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Faux amis

French English False Cognates

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One of the great things about learning French or English is that many words have the same roots in the Romance languages and English. However, there are also a great many faux amis, or false cognates, which look similar but have different meanings. This is one of the biggest pitfalls for students of French. There are also "semi-false cognates": words that can only sometimes be translated by the similar word in the other language.

This alphabetical list includes hundreds of French-English false cognates, with explanations of what each word means and how it can be correctly translated into the other language. To avoid confusion due to the fact that some of the words are identical in the two languages, the French word is followed by (F) and the English word is followed by (E).


Newest faux amis


confection (F) vs confection (E)

     La confection (F) refers to the making or preparing of clothing, a device, a meal, etc. It can also refer to the clothing industry.
     A confection (E) = une sucrerie, une friandise, une pâtisserie, un dessert, etc.


exposition (F) vs exposition (E)

     Une exposition (F) can refer to an exposition of facts, as well as to an exhibition or show, the aspect of a building, or exposure to heat or radiation.
     Exposition (E) = un commentaire, un exposé, or une interprétation.


implantation (F) vs implantation (E)

     Une implantation (F) is the introduction or setting up of a new method or industry, a settlement, or a company's presence in country/region. Medically, it means implantation (of an organ or embryo).
     Implantation (E) means une implantation only in the sense of an introduction or setting up or in the medical sense.


justesse (F) vs justice (E)

     la justesse (F) = accuracy, correctness, exactness, soundness, or appropriateness.
     justice (E) = la justice.


vicieux (F) vs vicious (E)

     vicieux (F) means perverted, depraved, or nasty.
     vicious (E) = méchant or brutal.


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