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What are cognates? Where can I find the cognates of English words?

A cognate (from Latin cognatus 'born together') is a member of a pair or group of words or phrases that come naturally from the same root but which have experienced separate development. Cognates are related in origin, as certain words in genetically related languages descend from the same ancestral root. Examples are: English "mother" and German "Mutter," or English "five" and Latin "quinque." Cognates are somewhat like each other in form, but sometimes have different meanings. Pairs of cognates in one language, such as English "regal" and "royal" (which both derive from Latin) are called doublets. Cognates occur most often in cognate languages such as English, Greek, Latin, and German. It is certainly possible, though, for unrelated languages to have cognate items. Large collegiate and unabridged dictionaries may offer information on cognates of words, and this is often indicated with the term akin, indicating the sharing of a common origin or an ancestral form.

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