Watch out for Swedish-English false friends!

A long time ago, an article on false friends was published here on Lexiophiles, and now it is time for a sequel!

False friends is a term for when two words in different languages have different meanings, even though they are spelled or sound very alike. This can lead to misunderstandings and embarrassing or comical situations, and between Swedish and English are a lot of false friends, so you have to watch out! Here are some false friends that can lead you to quite embarrassing situations.

Bad – bath: “Bad” is the Swedish word for bath, but in English “bad” means that something is not good – which is definitely not the same thing!

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Bra – good: In Swedish, “bra” means ”good”. In English however, the word is a woman’s underwear.

Smoking – tuxedo: The word “smoking” originates from “smoking jacket”, which is an English word that is no longer used. Nowadays “dinner jacket” is used in British English while “tuxedo” is used in American English.

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Fart – speed: This is one of the more embarrassing false friends – in Swedish “fart” means ”speed”, but in English this means something completely different.

Kiss – pee: In Swedish if you say “kiss” you are referring to urine. In English this is merely a sign of affection – to give someone you love a kiss.

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Slut – end/finished: “Slut” means the end of something in Swedish. For exemple would you say that the movie is “slut” when it is over. In English this word refers to a special type of stereotype and is not a nice word.

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Dog – died: You might think that “dog” is your four legged best friend, but in Swedish “dog” actually means that someone died. Not to be confused!

These are just some of the confusing false friends between Swedish and English out there, and it is important to be aware. Now this article has come to a slut, I hope you had a bra time!



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