Dutch to English and English to Dutch – 10 False Friends (part II)

Published on 6 August 2019 at 21:01

This is part II of a series, find part I here.

What are false friends in language terms? They are words in one language that look or sound like words from another language but which have a different meaning.

Here are some of the false friends I have come across while living in the Netherlands.


English - following as a result or effect (daaruit volgend), Dutch – consistent.


English – reproduction, imitation but also an individual example e.g. of a book (exemplaar), Dutch – kopie only means reproduction.


English – used to mean skilful, clever, but now mostly used for devious, cunning, shrewd (listig, sluw, gewiekst), Dutch – not krachtig (powerful).


English – ten years (decennium), Dutch – 10 days, not in common use.


English - the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid (bedrog), Dutch – deceptie means teleurstelling (disappointment).


English – any of various slender-legged, even-toedruminant mammals (family Cervidae, the deer family) having usually brownish fur and deciduous antlers borne by the male of most species (hert), Dutch – not dier (animal).


English – large bird of prey (arend, adelaar), Dutch - not egel (hedgehog)


English - taking place at an unspecified later time (uiteindelijk), Dutch – not eventueel (possible).


English – cloth, material (textiel, weefsel), Dutch – not fabriek (factory). 


English – not genuine or true, treacherous (vals), also wrong as in true or false (waar of niet waar), Describing a person as false means they are insincere. Dutch - fout means an error, mistake or fault, defect, but Hij was fout means he was a collaborator during World War II while Een foute jongen can mean a player in dating terms or a minor criminal.


I hope you found this interesting and/or useful. A like, share or comment is very motivating to get me writing more articles. 😊

I would love to hear about your favourite False Friend in Dutch/English languages!


«   »

Add comment


There are no comments yet.