origin means "one who does or makes" is equivalent to a suffix 'ИСТ' in words like "optimist" (оптимист), egoist (эгоист), journalist (журналист), etc.
Many adjectives borrowed from English have the ending -НЫЙ: эмоциональный - emotional, интересный - interesting, серьёзный - serious.
Now let's learn some most frequent Russian-English cognates and similar words.
Here is a list of Russian-English cognates divided by categories.
1. Work and business
Администрация [administrátsiya] – administration
Ассоциация [asatsiátsiya] - association
Бизнес [bíznes] - business
Брифинг [brífink] - briefing
Бюджет [byudzhét] – budget
Вакансия [vakánsiya] - vacancy
Дедлайн [dedláin] – deadline
Дело [délo] – deal, affair
Документ [dakument] - document
Интервью [interv’yú] - interview
Контракт [kantrákt] - contract
Клиент [kliyént] – a client
Компания [kampániya] – company
Коллега [kaléga] – a colleague
Концепция [kantséptsiya] – conception, concept
Корпорация [karparátsiya] -corporation
2. Education and Science
Академия [akadémiya] - academy
Аббревиатура [abreviatúra] - abbreviation
Анализ [anális] – analysis
Анатомия [anatómiya] - anatomy
Биология [bialógiya] - biology
География [geagráphiya] - geography
Геометрия [geamétriya] - geometry
Диссертация [disertátsiya] - dissertation
Информатика [infarmátika] - informatics
История [istóriya] – history
Колледж [kóledzh] – college
Литература [literatúra] - literature
Математика [matemátika] – mathematics
Педагогика [pedagógika] - pedagogics
Профессор [prafésar] – professor
Психология [psihalógiya] - psychology
Архитектор [arhitéktar] – an architect
Архитектура [arhitektúra] - architecture
Актёр [aktyór] – an actor
Актриса [aktrísa] – an actress
Аниматор [animátor] – an animator
Адвокат [advakát] – an advocate
Ассистент [asistént] – an assistant
Агент [agént] – an agent
Бизнесмен [biznesmén] – a businessman
Бизнесвумен [bizneswúmen] – a businesswoman
Гид [git] – a guide
Дизайнер [dizáiner] – a designer
Дизайн [dizáin] - design
Доктор [dókta] – a doctor
Журналист [zhurnalíst] – a journalist
Журнал [zhurnál] – journal
4. Media and communication (mainly words borrowed from English)
Аккаунт [akáunt] – account
Батарея [batare ́ya] – battery
Баланс [baláns] – balance
Блог [blok] - blog
Блоггер [blóger] – blogger
Видео [vídeo] – video
Вебсайт [websáit] - website
Браузер [bráuzer] - browser
Гуглить [gúglit’] - to google
Диск [disk] - disc
Девайс [deváis] - device
Дисплей [displéy] - display
Идея [idéya] - idea
Интернет [internét] - internet
Информация [infarmátsiya] - information
Контакт [kantákt] - contact
Кликать [klíkat’] – to click
Камера [kámera] - camera
Коммуникация [kamunikátsiya] - communication
Лайкать [láikat’] – to give likes on social media platforms
5. House and household supplies
Адрес [ádres] – address
Антенна [anténna] - antenna
Балкон [balkón] – balcony
Блендер [blénder] - blender
Ваза [váza] - vase
Вилла [vílla] - villa
Гараж [garásh] – garage
Комфорт [kamfórt] - comfort
Кондиционер [kanditsionér] – conditioner
Лифт [lift] – lift, elevator
Лампа [lámpa] - lamp
Миксер [míkser] - mixer
Туалет [tualét] - toilet
Тостер [tóster] - toaster
Терраса [terása] - terrace
Телефон [telefón] - telephone
Телевизор [televízor] - television set, TV
Холл [hol] – hall, hallway
Электричество [elektríchestvo] - electricity
6. City and Places
Автомобиль [avtamabíl’] – automobile
Арка [árka] – arc
Банк [bank] - bank
Барьер [bar’yér] – barrier
Индекс [índeks] – index
Контейнер [kantéiner] – container
Метро [metró] - metro
Павильон [pavil’yón] - pavilion
Парк [park] - park
Почта [póchta] - post
Парковка [parkóvka] - parking
Супермаркет [supermárket] - supermarket
Стадион [stadión] - stadium
Сквер [skver] - square, park
Станция [stántsiya] - station
Статуя [státuya] – statue
Территория [teritóriya] - territory
Трамвай [tramvái] – tramway
Такси [taksí] – taxi
Центр [tsentr] – centre
You can get a full list of 800 words with audio divided by topics in my SUPER guide on Russian-English cognates and similar words
You should get this guide for several reasons:
1) It will give you more confidence in learning Russian language, no matter
whether you are a beginner or an intermediate learner;
2) It is well-structured and provides the main categories of words that you
can instantly use in your speech (you will not find anything like this on the Internet, I have checked);
3) It is curious to see how languages are flexible and constantly evolving.
Some of these words are cognates of the same Indo-European origin, others have been borrowed from languages, like German, French, English, Greek and Latin.
Click this link to get a SUPER Guide on Russian-English similar words.
If you have recently started to learn Russian, you should absolutely download my free guide 'Essential Russian Words and Expressions to Understand Spoken Russian'. This guide also contains audio files so that you can listen to these phrases on the go: while driving, walking, doing sport or brushing your teeth. Make sure that you repeat these phrases yourself and try to imitate my accent.
It's also very important to know how to pronounce Russian words correctly as not every Russian letter is pronounced the same way as it's written. There are certain Russian pronunciation rules that are really easy to learn.
Have you already checked my post on Russian-English false friends?
Then you are ready to take this test to check how well you know Russian-English cognates and false friends.
Test "Russian-English similar words and false friends"
Hello! My name is Mila and I am a founder of Hack Your Russian language platform. You can find me here:
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