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Faux Amis




Many French words are very similar to English, so it's often possible to guess their meaning. And just when you're sailing along nicely, along come faux amis or false friends! You could easily assume that because they look or sound the same, they must mean the same thing. Non!!

The French word and meaning is listed first followed by the English word and meaning or the translation of that word into French.

Assistance. Its primary meaning is audience.
Assistance indicates help or aid.

Assister à nearly always means to attend something: J'ai assisté à la conférence - I attended the conference.
Assist means to help or aid someone or something: I assisted the woman into the building - J'ai aidé la dame à entrer l'immeuble.

Attendre à means to wait for: Nous avons attendu pendant deux heures - We waited for two hours.
Attend is translated by assister: I attended the conference - J'ai assisté à la conférence.

Bras is an arm.
Bras is the plural of bra - soutien-gorge.

Une bride refers to a bridle.
Bride is une mariée.

Car is often used as because or for. Or it refers to a coach or bus.
Car is une voiture.

Chance means luck.
Chance refers to un hasard, une possibilité, or une occasion.

Chat is the French word for cat.
Chat is both a noun and a verb: bavarder/bavardage or discuter/discussion.

Circulation In addition to the circulation of air, water, etc., it can mean traffic.
Circulation means circulation or propagation.

Décade is a period of ten days.
Decade is a period of ten years: une décennie or simply dix ans.

Déception means disappointment or let-down.
Deception is une tromperie or duperie.

Émail refers to enamel.
Email is often translated as un email, but the French is un courriel

Avoir envie de means to want or to feel like something: The verb envier, however, does mean to envy.
Envy means to be jealous or desirous of something belonging to another. The French verb is envier.

Éventuellement means possibly, if need be, or even: Vous pouvez éventuellement prendre ma voiture - You can take my car if need be.
Eventually can be translated by finalement, à la longue, or tôt ou tard : I will eventually do it - Je le ferai finalement / tôt ou tard.

Fabrique is a factory. De bonne fabrique means good workmanship.
Fabric is equivalent to tissu or étoffe.

Fastidieux means tedious, tiresome, or boring
Fastidious means attentive to detail or exacting: minutieux, méticuleux, tatillon.

Fond is a noun: bottom or back.
Fond is an adjective: to be fond of - aimer beaucoup, avoir de l'affection pour.

Four is an oven, kiln, or furnace.
Four = quatre.

Front means front as well as forehead.
Front = le front or avant.

Glace can refer to ice, ice cream, a mirror, or sheet glass
Glass can mean un verre or une vitre.

Habit means one's dress or outfit; Habits means clothes.
Habit refers to something a person does regularly: habitude, coutume. It can also refer to a nun's outfit: habit de religieuse.

Histoire can refer to history or just a story.
History = history.

Intoxiqué means poisoned.
Intoxicated means drunk - ivre.

Introduire means to place, insert, or introduce into. It’s not used in the sense of introducing one person to another.
Introduce means présenter.

Jars is the French word for gander - a male goose.
Jars are wide-mouthed containers of glass or pottery: pots, jarres.

Laid is an adjective meaning ugly.
Laid is the past tense of the verb to lay: he laid his briefcase on the table - il a posé son porte-documents sur la table.

Une Librairie is a bookstore.
Library in French is une bibliothèque.

Location refers to something that is available for rent, such as a house or car.
Location indicates the position or placement of someone/something: It's a suitable location for a bakery - C'est une emplacement convenable à une boulangerie.

Magasin is the general word for a store. It is also equivalent to the magazine of a gun.
Magazine is une revue or un périodique.

Pain is the French word for bread.
Pain is the English word for douleur, peine, souffrance.

Une pale is an oar, paddle, or propeller blade.
Pale means light in color. When referring to a person's complexion, it is translated by pâle. But pale blue - bleu clair.

Pamphlet refers to a satire or lampoon.
Pamphlet is une brochure.

Parole is a word or speech in general.
Parole refers to parole d'honneur or liberté conditionnelle.

Patron is an owner, boss, or employer.
Patron is a client, someone who purchases from a store, restaurant, or other business: un client or (for the theater only) un habitué.

Placard usually refers to an armoire or cupboard. It can also mean a galley proof or, informally, a thick layer.
Placard is une affiche or une pancarte.

Raisin is the French word for grape.
Raisin is un raisin sec.

Rentable means profitable or financially viable.
Rentable is not an English word, but if it were, it would be "able to be rented", the equivalent of louable.

Sale is an adjective - dirty. Saler means to salt.
Sale is the noun for vente or solde.

Seize is the number sixteen.
Seize is the verb saisir.

Stage is an internship or training period.
Stage is une scène, le théâtre, un estrade, or une étape.

Store refers to a blind, shade, or awning.
Store is any sort of magasin or provision as well as the verb mettre en réserve or conserver.

Surnom = nickname.
Surname = nom (de famille).


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