Diagram showing relationships between etymologically-related words
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. A cognate etymon need not be inherited directly from a proto-language; the etymon can be borrowed from some other language, in which evolution produces cognate forms. For example, the English word dish and the German word Tisch ("table") are cognates because they both come from Latindiscus, which relates to their flat surfaces. Cognates may have evolved similar, different or even opposite meanings, but in most cases there are some similar letters in the word. Some words sound similar, but don't come from the same root; these are called false cognates.