10 More False Friends in English and Italian

Don’t let false friends catch you out! We are back with 10 more of those words that you think “oh I know it, it’s similar in Italian” but actually it means something completely, or quite, different. Take a look at these ones to make sure you don’t use them when you shouldn’t!

Accidente- Accident

The Italian word accidente translated to English is actually a coincidence, misfortune or sickness. Instead the English accident is an unpleasant event that happens unexpectedly causing injury or damage. (incidente, infortunio)

Confrontare- Confront

This seems like a straightforward translation… oh wait, false friend! The Italian verb confrontare in English means to compare two things. However the English verb confront means to deal with a difficult situation or problem. (affrontare)

Conveniente- Convenient

The Italian adjective conveniente translated to English means good value and it is worth the money it costs or something that is suitable and appropriate. Instead the English adjective convenient means something is useful, quick and easy to do. (comodo)

Educazione- Education

In Italian the word educazione refers to your upbringing and good manners that usually your parents gave you whereas the English education refers specifically to your schooling and university, the process of teaching, training and learning. (istruzione/ insegnamento)

Fattoria- Factory

This is a difficult one for English speaking learners of Italian! The Italian noun fattoria simply refers to a farm in English. Instead the English factory is the building where items are made, usually by a lot of workers or machinery! (fabbrica)

Eventualmente- Eventually

This looks like an obvious translation but actually it’s not at all! The Italian adverb eventualmente means possibly, potentially, or if need be. However the English eventually used to mean the end of a period of time or series of events. (finalmente/ prima o poi)

Parenti- Parents

Another one that is often very hard to remember and often mistaken. The Italian parenti translates to English as relatives, or the people outside of your immediate family, like your aunts, uncles, cousins etc. However the English word parents literally just means your mother and father. (genitori)

Libreria- Library

The Italian libreria is known in English as a bookshop. Instead in English a library is the place you can borrow books. (biblioteca)

Stampa- Stamp

In Italian stampa means the entire media, or the printing press. A stamp in English is the little square piece of paper that you pay for and then stick in the corner of letters. In the UK it has a picture of the queen’s head on it! (francobollo)

Stipendio- Stipend

There is only a slight distinction here but an important one! The Italian stipendio refers to your salary or monthly wage from your employer. However in English a stipend is usually a small extra payment that only covers living expenses. (stipendio)


Do you know any more false friends? Write them in the comments below!

10 False Friends in English and Italian

Every language learner needs to watch out for false friends. These are words that sound very similar in both languages but in fact mean completely different things! Take a look at the ten most common and important ones for English and Italian.

1. Annoiare and Annoy

The translation for the verb annoiare in English is actually to bore which means to make someone feel bored. Annoy however means to make someone angry!

2. Pretendere and Pretend

Pretendere in Italian translates into English as to expect, which means to want and hope something, or in other cases to predict something will happen. However to pretend in English means to behave in a certain way to make others believe something that is not true.

3. Grosso and Gross

Many people know that the adjective grosso in Italian actually means large or big in English, while the American word gross definitely means something that is disgusting or unpleasant.

4. Morbido and Morbid

The translation for morbido in English is actually soft, something that sounds very strange to English speakers because morbid means something sad, unpleasant and usually associated with death.

5. Camera and Camera

Here we have the exact same word with completely different meanings. The word camera in Italian translates as room or bedroom whereas the English camera is the device for taking photographs!

6. Argomento and Argument

In Italian the word argomento means a subject, theme or topic, something quite different to the English argument, which means an angry disagreement, or a set of reasons to demonstrate a point of view.

7. Fabbrica and Fabric

There is a slight tenuous connection here but it’s still a bit of a stretch. Fabbrica in Italian means a factory in English, while fabric in English is the soft material that you use to make clothes and other things. Many factories make fabric, but they still mean completely different things!

8. Magazzino and Magazine

Magazzino in Italian translates in English as a warehouse, the large place you store manufactured goods, whereas a magazine in English is a monthly or weekly paper cover book containing articles and photographs!

9. Rumore and Rumour

Rumore in Italian is the noise your neighbour next door will not stop making while an English rumour is actually a story about someone or something that no one knows if it’s true or not!

10. Attualmente and Actually

This looks like a perfect translation for an adverb but then you realise that attualemente really means currently or at this moment, whereas actually is used to emphasise a fact, or used to correct someone!


Do you know any more false friends? Write in the comments below!

A Brit in Italy: How to Make New Friends in Milan

[Italiano qui]

It can be a struggle for anyone and everyone to meet new people, either when you move to a new city or if your job/study situation changes. In this post I have compiled a list of a few creative ways to get out there and get making friends, the only requirement is a little motivation!

Join a Class

It’s always a lot easier for students to make friends in a new city, but this privilege shouldn’t be reserved only for those attending university! Whatever your hobbies are, joining a class is always a good idea. Whether it’s for cooking, painting, yoga, learning a new language or even an instrument, you can improve your skills while meeting many new people. You can find lots of listings for classes on the internet, and it’s a good idea to check your local library for any advertisements. There are also usually free trials for these types of classes, so you can even save a few euros at the same time!

Go to the Gym

From my experience, going to the gym is an important part of Italian lifestyle. It is also a very sociable place – many people meet at the gym instead of meeting for coffee, and spend a lot of the time chatting while working out. Although gyms in Italy tend to be quite expensive (at least compared to the UK), there are many free trials as well as different types of memberships to suit every budget. Usually the gyms located slightly further outside the centre are cheaper, so if you live on the outskirts it would be a good idea to choose one of these.

Search for Events

With the invention of social media, it is now easier than ever to find events happening in and around your city. There are constantly events happening in Milan – including concerts, art shows, street parties and aperitifs – so there’s definitely something out there for everyone. Facebook has a whole tab dedicated to events near to your location, and you can search the websites of any major club/bar/venue for a list of their upcoming events. I’ve noticed that it is very common in Italy to attend events alone, so don’t be self-conscious if you’d prefer to go solo!

Join an Online Group

Another thing to thank the internet for is the introduction of groups – especially on Facebook and WhatsApp. Whatever your age or demographic, there are hundreds of groups dedicated to meet-ups around the city. If you want to practise your English, I would recommend ‘English Speakers of Milan’ on Facebook – there are always people asking for language exchanges or inviting the group members out for a coffee. It’s also a good idea to join specific websites or forums specific to the things you love to do – for example book clubs or sommelier meetings.

Walk Dogs

One of the first things I noticed when I came to Milan was just how many people own dogs in this city! The lifestyle here is very busy and people work a lot, so there are always people looking for dog-sitters or walkers. Going to the park with a little furry friend is a great way to meet people (who doesn’t love dogs?), plus you get paid at the same time! You can sign up for dog-walking opportunities at many online sites, or you can advertise at the library or on the previously-mentioned social media groups. The world is your oyster!