ES  Lacunza IH San Sebastián

The most common false friends in Spanish

A false friend is a word or an expression that’s written the same way in two different languages.
It’s very easy when you’re learning Spanish to be confused when you read one of these words as you’ll automatically think of the meaning of the word in your mother tongue.

Here is our selection of some false friends between Spanish and English. If you learn them I’m pretty sure it will avoid you some awkward situations



A fun one to start, embarrassed in Spanish is avergonzado and “ embarrazada” means pregnant.
Typically the kind of false friends that can  put you in awkward situations.


“ Estaba muy avergonzado porque no sabía si Ruth estaba embarrazada o si había engordado”




A classic, but always good to have it in mind. Exit in Spanish is Salida and “éxito” means success.

Salir de un laberinto es todo un éxito




I’m sure all the fans of the movie “ Love Actually” already know that actually in Spanish is not “actualmente” but “en realidad.”  “Actualmente” meaning currently.

“ En realidadactualmente sólo 3 alumnos están haciendo el examen”




Another false friend that can put you in awkward situations and lead you to the wrong place..
Library in Spanish is “biblioteca” whereas “ librería” means bookstore.

Don´t try to buy a book at the “ biblioteca”.. they wouldn´t appreciate.

 “ Llamamos la calle Miracruz  la “calle de los libros”  porque puedes encontrar en esta misma calle  tres librerías y la biblioteca municipal.”



Last but not least, and probably the most hilarious one. Both words are referring to a congestion… but of very different types.
Constipaded in Spanish is  estreñido” and “ constipado” means actually having a cold. Don’t get embarrassed if someone in Spain tells you he’s “constipado”

“ Con este frío, no me sorprende que estés constipado