False Friends

Discussion in 'Vocabulary & Translation Help' started by My Czech Republic, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. My Czech Republic

    My Czech Republic Administrator

    We thought it would be fun to put together a list of false friends in Czech and English. False friends are words that look similar in both languages but mean completely different things. Some examples are:

    The English 'actual' means 'skutečný' in Czech
    The Czech 'aktuální' means 'current' in English

    The English 'gymnasium' means 'tělocvična' in Czech
    The Czech 'gymnázium' means 'grammar school' in English

    The English 'sympathetic' means 'soucitný' in Czech
    The Czech 'sympatický' means 'likeable' in English

    The English 'physician' means 'lékař' in Czech
    The Czech 'fyzik' means 'physicist' in English

    and so on...

    Do you know any other false friends in Czech and English? Post them here!
  2. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    Alright, I have one.

    English: control == Czech: ovládat
    Czech: (z)kontrolovat == English: check

    This is a "false friend" except in the case of the expression "passport control" in which case it is a "true friend."


    English: evidence == Czech: důkaz
    Czech: evidence == English: records


    English: maturity == Czech: dospělost
    Czech: maturita == English: a test roughly equivelent to high school or A levels
  3. Karel

    Karel Well-Known Member

    Eventually; in the end, finally = nakonec, konečně
    Eventuálně = possibly, perhaps, or, if need be

    Concurrence = shoda, souběh, současnost
    Kunkurence = competition

    Prospect = vyhlídka, průzkum
    Prospekt = prospectus, leaflet, brochure

    Isolation = oddělení -- např. v nemocnici
    Izolace = insulation

    Respectively = v uvedeném pořadí
    Respektive = or, (or) as the case may be

    Armature = kotva (el. stroje)
    Armatura = fitting(s), fixture, accessories

    Silicone = silikon
    Silicon = křemík
  4. My Czech Republic

    My Czech Republic Administrator

    Wicker808, Karel, these are great, thank you!
  5. Karel

    Karel Well-Known Member

    (pa)pa = tatínek
    (pá)pá = bye bye (In Czech, a children`s word, sometimes, however, used by adult female speakers to express cuteness, friendliness, intimacy)

    Colonial = kolonista, osadník
    Koloniál = groccer`s

    Credence = víra, důvěra
    Kredenc = sideboard/buffet
  6. Meme

    Meme Member

    One of my favorites is "host" [English]---which in
    Czech means the equivalent of English "guest."

    It's so easy to mistake the two that in one of the
    Czech textbooks I studied from, instructions for a
    role-play conversation confused the two words. Speaker "A"
    was indicated to be the person giving a party; the
    instructions for the role play were in Czech--and
    Speaker "A" was referred to in the Czech instructions as
    the "host."

    Almost as good as "gift" in English and German!! :lol:
  7. nikdo

    nikdo Well-Known Member

    Prezervativ (=condom) vs preservative (=stabilizátor?)

    might be false friends too? :)
  8. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    Oh yes... "no preservatives added" :)
  9. Karel

    Karel Well-Known Member

    list = seznam, ceník
    list = sheet (of paper), leaf (of paper, tree)

    pasta = špagety, těstoviny
    pasta = paste (zubní pasta=toothpaste)

    hymn = chvalozpěv, kostelní píseň, hymnus
    hymna = (national) anthem

    cantor = hlavní zpěvák, předzpěvák [(In Jewish worship) an official who sings liturgical music and leads prayer in a synagogue. (In formal Christian worship) a person who sings solo verses to which the choir or congregation respond]
    kantor = teacher

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