In linguistics, cognate meaning, also called lexical cognates, are words that have a common etymological origin. Cognates are often inherited from a shared parent language, but they may also involve borrowings from some other language. For example, the English words dish , disk and desk and the German word Tisch (“table”) are cognates because they all come from Latin discus , which relates to their flat surfaces. Cognates may have evolved similar, different or even opposite meanings, and although there are usually some similar sounds or letters in the words, they may appear to be dissimilar. Some words sound similar, but do not come from the same root; these are called false cognates, while some are truly cognate but differ in meaning; these are called false friends.
What is a cognate: characteristics
Cognates do not need to have the same meaning, which may have changed as the languages developed separately. For example English starve and Dutch sterven or German sterben (“to die”) all derive from the same Proto-Germanic root, *sterbaną (“die”). Discus is from Greek δίσκος (from the verb δικεῖν “to throw”). A later and separate English reflex of discus, probably through medieval Latin desca, is desk (see OED s.v. desk).
In addition, related words do not necessarily have to have similar forms: English father, French père and Armenian Armenian այր (hayr) all come directly from Proto-Indo-European * ph₂tḗr. The extreme case is Armenian երկու (erku) and English two, which are derived from Proto-Indo-European * dwóh₁ (note that the sound change * dw> erk in Armenian is common).
Words that are exactly the same:
Similar words are as follows: