Words At Play

A “false friend” is one who would deceive you.  That person would say things to you that seem like the truth, but would, in fact, be lies.  Those lies might cause you a lot of embarrassment.  Some words are “false friends,” also known as false cognates.  When you look at them you think you know what their meanings are, but like a false friend they fool you.  We usually run across false cognates while studying foreign languages.  The words may even be spelled exactly like English words, but may have radically different meanings.

Below is a list made up of French, Spanish, and Italian words that are false cognates.    See if you can determine their real meanings.  The answers can be found on my Quiz Answers page.

  1. Attendre (French)
  2. Comment (French)
  3. Figure (French)
  4. Librairie (French)
  5. Occasion (French)
  6. Pain (French)
  7. Rester (French)
  8. Sale (French)
  9. Bizarro (Spanish)
  10. Campo (Spanish)
  11. Compromiso (Spanish)
  12. Contestar (Spanish)
  13. Disgusto (Spanish)
  14. Éxito (Spanish)
  15. Fábrica (Spanish)
  16. Ganga (Spanish)
  17. Molestar (Spanish)
  18. Ropa (Spanish)
  19. Sopa (Spanish)
  20. Camera (Italian)
  21. Confetti (Italian)
  22. Confrontare (Italian)
  23. Crema (Italian)
  24. Crudo (Italian)
  25. Educato (Italian)
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