Here is a short list of some false cognates or "faux amis" from French to English.


Actuel(lement) – CURRENT(LY), not actual(ly)


Ancien – FORMER, not ancient


Assister à – TO ATTEND, TO BE PRESENT AT, not to assist or to help


Assumer - TO TAKE ON or ACCEPT, not to assume


Change – FOREIGN CURRENCY, not change


Comédien(ne) – ACTOR, not comedian


Décevoir - TO DISAPPOINT, not to deceive


Déception - DISAPPOINTMENT, not deception


Deputé – MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, not deputy


Disposer de – TO HAVE (at your disposal), not to dispose of


Éditeur – PUBLISHER, not editor


Éventuel(lement) – POSSIBLE/POSSIBLY, not eventual(ly)


Isolation – INSULATION, not isolation


Issue – EXIT, SOLUTION, or OUTCOME, not issue


Librairie – BOOKSTORE, not library


Location – RENTAL, LEASE, HIRE or RESERVATION, not location


Passer un examen – TO TAKE AN EXAM, not to pass an exam


Prune – PLUM, not a prune


Réaliser – CARRY OUT, ACCOMPLISH, TO COME TRUE, not to realize (in the sense of coming to understand or notice)


Résumer – TO SUMMARIZE, not to resume


Sensible – SENSITIVE, not sensible


Tentative – AN ATTEMPT, not tentative






Corréard, Marie-Hélène. Pocket Oxford-Hachette French dictionary: French-English, English-French.


de Villers, Marie-Éva. Multidictionnaire de la langue française. 3e Ed. Montreal: Éditions Québec/Amérique, 1997


Robert, Paul. Le Petit Robert. Paris: Dictionnaires Le Robert, 2011.


The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2004.


The Gage Canadian Dictionary. Rev. Ed. Toronto: Gage Publishing Ltd., 2000.



Created by: Diana Franz


Thank you for this list! It makes me laugh a bit, because as a French speaker, I usually make almost all these mistakes in English.

What is worst, is that I understand the real meaning, but I get a bit nervous and the former collegue become an ancient :P

I shall come often here and memorized them.