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Reem
Professional Teacher
What is an English word that has a totally different meaning in your native language?
Feb 26, 2018 7:10 PM
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Comments · 25
It's not my native language, but Italian has borrowed a lot of English words and altered the meanings of them. For example, plumcake in Italian is a cake, but it has no plums in it, it's just a plain oblong sponge cake; bistecca, from English "beefsteak", is something like a steak, but it can be of any kind of meat, not necessarily beef; rosbif, from English "roast beef", need neither be roasted nor beef (I once saw a sign advertising "rosbif di cavallo alla griglia" i.e. "roast beef of grilled horsemeat"!).
February 28, 2018
When I just arrived in the US, I asked my brand new mother-in-law if she could lend me some black panties, to go with the black skirt I wanted to wear. That would have made total sense in Dutch, where it means "stockings", but it was pretty embarrassing. 
February 28, 2018

Hi Reem,

I'm from Brazil and we speak Portuguese. We have a lot of false friends.

For exemple Pretend, that means simulate, make believe, assume in English and we have a word Pretender in Portuguese that means intend in English.

I remember the first time I met the word inhabitants in a middle of an English exam. Looks like the word inabitado in Portuguese but they have complete different mean. While inhabitants mean the person who lives in a place the word inabitado in Portuguese mean a place where no one lives. Well I miss that question.

February 28, 2018

The English word eventually and the Dutch word eventueel

They probably have a similar origin, but eventually means in the end, and the Dutch word eventueel means optionally. It is a so called false friend, in language terms.

February 26, 2018

To speculate/ speculation 

“To speculate” in Russian:

1) means to buy something and then sell in few times higher price ( it was widely used when I was a child due to a total lack of goods in Russian supermarkets)

2) use someone’s feelings or information  for own advantages. 

March 14, 2018
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Reem
Language Skills
Arabic (Egyptian), English, French, Spanish
Learning Language
French