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?

  • No, these words are of totally different roots.
    – Matt
    Jul 22, 2016 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


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”).

  • Are you sure драть and дерево are connected? I doubt it. Дерево comes from PIE doru "wood".
    – Anixx
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:00
  • @Anixx as far as I know дерево <~> выдирать <~> драть
    – shabunc
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:03
  • 1
    No. It comes from PIE doru and related to English "tree". See Vasmer.
    – Anixx
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:05
  • Also, connection between dear and дорогой is doubtful, dear has unknown etymology.
    – Anixx
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:07
  • 2
    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, 2016 at 20:16

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