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15 English Words That Mean Something Different in Other Languages

Edited By: Natalia Jones
 The language barrier can make communication abroad really tough, but sometimes, things can get far worse than simply not understanding the foreign language and you can find yourself in a really embarrassing or outrageous situation. Who is to blame? Certainly, it’s not you nor the other person’s fault, you simply misunderstood each other, but it may be some word one of you has said that triggered the awkward situation.
In fact, what you think you’re saying or hearing in English may mean something completely different in other languages. For example, a word that sounds very much like embarrassed in Spanish, ‘embarazada’ actually means pregnant in Spanish. Words like these are called “false friends” in linguistics, and to put it simply, they’re a nuisance, as they sound very similar to a familiar word, but mean something completely different.
The following 15 false friend words are all eerily similar to English words, but they mean something completely different in other languages, so keep an eye out for these when you’re communicating abroad.

1. English and Dutch

Don't be surprised if someone invites you for a 'glass' in the Netherlands.
false friends of the interpreter English and Dutch

2. English and French

Never ignore an 'advertissement' in France.
false friends of the interpreter English and French

3. English and Russian

Don't get confused if someone is waiting for you in their cabinet in Russia.
false friends of the interpreter English and Russian

4. English and Swedish

Does it seem weird to you that Swedes discuss bras way too often? This is why.
false friends of the interpreter English and Swedish

5. English and Georgian

These two words in Georgian are definitely worth remembering to avoid confusion.
false friends of the interpreter English and Georgian

6. English and Spanish

Looking for a carpet in a Spanish-speaking country? Don't be surprised if you're directed to a stationary store.
false friends of the interpreter English and Spanish

7. English and Japanese

Apparently, this word is a borrowing from English that changed in meaning quite drastically, so it's safer not to say it a lot in public places.
false friends of the interpreter English and Japanese

8. English and Polish

Never order pasta at a restaurant in Poland, you'll be disappointed, to say the least.
false friends of the interpreter

9. English and Hungarian

On top of it all, Hungarians pronounce this word as "former", which only adds to the confusion.
false friends of the interpreter English and Hungarian

10. English and Czech

This is the same in all Slavic languages and many other countries in Europe. Confusing, we know.
false friends of the interpreter English and Czech

11. English and Welsh

In fact, "moron" can be used both the way we do in English and to refer to a carrot in Welsh.
false friends of the interpreter English and Welsh

12. English and Malay

Luckily, the pronunciation of this word in Malay is not the same as in English, but in written form, in a menu, let's say, it would be quite surprising to find some air.
false friends of the interpreter English and Malay

13. English and Spanish

This word is very similar to the word "disgusted" in English, but it means something quite different.
false friends of the interpreter English and Spanish

14. English and Hungarian

This is an important distinction to know, especially if you're having a Hungarian visiting your home.
false friends of the interpreter English and Hungarian

15. English and German

Mobile phones sure are handy, but in Germany, they are literally called that.
false friends of the interpreter English and German
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