German Bad vs. English bad- Tricky False Friends in German and English
The German noun "Bad" and the English adjective "bad" are false friends (also known as "false cognates") because even though they may look like twins their meanings have no connection whatsoever. The last ten entries in our blog series revealed that there is no relation between the German Art and the English art, German fast and the English fast, German blenden and the English blend, the difference between become and bekommen, the surprising meaning of a German Gift, English also and its meaning in German, the English "bald" vs. the German "bald", the difference between “brand” vs ”Brand”, showed that "spenden" in German is not what you might think it is, and explained why schmuck wouldn't be considered as an insult by a German native speaker. In this post, I will explain the difference in meaning between the German bad and the English word.
The German noun "das Bad" translates as "the bathroom" in English, while the English "bad" translates as "schlecht" in German. So, contrary to what the spelling might suggest, there is no connection at all. So Michael Jackson certainly didn't have the German word in mind when we wrote his brilliant song.
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