Many languages, including English, contain words most likely borrowed from the Russian language. Not all of the words are truly fluent Russian or Slavic origin. Some of them co-exist in other Slavic languages and it is difficult to decide whether they made English from Russian or, say, from Polish. Some other words are borrowed or constructed from the classical ancient languages, such as Latin or Greek. Still others are themselves borrowed from indigenous peoples that Russians have come into contact with in Russian or Soviet territory. Compared to other source languages, very few of the words borrowed into English come from Russian. Direct borrowing first began with contact between England and Russia in the 16th century and picked up heavily in the 20th century with the establishment of the Soviet Union as a major world power. Most of them are used to denote things and notions specific to Russia, Russian culture, politics, history, especially well-known outside Russia. Some others are in mainstream usage, independent of any Russian context. |
-nik, a borrowed suffix
Babushka (Russian: ба́бушка [ˈbabuʂkə] "grandmother"), a headscarf folded diagonally and tied under the chin (this meaning is absent in the Russian language). Balalaika (Russian: балала́йка, [bəlɐˈlajkə]) (Tartar origin) A triangle-shaped mandolin-like musical instrument with three strings. Bridge game (from the Old East Slavic: бирич biritch).
Cosmonaut Russian: космона́вт (IPA [kəsmɐˈnaft] (κόσμος kosmos a Greek word, which in Russian stands for 'outer space', rather than 'world' or 'universe', and nautes 'sailor', thus 'space sailor'; the term cosmonaut was first used in 1959; the near similar word "cosmonautic" had been coined in 1947) A Russian astronaut. Cosmodrome (by analogy with aerodrome) was coined to refer to a launching site for Russian spacecraft. Gulag (Russian: Главное Управление Исправительно-Трудовых Лагерей и колоний) (Russian acronym for Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-trudovykh Lagerey i kolonii, The Chief Administration (or Directorate) of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies.) 1. (historical) In the former Soviet Union, an administered system of corrective labor camps and prisons. 2. (figurative) A coercive institution, or an oppressive environment. Intelligentsia (Russian: интеллиге́нция [ɪntʲɪlʲɪˈɡʲɛntsɨjə]) (from Latin intelligence, intelligentia from inter "between", and legare "to choose") 1. The part of a nation (originally in pre-revolutionary Russia) having aspirations to intellectual activity, a section of society regarded as possessing culture and political initiative; plural the members of this section of a nation or society. 2. In the former Soviet Union, the intellectual elite.
Kazakh (Russian: каза́х) (Russian, late 16th century, Kazak, from Turkic meaning "vagabond" or "nomad", name of the ethnicity was transliterated into English from Russian spelling. The self-appellation is "Kazak" or "Qazaq".) Kazakh people. Knout (Russian: кнут [knut]) perhaps from Swedish knutpiska, a kind of whip, or Germanic origin Knute, Dutch Knoet, Anglo-Saxon cnotta, English knot) A whip formerly used as an instrument of punishment in Russia; the punishment inflicted by the knout. Kopeck (Russian: копе́йка, [kɐˈpʲejkə]; derives from the Russian (копьё [kɐˈpʲjo] 'spear') a reference to the image of a rider with a spear on the coins minted by Moscow after the capture of Novgorod in 1478) A Russian currency, a subunit of Ruble, 100 kopecks is equal to 1 ruble. Kremlin (Russian: Кремль [krʲɛmlʲ]) (Russian for "fortress", "citadel" or "castle") A citadel or fortified enclosure within a Russian town of city, especially the Kremlin of Moscow; (the Kremlin) Metonym for the government of the former USSR, and to a lesser of extent of Russian post- Soviet government. Mammoth (Russian ма́монт mamont [ˈmamənt], from Yakut mamont, probably mama, "earth", perhaps...