False Cognates – French and Spanish

French False Cognates (aka False Friends)

  • abus (excess/overindulgence) ≠ to abuse (d’abuser)
  • actuel (current) ≠ actual (réelles)
  • actuellement (currently) ≠ actually (en fait)
  • ancien (former) ≠ ancient (antique)
  • assister (to attend) ≠ to assist (aider)
  • attendre (to wait) ≠ to attend (assister)
  • avertissement (warning) ≠ advertisement (publicité)
  • blessure (an injury) ≠ blessing (bénédiction)
  • change (foreign currency) ≠ change (changement)
  • collège (middle school) ≠ college (l’université)
  • comédien(ne) (actor/actress) ≠ comedian (comédien)
  • déception (disappointment) ≠ deception (deception)
  • décevoir (to disappoint) ≠ deceive (tromper)
  • deputé (member of parliament) ≠ deputy (adjoint)
  • disposer (arrange/have available) ≠ to dispose of (de disposer de)
  • editeur (publisher) ≠ editor (rédacteur en chef)
  • emettre (to put back/postpone) ≠ to remit (à remettre)
  • entendre (to hear) ≠ to intend (l’intention)
  • éventuel(lement) (possible/possibly) ≠ eventual(ly) (par la suite)
  • formel (strict) ≠ formal (formelle)
  • formidable (excellent) ≠ formidable (redoutable)
  • fournitures (supplies) ≠ furniture (muebles)
  • humeur (mood) ≠ humor (humour)
  • injure (an insult) ≠ an injury (blessure)
  • isolation (insulation) ≠ isolation (isolement)
  • issue (exit/solution/outcome) ≠ issue (question)
  • les bras (arms) ≠ bras (un soutien-gorge)
  • librarie (bookstore) ≠ library (bibliotéchque)
  • location (rental/lease/hire/reservation) ≠ location (emplacement)
  • original (new/innovative) ≠ original (originel)
  • passer un examen (to take an exam) ≠ to pass an exam (pour réussir un examen)
  • pleurer (to cry) ≠ to rain (pleuvoir)
  • prétendre (to claim) ≠ to pretend (faire sembleant)
  • prune (plum) ≠ prune ()
  • réaliser (carry out/accomplish) ≠ realize (realiser)
  • recette (recipe) ≠ receipt (réception)
  • remettre (to put back/postpone) ≠ to remit (à remettre)
  • rendre (to give back/surrender) ≠ render (se render)
  • rester (to stay) ≠ to rest/relax (se reposer)
  • résumer (to summarize) ≠ resume (curriculum vitae)
  • sensible (sensitive) ≠ sensible (??)
  • tentative (an attempt) ≠  tentative (provisoire)
  • travailler (to work) ≠ travel (voyager)

For more, go here and here.

Spanish False Cognates

  • asistir (to attend/to be present) ≠ assist (ayudar)
  • atender (to serve/to take care of) ≠ attend (asistir)
  • basamento (base of a column) ≠ basement (el sótano)
  • bizarro (brave) ≠ bizarre (extraño)
  • boda (wedding) ≠ body (cuerpo/tronco)
  • campo (field/country) ≠ camp (campamento)
  • carpeta (type of table cover) ≠ carpets (alfombra)
  • complexion (one’s physiological build) ≠ complexion (tez/cutis)
  • compromise (promise/obligation) ≠ compromise (transigir)
  • constipación (catch a cold) ≠ constipation (estreñido)
  • contester (to answer) ≠ contest (contender)
  • corresponder (to match) ≠ correspond (escribir)
  • decepción (disappointment) ≠ deception (engañoso)
  • delito (a minor crime) ≠ delight (a deleite)
  • desgracia (mistake/misfortune) ≠ disgrace/shameful (una vergüenza/deshonra)
  • despertar (to wake up) ≠ desperate (desesperado)
  • destituido (removed from office) ≠ destitute (indigente/desamparado)
  • disgust (misfortune) ≠ disgust (asco/repugnancia)
  • embarazada (pregnant) ≠ embarrassed (tiene vergüenza/se siente avergonzado)
  • emocionante (thrilling) ≠ emotional (emocional)
  • en absolute (not at all) ≠ absolutely (totalmente/completamente)
  • éxito(a hit/success) ≠ exit (una salida)
  • fábrica (factory) ≠ fabric (tejido/tela)
  • fútbol (soccer) ≠ football (fútbol americano)
  • fútil (trivial/insignificant) ≠ futile (ineficaz/vano/ inútil)
  • ganga (a bargain) ≠ gang (pandilla)
  • inconsecuente (contradictory) ≠ inconsequential (de poca importancia)
  • largo (long) ≠ large (grande)
  • minorista (retail/retailer) ≠ minority (una minoría)
  • molestar (bother/annoy) ≠ molest (abusar sexualmente)
  • once (eleven) ≠ once (una vez)
  • pretender (to try) ≠ pretend (finger/simular)
  • puente (bridge) ≠ point (punto)
  • rapist (barber) ≠ rapist (violador)
  • realizer/realizacón (becoming real/completed) ≠ realize (darse cuenta)
  • recorder (to remember/remind) ≠ record (anotar/ tomar nota)
  • revolver (turn over) ≠ revolver (pistola)
  • ropa (clothing) ≠ rope (cuerda/soga)
  • sano (healthy) ≠ sane (en su juicio)
  • sensible (sensitive/capable of feeling) ≠  sensible (sensate/razonable)
  • sensiblemente (perceptibly/appreciably) ≠ sensibly (sesudamente)
  • sopa (soup) ≠ soap (jabón)
  • suceso (event/ happening/crime) ≠ success (un éxito)
  • tuna (edible cactus/musical club) ≠ tuna (atún)
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