Russian nouns

The first thing that a child begins to use in speech is nouns, after onomatopoeia, of course. After all, the easiest way is to point to an object and name it, instead of building a long complex sentence. It makes sense to start building vocabulary with nouns while learning a foreign language, as well.

Grammar of Russian nouns

Before proceeding to the learning of the most common Russian nouns, let’s get acquainted with the basic grammatical rules.

Nouns are divided into animate and inanimate. The first ones name people and animals and answer the question “кто / who?” The latter name inanimate objects and objects of the plant world and answer the question “что / what?”

Gender of nouns

In Russian, most nouns are masculine, feminine, or neuter words. Masculine nouns can be replaced by the pronoun “he”, feminine — “she”, neuter — “it”:

  • папа / dad is he,
  • мама / mom is she,
  • солнце / the sun is it.

There is no specific rule on how to recognize the gender of a noun but most nouns can still be divided according to several criteria:

  • masculine gender will be indicated by the endings –й (край / edge), –а or –я (relatives, male professions: дядя / uncle, судья / judge), zero ending (стол / table, трактор / tractor), -e (кофе / coffee),
  • the feminine gender will be indicated by the endings -а or -я (семья/ family), zero endings (площадь / area),
  • in the neuter nouns, you will see the endings -o or -e (море / sea, окно / window).
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There are nouns in the Russian language that, depending on the context, can be both feminine and masculine: умница / clever, сирота / orphan, неряха / slob. The words combined with them will change the gender.

Этот мальчик — несчастный сирота. — This boy is an unhappy orphan.

Эта девочка, несчастная сирота, не надеялась обрести семью. — This girl, an unfortunate orphan, did not hope to find a family again.

Number of nouns

Most nouns in Russian change in numbers according to certain rules.

For masculine singular nouns with a zero ending, add the endings -ы, -и:

  • документ – документы (documents),
  • журнал – журналы (magazines).

In Rusian plural nouns of the feminine gender: -а changes to –ы, –а changes to –and:

  • виза — визы (visas),
  • газета — газеты (newspapers),
  • фамилия — фамилии (surnames).

In neuter nouns -o changes to -а, –е changes to –я:

  • письмо — письма (letters),
  • море — моря (seas).

The word яблоко is an exception, it has a plural form яблоки!

In Russian, there are words that are used only in the plural (we cannot determine their gender):

брюки (pants), весы (scales), деньги (money), каникулы (holidays), ножницы (scissors), обои (wallpaper), очки (glasses), шахматы (chess).

There are also words that are used only in the singular:

Молоко (milk), золото (gold), мебель (furniture), молодежь (youth), счастье  (happiness).

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Case of nouns

There are six cases in Russian: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Instrumental, Prepositional

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The noun in the nominative case answers the question “кто / who?” or “что / what?” and is the main member of the sentence.

Мама идет в магазин. — Mom goes to the store (noun “мама” is in the nominative case).

The noun in the genitive case answers the questions “кого / who?” or “что / what?” In English, it is often a noun with the ending -‘s or preceded by the preposition “of”.

Это мамина сумка. — This is my mother’s bag (“мамина” is in the genitive case).

The dative noun answers the questions “кому / to whom?” or “чему / what?” In English, the preposition “to” or “for” is often used in this case.

Мама готовит ужин детям. — Mom is cooking dinner for children (“детям” is in the dative case).

The accusative noun answers the questions “кого / who?” or “что / what?” Nouns, in this case, are similar in form to nouns in the nominative case, but in the nominative, they perform an action, and in the accusative, the action is performed on them.

Мама готовит суп. — Mom is cooking soup (“суп ” is in the accusative case).

The noun in the instrumental case answers the questions “кем / by whom?” or “чем / by what?” The noun in this case acts as an instrument with which an action is performed.

Мама мешает суп ложкой. — Mom stirs the soup with a spoon (“ложкой” is in the instrumental case).

The prepositional noun answers the questions “о ком / about whom?” or “о чем / what about?” Nouns, in this case, are usually used with different prepositions, respectively, the questions can be different: “в чем / in what?”, “на чем / on what?” and others.

Мама мечтает об отпуске. — Mom dreams of a vacation (“об отпуске” is in the prepositional case).

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Top 100 Russian nouns by category

It is difficult to calculate the exact number of nouns in Russian. According to various sources, the average figure is 70,000 words. For everyday communication on general everyday topics, you will need much less. Let’s start with the 100 most common words.

 

Word

Pronunciation

Translation

Gender

People

Человек

[ч’илав’э́к /  chilav̀ek]

Human

M*

Друг

[друк / druk]

Friend

M

Ребенок

[р’иб’о́нак /  ribyónak]

Child

M

Мужчина

[муш’и́на / mushína]

Man

M

Женщина

[жэ́н’щ’ина / zh̀enshina]

Woman

F*

Мальчик

[ма́л’ч’и́к / m̀al’chik]

Boy

M

Девочка

[д’э́вач’ка / devachka]

Girl

F

Девушка

[д’э́вушка / devushka]

Young girl

F

Парень

[па́р’ин’ / p̀arin’]

Young boy

M

Гость

[гост’ / gost’]

Guest

M

Family

Семья

[с’им’й’а́ / simỳa]

Family

F

Папа

[па́па /  papa]

Dad, father

M

Мама

[ма́ма / m̀ama ]

Mum, Mother

F

Дочь

[доч’ /  doch’]

Daughter

F

Сын

[сын /  syn]

Son

M

Брат

[брат / brat]

Brother

M

Сестра

[систра́ / sistr̀a]

Sister

F

Жена

[жына́ / zhyǹa]

Wife

F

Муж

[муж /  muzh]

Husband

M

Имя

[и́м’а / ímya]

Name

N*

Фамилия

[фам’и́л’ий’а / famíliya]

Surname

F

Nature

Лес

[л’эс /  les]

Forest

M

Вода

[вада́ / vada]

Water

F

Воздух

[во́здух /  vózduh]

Air

M

Огонь

[аго́н’ /  agón’]

Fire

M

Солнце

[со́нцэ / sóntse]

Sun

N

Ветер

[в’э́тир /  v̀etir]

Wind

M

Дерево

[д’э́р’ива / deriva]

Wood

N

Луна

[луна́ / luǹa]

Moon

F

Снег

[с’н’эк / snek]

Snow

M

Море

[мо́р’э / móre]

Sea

N

Небо

[н’э́ба / ǹeba]

Sky

N

Place

Земля

[з’имл’а́ /  zimlỳa]

Land

F

Город

[го́рат /  górat]

City

M

Улица

[у́л’ица /  úlitsa]

Street

F

Страна

[страна́ /  straǹa]

Country

F

Дорога

[даро́га /  daróga]

Road

F

Россия

[расс’и́й’а / rassíya]

Russia

F

Москва

[масква́ / maskv̀a]

Moscow

F

Место

[м’э́ста / m̀esta]

Place

N

House

Дом

[дом /  dom]

House

M

Квартира

[кварт’и́ра /  kvartíra]

Flat

F

Окно

[акно́ /  aknó]

Window

N

Дверь

[дв’эр’ / dver’]

Door

F

Комната

[ко́мната / kómnata]

Room

F

Стол

[стол / stol]

Table

M

Книга

[кни́га /  kníga]

Book

F

Свет

[св’эт / svet]

Light

M

Кухня

[ку́хн’а / kúhnya]

Kitchen

F

Animals

Животное

[жыво́тнай’э /  zhyvótnaye]

Animal

N

Кошка / Кот

[ко́шка / кот / kóshka / kot]

Cat

F/M

Собака

[саба́ка / sabaka]

Dog

F

Рыба

[ры́ба /  rýba]

Fish

F

Корова

[каро́ва /  karóva]

Cow

F

Лошадь

[ло́шад’ / lóshad’]

Horse

F

Everyday life

Работа

[рабо́та /  rabóta]

Work

F

Деньги

[д’э́н’г’и /  den’gi]

Money

Plural

Школа

[шко́ла /  shkóla]

School

F

Университет

[ун’ив’ирс’ит’э́т / universit̀et]

University

M

Машина

[машы́на /  mashýna]

car

F

Компьютер

[камп’й’у́т’ир / kampyútir]

Computer

M

Письмо

[пис’мо́ / pis’mó]

Letter

N

Ноутбук

[ноутбу́ к / noutbúk]

Notebook

M

Телефон

[т’ил’ифо́н /  tilifón]

Telephone

M

Зарядка

[зар’а́дка /  zarỳadka]

Charger

F

Приложение

[прилаж’э́н’ий’е / prilazh̀eniye]

Application

N

Сайт

[сайт / sayt]

Website

M

Помощь

[по́маш’ / pómash’]

Help

F

Игра

[игра́ / igr̀a]

Game

F

Завтрак

[за́фтрак /  z̀aftrak]

Breakfast

M

Обед

[аб’э́д /  abed]

Lunch

M

Ужин

[у́жын /  úzhyn]

Dinner

M

Body

Голова

[галава́ /  glav̀a]

Head

F

Лицо

[л’ицо́ / litsó]

Face

N

Нос

[нос /  nos]

Nose

M

Глаз

[глас /  glas]

Eye

M

Ухо

[у́ха /  úha]

Ear

N

Нога

[нага́ /  nag̀a]

Leg

F

Тело

[т’э́ла /  t̀ela]

Body

N

Рука

[рука́ /  ruk̀a]

Hand

F

Голос

[го́лас /  gólas]

Voice

M

Палец

[па́л’иц /  p̀alits]

Finger

M

Спина

[спина́ / spiǹa]

Back

F

Сердце

[с’э́рцэ /  s̀ertse]

Heart

N

Кровь

[кроф’ /  krof’]

Blood

F

Time

Время

[вр’э́м’а /  vr̀emya]

Time

N

Минута

[мину́та / minúta]

Minute

F

Час

[час / chas]

Hour

M

День

[д’эн’ / den’]

Day

M

Неделя

[н’ид’э́л’а / nidelya]

Week

F

Понедельник

[пан’ид’э́л’н’ик /  panidel’nik]

Monday

M

Вторник

[фто́рн’ик /  ftórnik]

Tuesday

M

Среда

[срида́ /  srida]

Wednesday

F

Четверг

[ч’итв’э́рк /  chitv̀erk]

Thursday

M

Пятница

[п’а́тница /  pỳatnitsa]

Friday

F

Суббота

[суббо́та /  subbóta]

Saturday

F

Воскресенье

[васкр’ис’э́н’й’э /  vaskris̀enye]

Sunday

N

Месяц

[м’э́с’ац / m̀esyats]

Month

M

Год

[гот /  got]

Year

M

Будни

[бу́дн’и /  budni]

Weekdays

Plural

Выходные

[выхадны́й’э /  vyhadnóy]

Weekend

Plural

Утро

[у́тра /  útra]

Morning

N

Ночь

[ноч’ / noch’]

Night

F

Вечер

[в’э́ч’ир /  v̀echir]

Evening

M

Начало

[нача́ла /  nach̀ala]

Start, beginning

N

Конец

[кан’э́ц /  kaǹets]

End, finish

M

Жизнь

[жызн’ /  zhyzn’]

Life

F

Language

Слово

[сло́ва /  slóva]

Word

N

Вопрос

[вапро́с /  vaprós]

Question

M

Ответ

[атв’э́т /  atv̀et]

Answer

M

Язык

[й’изы́к /  yizýk]

Language

M

Разговор

[разгаво́р /  razgavór]

Conversation

M



* M — masculine, F — feminine, N — neuter

If you want not only to learn a few nouns in Russian but also to understand all the grammatical intricacies and speak fluently, enroll in the School of Russian Language “Leader”. You can choose between group and individual lessons, both online and offline.

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