Learn 800 Russian-English similar words divided by topics (with a test)

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!

Russian words similar to English - Russian-English cognates

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