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Los falsos amigos Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Spanish Vocabulary

You’ve been studying Spanish for some time and you’ve definitely come across what we call ‘false friends’.

These are tricky words that lead us to think about a meaning in Spanish that is similar to English but that’s not the case.

Check out some examples, the first word is in Spanish with the translation in English, then you’ll have the English false friend with its Spanish translation.

Barraca – hut, cabin
Barracks – cuartel

Bizarro – gallant, generous
Bizarre extraño, estrafalario

Carpeta – file, folder
Carpet alfombra, moqueta

Castigar – to punish
To castigate – censurar, criticar

Casualmente – fortuitously, accidentally
Casually despreocupadamente, informalmente

Caución – bail
Caution cautela, prudencia

Cava – wine cellar, sparkling wine
Cave cueva, caverna

Collar – necklace
Collar cuello (ropa)

Compás – beat, rhythm
Compass brújula

Conductor – driver
Conductor director de orquesta, revisor/cobrador (transporte)

Congelar – to freeze
To congeal – coagular

Corpulento – tall, strong
Corpulent gordo

(estar) constipado – to have a cold
(to be) constipated estar estreñido

Contestar – to answer
To contest – negar, poner en tela de juicio

Decepción – disappointment
Deception engaño

Desgracia – misfortune
Disgrace vergüenza, escándalo, deshonra

Desmayo – fainting fit
Dismay consternación

Destitución – dismissal
Destitution indigencia, miseria

Nos vemos prontito.

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.