False-friend definition

A word or phrase in one language that is similar in appearance to a word or phrase in another language but has a different meaning, as French actuel, “current,” and English actual, “real.”
noun
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(linguistics, idiomatic) A word in a foreign language that bears a deceptive resemblance to a word in one's own language, but has a different meaning.
noun
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Attributive form of false friend, noun.

The false-friend status of the phrase was lost on him.

adjective
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
false-friend
Plural:
false-friends

Origin of false-friend

  • Translation of French faux ami faux false ami friend

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition