The most common Spanish false friends
Dear readers, have you ever heard of the so called “false friends”? They are words that have the same or similar spelling as words in a different language, but mean something completely different. In this blog post, we will introduce you to some false friends in Spanish. You will never put your foot in your mouth again!
First example of Spanish false friends: exito
If your Spanish classmate wishes you a lot of “exits” for your upcoming exam, don’t get irritated. The Spanish word “exito” means “success” and is often mistaken with the English word exit.
Second example of Spanish false friends: embarazo
Spanish people might wish you all the best for your pregnancy as: “Congrats on your embarrassment!” Uhm, okay? You should not be embarrassed because you are pregnant. The Spanish words “embarazo” (pregnancy) and “embarazada” (pregnant) sound like embarrassment. People sometimes mistake those words so don’t worry if the congratulations on your pregnancy might sound weird.
Third example: constipado
A Spanish guy tells his doctor that he is really constipated and he can’t breathe! Well dear doctor… “constipado” is a common cold in Spanish and doesn’t mean constipation.
Fourth example: molestar
Yes, this one is tricky. Your Spanish friend might tell you that her boss or colleague molested her. No, don’t call the police! “Molestar” means “to bother someone”. Your friend is actually just annoyed with her colleagues.
Fifth : casualidad
“Hey, I saw your brother at the train station yesterday!”
“Oh, really? What a casualty!”
What? Don’t worry, no one died at the train station. Your Spanish friend might say that this was a coincidence which is “casualidad” in Spanish. Some Spanish people might mistake it with casualty. Uh, that is embarazo!
Last example of Spanish false friends: bombero
We are not talking about bombs, dear readers. “Bomberos” are called when a fire breaks out. Yes, exactly, it means “firefighter” in English! If there is a fire in your neighbourhood and your Spanish neighbours scream “Bombero, bombero!” don’t panic. There are no bombs. They just want you to call the firefighters.
Spanish translation services
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