Spanish Lesson: False Friends in English-Spanish

A “false friend” is a word/ phrase of the foreign language which is very similar in form, but not in meaning, with another word of your own language. That’s why it’s very easy for a confusion in its meaning to be produced. :nerd_face:

Here are some examples:

  • Confident = “confiado”/ “seguro”. It isn’t translated as: “confidente”
  • Embarrassing= “embarazoso”. It isn’t translated as: “embarazado”
  • Establishment = “fundación”. It isn’t translated as: “establecimiento”
  • Evidence = “prueba”. It isn’t translated as: “evidencia”
  • Severe = “grave”. It isn’t translated as: “severo”

What other examples of “false friends” come to your mind? :thinking: :grinning:


Hi! That’s very useful! One example that comes to my mind is “americano” (someone from North or South America) isn’t translated as “American” (someone from the USA only, which the Spanish term is “estadounidense”)

1 Like

Omg! jajajaja
I always use the words “Evidencia” and “Confidente”.
Do they not exist in Spanish?? :open_mouth:


Hi, Deborah! In fact both words exist in Spanish, but they have a different meaning.

“Confidente” means someone you really trust to tell your secrets and you know that person will keep his lips sealed. :shushing_face:
“Evidencia” is any element which confirms the relationship between two situations, and under no cirsumstances it can de denied. :white_check_mark:

Sometimes “evidencia” and [b]“prueba” are used as synonyms. However, there’s a slight difference between them. “Prueba” is an element used to show if something is true o not.
Whereas “evidencia” is always true.

I hope you find this helpful! :grin:


I ran into the use of a ¨false friend¨ on a message board on another learning platform a few years ago. A user had posted a comment for another’s question about spanish. The user’s name triggered a lot of outrage and had several people reporting it… The user’s name was SeñorBigote. I admit that I didn’t know the meaning at the time and thought the same as several people, that the name had the same meaning in Spanish as an English word that has a similar spelling.

People thought the name meant : Mr. Bigot (bigot being an intolerant or prejudicial person.)

The translation from Spanish of SeñorBigote was meant to be : Mr. Mustache (bigote being mustache in spanish.) That was my most memorable introduction to ¨false friends¨.


I see. Now it is much clearer.
However, I always used these words in a wrong way. hehe


:exploding_head: I never thought about this false friend.
It is a very funny story, but these kind of experiences are he best way of learning and remembering.
Thank you for sharing it :relieved:


I didn’t know the meaning of bigot, now I won’t forget it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience :blush: