100 false friends in French you should know

False friends – also known as false cognates – are words that look and/or sound identical in both languages but have very different meanings.

On your journey towards French fluency, false friends can easily lead to embarrassing situations.

We have compiled a list of 100 false friends in French you should know, ideal for beginner learners of French. Enjoy!

EnglishFrenchNot to confuse withTranslates as
To abuseInsulterAbuserTo take advantage of
To accommodateLogerAccommoderTo prepare
To achieveRéaliserAcheverTo complete, to accomplish
ActuallyEn fait, en réalitéActuellementNow, at present, currently
AdvertisementPublicitéAvertissementWarning
AffluenceRichesseAffluenceRush
AgendaProgramme, ordre du jourAgendaDiary (UK), Schedule (US)
AncientAncienAncienformer, old, ancient
AnnouncerPrésentateurAnnonceurAdvertiser
ApologyExcusesApologiePraise, vindication
To assistAiderAssisterTo attend
BachelorCélibataireBachelierGraduate
BalanceEquilibreBalanceScales
BasketsPanierBasketsTrainers (UK), sneakers (US)
BenefitAvantageBénéficeProfit
BioBiographieBioOrganic
BrushingBrossageBrushingBlow dry, a perm
CaveGrotteCaveCellar
CautionPrudenceCautionGuarantee
ChairChaiseChaireFlesh
ChanceOpportunitéChanceLuck
CharacterPersonnageCaractèreNature
To chargeFaire payerChargerTo load
ChatDiscuterChatCat
To checkContrôlerChèqueCheque (UK), Check (US)
CloseProcheSerré(e)Closed
CollegeUniversitéCollègeHigh-school
CommodityMarchandiseCommoditéConvenience
CompetitionConcurrenceCompétitionTournament, sporting event
ComprehensiveCompletCompréhensif.iveUnderstanding
ConductorContrôleurConducteur.triceDriver
ConfectionFriandiseConfectionClothes manufacturing
ConfidenceConfianceConfidenceSecret
To contemplateEnvisagerContemplerTo gaze at
CopyExemplaireCopieReproduction
CorpseCadavreCorpsBody
To cryPleurerCrierTo scream, to shout
To deceiveTromperDécevoirTo disappoint
DisappointmentDéceptionDeceptionTromperie
DelayRetardDélaiTime limit, deadline
DemandExigerDemanderTo ask
DesignerCréateur de modeDésignerTo appoint, to name
To disposeSe débarrasserDisposerTo arrange
DisputeConflictDisputeArgument, quarrel
EngagedOccupé(e)Engagé(e)Committed
EstateDomaineEtatState, condition
EventuallyFinalementÉventuellementPossibly
EvidencePreuveEvidenceObviousness
To experienceRessentir, éprouverExpérimenterTo experiment
FabricTissuFabriqueManufacture(r)
FacilitiesInstallations, équipementsFacilitéEase
FigureSilhouette; chiffreFigureFace
FortunateChanceuxFortuné(e)Wealthy, rich
GentleAimableGentil.leNice, kind
GrandGrandioseGrandTall, big
GrapesRaisinsGrappeBunch (of grapes)
GraveTombeGraveSerious
HabitHabitudeHabitClothes
HazardDangerHasardChance, coincidence
IssueProblèmeIssueOutcome, exit
LectureConférenceLectureReading
LibraryBibliothèqueLibrairieBookshop (UK), bookstore (US)
LocationEmplacementLocationRental
MarriageVie conjugaleMariageWedding
MedicineMédicamentMédecinDoctor
MercyMiséricordeMerciThanks
MiserableMalheureuxMisérablePoor, unfortunate
NovelRomanNouvelleShort story
NoticeAvertissement, préavisNoticeInstructions, precautions
PainDouleurPainBread
To pass un examRéussir un examenPasser un examenTo take an exam
PhotographPhotographiePhotographePhotographer
PhraseExpressionPhraseSentence
PrejudicePréjugéPréjudiceDamage
To pretendFaire semblantPrétendreTo claim
PreservativeAgent conservateurPréservatifCondom
To preventEmpêcherPrévenirTo warn
ProperAdéquat, correctPropreClean
To recoverSe rétablir, se remettreRecouvrirTo cover
To regardConsidérerRegarderTo look at
ReliefSoulagementReliefMountainous area
To relieveSoulagerReleverTo raise
RestSe reposerResterTo stay
ResumeCVRésumerTo sum up
Retard (slang, insult)Attardé, débileRetardDelay
To retirePrendre sa retraiteSe retirerTo withdraw
ReunionRetrouvaillesRéunionMeeting
RouteItinéraireRouteRoad
RudeGrossierRudeRough, hard
SensibleRaisonnableSensibleSensitive
SocietySociétéSociétéCompany
StageEtapeStageInternship
StationeryFournitures de bureauStationnaireStable, stationary
StoreMagasinStoreBlind
SupplierFournisseurSupplierTo beg, to plead
SurnameNom de familleSurnomNickname
SympatheticCompatissantSympathiqueFriendly
TapeRuban, bandeTaperTo slap, to smack
VacationVacancesVacationSession, shift
WagonChariotWagonCarriage


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