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Gift- Tricky False Friend Between German-English

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

There is a surprising number of false friends in German and English. False friends (the official term being "false cognates") are words pairs of words that are often similar in spelling but with a significantly different meaning. To help students avoid common misunderstandings, I have written blog posts on the most frequent and trickiest false friends between the two languages. In this post, I begin with the word Gift which exists in both languages but with very different meanings .

While the English word "gift" refers to a present, the German noun "Gift" actually means poison. So you really don't want to confuse the two! The German translation of "gift" is "das Geschenk". Let's look at some examples.

Sie hat mir ein Geschenk gegeben.

(She gave me a gift/present)

Im Labor befindet sich Gift.

(There is poison in the laboratory)

So watch out!

My blog series on false friends in English and German continues with these confusing words:

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