Our Favourite Spanish False Amigos

Spanish can be a funny language when;

The sopa isn’t soap,

The ropa isn’t rope

And the butter’s meant to kill ya??


While many of us when struggling to find the right Spanish word, will throw an a or an o at the end of the English word we are looking to translate and hope for the best. On many an occasion this can work a charm and helps to show off our wide grasp on the language in some instances, this can however lead to quite big misunderstanding.

Bizarro– bizarrely enough this refers to somebody who is brave and not someone we think a little strange.Spanish Bull Andalucia

Carpeta – This has nothing to do with a carpet as we know it. Carpeta meaning folder or even briefcase, when referring to the carpet or rug, better off trying alfombra.

Contester, commonly heard, does not mean that they are contesting everything all the time, but rateh answering. For contest you should use contender.

Decepcion, decepcionar, means disappointment or to disappoint. To deceive someone would be enganara alguien. Or something deceptive, enganoso.

Delito – quite the opposite to delight and nothing to do with delete. In fact means crime (usually minor) delight is more likely to be delite or encanto. While delete is borrar.

Embarazada, another of our favourites, might be embarrassing to be pregnant, someone embarrassed (and not pregnant) tiene verguenza.

En absolute , oddly this one means quite the opposite and in fact means not at all or absolutely not. Absolutly is better translated as totalmente or completamente.

Molestar – not to molest and not meaning sexual every time, but simply to bother or annoy, do not call the police when you hear that your Spanish friend was molested in the bar last night.

Suceso – merely an event or a happening, for something with a markedly succesfuly outcome, look for un exito.


Excitado, warning usually interpreted with sexually overtones, excited because it is nice day probably safer to go with emocianado.girl-studying-in-granada

Propaganda, not always the negativeness as carried by the English, but often just honest advertising.

While avocado may sound like a word of Spanish origin, if ordered may have a lawer arrive at your table (abogado)

Conductor, in spain will not be conducting orquestras, but more likely to be driving a car or the bus you are on.

Rare – raro, stranfe, poco cocido o poco hecho.

Rich –rico, de sabor

Argumento – discutir.

Sensible – sensitve

Actually – curently

Disgusto – digust

Chill – chillar –to shriek

Parcel –parcela –packet, lot

Presume, presumir to show off.


And of course the classic – we are quite sure it has provided many an embarrsing moment in the pharmacies around Granada

Constiparse, constipacion –meaning of course to catch a cold or a cold. Someone constipates would be estrenido.

Author: Mark

Mark spent a number of years living in Spain and more recently in London he is now back in his home town of Dublin, where he is a website designer and blogger amongst a number of other professional and social interests. He runs his own website design agency and digital consultancy - Digial Chief, drop him a line mark@digitalchief.ie or check out the site: Digital Chief

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