False friends, a linguistic trap

Have you ever embarrassed yourself in English and said something like “I think I’m coming down with a cold, I am constipated”? Are you still trying to figure out why saying this would be embarrassing? If you are, it’s because this sentence doesn’t sound wrong to you at all, after all  constipated sounds like constipado, so they must mean the same, right?

Not really, constipated means estreñido, not constipado. Surprised?


It’s hard not to fall for this linguistic trap when the familiarity of a word is so inviting and available when we seem to be lost for words but watch out! They are “false friends”, words in the new language you are learning that sound and look like words in your own language but have a totally different meaning.

If you want to watch the video of the most common ones, click here



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