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When learning a new language, I'm always looking for similarities between word roots - this helps me in remembering them. When learning Russian, I was surprised by the similarity of the words дорогой (expensive) and дорога (road). Do they have a common origin, or is this just a coincidence?

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  • No, these words are of totally different roots. – Matt Jul 22 '16 at 18:03
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Are "dear" and "deer", or "drag" and "drug" related in English? No they are not. It's just happens sometime that some words sounds similar.

"Дорога" is related to "дёрн" (turf), "драть" (tear), "дёргать" and "дерево" (tree) and initially meant something like a path in a forest. Surprisingly, "дорога" is related to English verb drag.

Here you can find out more:

Происходит от индоевроп. *dorgh- (связано с дёргать и означает «продранное в лесу пространство»);

As of "дорогой", it's related to English word "dear", here's a quote:

From Middle English dere, from Old English dēore, from Proto-Germanic *diurijaz. Cognate with Dutch duur ‎(“costly, precious”), German teuer ‎(“costly, precious”), Icelandic dýr ‎(“expensive”), Norwegian dyr, Swedish dyr ‎(“expensive”).

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  • Are you sure драть and дерево are connected? I doubt it. Дерево comes from PIE doru "wood". – Anixx Jul 22 '16 at 19:00
  • @Anixx as far as I know дерево <~> выдирать <~> драть – shabunc Jul 22 '16 at 19:03
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    No. It comes from PIE doru and related to English "tree". See Vasmer. – Anixx Jul 22 '16 at 19:05
  • Also, connection between dear and дорогой is doubtful, dear has unknown etymology. – Anixx Jul 22 '16 at 19:07
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    If выдирать comes from dorgh- then it is unrelated to дерево because it comes from deru-. Etymology of dear etymonline.com/index.php?term=dear What is your source to claim it is related to дорогой? – Anixx Jul 22 '16 at 20:16

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