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English words of Ukrainian origin

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English words of Ukrainian origin are words in the English language which were borrowed or derived from the Ukrainian language.

Some of them may have entered English via Russian, Polish, Yiddish, or some other language. They may have originated in another languages, but are used to describe notions related to Ukraine. Some are regionalisms, used in English-speaking places with a significant Ukrainian diaspora population, especially Canada, but all of these have entered the general English vocabulary.

  • Baba, grandmother or old woman
  • Babka, sweet Easter bread (related to French baba au rhum)
  • Bandura, a stringed instrument
  • Borscht (Ukrainian borshch), beet soup, also the expression "cheap like borscht"
  • Cossack (Ukrainian Kozak), a freedom-loving horseman of the steppes
  • Gotch, gotchies, or gitch, underwear. Also gaunch, gaunchies in Alberta
  • Gley (Ukrainian hley), a sticky blue-grey waterlogged soil type, poor in oxygen
  • Hetman, a Cossack military leader
  • Holubtsi, plural (Western Canadian English, Ukrainian singular holubets), cabbage rolls
  • Hopak, a lively traditional dance
  • Kasha, porridge
  • Kubasa, kolbassa (Canadian English, from Ukrainian kovbasa), garlic sausage. Also kubie, kubie burger
  • Paska (Canadian English), a decorated Easter bread, also paskha or pashka, a rich dessert with curd cheese and dried fruit
  • Perogy, plural perogies (North American, Ukrainian singular pyrih, plural pyrohy), stuffed dumplings or pastry. This comes from western Ukraine, where it is a synonym for varenyky
  • Pysanka, a decorated Easter egg
  • Steppe, a flat, treeless plain
  • Tachanka, a horse-drawn machine gun platform
  • Varenyky, boiled dumplings with potato or meat inside


  • Katherine Barber, editor (2004). The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, second edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-541816-6.
  • Katherine Barber (2008). Only in Canada, You Say: A Treasury of Canadian Language. Toronto: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-542984-8.

See also

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Published - February 2009

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