Faux amisBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7498.1006 (Published 28 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1006
- Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An English rugby fan, in Paris for a Six Nations match, wants a beer. He doesn't know that beer is served in un café or un bistro, but asks the concièrge for a pub. The concièrge is puzzled. La pub means publicity (il aime beaucoup la pub), not a public house. OK, what about une maison publique? Ah, now the concièrge understands. She points out the nearby red light district.
Our friend has fallen foul of the phenomenon known as faux amis, or false friends, foreign words that seem to mean one thing but actually mean another. The term was put on the map in a dictionary called Les Faux Amis, ou les Trahisons du Vocabulaire Anglais, by …
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