| Study languages

The false friend aka faux amis is a thorn in the side of any student learning a new language. A “false friend” refers to a word that is identical or similar in two languages but its meaning is very different.

Here are a few to keep in mind, so that your next french exchange won’t be awkward or misunderstood:

Librairie – is a bookshop or newstand; une médiathèque is a library in French.

Prune – is a plum; a prune is un pruneau.

Raisin – is a grape; raisins secs are raisins and sultanas.

Jolie – means pretty; joyeux and jovial is jolly, happy and cheerful.

Bouton – does mean a button but it also means a pimple.

Abuser – means to take advantage of; to abuse is insulter.

Achever – is to complete; réaliser is to achieve.

Décevoir – means to disappoint; tromper is to deceive.

Gentil – means nice or kind; gentle is aimable or doux.

Merci – means thanks; mercy is miséricorde.

Dentune dent is a tooth; une bosse is a dent/bump.