Wanted a can of food and received a condom? Was hungry and got a slap? This is a dictionary for the same words with different meanings in different countries.
Double-meaning words, Different meaning in different languages:
Asked for a condom?: If you are browsing through a shop in france while looking for champignon mushroom can or oysters, its better you won’t ask the shop owner in English – since preservatives sounds much like préservatifs in french – which means a condom.
A slap in a bar: In spanish, Tapas are, of course, the small dishes that that compile a colorful meal, but you shouldn’t be ordering that in Brazil – Tapas in the brazilian dialect means – Slap.
Don’t make a scene out of it: If you are traveling around south america, moving from country that speaks Spanish like Argentina or Peru into Brazil, you would be better not to use the Spanish you have just learned. In most spanish dialects making a cena means to cook a meal. in portuguese it actually means to make a scene, or – cause a riot. Oficina means “a place to fix your car” in Portuguese but “Office” in Spanish; Escritorio is an office in Portuguese but a work table in Spanish.
Who smells it: Won is a word that you should be careful using around eastern europe. in Polish it means “good smell”, but in russian it means the exact opposite – Stink. There are a lot of mistakes and confusions between Slavic dialects. If you want to sit on the couch you better know Divwan (Диван) means couch in russian but in Polish its “carpet” (Divan). Another word is Odwet which means an answer to a question – but in polish it means “Revenge”.
My clumsy kid: Schlimm is a nickname for a successful smart child in Dutch, but in German it means stupid and unsuccessful.
Double-meaning 2, Words with two meanings in the same language:
In many languages there are words that are pronounced similar to other words, if you don’t speak the language you are going to have a difficult time understanding the differences. For example – Cat in france (chat) is pronounced like ‘chatte’ which means “female”- for animals and for humans.
A duck in france – Canard and Connard are pronounced almost the same, but the second word means, amongst the rest, “Idiot”. Pera with one R means ‘pear’ in spanish, but ‘perra’ is a word that is very similar to the word ‘bitch’ in the english language.
Curse words and insults:
Stronzo in Italian means ‘bastard’, but in italian slang (mainly in the south) is a harmless way to say ‘idiot’. The literal meaning of the word Stronza is “basterd female”, but in its female bias is a very insulting word you shouldn’t say. ‘Putain’ is a reasonable way to say “bummed out” in france (tired, angry , frustrated), but when you use the same word on a woman – it means Prostitute.
The most embarrassing confusion of all: Un Baiser in french means ‘kiss’, but Baiser in french slang has a totally different meaning – F**k.
Words that only exist in one language:
One of these words is Depaysement in french which means “feeling of exile” – the feeling that a man feels outside of his country. Waldeinsamkeit in German means – the feeling a man has when he is alone in the forest. Other words like these are Komorebi in Japanese which means ‘the sun light that penetrates through the tree leafs’, Cualacino in Italian – ‘The mark a cold glass of water leaves on the table’, Mangata in Swedish – ‘the reflection caused by the moon on the water’.
‘Pochemuchka’ in the Russian language refers to a person that asks too many questions (from the russian word “puchimu” – “why”). The special way of life the eskimos are living created the word Iktsuarpok: the anticipation that makes one peek out of his igloo house to see if someone is coming to visit. In polynesian languages like the one in Hawaii there is a word ‘Pana po’o’ – the action of scratching your head in a try to remember something. In the indonesian language the word ‘Jayus’ is a joke inside a joke – a joke that is told in such an unfunny way, that the way it’s being told makes it funnier than the joke itself.