September 27th, 2012

I do not think it means what you think it means

a collection by Kristina Davidson

“Faux amis” are fake friends (or cognates to be grammatically correct). These are words that look the same but have different meanings in the two languages.

Here are some examples:

“Coin” does not mean coin in English (that’s une pièce de monnaie) but corner, as in:

“au coin de la rue” (on the corner of the street)

“aller au coin” (to go and stand in the corner … memories of school)

“les coins et les recoins” (nooks and crannies)

June 20th, 2014


Flying too high; failing to achieve overly ambitious goals.

July 5th, 2012


A figurative expression.

March 23rd, 2016


A figurative expression.

September 10th, 2014

idyasi kamkhwenyana

(Xhosa) Condom. From “idyasi” (jacket) and “kamkhwenyana” (son-in-law’s).

July 10th, 2014


One who avoids new information.

July 11th, 2014


The Japanese art of flower arranging.

June 27th, 2012

ikhubeka imanqina mane

(the letter “q” is a soft click) – a direct translation of this phrase is “it can trip (ikhubeka) even if it has four legs (manqina amane)” which means you can still make a mistake / fall no matter how grounded you are.

July 30th, 2013


Your reason for being, your motivation to get up in the morning – the Japanese have a word for that.

May 29th, 2012


To go outside to check if anyone’s coming, an Inuit word.