How to Say Friend in Russian, Pronunciation and Examples

Happy girlfriends taking winter selfie in Saint Petersburg Russia

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The most popular way to say "friend" in Russian is друг (DROOK) for a male friend and подруга (padROOga) for a female friend. However, there are several more words for friend, some more suitable for informal conversation only and others more universal. In this article, we look at the ten most common ways to say "friend" in Russian and examples of their usage.

01
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Друг

Pronunciation: DROOK

Translation: friend (male)

Meaning: a male friend

The word "друг" can be used in any social setting and context, from very formal to very informal. It can represent both a platonic friend and a boyfriend. In some sentences, the word can take on a sarcastic meaning, usually when the speaker doesn't consider the person they are calling friend to be a real friend or if they are trying to belittle them.

Examples:

- Я еду в отпуск с другом. (ya YEdoo VOTpusk ZDROOgam)
- I am going on vacation with a friend.

- Это кто, ее новый друг? (EHtuh KTOH, yeYO NOviy DROOK?)
- Who is that, her new friend/boyfriend?

02
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Подруга

Pronunciation: padROOga

Translation: friend (female)

Meaning: a female friend

A feminine form of друг, подруга can also mean both a romantic and a platonic female friend. It is suitable for any register, including very formal. However, bear in mind that the word has slightly more negative connotations than its male equivalent. When the speaker wants to emphasize that a female friend is a genuine friend, they often use the male form instead, e.g. она мне настоящий друг (aNAH MNYE nastaYAshiy DROOK): she is a real friend.

Example:

- Я приду с подругой. (ya priDOO spadROOguy)
- I will come with a friend.

03
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Приятель/приятельница

Pronunciation: preeYAtyl'/preeYAtylnitsa

Translation: a mate, a pal (male/female)

Meaning: a chum, a mate, an acquaintance, a pal

Used to refer to casual friends or mates, the word приятель and its female form приятельница are suitable for any social setting.

Example:

- Мы приятели. (my preeYAtyli)
- We are pals.

04
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Дружище

Pronunciation: drooZHEEshye

Translation: giant/enormous friend

Meaning: bro, close friend, good friend, good mate.

Reserved for very good friends, дружище is an affectionate term and is suitable for any type of social setting.

Example:

- Ну, дружище, давай. (noo, drooZHEEshye, daVAY.)
- Come on then, bro, take care of yourself/see you.

05
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Дружок

Pronunciation: drooZHOK

Translation: little friend

Meaning: friend, pal

Дружок can be used both as an affectionate and a condescending way to address someone. When used affectionately, this word is often heard in conversations with children or pets and translates as "sweetie" or "darling." However, when used as a way to belittle someone, the word can mean "pal" with negative connotations.

Example (condescending or negative):

- Дружок твой приходил, много вопросов задавал. (drooZHOK TVOY prihaDEEL, MNOga vapROsaf zadaVAL.)
- Your friend was here, asking all sorts of questions.

Example (affectionate):

- Привет, дружок, как поживаешь? (preeVYET, drooZHOK, kak pazhiVAyesh?)
- Hey, sweetie, how've you been?

06
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Старик/старушка

Pronunciation: staREEK, staROOSHka

Translation: old man, old woman

Meaning: old friend, my friend, bro, man, dude

Used only in informal conversations, старик/старушка are a popular way to indicate affection in friendship, especially when you have been friends for a long time.

Example:

- Старик, ну здорово! (staREEK, noo zdaROvuh!)
- Hey, so good to see you, dude!

07
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Братан

Pronunciation: braTAHN

Translation: brother, bro

Meaning: brother, bro

Братан is a slang word for bro, used in very informal conversations. Originally meaning older brother or nephew on brother's side, the word is now a popular form of affectionate address for any male with whom the speaker has a close friendship.

Example:

- Братан, ты с нами? (braTAHN, ty s NAmi?)
- You coming, bro?

08
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Френд/фрэнд

Pronunciation: frent/friend

Translation: friend

Meaning: friend, pal

The English word "friend" can be sometimes heard in Russian, pronounced with the rolling "r" and used in an informal environment. Considered a slang word in Russian, френд, or фрэнд, means the same thing as friend. It is also often used to mean social media and online friends.

Example:

- Я удалила его из френдов (ya oodaLEEla yeVO eez FRENdaf)
- I unfriended him.

09
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Товарищ

Pronunciation: taVArysh

Translation: comrade

Meaning: friend, comrade, ally, colleague

The word товарищ is not nearly as popular as it was during the Soviet Union, however, it is still used to mean friend, ally, or colleague. Due to Russia's complex history, no word has appeared since the end of the Soviet Union that has managed to fully replace товарищ. The word is still active in the Russian Army as part of some rank names. In everyday life, товарищ can sometimes be used by older generations.

Example:

- Дорогие друзья, товарищи! (daraGHEEye drooz'YA, taVArishy)
- Dear friends, comrades/colleagues!

10
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Дружбан

Pronunciation: droozhBAN

Translation: pal, friend, mate

Meaning: pal

A slang word meaning "friend," дружбан is used in informal conversation only.

Example:

- Дружбан он его. (droozhBAN on yeVO)
- He's a pal of his.