FALSI AMICI – Word of the Week

They are commonly called “False Friends Falsi Amici” and we are not talking about the double-faced people we all have met in life, at one point or another. Here we are talking about the numerous confusing Italian words that, in English sound similar but have a completely different meaning.Risultati immagini per falsi amici

Italian Classes
Italian Classes

We recently had a lesson in class focused on this topic and here you can find a list worth knowing, just to make your life easier.

False Friends – The big list

Let’s start with the easy CALDO that, in English sounds like Cold and means exactly the opposite (Hot).  A false friend  quickly learnt by anyone arriving in their first Hotel room in Italy! By the way, the Hotel room is a CAMERA, and has nothing to do with the device to take pictures.Risultati immagini per camera

If you go for a  job Interview in Italy, you won’t use the word INTERVISTA (this is a journalist’s matter) but rather  COLLOQUIO: un colloquio di lavoro. Un vero casino eh!? –  CASINO in Italian is not a place to gamble (for that you must use the version with the final accent: un Casinò) and it means a big mess: Che casino c’è in camera di mio figlio!

Un MAGAZZINO has nothing to do with a magazine as, if you ask, you will be taken to a warehouse.Risultati immagini per farm

Be aware of the confusion between FABBRICA e FATTORIA. The first one is actually a factory, while the Fattoria is simply  a farm.

You buy books in LIBRERIA (bookshop) while the BIBLIOTECA is the  English library.

When talking about la SOCIETA’, remember that in Italian the word has a double meaning. It may be the society we live in: la società in cui viviamo, but also a  business : ho una piccola società di marketing and a SOCIO is a business partner.

I PARENTI in Italians are “relatives”, while “parents” are i GENITORI.

Descriviamo le persone

When describing people,  keep in mind that someone SIMPATICO means nice , not sympathetic (in It. COMPRENSIVO).  Marco mi fa ridere , è molto simpatico! (He makes me laugh, he’s nice) or Ho molti problemi ma il mio capo è molto comprensivo – I’ve got some problems but my boss is very understanding/ sympathetic.

SENSIBILE means sensitive, while RAGIONEVOLE is Italian for the English sensible. A very sensible decision – una decisione  molto ragionevole. A sensitive child: un bambino sensibile.

Please note that “Wear sensible shoes” translates in a totally different way: Indossare scarpe comode.Risultati immagini per sensible shoes

PULITO is clean while polite in Italian is EDUCATO, well-mannered.  An Educated person in Italian is translated as una persona COLTA.Risultati immagini per educato false friend

Do you feel confused?  Well, have a go with the various expressions and stay tuned for the second group of Falsi Amici we are preparing.


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