4

The other day I learned Russian word "цель".

It struck me how similar it sounded to the German word "Ziel".

Is there a connection or is it just a coincidence that they sound similar?

4

Just like many word of German origin it came through Polish, here’s relevant quote from wiktionary (which, can not help but notice is almost always best starting point when you have a question about etymology):

Borrowed from Polish cel (“aim, goal”), in turn from Middle High German zil.

By the way, there’s a bunch of other relatively recent borrowing from German many Russians got used to that extent that it doesn’t feel like a foreign word - «штука»would be my favorite example.

9
  • Wow this is fascinating. Thank you! – mathreadler Feb 25 '20 at 19:44
  • 2
    ru.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/… – Sergey Slepov Feb 25 '20 at 20:05
  • My favourite example of this kind is ярмарка. Can you guess what German word it's based n? – Sergey Slepov Feb 25 '20 at 20:08
  • 2
    @mathreadler Jahr + Markt ;) – shabunc Feb 25 '20 at 20:24
  • 4
    @mathreadler - Гость is not a borrowing from German, it's an originally Slavic word, but it is a cognate with the German Gast, both derive from the Proto-Indo-European *gʰóstis 'stranger, guest, enemy'. Latin hostis 'enemy' (like in English 'hostile') also is derived from the same PIE root. – Yellow Sky Feb 25 '20 at 20:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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