Spanish False Friends
Language Resources

Learning a language always has its little hitches, and what we call "false friends" are one of them. What is a false friend? False friends are two words in two different languages - in this case English and Spanish - that look and/or sound alike but actually have completely different meanings.

In Spanish, for example, if you want to say that you are embarrassed, you might be inclined to say "Estoy embarazada". Sounds logical, right? However, what you're actually saying is that you are pregnant. Below you can look over some other commonly used - and commonly mistaken - "false friends":

Common Spanish False Friends

Spanish word Often mistaken in English for... Actually means...
actualactual, real current, at the present time
asistirassistto attend, to be present
atenderattendto serve, to take care of
billónbillion1,000,000,000,000 (trillion, in American English)
campocampfield, country (as opposed to city)
carpetacarpetfolder
constipadoconstipatedhas a cold, is stuffed up
embarazadaembarrassedpregnant
emocionanteemotionalthrilling, exciting
en absoluto absolutelyabsolutely not
éxitoexitsuccess, a hit
largolargelong
molestarmolestbother, annoy (no sexual connotation)
recordarrecordto remember, to remind
sensiblesensiblesensitive, emotional
sopasoapsoup
sucesosuccessevent, happening