false friend


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false friend

A phrase, word, or letter that sounds or looks similar to one in another language or dialect but has a significantly different meaning. I used the word "embarazada" to tell my Spanish friend I was embarrassed, not knowing that it was a false friend and actually means "pregnant"—now I'm even more embarrassed!
See also: false, friend
References in classic literature ?
I hate such false friends. Why could he not keep on quarreling with you, as his father did before him?"
"Read what I have written there," he said; "and you will understand what those false friends of mine have made me suffer to-night."
"You will tell him, my lord," resumed the queen, despairingly, "that I can do nothing; that I have suffered as much as himself -- more than he has -- obliged as I am to eat the bread of exile and to ask hospitality from false friends who smile at my tears; and as regards his royal person, he must sacrifice it generously and die like a king.
Leonela alone knew of her mistress's weakness, for the two false friends and new lovers were unable to conceal it.
"If the poor lad were living, and came to me and begged that I would candidly tell which were his true and which his false friends, why, perhaps, I should not hesitate.
Noureddin, much mortified, recognised too late that he had confided in false friends, who abandoned him in his hour of need.
"An open enemy is better than a false friend. Beware...
"(T)he Fourth Amendment does not guard against the risk that the person from whom one accepts a 'friend request' and to whom one voluntary disclosed such information might turn out to be an undercover officer or a 'false friend.' One cannot reasonably believe that such 'false friends' will not disclose incriminating statements or information to law enforcement and acts under the risk that one such person might actually be an undercover government agent.
The Court explained that the defendant "assumed the risk" that one of his "friends" might be an undercover officer:<br />"(T)he Fourth Amendment does not guard against the risk that the person from whom one accepts a 'friend request' and to whom one voluntary disclosed such information might turn out to be an undercover officer or a 'false friend.' One cannot reasonably believe that such 'false friends' will not disclose incriminating statements or information to law enforcement and acts under the risk that one such person might actually be an undercover government agent.
Now the friend on the tree came down and asked the friend on the ground, 'Friend, what did the bear whisper into your ears?' The other friend replied, 'The bear advised me not to believe a false friend.'
This is part of the passage about a false friend who, when he visits, speaks without sincerity, and when he leaves, gossips about his host.
Booze is a false friend that hacks away at mental health and relationships
The associated stability is a false friend, which will eventually turn away foreign investment and leave Turkey weaker than before.
In the fine translation by Barbara Bray, Maalouf wrote that the romance of identity begins by "reflecting a perfectly permissible aspiration" but becomes a "false friend." It offers false relief for actual pain.