false friend

[ fawls-frend ]
/ ˈfɔls ˈfrɛnd /

noun Linguistics.

a word in one language that is similar in form or sound to a word in another language but has a different meaning and may or may not be etymologically related: for example, English gift “present” and German Gift “poison” are false friends.

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Origin of false friend

First recorded in 1930–35; patterned after French faux ami in same sense

words often confused with false friend

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH false friend

false cognate, false friend (see confusables note at false cognate).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for false friend

false friend

noun

a word or expression in one language that, because it resembles one in another language, is often wrongly taken to have the same meaning, for example, the French agenda which means diary, not agenda
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012