False friends/Faux amis
Abandon vs Abandon
Abandon is a noun that means abandonment, desertion, neglect, or giving up. It can also mean abandon, especially with a verb: danser avec abandon - to dance with abandon. Abandonner = to abandon.
Abandon = abandon.
Habileté vs Ability
Habileté refers to a skill, cleverness, a talent, or a skillful move.
Ability is a similar but weaker term, translatable by une aptitude, une capacité, or une compétence.
Abus vs Abuse
Abus can mean abuse, excess, or injustice.
Abuse = abus, while verbal abuse is des injures or insultes.
Abuser vs Abuse
Abuser means to exploit, abuse, take advantage of, deceive, or mislead. S'abuser means to be mistaken or to delude oneself.
Abuse can be translated by abuser, injurier, insulter, or maltraiter.
Accéder vs Accede
Accéder means to reach, attain, get to, access.
Accede has three different meanings. (1) to agree/accept: agréer, accepter. (2) to take on a new position: entrer en possession/fonction. (3) to join: adhérer, se joindre.
Accidenté vs Accidental
Accidenté can be an adjective: hilly, undulating, or damaged - or a noun: casualty, injured person. Accidenter means to injure or damage.
Accidental means accidentel (bad) or fortuit (good).
Achèvement vs Achievement
Achèvement refers to the completion or culmination of something.
Achievement has a more positive sense of attaining something that was sought after: exploit, réussite, accomplissement.
Achever vs Achieve
Achever usually means to finish, end, complete, reach. It can also be more figurative: to finish off, destroy, kill.
Achieve = accomplir, réaliser, atteindre.
Acompte vs Account
Acompte refers to a deposit, down payment, or installment.
Account = un compte.
Action vs Action
Action can mean action as well as act or a share of stock.
Action = action or effet.
Actuellement vs Actually
Actuellement means "at the present time," and should be translated as currently or right now. Je travaille actuellement - I am currently working. A related word is actuel, which means present or current: le problème actuel - the current/present problem.
Actually means "in fact" and should be translated as en fait or à vrai dire. Actually, I don't know him - En fait, je ne le connais pas. Actual means real or true, and depending on the context can be translated as réel, véritable, positif, or concret : The actual value - la valeur réelle.
Adepte vs Adept
Adepte is a noun: follower or enthusiast.
Adept is an adjective: compétent or expert.
Addition vs Addition
Addition can refer to addition, a sum, or a restaurant check or bill.
Addition = une addition, une augmentation, or un surcroît.
Ado vs Ado
Ado is an apocope of adolescent - teen or teenager.
Ado is a somewhat rare word that is equivalent to agitation or bruit (figuratively).
Adresse vs Address
Adresse can refer to a mailing, email, or spoken address or to deftness, skill, or dexterity.
Address = une adresse or un discours.
Affaire vs Affair
Affaire can mean business, matter, deal, transaction, or scandal.
Affair is the equivalent of affaire only in the sense of an event or concern. A love affair is une liaison, une affaire d'amour, or une aventure amoureuse.
Affluence vs Affluence
Une affluence is a crowd of people: Il y avait une affluence attendant à la porte - There were crowds waiting at the door.
Affluence indicates a lot of something (usually wealth): There's an affluence of information here - Il y a une abondance d'information ici. His affluence is obvious - Sa richesse est évidente.
Agenda vs Agenda
Agenda refers to a datebook.
Agenda means l'ordre du jour or le programme.
Agonie vs Agony
Agonie refers to death pangs or mortal agony, while Agony means severe physical or mental pain, but not necessarily just this side of death: angoisse, supplice.
Agrément vs Agreement
Agrément refers to charm, attractiveness, or pleasantness.
Agreement = accord or harmonie.
Aimer vs Aim
Aimer means to like or to love.
Aim can be a noun - but, visées - or a verb - braquer, pointer, viser.
Allée vs Alley
Allée is a generic term for any sort of road or path: lane, path, avenue, driveway, etc. It can also refer to an aisle.
Alley = une ruelle.
Allure vs Allure
Allure normally refers to speed or pace: rouler à toute allure - to drive at full speed. It can also refer to an appearance or look. Allures refers to behavior or ways.
Allure indicates charm or attrait.
Altérer vs Alter
Altérer can mean alter, but it nearly always has a negative connotation: distort, falsify, tamper with, spoil, debase.
Alter = changer, modifier, transformer, etc.
Amateur vs Amateur
Amateur is a semi-false cognate. It can mean amateur in the sense of non-professional, but it can also mean a lover of something: un amateur d'art - an art lover.
Amateur refers to someone who dabbles in a trade or activity: an amateur photographer: un amateur de photographie.
Amitié vs Amity
Amitié is the generic French word for friendship, while Amity is used more specifically to mean peaceful relations between nations - concorde or bons rapports.
Ancien vs Ancient
Ancien can mean old in the sense of not young as well as in the sense of former: mon ancien professeur - my old (former) teacher, mon professeur ancien - my old (aged) teacher. Learn more about adjectives.
Ancient means antique or très vieux.
Antique vs Antique
Antique as an adjective means antique or ancient. As a noun, it refers to antiquity or classical art/style.
Antique means the same an adjective, but as a noun it refers to une antiquité, un objet d'art ancien, or un meuble ancien.
Apologie vs Apology
Apologie has three different meanings. The original meaning of defense or plea is related to the judiciary meaning of vindication or justification. The current and most common meaning is praise.
Apology = les excuses.
Appareil vs Apparel
Appareil is an apparatus, device, or appliance.
Apparel is an out-dated term for clothing: habillement.
Argument vs Argument
Argument is a semi-false cognate. It means argument in the sense of a mathematical or philosophical argument. Also: argument massue - sledgehammer blow; argument publicitaire - advertising claim; argument de vente - selling point.
Argument is une discussion, une conversation, un débat, or une dispute.
Arriver vs Arrive
Arriver can mean to arrive or to happen, while arriver à + verb means to succeed in doing or to manage to do something.
Arrive is translated by arriver.
Arroser vs Arose
Arroser means to water or spray.
Arose is the past participle of arise: survenir, se présenter, s'élever.
Assistance vs Assistance
Assistance is a semi-false cognate. Its primary meaning is audience.
Assistance indicates help or aid. Assister vs Assist
Assister à nearly always means to attend something: J'ai assisté à la conférence - I attended (went to) 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.
Assumer vs Assume
Assumer only means to assume in the sense of taking on responsibility or assuming control. It also means to hold a job or fulfill a role.
Assume is a semi-false cognate. In addition to assumer, it can also mean supposer or présumer.
Assurance vs Assurance
Assurance refers to self-confidence or insurance in addition to assurance.
Assurance means assurance or conviction.
Attendre vs Attend
Attendre à means to wait for: Nous avons attendu pendant deux heures - We waited for two hours.
Attend is translated by assister (see above): I attended the conference - J'ai assisté à la conférence.
Audience vs Audience
Audience is a semi-false cognate. In addition to the meaning of the English word, it can signify: Votre audience, s'il vous plaît - Your attention, please. Ce projet a un large audience - This project has a lot of attention. Donner audience à quelqu'un - To meet with / listen to someone. Audience publique - A public meeting.
Audience is a group of spectators or listeners.
Avertissement vs Advertisement
Avertissement is a warning or caution, from the verb avertir - to warn.
Advertisement is une publicité, une réclame, or un spot publicitaire.
Bachelier vs Bachelor
Bachelier refers to a person who has passed the bac. Feminine - une bachelière.
Bachelor = un célibataire
Bail vs Bail
Bail is a lease; the plural is Baux.
Bail is une caution, on bail is sous caution.
Balance vs Balance
Balance is a pair of scales or weighing machine. It can also refer to an economic balance.
Balance can be all of the above, plus équilibre or aplomb.
Ballot vs Ballot
Ballot means a bundle or package while Ballot refers to a bulletin de vote (the paper upon which one votes) or a scrutin (the method of voting).
Basque vs Basque
Basque refers to the tails of a tuxedo jacket. In both French and English, Basque also refers to Basque country as well as its people and language.
Basque = une guêpière.
Bât vs Bat
Bât is a packsaddle. It's also found in the figurative expression C'est là où le bât blesse - There's the rub.
Bat is une chauve-souris, une batte, or une raquette.
Batterie vs Battery
Batterie is a semi-false cognate. It is equivalent to the English word in all senses, but it can also refer to a set of drums or the percussion instruments in a band.
Battery refers to an electrical device that provides power as well as military weapons: a battery of artillery - une batterie de canons.
Biais vs Bias
Biais is a general term for way or means, and can also mean angle in the sense of looking at an issue from a particular angle. Par le biais de - through, by means of. Le biais = bias only when referring to fabric (coupé dans le biais - cut on the bias).
Bias = tendance, inclination, penchant, préjugé.
Bigot vs Bigot
Bigot as an adjective means sanctimonious or holier-than-thou. As a noun = person who is sanctimonious or holier-than-thou.
Bigot is equivalent to fanatique or sectaire.
Black vs Black
Black is an informal noun/adjective for black people: un/e black - a black person, la musique black - black music.
Black = noir.
Blanc vs Blank
Blanc is a semi-false cognate. It is usually the French word for the color white but can in some instances be translated by blank: une feuille blanche - a blank sheet of paper.
Blank is an adjective meaning blanc, vierge, or vide.
Blesser vs Bless
Blesser means to wound, injure, or offend.
Bless means bénir.
Blinder vs Blinder/Blind
Blinder means to armor or to shore up. Informally, it means to harden or make immune. Familiarly, it means to get drunk.
Blinder is une oeillère. Blind means aveugle.
Bond vs Bond
Bond refers to a leap or jump. Bondir - to jump.
Bond can mean un engagement, une obligation, or un lien. To bond - coller.
Bout vs Bout
Bout means end, tip, or bit.
Bout refers to une crise (de rheumatisme) or un combat.
Bras vs Bras
Bras is an arm.
Bras is the plural of bra - soutien-gorge.
Brave vs Brave
Brave means brave when it follows the noun it modifies, but good or decent when it precedes it.
Position of adjectives
Brave = brave or, more commonly, courageux.
Bribe vs Bribe
Bribe refers to a bit or scrap of something.
Bribe as a noun is un pot-de-vin, to bribe = acheter (le silence de) quelqu'un, suborner, soudoyer.
Bride vs Bride
Une bride refers to a bridle.
Bride is une mariée.
Bureau vs Bureau
Bureau is a semi-false cognate. It can refer to a desk or an office, as well as a department: Bureau européen de l'environnement - European Environment Office.
Bureau can also mean a certain department, especially in government. In British English, a bureau has the same sense of desk as in French, but in American English a bureau is a chest of drawers: commode.
Caméra vs Camera
Caméra is a movie camera.
Camera = un appareil photo.
Canal vs Canal
Canal can refer to a canal, a channel, or an intermediary.
Canal = un canal or un conduit.
Candide vs Candid
Candide means naïve or ingenuous; Candid means open or frank: franc, sincère.
Car vs Car
Car is most often used as a conjunction: because or for. As a noun, it refers to a coach or bus.
Car is une voiture.
Caractère vs Character
Caractère refers only to the character or temperament of a person or thing: Cette maison a du caractère - This house has character.
Character can mean nature/temperament: Education develops character - L'éducation développe le caractère, as well as a fictional character in a book, play, movie, etc.: Romeo is a famous character - Romeo est un personnage célèbre.
Carton vs Carton
Carton is a semi-false cognate. While it can refer to a box, it can also mean simply cardboard. It can also indicate a target, sketch, or card.
Carton can be a pot, carton, boîte, brick, or cartouche.
Case vs Case
Case is a square or a box (e.g., on a form), a compartment, or a hut.
Case can refer to un cas, un procès, or une valise.
Caution vs Caution
Caution is a financial term; it can mean guarantee, security, bail, or backing.
Caution indicates prudence, circonspection, or avertissement.
Ceinture vs Century
Ceinture is a belt.
Century is un siècle.
Célibataire vs Celibate
Celibataire as a noun means a bachelor, as an adjective can mean celibate or simply single/unmarried.
Celibate is the adjective célibataire.
Cent vs Cent
Cent is the French word for a hundred.
Cent can be figuratively translated by un sou. Literally, it is one hundredth of a dollar.
Chaîne vs Chain
Chaîne can refer to a chain, a production line, a TV channel, or a stereo.
Chain can be a noun - une chaîne, or a verb - enchaîner.
Chair vs Chair
Chair means flesh.
Chair can be une chaise, un fauteuil (armchair), or un siège (seat).
Champ vs Champ
Champ refers to a field (in all senses), while champs = country(side).
Champ is an informal abbreviation for champion - un champion.
Chance vs Chance
Chance means luck.
Chance refers to un hasard, une possibilité, or une occasion.
Charge vs Charge
Charge as a noun can mean burden, load, cargo, responsibility. The verb charger means to load or to charge.
Charge the noun can mean inculpation, accusation, or attaque. The verb to charge can mean accuser or faire payer.
Chat vs Chat
Chat is the French word for cat.
Chat is both a noun and a verb: bavarder/bavardage or discuter/discussion.
Chope vs Chop
Chope is a mug or pint.
Chop can be a noun - une côtelette, un coup - or a verb - trancher, couper, hacher.
Choir vs Choir
Choir is an old-fashioned or archaic verb which means to fall.
Choir indicates un choeur or une chorale.
Christian vs Christian
Christian is a masculine French name (learn more), while
Christian = (un) chrétien (not capitalized).
Chute vs Chute
Chute refers to a fall, loss, collapse, or failure.
Chute is une glissière.
Circulation vs Circulation
Circulation is a semi-false cognate. In addition to the circulation of air, water, etc., it can mean traffic.
Circulation means circulation or propagation.
Client vs Client
Client is a semi-false cognate. In addition to client, it can refer to a customer, patron, or patient.
Client is a client.
Coin vs Coin
Coin refers to a corner in every sense of the English word. It can also be used figuratively to mean area: l'épicier du coin - the local grocer.
Coin is a piece of metal used as money - une pièce de monnaie.
Collège vs College
Collège and lycée both refer to high school: Mon collège a 1 000 élèves - My high school has 1,000 students.
College is translated by université : This college's tuition is very expensive - Les frais de scolarité à cette université sont très élevés.
Combinaison vs Combination
Combinaison is a semi-false cognate. It can refer to a slip, overalls, or a ski-suit.
Combination is equivalent to the French in virtually all senses of the word. In British English, Combination can also refer to un side-car.
Combine vs Combine
Combine is an informal term for a trick or scheme.
Combine can be translated by une association, une corporation, or, in agriculture, une moissoneuse-batteuse. To combine = combiner or joindre.
Comédien vs Comedian
Comédien can refer to any actor, not just a comedian/comedy actor. It can also indicate a sham or show-off.
Comedian is a comédien or comique.
Commander vs Command
Commander is a semi-false cognate. It means to order (a command) as well as to order a meal or goods/services. Une commande is an order.
Command can be translated by commander, ordonner, or exiger. It is also a noun: ordre or commandement.
Comme vs Come
Comme means like or as.
Come is the verb venir.
Comment vs Comment
Comment is an adverb meaning how or what: Comment vas-tu ? - How are you? Comment t'appelles-tu ? - What is your name?
A Comment is une observation or un commentaire.
Commode vs Commode
Commode as an adjective means convenient or handy; as a noun it indicates a chest of drawers.
Commode rarely means a chest of drawers, in American English it usually refers to a toilet: toilettes or cabinets. In British English, it means a special chair with a hole, under which is a chamber pot (normally used by disabled persons): une chaise percée.
Commodité vs Commodity
Commodité means convenience: les commodités de la vie moderne - the conveniences of modern life.
Commodity refers to a product for trade, goods: produit, article, denrée (latter refers only to food).
Complet vs Complete
Complet is an adjective: complete, comprehensive, full, total. The feminine form is complète. It is also the noun for a men's suit.
Complete is an adjective: complet, terminé. It is also a verb: compléter, finir, remplir.
Compréhensif vs Comprehensive
Compréhensif can mean comprehensive as well as understanding or tolerant.
Comprehensive has many meanings: détaillé, complet, étendu, global, or compréhensif.
Compromis vs Compromise(d)
Compromis = a compromise, while the expression compromis de vente refers to a provisional sales agreement. As an adjective (past participle of compromettre), it means compromised in both the positive and negative sense (We have compromised with our friends and Our mission has been compromised).
Compromise refers to un compromis or une transaction. As a verb, it means compromettre, transiger, aboutir à/accepter un compromis.
Con vs Con
Con is a vulgar word that literally refers to female genitalia. It usually means an idiot, or is used as an adjective in the sense of bloody or damned.
Con can be a noun - la frime, une escroquerie, or a verb - duper, escroquer.
Concerner vs Concern(ed)
Concerner is a semi-false cognate. It means to concern only in the sense of to affect or to have to do with: Cela ne vous concerne pas - This doesn't concern/affect you. Thus concerné means affected by, not concerned about something.
Concern is both a noun and a verb. As a verb, it can mean concerner/toucher as well as inquiéter or préoccuper. The noun means rapport, affaire, souci, intérêt, etc.
Concierge vs Concierge
Concierge is a semi-false cognate. In addition to the concierge of a hotel, it can refer to the caretaker of a building or apartment house.
Concierge is a member of hotel staff.
Concret vs Concrete
Concret is an adjective which means concrete (in the sense of real/tangible or made of concrete). Feminine version: concrète.
Concrete can be an adjective or a noun: le béton.
Conducteur vs Conductor
Conducteur is the general French term for a driver. In terms of electricity, it is both a noun - conductor and an adjective - conductive, conducting.
Conductor refers to un contrôleur or un chef d'orchestre.
Conférence vs Conference
Conférence is a lecture or conference.
Conference is une conférence, un congrès, or une assemblée.
Confiance vs Confidence
Confiance can refer to confidence or trust.
Confidence means confiance, while self-confidence is assurance.
Confident vs Confident
Confident is a noun, the French equivalent of confidant - someone you tell all your secrets and private matters.
Confident is an adjective; the French equivalents are confiant, assuré, sûr, and persuadé.
Confortable vs Comfortable
Confortable = comfortable for a place or thing.
Comfortable can also be used for people, but in French this would be translated as à l'aise or bien.
Confus vs Confused
Confus means ashamed, embarrassed, disorganized, or uncertain.
Confused means désorienté, déconcerté, confondu, or embrouillé.
Conseil/Conseiller vs Counsel
Conseil can refer to a hint or piece of advice; a consultant or adviser; or a board, committee, or council. Conseiller means to recommend, advise, or counsel.
Counsel is a noun: une consultation, un conseil, une déliberation, un avocat (in formal English) and a verb: conseiller, recommander.
Consumer vs Consume
Consumer means to consume only as a fire or as ambition consumes.
Consume usually refers to eating or drinking something: consommer.
Contrée vs Country
Contrée refers only to the physical boundaries of a piece of land or a region.
Country can indicate un pays, une patrie, or la campagne.
Contrôle vs Control
Contrôle is a semi-false cognate. It usually refers to an inspection, verification, or test, but it can in some cases indicate self-control or control of a vehicle.
Control indicates power over someone (including oneself) or something.
Corde vs Cord
Corde refers to rope or a string on a musical instrument.
Cord = un cordon.
Corporation vs Corporation
Corporation can refer to a corporate body, guild, or, in general terms, profession.
Corporation is une société commerciale, société à responsabilité limitée, or compagnie commerciale. In the UK, it can also refer to un conseil municipal.
Corps vs Corps
Corps is a semi-false cognate. In addition to a body of people like Corps de la Paix - Peace Corps, corps can mean (human) body or corpse.
Corps refers to un corps of people.
Correspondance vs Correspondence
Correspondance can mean correspondence, conformity, balance, or a travel connection.
Correspondence means correspondance.
Courageux vs Courageous
Courageux can mean courageous, but is also used to mean up to or not lazy: Je ne suis pas courageux - I don't feel up to it; Sois courageux ! - Don't be lazy!
Courageous = courageux.
Course vs Course
la Course means running, une course is a trip, journey, or race.
Course refers to un cours or une route. Of course = bien sûr.
Courtisan vs Courtesan
Courtisan is a courtier or sycophant.
Courtesan is une courtisane.
Crâne vs Crane
Crâne means skull as a noun and gallant as an adjective.
Crane = une grue (both the bird and the machine).
Crayon vs Crayon
Crayon is a pencil.
Crayon translates as un crayon de couleur. The French language uses this expression for both crayon and colored pencil.
Crier vs Cry
Crier means to scream or shout.
Cry as a verb means pleurer; as a noun it is un cri.
Crise vs Crisis
Crise is a semi-false cognate; it has several meanings in addition to the English sense of crisis: une crise d'asthme- an asthma attack, une crise de colère - a fit of anger, une crise économique - an economic slump.
Crisis refers to an extremely serious event: crisis management - gestion de crise.
Crispé vs Crisp
Crispé means tensed or flexed, from the verb crisper.
Crisp is used mainly with food: croquant or croustillant.
Cuisine vs Cuisine
Cuisine is the kitchen or cooking.
Cuisine is just a fancy word for the cooking of a particular region ~ cuisine in French.