False friends in Italian (falsi amici)

False friends or false cognates are words that sound and/or look the same in two languages but different meaning. English has many words borrowed from Italian, including pizza, pasta and volcano, and there are many other words that are similar in the two languages, including decidere (to decide), idea, importante (important) and persona (person). However not all Italian words that look and/or sound familar mean the same as their equivalents in English.

The following Italian words look and/or sound like English words but have different meanings:

  • Annoiato = bored (annoyed = infastidito)
  • Argomento = topic, subject of a discussion (argument = ragionamento)
  • Attualmente = at the moment (actually = in realtà)
  • Bravo = clever (brave = coraggioso)
  • Camera = room (camera = macchina fotografica)
  • Cantina = cellar (canteen = mensa)
  • Caldo = hot (cold = freddo)
  • Corpo = body (corpse = cadavere)
  • Educato = polite (educated = instruito)
  • Editore = publisher (editor = redattore)
  • Fattoria = farm (factory = fabbrica)
  • Fabbrica = factory (fabric = tessuto)
  • Orso = bear (horse = cavallo)
  • Mare = sea (mare = giumenta)
  • Morbido = soft (morbid = morboso)
  • Parente = relative, relation (parent = genitore)
  • Pretendere = to claim (to pretend = fingere)
  • Preservativo = condom (preservative = conservante)
  • Sale = salt (sale = vendita)
  • Stormo = flock (storm = temporale)
  • Tasto = key (taste = gusto)
  • Veste = dress (vest = canottiera, maglietta, giubbotto)
  • Voluble = fickle (voluable = loquace)

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