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German Chef vs. English chef - Tricky False Friends in German and English

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Don’t be fooled to think that the German noun "Chef" and the English noun “chef” mean the same thing. In fact, they are false friends (also known as "false cognates") because, even though they might be spelled the same, their meanings are very different indeed. In this post, I will explain the difference in meaning between the German Chef and the English word.

The German noun “der Chef” translates as “the boss” in English and is therefore not confined to the kitchen. The English word “chef” means “der Koch” in German, so the cook. Confusingly, the German word “der Küchenchef” refers to the head chef of a restaurant, which makes sense as he or she is the boss of the kitchen 😉.

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