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False Friends (Falsi Amici) of the Italian Words in English

We all know what “false friends” mean in languages. Can you guess how many Italian words resemble English ones? Well, way more than you think!

Vurchio Daniela
Vurchio Daniela
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We all know what “false friends” mean in languages. Can you guess how many Italian words resemble English ones? Well, way more than you think!

Let’s look together at some examples in the chart below:

ITALIAN WORD

FALSE FRIEND IN ENGLISH

REAL ITALIAN  MEANING

Attico

Attic

Penthouse

Attualmente

Actually

Currently

Avvertimento

Advertisement

Warning

Ad hoc

Ad hoc

bespoke/specific

Agenda

Agenda

Notebook

Annoiare

Annoying

to bore

Argomento

Argument

Topic

Attendere

Attend

to wait for

Box

Box

Garage /parking space

Bravo

Brave

Good boy

Camera

Camera

Room

Candido

Candid

Pure, innocent

Cantina

Canteen

Basement

Cartone

Cartoon

Cardboard

Casuale

Casual

random

Cesto

Chest

Basket

Caldo

Cold

hot

Coda

Code

Tail/ Queue

Collegio

College

Boarding school

Confetti

Confetti

Wedding sweets

Confidenza

Confidence

close relationship

Conveniente

Convenient

good value

Dipendente

Dependent

Employee

Delusione

Delusion

disappointment

Educato

Educated

polite

Editore

Editor

Publisher

Esibizione

Exhibition

Performance

Estate

Estate

Summer

Eventualmente

Eventually

possibly

Fattoria

Factory

Farm

Finalmente

Finally

long last

Gioco

Joke

Game

Grosso

Gross

big

Incidente

Incident

Accident

Largo

Large

big

Lunatico

Lunatic

moody

Morbido

Morbid

soft

Ostrica

Ostrich

Oyster

Parenti

Parents

Relatives

Patente

Patent

licence

Petrolio

Petrol

Oil

Preoccupato

Preoccupied

worried

Preservativo

Preservative

Condoms

Pretendere

to pretend

to claim

Qui pro quo

Quid pro quo

Misunderstanding

Ricoverare

Recover

to be hospitalised

Rispondere

Respond

to answer

Romanzo

Romance

Novel

Rumore

Rumor

Noise

Salario

Salary

Wages

Sensibile

Sensible

Sensitive

Stampa

Stamp

To print or Press

Tasto

Taste

touch/button

Tentare

Tent

to try

Vacanza

Vacancy

Holiday

So from now on don’t be fooled by words.

Take your time to make sure that what you are saying is exactly what you mean.

Trust me… Sometimes excessive self-confidence or perhaps relaying on some Latin high school knowledge can lead you to some embarrassing moments!

If you hear someone saying “TERRIFICANTE!”, that person is not describing an amazing moment, but it is actually scared to death!

Language Learning

Vurchio Daniela

Hi! I am an Italian native speaker. I have been teaching Italian to adults and children for several years. I like teaching the language in all its aspects, not only linguistic but also cultural.

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Milena Lazova

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