74 False Friends Portuguese vs English

74 False Friends | Portuguese vs English

Learning a new language can be hard, but generally we can take advantage of some of the similar vocabulary we have from our own language. But, can we do it all the time? The answer is NO. In fact, languages share words that we call “false friends” and Portuguese and English are no exception.

A false friend is a word that is written in a similar way in both languages, but which meaning is totally different (sometimes embarrassingly so he he).

False Friends | English x Portuguese


So, in this article I will be covering the false cognates (words) between English and Portuguese. Brace yourselves – there are many!

Check the list below and avoid using these English and Portuguese false friends when speaking to your friends or family (or boss!). If you want to see a table with all the false friends I will be talking about, skip right to the end of this post 🙂

Make sure to also check the following video, where I am going through the full list of examples:

Amassar vs Amass

While in English to amass means to accumulate, in Portuguese the word amassar means to mash or to knead.

Exemplo:

Eu vou amassar o pão (I am going to knead the bread).

É por isso que é essencial acumular sabedoria local (That is why it is crucial to amass local knowledge).

Advertir vs Advert

Although similar, these words mean different things. Advertir means to warn in Portuguese and when you want to say advert, you should say anúncio publicitário instead.

Exemplo:

Ele advertiu-a dos perigos que vinham com o emprego (He warned her about the dangers that came with the job).

Aquele anúncio publicitário está muito bem feito (That advert is very well done!).

Agenda vs Agenda

Yup, same word – but different meanings! Agenda in English means the plan for the day – o plano do dia. In Portuguese, however, agenda means a planner where you write all your appointments, etc.

Open and empty planner with pen laying on top

Exemplo: Eu comprei a agenda de 2020 (I bought the planner for 2020).

Estas reuniões estão nos planos para hoje (These meetings are in our agenda for today).

Aliás vs Alias

Aliás means in fact in Portuguese. The English word alias, on the other hand, would mean cognome in Portuguese.

Exemplo: Eu gosto de pão. Aliás, eu gosto de todos os tipos de pão! (I like bread. In fact, I like all kinds of bread!)

O cognome dele era o Formoso (His alias was o Formoso)

Aluno vs Alumnus

Aluno means student in English, which is different from the meaning of alumnus, which will be ex-aluno in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O aluno portou-se mal, por isso a professora deu-lhe mais trabalhos de casa (The student misbehaved, therefore the teacher gave him more homework).

Eu sou um alumnus desta Faculdade. Acabei o curso em 2007.

Antecipar vs Antecipate

Antecipar means to move something to an earlier date, while to anticipate means to predict something – prever, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Tenho que antecipar a reunião para as 10.30 (I need to move the meeting up to 10.30).

Preveem-se aguaceiros para todo o país (We predict showers all over the country).

Antena vs Anthem

In this case Antena means Antenna in English. Anthem, on the other hand is Hino in Portuguese. In Portuguese, you don’t read the “h” at the beginning of words, bear that in mind 🙂

Exemplos:

Aquela antena de televisão é muito grande (that TV antenna is very big).

O Hino Português tem uma melodia bonita (The Portuguese anthem has a beautiful melody).

Aparelho vs Apparel

In Portuguese Apparel means Vestimenta, and Aparelho means Equipment.

Exemplos:

A vestimenta dela era muito engraçada (Her Apparel was very funny).

O aparelho media a força das ondas (The equipment measured the strength of the waves).

Apontamento vs Appointment

Apontamento means a note, in English. If you want to say appointment, you can either say compromisso or marcação (if it is a doctor’s appointment, for example).

Exemplos:

Eu tirei apontamentos nas aulas (I made notes in class).

Eu tenho uma marcação para as 4 (I have an appointment at 4).

Assistir vs Assist

Assistir means to watch something. If you want to say assist in Portuguese, you have to say ajudar.

Exemplos:

Eu assisti ao jogo de futebol (I watched the football game).

O gerente de loja ajudou o cliente (The store manager assited the client).

Assumir vs Assume

Assumir means to take charge of something or to admit something. Assume is presumir in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Ela assumiu o cargo com orgulho (She proudly took charge).

Eu presumi que ela viesse (I assumed that she would come).

Atender vs Attend

Atender and Attend are similar, but they mean something different. Atender means to pick up the phone or to take care of a client. If you want to say attend, you have to say participar.

Exemplos:

Ela atendeu o telefone (She picked up the phone).

Eu participei na conferência (I attended the conference).

Atualmente vs Actually

Atualmente means nowadays. Not to be confused with Actually, which in Portuguese is Na verdade.

Exemplos:

Atualmente, temos menos casos de coronavirus em Portugal (Nowadays, we have less cases of coronavirus in Portugal).

Na verdade, eu gostaria de ir convosco (Actually, I would like to go with you).

Azar vs Hazard

Azar means bad luck. A hazard is perigo in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Tiveste azar, não ganhaste a lotaria (You were unlucky, you did not win the lottery).

Isso é um perigo para a saúde pública (That is a public health hazard).

Balcão vs Balcony

You may think that these two words are similar, and you aren’t wrong. I even believe they come from the same family tree. However, they mean something different in English and Portuguese. Balcão is a counter, while Balcony is Varanda in Portuguese.

Small balkony with plants, decoration and a little table.

Exemplos:

O balcão da cozinha é grande (The kitchen counter is big).

A casa tem uma varanda com uma vista magnífica (The house has a balcony with an amazing view).

Bife vs Beef

This is one of the most used false-friends. Bife means steak in English. And Beef is, in fact, carne de vaca.

Exemplos:

Ontem, eu comi um bife grelhado (Yesterday, I ate a grilled steak).

Eu não como carne de vaca (I don’t eat beef).

Boné vs Bonnet

These two words might be very confusing, as they are both used in your head. Boné means cap, however, while Bonnet is Gorro or Touca in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Põe o boné, porque está sol (Put your cap on, because it’s sunny)!

Hoje está frio, por isso é melhor levares o gorro (Today is cold, therefore it is better if you take your bonnet).

Casualidade vs Casualty

Casualidade means chance in Portuguese. If casualty is what you are looking to say, you should say vítima.

Exemplos:

Encontrei-o por casualidade (I met him by chance).

Não houve vítimas (There were no casualties).

Colar vs Collar

I use this word a lot with my dog – collar. Collar in Portuguese is coleira or gola. Colar means necklace.

Exemplos:

A coleira do cão é amarela (The dog’s collar is yellow).

A gola da tua camia está suja (The collar of your shirt is dirty).

O teu colar é muito bonito (Your necklace is very beautiful).

Colégio vs College

Colégio means private school. If you want to say college, you should say Faculdade.

Exemplos:

Eu andei num colégio até ao 12º ano (I went to a private school until 12th grade).

Eu agora ando na faculdade (I now go to college).

Compreensivo vs Comprehensive

Although they are very similar, they mean totally different things. Compreensivo means understanding. If you want the equivalent to comprehensive in Portuguese, you need to use the word extensivo ou abrangente.

Exemplos:

Ela foi muito compreensiva (She was very understanding).

O texto é extensivo/ abrangente (The text is comprehensive).

Compromisso vs Compromise

When you want to compromise in Portuguese, you have to say fazer um acordo, because the word compromisso means appointment.

Exemplos:

Eu tenho um compromisso às 19h (I have an appointment at 19h).

Eles finalmente chegaram a acordo (They finally compromised).

Costume vs Costume

These two words are written exactly the same, as you can see, but they sound different and have totally different meanings.

Costume in Portuguese means habit. If you want to say the equivalent to the English costume, you have to say traje or fantasia.

Two little boys, one with spiderman costume, the other one with captain america costume.

Exemplos:

Os costumes do país são muito interessantes (The habits of the country are very interesting).

O traje das bailarinas era muito bonito (The dancers’ costume was very beautiful).

Conceito vs Conceit

Other two false cognates, conceito and conceit have bery different meanings. Conceito means a concept. If you want to say conceit in Portuguese, you have to say arrogância.

Exemplos:

Este conceito é muito interessante (This is a very interesting concept).

Ele é cheio de arrogância (He is full of conceit).

Convicto vs Convict

Don’t make a mistake with this one. A convict is preso or prisioneiro, in Portuguese. Convicto means certain.

Exemplos:

Ele estava convicto de que ia ganhar (He was certain he was going to win).

O prisioneiro foi levado para a prisão (The convict was taken to jail).

Data vs Data

Two words, same writing. Data in English will be dados in Portuguese. Data in Portuguese means date.

Exemplos:

A data está marcada (The date is saved)!

Podia inserir os seus dados neste questionário (Could you insert your data into this questionnaire)?

Dece(p)ção vs Deception

Dece(p)ção, now written without a “p”, is not to be confused with Deception. Deceção means disappointment. If you want to say deception, in Portuguese, you have to say engano or logro.

Exemplos:

O filme foi uma deceção (The movie was a disappointment).

Isso não passa de um logro (That is nothing else than a deception).

Defensor vs Defendant

Defensor is someone that defends something or someone. A defendant is réu, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Ele era um defensor dos Direitos Humanos (He was an advocate for the Human Rights).

O réu foi a Tribunal (The defendant was in court).

Dente vs Dent

Although just one letter of difference, these two words have nothing to do with each other in terms of meaning. Dente means tooth. Dent is in Portuguese amolgadela.

A denture with braces on top of a table

Exemplos:

Dói-me o dente (My tooth aches).

O carro tem uma amolgadela (The car has a dent).

Diversão vs Diversion

Diversão is what you have when you have fun. Diversion is desvio, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

A festa foi uma diversão (The party was fun)!

O avião teve que fazer um desvio (The plane had to make a diversion).

Educado vs Educated

These words can actually be synonyms in Portuguese and English, as we also use it the same way as in English. More commonly, however, we say that Educado means Polite or Well-mannered.

Exemplos:

Ele é educado (He is well-mannered).

Ele foi educado nas melhores escolas (He was educated in the best schools).

Estrangeiro vs Stranger

These two words sound the same, but they sure are false friends. Estrangeiro means foreigner. If you wat to refer to a stranger, you have to use the word estranho or desconhecido.

Exemplos:

Aquele rapaz é estrangeiro (That boy is a foreigner).

Eu não o conheço. Ele é um estranho para mim (I don’t know him. He is a stranger to me).

Escolar vs Scholar

Escolar is everything that relates to school. When referring to a Scholar, we use the word Erudito.

Exemplos:

O desporto escolar é muito importante (School sports are very important).

Ele é um erudito (He is a scholar).

Esperto vs Expert

Esperto is someone smart. When wanting to say Expert, the equivalent in Portuguese is especialista.

Exemplos:

Ela é esperta (She is smart).

Ele é um especialista no assunto (He is an expert in the matter).

Esquisito vs Exquisite

Two very similar words, but esquisito means weird. Refinado or fenomenal is the equivalent to Exquisite.

Exemplos:

O homem é um pouco esquisito (The man is a bit weird).

A comida Portuguesa é refinada/ fenomenal (The food is exquisite).

Enrolar vs Enroll

Not to be confused – enrolar means to roll something. If you want to say Enroll, you have to use the word inscrever-se.

Exemplos:

Eu enrolei o fio do computador para o guardar (I rolled the computer cable to put it away).

Eu inscrevi-me no curso online de Português (I enrolled in the Portuguese online course).

Eventualmente vs Eventually

Eventualmente means maybe. Eventually should be translated as Finalmente.

Exemplos:

Eventualmente, poderei encontrá-la na festa (Maybe, I can meet her at the party).

Nós quase que não apanhávamos o comboio. Mas, finalmente, conseguimos (We almost didn’t catch the train, but eventually we made it)!

Êxito vs Exit

Don’t get confused: Êxito means success in Portuguese. Exit is saída.

Man celebrating his success by putting his hands in the air in front of a high building

Exemplos:

A festa foi um êxito (The party was a success)!

A saída é por ali (The exit is that way).

Excitante vs Exciting

This is one of those you should not get wrong. Excitante is mostly used as arousing, although sometimes it can be also used as exciting . Normally, though, I would steer clear of it. Exciting should be said as empolgante.

Exemplos:

A roupa dela era excitante (Her clothes were arousing).

Pensar no futuro é empolgante (Thinking about the future is exciting)!

Fábrica vs Fabric

Fábrica is a factory. If you are aiming for Fabric, you should say tecido.

Exemplos:

A fábrica de sapatos é muito grande (The shoe factory is very big).

O tecido é macio (The fabric is soft).

Físico vs Physician

The “f” and the “ph” sound the same, which makes the words sound similar. Don’t be fooled, though. Físico is a physicist. A physician, however, is médico in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O Sheldon Cooper é um (falso) físico (Sheldon Cooper is a (false) physicist.

Preciso de ir ao meu médico (I need to see my physicist).

Gripe vs Grip

Gripe means flu or influenza (something we don’t want to speak about lately). If you want to speak about a strong grip, you have to use the word agarrar.

Exemplos:

Ele estava com gripe (He had the flu).

Agarra (Grip it)!

Idioma vs Idiom

Idioma and Idiom are two false-friends as well. Idioma means language. An idiom is a expressão idiomática.

Exemplos:

Eu falo muitos idiomas (I speak a lot of langugaes).

Essa expressão idiomática é engraçada (That idiom is funny).

Ingenuidade vs Ingenuity

I learnt this one myself just now. HE HE. Ingenuity means criatividade. Ingenuidade means naivety.

Exemplos:

Ela é cheia de ingenuidade. Não percebe nada (She is full of naivety. She does not understand anything).

Aquela obra precisave de muita criatividade (That masterpiece needed a lot of ingenuity).

Injúria vs Injury

Injúria means Perjury. If you want to refer to an injury, you have to use the word ferimento or ferida.

Exemplos:

Ela proferiu uma injúria (She committed perjury).

Ele tinha um ferimento na perna (He had an injury on hos leg).

Jarra vs Jar

Jarra is a jug. Jar is boião.

Exemplos:

Que linda jarra de flores (What a beautiful flower jug).

Põe o mel nesse boião (Put the honey in that jar).

Jornal vs Journal

Only one letter seperates them in writing, but they have different meanings. Jornal is a newspaper. Journal is Revista (especializada) in Portuguese. It can also be diário (like a diary).

Someone writing in a journal

Exemplos:

Já comprei o jornal de hoje (I’ve already bought today’s newspaper).

A revista de Linguística nr 7 já saiu (The linguistics journal nr. 7 is already out).

Laço vs Lace

Laço is a a bow, something you find on a dress. Lace is renda, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O vestido tinha um laço atrás (The dress had a bow on the back).

O vestido era de renda (It was a lace dress).

Leitura vs Lecture

Leitura is a reading. Lecture is aula, palestra or lição.

Exemplos:

Hoje há leitura de poemas (Today there is poetry reading).

As minhas aulas estão todas online (My lectures are all online).

Legenda vs Legend

This is a super common mistake that I see my students making. Legenda means subtitles or captions. Legend is lenda.

Exemplos:

A legenda do filme era mesmo pequenina (The subtitles of the movie were really small).

O Zorro era uma lenda (Zorro was a legend).

Livraria vs Library

Another very common mistake – the difference between livraria and library. Livraria means bookstore. Library is biblioteca.

Exemplos:

Eu vou à livraria Lello, no Porto (I am going to Lello bookstore, in Porto).

Eu vou à biblioteca levantar um livro (I am going to the library to pick up a book).

Lanche vs Lunch

Lanche is the snack that Portuguese people normally have between lunch and dinner. Lunch is almoço in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Queres fazer uma pausa para o lanche (Do you want to take a break for a snack)?

O almoço está pronto (Lunch is ready).

Maior vs Mayor

Again only one letter is separating these cognates. However, they have different meanings. Maior means bigger. Mayor is Presidente da Câmara, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O irmão é maior do que ela (Her brother is bigger than her).

O Presidente da Câmara do Porto disse que o Porto é a cidade mais bonita (The Mayor of Porto said that Porto is the most beautiful city).

Mistura vs Moisture

Mistura is a mixture. Moisture is humidade, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

A mistura de cores ficou muito bonita (The mixture of colours came out really well).

A humidade via-se nas paredes (One could see the moisture on the walls).

Notícia vs Notice

Notícia are the news. Notice is aviso, in Portuguese.

World Business newspaper

Exemplos:

A notícia falava de mais casos de Covid-19 no Algarve (The news spoke about more cases of Covid-19 in Algarve).

Estava um aviso na porta (There was a notice on the door).

Novela vs Novel

Novela is a soap opera. A novel is a Romance, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

A novela tinha muito drama (The soap opera had a lot of drama).

O Romance falava de um grande amor (The novel was about a great love story).

Ofício vs Office

Ofício is a profession. An office is escritório.

Exemplos:

São ossos do ofício (It is part of the job).

Eu vou ao meu escritório (I go to my office).

Parentes vs Parents

Another couple of false cognates that are written almost the same. However, parentes means relatives. If you want to speak about your parents, in Portuguese, you speak about pais.

Exemplos:

Os meus parentes vêm-me visitar amanhã (My relatives come to visit me tomorrow).

Os meus pais chamam-se Maria e José (My parents are called Maria and José).

Pasta vs Pasta

These two words are written literally equally and they sound almost the same. However, they have two different meanings. Pasta, in Portuguese means briefcase or folder. If you want to speak about the English pasta, something you can eat, you should speak about massa.

Exemplos:

Ela guardou os documentos na pasta (She kept the documents in the folder).

Eles comeram massa com vegetais (They ate pasta with vegetables).

Polícia vs Policy

Polícia is the police. Policy is política or diretriz, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Eles foram mandados parar pela polícia (They were told to stop by the police).

As políticas da empresa assim o exigem (The company’s policies demand it).

Prejuízo vs Prejudice

Prejuízo means loss. Prejudice is preconceito, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O prejuízo foi grande para a empresa (The loss were big for the company).

Há muito preconceito neste mundo (There is a lot of prejudice in this world).

Preservativo vs Preservative

This is a funny one if you get it wrong. Preservativo means condom. Preservatives are conservantes.

Exemplos:

Mantém-te seguro e usa preservativo (Keep save and use a condom).

Este sumo tem muitos conservantes (This juice has a lot of preservatives).

Really, don’t get these wrong, ok? Ah Ah.

Pretender vs Pretend

Pretender is to intend to do something. If you want to say pretend, in Portuguese, you have to say fingir or fazer de conta.

Exemplos:

Eu pretendo dizer-lhe a verdade (I intend to tell you the truth).

Ele fingiu que estava a dormir (He pretended to be asleep).

Puxar vs Push

This one is really a brain-twister. Puxar does not mean to push. Rather, it means to pull. To push is empurrar, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Eu puxei a porta (I pulled the door).

Tens que empurrar a porta para entrar (You need to push the door to enter).

Realizar vs Realise

Realizar means to perform or to carry out. When you realise something in Portuguese, you should use the word aperceber-se or notar.

Exemplos:

Eu realizei muitos eventos no passado ( I carried out many events in the past).

Eu notei que tu estavas a mancar (I realised that you were limping).

Recipiente vs Recipient

Recipiente means container, in Portuguese. Recipient is destinatário.

Glass jar containing three fir cones

Exemplos:

O recipiente está vazio (The container is empty).

O destinatário da carta não se encontrava em casa (The recipient of the letter was not at home.

Recordar vs Record

Again very similar in writing, these two words mean something different. Recordar means to remember something or someone. Record is gravar in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Recordar é viver (To remember is to live).

Vamos gravar um disco (We are going to record a music record).

Refrigerante vs Refrigerant

These two words can mean the same – Refrigerant. However, the most common use of the word Refrigerante is soda or soft drink.

Exemplos:

Tem algum refrigerante tipo Coca-Cola (Do you have any sodas like Coke)?

Temos aqui líquido refrigerante para o motor (We have here refrigerant for the engine).

Resumo vs Resume

Resumo is a summary. Resume is Retomar, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

Vamos ver o resumo do jogo (Let’s watch the summary of the game).

Vamos retomar o jogo (We are going to resume the game).

Retirado vs Retired

Not to be confused. Retirado means withdrawn, while Retired is Aposentado or Reformado, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O medicamento foi retirado de circulação (The medicine was withdrawn).

Ele é reformado (He is retired).

Senhor vs Senior

Although they sound similar, they are two different things. Senhor means Sir or Mister. Senior is sénior, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O senhor Henrique é muito nosso amigo (Mr. Henrique is our dear friend).

Os séniores já foram mandados para casa (The senior people were sent home).

Sensível vs Sensible

Sensível means sensitive. If you are looking for Sensible in Portuguese, you should use the word Sensato.

Exemplos:

Ele é uma pessoa sensível (He is a sensitive person).

Fizeste uma escolha sensata (You made a sensible choice).

Suportar vs Support

Suportar means to withstand. To support is apoiar, in Portuguese.

Exemplos:

O bloco de cimento suporta o peso (The concrete withstands the weight).

A organização apoia as famílias carenciadas (The organization supports the families in need).

Taxa vs Tax

You can’t run from taxes, which are impostos, in Portuguese. Tax means fee.

Tax statement for year 2019

Exemplos:

Eu pago uma taxa para poder estacionar aqui (I pay a fee so that I can park here).

Eu pago o imposto automóvel todos os anos (I pay the car fee every year).

Portuguese False Friends – an overview


If you are like me, and you skipped to the end (I do this a lot), here is a list of The Portuguese X English False-Friends:

PortugueseEnglish
Amassar – To mash, to kneadAmass – Acumular
Advertir – To warnAdvert – Anúncio Publicitário
Agenda – PlannerAgenda – Plano do Dia
Aliás – In factAlias – Cognome
Aluno – StudentAlumnus – Ex-aluno
Antecipar – Move to an earlier dateAnticipate – Prever
Antena – AntennaAnthem – Hino
Aparelho – EquipmentApparel – Vestuário, Vestimenta
Apontamento – A noteAppointment – Compromisso, Marcação
Assistir – To watchAssist – Ajudar
Assumir – To take over, to come cleanAssume – Presumir
Atender – To pick upAttend – Participar, Assistir, Comparecer
Atualmente – NowadaysActually – Na verdade
Azar – Bad LuckHazard – Perigo
Balcão – CounterBalcony – Varanda
Bife – SteakBeef – Carne de Vaca
Boné – CapBonnet – Touca, Gorro
Casualidade – Chance, CoincidenceCasualty – Acidente, Vítima
Colar – NecklaceCollar – Gola, Coleira
Colégio – Private SchoolCollege – Faculdade
Compreensivo – UnderstandingComprehensive – Extensivo, Abrangente
Compromisso – AppointmentCompromise – Ceder, Fazer um Acordo
Costume – HabitCostume – Fantasia, Traje
Conceito – ConceptConceit – Arrogância
Convicto – CertainConvict – Preso, Prisioneiro
Data – DateData – Dados, Informação
Dece(p)ção – DisappointmentDeception – Engano
Defensor – The one that defendsDefendant – Réu
Dente – ToothDent – Amassado, Amolgado
Diversão – FunDiversion – Desvio
Educado – PoliteEducated – Educado (less used like with this meaning)
Estrangeiro – ForeignerStranger – Estranho, Desconhecido
Escolar – Related to SchoolScholar – Erudito
Esperto – SmartExpert – Especialista
Esquisito – Weird, StrangeExquisite – Fenomenal, Refinado
Enrolar – To rollEnroll – Inscrever-se
Eventualmente – Possibly Eventually – Finalmente
Êxito – SuccessExit – Saída
Excitante – ArousingExciting – Empolgante
Fábrica – FactoryFabric – Tecido
Físico – Physicist, PhysicalPhysician – Médico
Gripe – FluGrip – Agarrar
Idioma – LanguageIdiom – Expressão Idiomática
Ingenuidade – NaivetyIngenuity – Criatividade
Injúria – PerjuryInjury – Ferimento, Ferida
Jarra – JugJar – Pote, Boião, Jarro
Jornal – NewspaperJournal – Revista
Laço – BowLace – Renda
Leitura – ReadingLecture – Aula, Palestra
Legenda – Subtitles, CaptionLegend – Lenda
Livraria – BookstoreLibrary – Biblioteca
Lanche – SnackLunch – Almoço
Maior – BiggerMayor – Presidente da Câmara
Mistura – MixtureMoisture – Humidade
Notícia – NewsNotice – Aviso
Novela – Soap OperaNovel – Romance
Ofício – ProfessionOffice – Escritório
Parentes – RelativesParents – Pais
Pasta – Briefcase, FolderPasta – Massa
Polícia – PolicePolicy – Política, Diretriz
Prejuízo – LossPrejudice – Preconceito
Preservativo – CondomPreservative – Conservante
Pretender – To intend toPretend – Fingir, Fazer de Conta
Puxar – To pullPush – Empurrar
Realizar – To perform, To carry outRealise – Aperceber-se, Notar
Recipiente – ContainerRecipient – Destinatário
Recordar – To rememberRecord – Gravar
Refrigerante – Soda, Soft DrinkRefrigerant – a chemical used to cool stuff
Resumo – SummaryResume – Retomar, Reiniciar
Retirado – WithdrawnRetired – Reformado, Aposentado
Senhor – Sir, MisterSenior – An older person
Sensível – SensitiveSensible – Sensato
Suporte – Withstand Support – Apoiar
Taxa – FeeTax – Imposto
Portuguese vs English False Cognates

And this is it! If you got scared with the high amount of false friends that exist between English and Portuguese, don’t worry! These two languages also have a lot of cognates, which are words that have the same linguistic roots.

Tell, me, do you have any funny stories to tell about that time when you used a false friend in Portuguese? Let me know in the comment section below 🙂

Beijinhos,

Mia.

24 thoughts on “74 False Friends | Portuguese vs English

  1. I love this website. False friends in our first language and the language we are learning simply means that the two words in different languages are written the same, even sound the same, but have a completely different meaning. For instance, constipado in Spanish means having a cold. Whereas constipated means having stomach cramps. In reality, English is made up of 32,000 words of Spanish and Portuguese. A lot of them are what we call false friends. By the way, taking Portuguese online is an excellent idea.

    1. Hi Joss,

      thank you very much for your comment 🙂 I am happy you enjoyed the article.

      Beijinhos,

      Mia

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for such an informative post! Really often I make these types of mistakes just because of the difference in languages and I found this post really helpful! It was really straight forward and I’m impressed that you were able to find 74 of these “false friends” that you talk about!

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Juan,

      thank you very much for your comment 🙂 I am happy that you enjoyed the article.

      Beijinhos,

      Mia

  3. Thank you so much for sharing with us an interesting and excellent article. The principal content of this article is 74 False Friends | Portuguese vs English. I have learned a lot by reading your article and gained a lot of cognition about it. Of the points mentioned in your article, I like Advertir vs Advert. I learned a lot of Portuguese words from your article that I didn’t know before. I will be doing a course in the Portuguese language in a few days. Then the words mentioned in your article will be very useful to me.

    So in order to make people aware of the use of these words, I would like to share your article in my Facebook group if you allow me.

    1. Hi Asraful,

      thank you so much for your comment.

      I am happy that you could learn some new words. Yes, feel free to share it in Facebook 🙂 

      If you want to follow me in facebook as well you can do so here:

      https://www.facebook.com/LearnEuropeanPortugueseOnline/

      Beijinhos,

      Mia

  4. Portuguese seems to be quite a technical language so I am usually baffled by the way some people speak it so well when it is not actually their native language. It actually just makes me want to learn it more. I didn’t know what false friends meant up until now that I am reading this post and I find it really cool that you can share this. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Hi Jay,

      thank you so much for your comment.

      If you want to learn more about European Portuguese make sure to check out my online courses: 
      https://school.learn-portuguese.org/courses

      I am glad you enjoyed the article.

      Beijinhos,
      Mia

  5. When learning another language I did believe there were lots of similar words with the same meanings. Your article has shown me thoroughly that, that’s not the case. In English there are many words like where and Ware they sound the same but have very different meanings. This makes English a very difficult language to learn. I have found your article extremely informative and well written. 

    1. Hi Lisa,

      thank you for your comment.

      I am glad you found my article informative 🙂

      Beijinhos,

      Mia

  6. Uau! Esta lista é muito extensiva e utíl! Obrigada por isto

    1. De nada! Ainda bem que gostaste 🙂
      Beijinhos,
      Mia.

  7. I used casado married instead of cansado tired my mistake

    1. Aha! Yes, that happens a lot. Although in this case, this is not a false-friend between languages, but rather a false-friend within the same language. But it is really a common mistake. Thank you for letting us know 🙂

      Just to clarify for other people that might be reading:
      Casado – Married
      Cansado – Tired

      That can cause a lot of confusion hehe. Especially if you say “Estou cansado de ser casado” :O

      I hope that is not the case 😉

      Beijinhos,
      Mia.

  8. How very useful! I am pretty fluent in Portuguese but it was good recap and I also learnt a few new things. I will keep referring to the list.

    1. Great!

      I am glad you liked it 😉 If you remember any other false-friends, let us know!

      Beijinhos,
      Mia.

  9. I made a mistake as follows:
    I thought constipacão = constipation!!
    It means Head Cold
    Constipation = estomego pressão

    1. Hi Nuala,
      this is another good one! I am sure you are not the only person that made this mistake 🙂
      Beijinhos,
      Mia

  10. It is so interesting, I agree! Many people think that when they listen to a word that sounds or looks similar to other words of their native language, it has the same meaning, but it is not true. Some Spanish words sound like some English words, and the people confuse it; for example, “realize” many Spanish speakers think it means “to do something” because their word is “realizar”. 

    I love your article, this info is so important, many people would like to know it, so, I will share it with my friends. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Andres,
      thank you for your comment 🙂
      I am glad you enjoyed my article.
      Beijinhos,
      Mia

  11. Hello there! this is super cool. I am learning a lot from this post, for me, the similarities ain’t that much especially that of ‘ AGENDA’. I have already saved this post so I can go over it again and again. 

    Thank you very much for sharing this with me, its helpful.

    1. Hi Joy!
      I am happy you enjoyed reading my post 🙂
      Beijinhos,
      Mia

  12. Hi Mia. Thank you for puting together this list. There were several that I already knew. But there were others that I would translate into English falling into the pit of this false friendship. One of them was Aliás. It’s so far from in fact that only the context would have helped me. But it’s better to learn these before they show up in real life situations. 🙂

    1. Hi Paolo,
      thank you for your comment!
      I am glad that you could learn some new ones 🙂
      Beijinhos,
      Mia

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