Translator Dictionary + Thesaurus Phrasal verbs + Idioms Italian false friends

Sometimes an Italian word can be correctly translated by looking for similarities with English words, but in many cases the word has a different meaning.

False friends are Italian words which seem similar to an English word but have a different meaning. Some false friends have more than one translation between Italian and English, and so it is very important to recognise the different possible meanings of some English words compared to their Italian 'friend'.

This glossary lists the most problematic words and common false friends, and includes a section for feedback and comments.

A

Abusare
means to take advantage of
(to) abuse is translated as insultare, maltrattare
Accidente
means stroke, shock
Accident is translated as incidente, infortunio, caso
Accomodare
doesn't mean to accommodate but to arrange
(to) accommodate is translated as alloggiare
Addetto
doesn't mean addict but employee
Addict is translated as a person schiava di un vizio
Affluente
or affluenza means tributary, flow
Affluent or affluence is translated as ricco, opulento and ricchezza, opulenza
Affrontare
means to face
(to) affront is translated as offendere, oltraggiare, apertamente
Agenda
means diary
Agenda is used to mean l'ordine del giorno of a meeting
Annoiare
doesn't mean to annoy but to bore
(to) annoy is translated as irritare, dar fastidio
Argomento
doesn't mean argument but topic
Argument is translated as discussione, litigio
Arrangiare
doesn't mean to arrange but to manage, to get by, to fix up
(to) arrange is translated as disporre, sistemare
Aspettare
means to wait for
(to) expect is translated as aspettarsi
Attendere
doesn't mean to attend but to wait for
(to) attend is translated as frequentare, partecipare
Attico
doesn't mean attic but penthouse, if luxurious, or top-floor flat
Attic is translated as soffitta
Attuale
means present, current
Actual is translated as effettivo, reale
Avvertimento
doesn't mean advertisement but warning
Advertisement is translated as annuncio, inserzione

B

Baldo
doesn't mean bald but courageous, bold
Bald is translated as calvo
Baracca
means hut or shack
Barracks is translated as caserma
Bendare
means to bandage, blindfold
(to) bend is translated as curvare, inchinare, piegare
Box
means garage, parking space
Box is translated as scatola, fare del pugilato
Bravo
doesn't mean brave but clever, good
Brave is translated as coraggioso
Brina
means hoar frost
Brine is translated as salamoia, acqua salata

C

Candido
means pure, innocent
Candid is translated as schietto
Cantina
means cellar, basement
Canteen is translated as mensa
Cartone
doesn't mean cartoon but cardboard
Cartoon is translated as fumetto, vignetta
Cauzione
means bail
Caution is translated as cautela
Cava
means pit, quarry
Cave is translated as caverna, grotta
Coda
means tail, queue
Code is translated as codice
Collegio
means boarding school
College, with or without student accommodation, is istituto universitario
Comodità
doesn't mean commodity but comfort, convenience
Commodity is translated as prodotto, merce a disposizione
Comprensivo
means understanding, inclusive, sympathetic
Comprehensive is translated as esauriente
Conduttore
means driver
Conductor is translated as bigliettaio del tram, direttore d'orchestra
Confrontare
means to compare
(to) confront is translated as far fronte a, affrontare
Congiurare
means to plot
(to) conjure is translated as evocare, far giochi di prestigio
Conveniente
means good value
Convenient is translated as comodo, adatto, opportuno

D

Delusione
means disappointment
Delusion is translated as illusione
Dente
doesn't mean dent but tooth
Dent is translated as ammaccatura
Diffidenza
means distrust
Diffidence is translated as sfiducia in se stesso
Disgrazia
doesn't mean disgrace but misfortune
Disgrace is translated as vergogna, disonore
Disporre di
means to have (something) at your diposal, make arrangements
(to) dispose of is translated as disfarsi di
Divertire
means to amuse
(to) divert is translated as deviare
Domandare
means to ask, to require, to wonder
(to) demand is translated as pretendere, esigere, insistere
Duomo
means cathedral
Dome is translated as cupola

E

Editore
means publisher
Editor is translated as direttore (of a newspaper) or curatore (of books)
Educazione
doesn't mean education but good manners
Education actually means cultura, istruzione
Effettivo
means real
Effective is translated as efficace
Emotivo
means emotional
Emotive is translated as che desta impressione
Energetico
means energy
Energetic is translated as energico, attivo
Equamente
doesn't mean equally but justly, fairly
Equally is translated as a parità, ugualmente
Estate
means summer
Estate is translated as proprietà
Esibizione
means performance
Exhibition is translated as mostra
Evadere
means to escape from or evade
(to) evade is translated as aggirare, eludere
Eventualmente
means if necessary, possibly
Eventually is translated as alla fine, finalmente

F

Fabbrica
means factory
Fabric is translated as tessuto
Fastidioso
means annoying
Fastidious is translated as esigente, scrupoloso
Fatale
means inevitable
Fatal is translated as mortale, funesto
Fattoria
doesn't mean factory but farm
Factory is translated as fabbrica
Fine
means end
Fine is translated as multa
Firma
doesn't mean firm but signature
Firm is translated as risoluto, rigido, solido or azienda, ditta
Fisico
means physicist
Physician is translated as medico
Frequentare
means to attend, to see regularly, to frequent (archaic)
Frequent is not usually translated as frequentare, but spesso

G

Gentile
doesn't mean genteel but kind
Genteel is translated as raffinato, distinto
Gioco
means play, game
Joke is translated as scherzo
Ginnasio
means first two years in a grammar school
Gymnasium is translated as palestra
Graduato
means non-commissioned officer
Graduate is translated as laureato
Gratuito
means free
Gratuitous is translated as ingiustificato
Gregario
means back-up, subordinate
Gregarious is translated as socievole, amante di compagnia
Grosso
doesn't mean gross but big
Gross is translated as grossolano, rozzo
Guardare
means to look at, to watch
(to) guard is translated as sorvegliare, far la guardia
Gusto
doesn't mean gust but taste
Gust is translated as ventata, scroscio di pioggia

I

Impressionante
sometimes means impressive but normally means shocking
Impressive is translated as notevole, che colpisce favorevolmente
Inabile
means unfit, disabled
Unable is translated as non in grado
Inabitato
means uninhabited
Inhabited is translated as abitato
Inconsistente
means inconsiderable, flimsy
Inconsistent is translated as incompatibile, incoerente
Incidente
means accident, crash
Incident is translated as evento, episodio
Ingenuità
means ingenuousness
Ingenuity is translated as ingegno, abilità
Ingiuria
means insult
Injury is translated as ferita, danno
Intendere
doesn't always mean intend, but to mean, to understand, to hear
Intend is often translated as destinare
Interrogazione
means oral test (scholastic)
Interrogation is translated as interrogatorio
Irrilevante
means insignificant (UK), irrelevant (US)
Irrelevant is translated as non pertinente

L

Lettura
doesn't mean lecture but reading
Lecture is translated as conferenza, lezione universitaria
Libreria
means bookshop, bookcase
Library is translated as biblioteca
Locale
means room, hotel, bar, ecc.
Local is translated as il bar dietro l'angolo
Lunatico
means moody
Lunatic is translated as pazzo, folle
Lurido
doesn't match lurid but filthy
Lurid is translated as sgargiante, pacchiano

M

Magazzino
means warehouse
Magazine is translated as periodico, rotocalco
Mansione
means duty, task
Mansion is translated as villa, blocco di appartamenti
Marmellata
means jam
Marmalade is translated as marmellata di agrumi
Marrone
means brown
Maroon is translated as color rosso fegato
Miseria
means poverty
Misery is translated as sofferenza
Misero
doesn't mean miser but wretched
Miser means avaro
Mondano
means worldly
Mundane is translated as abituale, noioso
Morbido
doesn't mean morbid but soft
Morbid is translated as morboso
Moroso
means in arrears
Morose means scontroso, imbronciato

N

Nominare
means to name
(to) nominate is translated as proporre per una candidatura
Novella
means tale, short story
Novel is translated as romanzo

O

Obitorio
means morgue
Obituary is translated as necrologio
Occasione
also means opportunity, bargain, occasion
Occasion is not always translated as occasione
Occorrere
means to be needed
(to) occur is translated as accadere, venire in mente
Ostrica
means oyster
Ostrich is translated as struzzo

P

Pace
means peace
Pace is translated as andatura, passo
Parenti
means relatives
Parents is translated as genitori
Parole
means word, promise
Parole is translated as libertà per buona condotta
Partire
means to leave
(to) part is translated as separare, dividere
Patente
means licence
Patent is translated as brevetto
Pavimento
doesn't mean pavement but floor
Pavement is translated as marciapiede
Petrolio
doesn't mean petrol but oil
Petrol is translated as benzina
Preoccupato
means worried
Preoccupied is translated as assorto
Preparato
means well trained
Prepared is translated as disposto a
Al presente
means at present (UK)
Presently (UK) is translated as tra poco
Preservativo
means contraceptive, condom
Preservative is translated as conservante
Pretendere
doesn't mean pretend but to claim
(to) pretend is translated as far finta
Prevaricare
means to abuse one's power
(to) prevaricate is translated as tergiversare
Principale
means boss or main
Principal is translated as preside
Processare
means to try, to bring to trial
(to) process is translated as elaborare
Proprio
means one's own, typical
Proper is translated as appropriato, giusto
Puntura
(di vespa) means sting
Puncture is translated as foratura di pneumatico

Q

Questionare
means to argue, to quarrel
(to) question is translated as interrogare
Quota
doesn't mean quote but share, height, altitude
Quote is translated as citare, fare un prezzo

R

Rapa
means turnip
Rape is translated as stupro
Rata
means installment
Rate is translated as velocità, tasso, livello
Realizzare
means to carry out, (sogno, ambizione) to fulfil, to achieve, to realise, (conseguire) to accomplish
(to) realise is translated as accorgersi, capire, accorgersi di, rendersi conto di
Retribuzione
doesn't mean retribution but remuneration, salary
Retribution is translated as punizione, ricompensa
Ricordo
means memory, remember
Record is translated as disco, appunto
Ricoverare
doesn't mean recover but to admit, to be hospitalised
(to) recover is instead translated as guarire
Riguardare
means to look again, to be about, to examine
(to) regard is translated as considerare, stimare, riguardare, concernere
Rilevante
means remarkable
Relevant is translated as pertinente a, relativo a
Rispondere
means to answer, to come up to
(to) respond is translated as essere sensibile a, contraccambiare
Ritenere
means to think, to believe
(to) retain is translated as conservare, trattenere
Ritagliare
means to cut out
(to) retaliate is translated as fare una rappresaglia
Riversare
means to pour
(to) reverse is translated as invertire, far marcia indietro
Romanzo
doesn't mean romance but novel
romance is translated as storia d'amore
Rude
means rough and ready
Rude is translated as maleducato, offensivo
Rumore
means noise
Rumour (UK) is translated as voce diffusa, gossip

S

Salario
means wages
Salary is translated as stipendio
Sano
means healthy, sound
Sane is translated as equilibrato, ragionevole
Scarsamente
doesn't mean scarcely but scantily, poorly
Scarcely is translated as appena, a stento
Scolaro
doesn't mean scholar but pupil
Scholar is translated as studioso, erudito
Sconvenienza
means breach of good manners, unseemly
Inconvenient is translated as disturbo, scomodità
Scuole pubbliche
are state schools
Public schools (UK) are scuole private which charge substantial fees
Sensibile
means sensitive
Sensible is translated as ragionevole, di buon senso
Simpatico
means nice, likeable, pleasant
Sympathetic is translated as comprensivo, compassionevole
Società
doesn't always mean society but normally company, firm
Society is normally used to mean alta società, associazione, confraternita
Sopportare
means to bear, to stand, support
(to) support is translated as sostenere, mantenere
Spada
means sword
Spade is translated as zappa, vanga
Spettacoli
means shows, performance
Spectacles is translated as occhiali
Stampa
means press, print
Stamp is translated as francobollo
Stanza
doesn't mean stanza but room
Camera is translated as macchina fotografica
Stipulare
means to draw up
(to) stipulate is translated as porre come condizione necessaria, stabilire
Straniero
means foreigner
Stranger is translated as sconosciuto, estraneo
Suggestivo
means full of atmosphere, evocative
Suggestive is translated as allusivo

T

Tasto
means touch, button
Taste is translated as sapore, gusto
Tenente
means lieutenant
Tenant is translated as inquilino
Tentare
doesn't mean tent but to try, to attempt
Tent is translated as tenda di camping
Terrificante
doesn't mean terrific but terrifying, frightening
Terrific is translated as eccezionale, fantastico
Testo
means text
Test is translated as prova, esame, saggio
Tremendo
doesn't mean tremendous but dreadful, terribile, awful
Tremendous is translated as fantastico, enorme
Triviale
means vulgar, obscene
Trivial is translated as banale, futile, superficiale, leggero

U

Udienza
doesn't normally mean audience but hearing
Audience is translated as pubblico
Urtare
means to knock into, to irritate
(to) hurt is translated as ferire

V

Vacanza
means holiday
Vacancy is translated as posto di lavoro disponibile
Veste
means capacity
Vestire
means dress, wear
Vest is translated as maglietta (UK)
Vile
means cowardly
Vile is translated as orribile, brutto
Villano
means lout, peasant, rude
Villan is translated as il 'cattivo'
Vino
means wine
Vine is translated as vite, rampicante
Vizioso
means bad, dissolute
Vicious is translated as brutale, maligno

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