Surprise surprise!

Do you know what constipado means in Portuguese? Probably not what you are thinking...

Get a list of 50+ English-Portuguese False Friends and be surprised.

Magnet False Friends

Spanish-Portuguese False Friends to Keep an Eye Out For

Despite their shared Latin roots, Spanish and Portuguese aren’t perfect twins. Thousands of words appear similar, but some have diverged in meaning over time, becoming what linguists call “false friends.” These deceptive cognates look alike but carry different meanings.

Not all false friends are complete opposites though. Many retain shades of their original meaning and are used in distinct contexts.

Furthermore, a Portuguese word might have multiple meanings, with the less common one resembling (and misleadingly translating to) a dominant Spanish term. These, too, qualify as false friends.

Let’s explore some common examples of these tricky word pairs in Spanish and Portuguese.

Here’s an analogous read for English-Portuguese false friends: 50+ English-Portuguese False Friends to Keep an Eye Out For.

Common Spanish-Portuguese False Friends

SpanishPortuguese
1acordarse
recall; remember
acordar
wake up
2barata
cockroach; cheap
barata
cheap
3cadera
hip
cadeira
chair
4cena
dinner
cena
scene
5embarazada
embarrassed; ashamed
embaraçada
pregnant
6escoba
broom
escova
brush
7escritorio
desk
escritório
office
8exquisitoesquisito
9largo
long
largo
large
10oficina
office
oficina
workshop
11polvo
dust
polvo
octopus
12propina
tip
propina
tuition fee (pt-pt); bribery (pt-br)*
13rato
a little while
rato
mouse
14rojo
red
roxo
purple
15rubio
blond
ruivo
redhead, ginger
16traer
bring
trair
betray

Get my guide "Key Strategies to Learn Portuguese" for FREE.

Magnet Key Strategies

Olá! I'm Pedro and I'm your Portuguese teacher.

Learning European Portuguese? Portuguesepedia is an all-in-one platform providing a wealth of learning resources, from bite-sized video lessons to immersive idiomatic dips. Perfect your pronunciation and listening comprehension with listening drills and solidify your grammar with in-depth articles. Start your Portuguese journey today!

Share this article

Get my guide "Key Strategies to Learn Portuguese" for FREE.

Magnet Key Strategies