I have a task to make a research paper about Russian loan-words in English and can't find any informative material. Could you help me, please? I spent hours googling and got almost nothing. Is this topic so unknown? I know that the opposite topic is covered rather well, there are many work about English loan words in Russian.. but unfortunately i have another topic - about Russian words in English. Thank you beforehand.

closed as too broad by choster, StoneyB, ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq, pyobum, user3169 Mar 17 '15 at 2:02

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Just out of curiosity, what search terms were you trying in your hours of Googling? I tried "Russian loan words in English" and got a good page of results including the Wikipedia link: List of English words of Russian origin - Wikipedia Also: english-for-students.com/Russian-Loan-Words.html – Jim Mar 16 '15 at 22:20
  • It's not clear to me what you're asking. If you want a list of Russian loanwords, the links Jim has provided should be useful; StackExchange is not a discussion forum, and our format is very ill-suited to lists. If this is a request for resources, the Meta site would be a more appropriate place to ask. – choster Mar 16 '15 at 22:32

There's a list on Wikipedia which may be useful.

Be warned, however, that most of these have not been fully assimilated into English; they are mostly Russian words which are familiar as names for Russian entities. Only a handful have lost their specifically Russian reference and become "naturalized". I would include these:

  • balaclava
  • beluga
  • bridge (the card game)
  • intelligentsia
  • mammoth
  • pogrom
  • sable
  • taiga
  • troika (in the administrative sense)
  • tundra
  • vodka
  • ukase
  • 2
    Not gulag? It's similar to vodka in that its Russian origin is obvious but I have heard it being used in contexts that had nothing to do with Russia. – ColleenV Mar 16 '15 at 20:33
  • Just a note, not everyone recognizes these words... as an AmE speaker, I don't know what taiga or ukase mean... and have only a vague sense of balaclava and troika. – Catija Mar 17 '15 at 1:33
  • @Catija I think that there are many words that the typical English speaker isn't familiar with and that Russian loan-words aren't necessarily less well known than loan-words from other languages. Collins dictionary includes a an estimate of how commonly used a word is, so it tends to be my go-to dictionary. – ColleenV Mar 17 '15 at 15:37
  • @ColleenV I agree... but Stoney is implying that the words on that list have been assimilated into English and I was just noting that I disagree with some of them. I would argue that I have a very good vocabulary and still don't know what they mean... so they can't have been that assimilated. – Catija Mar 17 '15 at 15:40
  • @Catija I don't know if popularity/commonality is the only measure of assimilation. Taiga is one word that I'm very familiar with and it means something very specific that doesn't have a comparable word (that I know of) in English. It's used commonly among folks that talk about biomes (and Magic the Gathering players ;)) even though it doesn't come up often in normal conversation. – ColleenV Mar 17 '15 at 17:25

To StoneyB's list, I'd add the following:

  • Babushka, for a headscarf, not a grandmother. Stress is on the second syllable in English (ba-BUSH-ka)
  • Glasnost, usually recognized as the period of time during Gorbachev's term
  • Duma, for the Russian legislature
  • Perestroika - and maybe only people who lived through the 80's and 90's will remember this one
  • Sputnik and Mir - known as the names of the satellites and space station only
  • Ruble
  • I removed intelligentsia, which is Latin in origin, but would also question Duma and Ruble as loanwords, as these refer to specific Russian institutions— we do not refer to just any legislature as a duma, nor just any currency as a ruble. Similarly, Sputnik and Mir are names; Sputnik is used metaphorically, but I have never heard such a use of Mir. – choster Mar 16 '15 at 23:09

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.