French Language Blog

French Language – Faux Amis Posted by on Mar 30, 2009 in Vocabulary

When you’re learning French and especially, when you’re trying to speak French, you can get easily confused or confuse others with these deceitful false friends or false cognates.  Faux amis, as they are called in French, are pairs of words that seem to be similar in two different languages, but in fact, are not.  I’ll list some common French-English false cognates in this article.

French word Meaning For… in English Use…in French
actuel present, up-to-date actual réel
adepte follower, enthusiast adept compétent, expert
affluence crowd affluence richesse
agenda datebook agenda ordre du jour
aire area air air
attendre wait for attend assister
avertissement warning advertisement publicité
blesser injure bless bénir
bride bridle bride mariée
caméra movie camera camera appareil photo
car coach, bus car voiture
caution financial guarantee caution prudence
compréhensif understanding comprehensive complet
contrôler check, monitor control maîtriser
course trip, journey, race course cours
crayon pencil crayon crayon de couleur
crier shout cry pleurer
demander ask demand exiger
éventuellement possibly eventually finalement
informations news information renseignement
location rent, lease location endroit
noise quarrel noise bruit
pays country to pay payer (conjugated)
raisin grape raisin raisin sec
râpe grater, grinder rape violer
recette recipe receipt reçu, ticket de caisse
résumé summary résumé CV


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  1. Elizabeth M Spradbery:

    Excellent list. I’m compiling my own so it’s interesting to compare.

  2. Chanda:


    I’m happy to know that you find the list useful. Please feel free to tell us about any faux amis you find particulary important to learn. Thanks again for your comment!