Spanish/Common False Cognates

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The phenomenon known as “false friends” happens between two languages, like Spanish and English, when there are two words sounding very similar because they come from the same root but their meaning is completely different. There are many “false friends” involving English and Spanish. Here you have some examples (but you can add more, so as to make up a full list):

Spanish False friend (en) Spanish False friend (en)
Abismal
Enormous
Enormous
Abysmal
Pésimo
Pésimo
Actual
Current
Current
Actual
Real or Verdadero
Real or Verdadero
Alcoba
Bedroom
Bedroom
Alcove
Nicho
Nicho
Asistir
To attend
To attend
To assist
Atender or Ayudar
Atender or Ayudar
Atender
To assist
To assist
To attend
Asistir
Asistir
Balón
Ball
Ball
Balloon
Globo
Globo
Bizarro
Brave
Brave
Bizarre
Extraño
Extraño
Blanco
White
White
Blank
Vacío
Vacío
Blando
Soft or Gentle
Soft or Gentle
Bland
Insípido
Insípido
Boda
Wedding
Wedding
Body
Cuerpo
Cuerpo
Campo
Field or Countryside
Field or Countryside
Camp
Campamento
Campamento
Cara
Face
Face
Car
Coche or Carro
Coche or Carro
Carpeta
Folder
Folder
Carpet
Alfombra
Alfombra
Chillar
To shriek
To shriek
To chill
Enfriar
Enfriar
Complexión
Physical build
Physical build
Skin complexion
Tez or Cutis
Tez or Cutis
Comprensivo
Understanding or Tolerant
Understanding or Tolerant
Comprehensive
Exhaustivo or Completo
Exhaustivo or Completo
Constipado
Having a cold
Having a cold
Constipated
Estreñido
Estreñido
Construir
To build
To build
To construe
Interpretar
Interpretar
Costumbre
Habit
Habit
Costume
Traje
Traje
Disgusto
Displeasure or Misfortune
Displeasure or Misfortune
Disgust
Asco or Repugnancia
Asco or Repugnancia
Embarazada
Pregnant
Pregnant
Embarrassed
Avergonzada
Avergonzada
Éxito
Success
Success
Exit
Salida
Salida
Fábrica
Factory
Factory
Fabric
Tejido
Tejido
Globo
Balloon
Balloon
Glove
Guante
Guante
Inhabitable
Uninhabitable
Uninhabitable
Inhabitable
Habitable
Habitable
Injuria
Insult
Insult
Injury
Lesión
Lesión
Librería
Bookshop
Bookshop
Library
Biblioteca
Biblioteca
Mano
Hand
Hand
Man
Hombre
Hombre
Molestar
To annoy
To annoy
To molest
Agredir
Agredir
Moroso
Debtor
Debtor
Morose
Malhumorado
Malhumorado
Nombre
Name
Name
Number
Número
Número
Pariente
Relative
Relative
Parents
Padres
Padres
Periódico
Newspaper
Newspaper
Periodical
Revista
Revista
Preservativo
Condom
Condom
Preservative
Conservante
Conservante
Profesor (at any level)
Teacher
Teacher
Professor
Catedrático (at University)
Catedrático (at University)
Recipiente
Container
Container
Recipient
Destinatario
Destinatario
Recordar
To remember or To remind
To remember or To remind
To record
Anotar (writing), or Grabar (on tape).
Anotar (writing), or Grabar (on tape).
Refrán
Saying
Saying
Refrain
Estribillo
Estribillo
Regalo
Gift
Gift
Regal
Majestuoso
Majestuoso
Remover
Stir
Stir
Remove
Eliminar
Eliminar
Retirado
Withdrawn
Withdrawn
Retired
Jubilado
Jubilado
Ropa
Clothing
Clothing
Rope
Cuerda
Cuerda
Resumir
To summarise
To summarise
To resume
Reanudar
Reanudar
Sanidad
Health
Health
Sanity
Cordura
Cordura
Sensible
Sensitive
Sensitive
Sensible
Sensato
Sensato
Silla
Chair
Chair
Sill
Alféizar
Alféizar
Sopa
Soup
Soup
Soap
Jabón
Jabón
Suave
Soft or Smooth
Soft or Smooth
Suave
Afable
Afable
Vicioso
Addict or depraved
Addict or depraved
Vicious
Salvaje
Salvaje
Vacunar
To vaccinate
To vaccinate
To vacuum
Aspirar
Aspirar