Monday, April 23, 2012

5 False Cognates in Portuguese

In case you haven't yet seen these 5 false cognates (or false friends), they are:

Português / English
1.  educado / educated polite, well raised, well mannered graduated from high school, college, university etc. 
Ex.  He was educated at the University of San  Diego California and currently teaches in the Language and Literature department. 

2.  esquisito / exquisite = strange, odd, weird, unique, beautiful, refined
Ex. The Italian restaurant in Del Mar has an exquisite view from the terrace overlooking the Pacific ocean.

3.  livraria / library = library, bookstore
Ex.  We did not manage to find the grammar book at the library, so we ended up going to a bookstore.

4.  novela / novel = soap opera, fiction, prose, narrative, book
Ex.  Old Man and the Sea was the last novel Hemingway wrote.

5. smoking / smoking= tuxedo, smoking (a cigarette, pipe, etc.)
Ex.  That man with the long beard sitting in the corner of the room, wearing a tuxedo, smoking a pipe is my uncle.

If you can think of any others leave a message below.  Thanks!


  1. I'm not sure if this is exactly a cognate but here it goes. People tend to translate swordfish as peixe espada and vice versa. Even online diccionaries do so. THIS IS WRONG. Swordfish in Portuguese is espadarte and peixe espada in english is scabbardfish, also called cutlassfish.

    1. cuttlefish, yes, I saw that on the menu in Barcelona and didn't know what it was :/ Thanks for the clarification!


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