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Some less common "Faux amis'


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I suppose that everybody who starts learning French notices early on a number of 'faux amis' ,

French words that look so like English one that it is easy to believe

you understand them, when in fact the meaning is rather different in


Obvious examples include 'préservatif' (condom), 'éventuellement'

(possibly or perhaps) 'déception' (disappointment)  'actuellement ' (at

present) and 'location' (hire) or 'occasion' (bargain or second-hand)

There are many more (I have a list I used to use when I was working).

Recently I have come across some less common, usually in the news.

1) Préscription: this is like the American 'statute of

limitations' and refers to the fact that an offence can't be prosecuted

after a certain 'délai' (another faux ami meaning a time-limit)

2) Promiscuité which implies that people are living crowded together

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There was an exhibition in the Peronne historial museum all about the animals that served and lost their lives in WW1.

The French text spoke of the promiscuité (close proximity) between the soldiers and animals in the trenches.

Unfortunately the english text used the same word [:-))]

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