Definition of false friend in US English:

false friend


  • A word or expression that has a similar form to one in a person's native language, but a different meaning (for example English magazine and French magasin ‘shop’).

    • ‘The following list of false friends will be helpful to Spanish speakers as the Spanish equivalent to the given English word means something different.’
    • ‘Inconsecuente is an example of a "false friend," a Spanish word that can trip you up if you think it means the same as a similar word in English.’
    • ‘Our friend has fallen foul of the phenomenon known as faux amis, or false friends, foreign words that seem to mean one thing but actually mean another.’


Translating French faux ami.


false friend

/ˌfôls ˈfrend//ˌfɔls ˈfrɛnd/