Top 21 Spanish Words That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

False Spanish English Cognates

Sometimes it seems like the Spanish language cuts us a break, gives us a hint and understands our frustrations. So it gives us some Spanish English Cognates, which are words in two languages that share similar meaning, spelling and pronunciation.

Cognates make the world of language easy and fun.

That is, until we run into its mischievous cousin — the false cognate.

False cognates, depending on the severity, can make even the most macho man blush, never mind, a newbie.

I’ve spoken Spanish all my life and still have been known to say, “Quiero carne sin preservativos” and didn’t realize I was asking for meat without a condom. Yup, I said that.

So in the spirit of avoiding any more mix ups and embarrassing moments here are the top 21 False Cognates to avoid when learning Spanish.

1. Embarazada
• What it sounds like: Embarrassed
• What it means: Pregnant

2. Tuna
• What it sounds like: Tuna Fish. This one is tricky because it’s spelled exactly the same.
• What it means: Prickly Pear

3. Excitado
• What it sounds like: Excited
• What it means: Aroused. And yes with THAT connotation!

4. Carpeta
• What it sounds like: Carpet
• What it means: Binder or Folder

5. Exito
• What it sounds like: Exit
• What it means: Success

6. Fabrica
• What it sounds like: Fabric
• What it means: Factory

7. Preservativo
• What it sounds like: Preservatives
• What it means: Condom

8. Decepcion
• What it sounds like: Deception
• What it means: You let me down or you failed me

9. Mole
• What it sounds like: Mole. You know that thing on a person’s face
• What it means: Mole. The delicious sauce based Mexican dish

10. Aventura
• What it sounds like: Adventure
• What it means: Had an Affair

11. Ropa
• What it sounds like: Rope
• What it means: Clothes

12. Molestar
• What it sounds like: Molest
• What it means: To annoy or be annoying

13. Sopa
• What it sounds like: Soap
• What it means: Soup

14. Realizar
• What it sounds like: Realize
• What it means: Perform

15. Introducir
• What it sounds like: Introduce. This word is changing from originally meaning into its cognate.
• What it means: To put something into something else. To penetrate.

16. Pie
• What it sounds like: Pie — The dessert
• What it means: Foot

17. Recordar
• What it sounds like: Record
• What it means: Remember

18. Enviar
• What it sounds like: Envy
• What it means: To Send

19. Actual
• What it sounds like: Actual
• What it means: Current

20. Asistir
• What it sounds like: Assist
• What it means: Attend

21. Largo
• What it sounds like: Large
• What it means: Long

Can you think of any others?

Saludos,
Fidel

www.huarachesol.com