Tuesday, April 22, 2014

False friend

False friends (French: faux amis) are pairs of words or phrases in two languages or dialects (or letters in two alphabets) that look or sound similar, but differ in meaning.

The term should be distinguished from "false cognates", which are similar words in different languages that appear to have a common historical linguistic origin (whatever their current meaning) but actually do not.

As well as complete false friends, use of loanwords often results in the use of a word in a restricted context, which may then develop new meanings not found in the original language.

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