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False Friends

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Beware of linguistic false friends, also known as false cognates. You wouldn’t want to say you’re feeling embarazada in Spanish, unless you want to say you’re pregnant. And don’t order the tuna in Spain unless you want to hear a musical group made up of college kids. A kind of false friend exists within English as well: noisome doesn’t mean “noisy,” it means “icky,” and bombastic doesn’t mean “booming,” it means “fluffy” or “ostentatious,” deriving from bombast, a kind of cotton padding. This is part of a complete episode.

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