15 "False Friends" in English and German

False Friends


False friends, or "false cognates" are words that look, and often sound the same, but do not mean the same thing. False friends exist between many languages.

For example, the English word "pain" has a French false friend. "le pain", which does not mean "pain", but bread. The Spanish word "burro" (donkey) has an Italian false friend, "burro" which is "butter" in Italian. 

Of course, German and English has false friends as well. For example, the German noun "das Bad" (bathroom, or bath) is spelled the same as "bad" (not good). The two words, apart from the capitalization, look identical, but don't mean the same at all. "Die Hose" (the pants) is not the same as "the hose" in the backyard, which would be "der Schlauch" in German. 

Here are 15 more examples of English/German "False Friends".  

False Cognates


Are there any false cognates between English and your language? We would love to hear them!



Apr 5, 2021, 16:35 PM by CORE Team
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