Finnish for busy people

Finnish Loanwords – Lainasanoja

There are quite a few words in Finnish that have been borrowed from other languages. Loan words are a common occurrence in any language. New technology, inventions and foods will be adopted into other languages, often with a name that is similar to the original. Before Finns started to prefer the word “puhelin” in the 1900s, they called the machine “telefoni”, a word which isn’t used anywhere anymore these days. It might be that “elefantti” (also “norsu”) and “filmi” (also “elokuva”) will go the same way. Or perhaps not, who can tell! For now, both versions are acceptable.

Below you can find a list of some Finnish loanwords that are similar to English words. I find it interesting that these words have not necessarily been imported to Finland through England. More probably, they’ve been taken from either Swedish or from German, two countries that Finland has been close to throughout history.

In addition, Finnish also has a lot of loanwords from Russian. Sadly, I don’t speak Russian, so I can’t recognise those as easily.

Finnish Loanwords

Finnish English
banaani banana
baari bar
bussi bus
elefantti elephant
energia energy
faksi fax
filmi film
galleria gallery
gangsteri gangster
geologia geology
gramma gram
grilli grill
halli hall
helikopteri helicopter
hotelli hotel
idea idea
kaakao cacao
kaaos chaos
kahvi coffee
kamera camera
kenguru kangaroo
kirahvi giraffe
Finnish English
kitara guitar
konjakki cognac
konsertti concert
krokotiili crocodile
lamppu lamp
meloni melon
metri meter
metro metro
ministeri minister
museo museum
musiikki music
neutraali neutral
normaali normal
oliivi olive
ooppera opera
pankki bank
paperi paper
piano piano
pitsa pizza
presidentti president
professori professor
Finnish English
salaatti salad
sampoo shampoo
pubi pub
radio radio
siideri cider
sohva sofa
sokeri sugar
taksi taxi
tee tea
televisio television
tomaatti tomato
traktori tractor
trumpetti trumpet
tupakka tobacco
video video
viini wine
viski whiskey
viulu violin
turisti tourist

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Bao Nguyen

Thank you for making such a huge and comprehensive source for us as finnish beginners. We really hope the content would be updated and added more and Finnish could be spread further. Really appreciate your efforts.

Inge (admin)

Thank you so much 🙂

Thank you so much. I have been studying Finnish language since two months. I found this page incredible and attractive for Finnish learners.


Interesting topic… However, the words in “English” come originally from Greek.

Inge (admin)

Languages borrow from each other and that’s okay! 🙂 You have to admit that it’s very unlikely any of these “words that are similar to English” came from Greek directly 😉


Sure languages borrow from each other but you can’t deny that all medical terms for example are originally from greek! And many other, for example “chaos”, “idea” which I saw on the list!


Another example: what means “Geology” in English? it is from the word “Gaia” (=land, earth) and “logos” (=logic, word).

Kostas Touloumbis

What is the precise order to learn the finnish grammar?

Md Abu Hemjal

I love this webpage.