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CorazonFriday 14th of January 2005 11:16:05 PM
Falsos amigos/False cognates - Hi!
Have you any problem with "twins" words in Spanish and English?
May be it helps a little.

All the best,


Falsos Amigos - False Cognates
One of the great things about learning Spanish or English is that many words have the same roots in the Romance languages and English. However, there are also a great many falsos amigos, or false cognates, which look similar but are in fact very different. This is one of the biggest pitfalls for students of Spanish. There are also semi-false cognates: words that can only sometimes be translated by the similar word in the other language.

Because some of the words are identical in the two languages, the Spanish word appears the first and the English the second.

Newest falsos amigos

Idioma vs Idiom

Idioma refers to a language.
Idiom = idiotosmo, modismo, or lenguaje.

Ignorar vs Ignore

Ignorar means to not know or to be unaware of.
Ignore means no hacer caso de, desatender, or dejar a un lado.

Pariente vs Parent

Pariente is any relative
Parent = el padro or la madre only.

Simple vs Simple

Simple can nearly always be translated by simple: when it means foolish, not compound, etc.
Simple, however, is translated as sencillo when it means unadorned or uncomplicated.

Último vs Ultimate

Último means final or last.
Ultimate has several meanings: the best - definitivo, the most important/essential - fundamental, esencial; the latest - último grito.

Previous falsos amigos

Absoluto vs Absolute(ly)

Absoluto is a rather interesting word. Alone, it means absolute, utter, complete. When preceded by en, it means not at all, by no means, no way.
Absolute = absoluto. Absolutely = absolutamente, completamente, totalmente.

Actual vs Actual

Actual means current or present: El presidente actual vive en Madrid - The current president lives in Madrid. Actualmente means currently, at present, or now.
Actual means verdadero or efectivo. Actually can be translated by realmente, en realidad, or en efecto.

Aplicar vs Apply

Aplicar means to apply something, like a theory, paint, or sanctions.
Apply = aplicar when it is a transitive verb. As an intransitive verb, it has many Phrases: apply for a job - solicitar or presentar; to apply oneself to - dirigirse a uno; to apply in the sense of be applicable - ser aplicable or interesar.

Asistir vs Assist

Asistir means to attend.
Assist translates as ayudar.

Atender vs Attend

Atender can mean to attend in Latin America, but in Spain it means to pay attention to, to heed, or to care for.
Attend = asistir.

Billón vs Billion

Billón is kind of a semi-false cognate. It indicates a trillion in US, billion in UK.
Billion, as spoken by an American, = mil millones. When a Brit says billion, s/he means billón.

Bizarro vs Bizarre

Bizarro has two categories of meaning: 1) valient, gallant, brave, or 2) generous.
Bizarre means extraño or raro (see raro vs rare, below).

Blanco vs Blank

Blanco is a semi-false cognate. It is usually the Spanish word for the color white but can in some instances be translated by blank: una página blanca - a blank sheet of paper.
Blank is an adjective meaning en blanco, liso, or sin adorno.
Campo vs Camp

Campo means country(side), field, or farm.
Camp refers to un campamento.

Carpeta vs Carpet

Carpeta = folder, file, portfolio, briefcase, or table cloth.
Carpet is una alfombra or una moqueta.

Complexión vs Complexion

Complexión refers to one's constitution, make-up, temperament, or physical build.
Complexion = la tez, el cutiz, or la piel.

Compromiso vs Compromise

Compromiso is an obligation, commitment, promise, or agreement.
Compromise as a noun can be expressed as una transacción, una avenencia, unas concesiones recíprocas, el término medio, or la solución intermedia. The verb is comprometer or transigir.

Constipación vs Constipation

Constipación and its synonym constipado both refer to a cold or catarrh.
Constipation = el estreñimiento.

Contestar vs Contest

Contestar means to answer or reply.
Contest as a verb means impugnar, atacar, disputar, or contender.

Corresponder vs Correspond

Corresponder means things like to correspond, tally, fit in, match, or belong.
Correspond translates to corresponder only in the sense of agreeing with or matching (e.g., this corresponds with our thoughts). When referring to a correspondence by mail, the Spanish translation is escribirse or estar en correspondencia con.

Chocar vs Choke

Chocar normally means to shock or startle, but can also mean to clink (glasses) or to shake (hands).
Choke = sofocarse or atragantarse.

Decepción/Decepcionar vs Deception/Deceive

Decepción = disappointment. Decepcionar = to disappoint.
Deception = un engaño, un fraude. To deceive = engañar, defraudar.

Delito vs Delight

Delito refers to a crime, offence, or misdeed.
Delight = el placer, el deleite, el encanto, or la delicia. To delight = encantar or deleitar.

Desgracia vs Disgrace

Desgracia means misfortune, mishap, accident, setback, or bad luck.
Disgrace refers to la deshonra or ignominia.

Despertar vs Desperate

Despertar means to wake up, both figuratively and literally, and requires a direct object. To say "I'm waking up" in the sense of getting out of bed, you need to use the reflexive form, despertarse.
Desperate = desesperado.

Destituido vs Destitute

Destituido means devoid of or lacking.
Destitute = indigente, desamparado, necesitado, or en la miseria.

Disco vs Disco

Disco is a semi-false cognate. Aside from disco, it has numerous Phrases: disk, discus, traffic-light, or (audio) record.
Disco = disco, discoteca, or sala de baile.

Disgusto vs Disgust

Disgusto is not as strong as disgust; it means annoyance, displeasure, grief, or trouble.
Disgust refers to repugnancia or aversión.

Educado vs Educated

Educado means well-mannered, polite, or cultivated, from the verb educar - to raise, bring up, rear.
Educated is from the verb to educate: formar or instruir.

Embarazada vs Embarrassed

Embarazada means pregnant. It can also be a noun: una embarazada = a pregnant woman, an expectant mother.
Embarrassed is avergonzado, molesto, or incómodo.

Emocionante vs Emotional

Emocionante means exciting, thrilling, or moving.
Emotional indicates something that is afectivo, emocional, or emotivo, or someone that is sentimental.

Éxito vs Exit

Éxito means success: a gran éxito - very successful.
Exit is una salida.

Fábrica vs Fabric

Fábrica is a factory, plant, or mill.
Fabric is el tejido or la tela.

Fútbol vs Football

Fútbol refers to soccer (in American English).
Football = le fútbol americano.

Fútil vs Futile

Fútil means trivial, while
Futile means inútil, vano, or infructuoso.

Insulto vs Insult

Insulto means insult in most places, but in Mexico it can also refer to indigestion or a stomachache.
Insult = insulto.

Introducir vs Introduce

Introducir is a semi-false cognate. It means to introduce only in the context of introducing a topic.
Introduce can mean to introduce a topic or a person. The latter is translated by presentar in Spanish.

Largo vs Large

Largo means long, generous, or abundant.
Large = grande or importante.

Librería vs Library

Librería is a bookstore.
Library refers to una biblioteca.

Minorista vs Minority

Minorista is a Caribbean and South American word for retail or retail seller.
Minority = la minoría or, as an adjective, minoritario.

Molestar vs Molest

Molestar means to annoy or bother.
Molest = acosar sexualmente.

Nombre vs Number

Nombre means name or noun.
Number is un número.

Once vs Once

Once is eleven in Spanish.
Once = una vez.

Preservativo vs Preservative

Preservativo indicates a condom.
Preservative is un conservador.

Pretender vs Pretend

Pretender means to claim: Ella pretende ser rica - She claims to be rich.
Pretend is translated by fingir or simular.

Raro vs Rare

Raro can mean rare, but more commonly means odd or strange.
Rare = poco común or excepcional.

Real vs Real

Real = royal.
Real means verdadero, auténtico, or legítimo.

Realizar vs Realize

Realizar means to realize only in the sense of to make real, to attain, or to fulfill.
Realize can mean realizar as well as darse cuenta de, comprender, and reconocer.

Recordar vs Record

Recordar means to remember, recall, or remind.
Record is equivalent to registrar, inscribir, or grabar.

Relativo vs Relative

Relativo has the same meaning as an adjective, but as a noun it is used only in linguistics.
Relative as a noun = pariente or familiar.

Revolver vs Revolver

Revolver is a verb: to move around, turn over, revolve, or disturb.
Revolver is a noun: un revólver (that accent is important!)

Ropa vs Rope

Ropa means clothing.
Rope = una cuerda or una soga.

Salario vs Salary

Salario refers to hourly wages, while
Salary indicates fixed earnings per month or year: el sueldo.

Sano vs Sane

Sano = healthy, fit, or intact.
Sane means cuerdo, sensato, or de juicio sano.

Sensible vs Sensible

Sensible = sensitive or regrettable.
Sensible means juicioso, sensato, or prudente.

Sobre vs Sober

Sobre is either a noun: envelope or a preposition: on, above, over.
Sober means sobrio or sereno.

Sopa vs Soap

Sopa refers to soup or, informally, a hangover, while
Soap is jabón.

Soportar vs Support

Soportar means to bear, carry, support, hold up, or withstand.
Support as a verb is usually translated by apoyar, sostener, or mantener.

Suceso vs Success

Suceso is an event, incident, happening, or outcome.
Success refers to un éxito or triunfo.

Tuna vs Tuna

Tuna has a range of meanings: prickly pear, a student music group, the life of a rogue, and, in Central America, drunkenness.
Tuna = el atún.

Vaso vs Vase

Vaso is a glass or tumbler.
Vase indicates un florero or jarrón.

GoranBcnSaturday 15th of January 2005 03:57:39 AM
- That's very useful. :) Here you have the same regarding Spanish and Italian language.

Anyway on this site you can find other free language courses but only for Spanish speakers.


CorazonSunday 16th of January 2005 02:10:58 AM
Gracias Goran! - Dijeron que el idoma italiano es muy bonito y facil para aprender, especialmente, para la gente hispanica.
Me pregunto que cual idoma en tu "profile" es tu lengua de materna?

saludos de
GoranBcnSunday 16th of January 2005 11:57:58 PM
Hallo Corazón - Meine Muttersprachen sind kroatisch und serbisch. Mein Vater kommt aus Kroatien und meine Mutter aus Serbia und Montenegro. Sie sind mehr oder weniger diesselbe Sprachen, aber es gibt einige Unterschiede zwischen die beiden. Zum beispiel das Alphabeth, die Gramatik, der Vokabular usw.
Hier in Barcelona gibt es zwei offiziellen Sprachen, Katalanisch und Spanisch. Normalerweise benutze ich mehr Katalanisch und Spanisch als Kroatisch und Serbisch...
Wie ist bei dir? Ich habe gelesen dass deine Mutter Sprache Uzbek ist, aber du wohnst in Deutschland. Welche Sprache sprichts du besser? Kannst du auch Russisch sprechen? War das die zweite Sprache in Uzbekistan?
Übrigens du sprichst sehr gut Spanisch. Wenn du Fragen über Spanisch hast, frag mich darüber.

CorazonMonday 17th of January 2005 12:27:07 AM
Una sorpresa nueva! - Hola Goran,
Que sorpresa! Tu Aleman es muy bien. Creo que eso es que tu profescion.
Mi idioma nativa es uzbek(solamente :)).
En Alemania, mi idoma del trabajo es ingles, pero se debe poder hablar aleman para vivir en Alemania. No hay tanto ocasion con solamente el idoma inglesa. Hablo ruso tambien y si, tienes razon, el idoma ruso es el segundo idioma en Uzbequistan.
A veces, mis amigos preguntan que que idoma yo prifiero hablar? :) Ninguna duda que mi idoma nativa, Uzbek.. pero no este muy popular, aunque muy bonito :)

P.S. Ich wurde sagen dass du mehr als 2 Muttersprachen hast :)

Muchas gracias y seguimos el contacto,

saludos de

GoranBcnMonday 17th of January 2005 12:52:24 AM
- Gracias :), el alemán lo he aprendido en la escuela oficial de idiomas, pero nunca he estado en Alemania.
En cuanto a lo que decías del italiano, pues, para los españoles es más o menos fácil entender el italiano porque son lenguas bastante parecidas. Pero sabiendo el catalán es aún más fácil entenderlo y hablarlo porque el catalán es como una mezcla entre el español, francés, italiano y el portugués.

Un saludo