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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

False Friends Portuguese/Spanish

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Last week, we studied ten false cognates in Portuguese and Spanish. Click here to see last week's lesson.

Today, we are going to study ten more false friends in Portuguese and Spanish.

1 – PADRE in Portuguese and PADRE in Spanish:

The word “padre” in Spanish means father.

In Portuguese, “padre” is a Christian priest, usually from the Catholic Church. We do not use the word “padre” in Brazil to refer to fathers.

For example:

  • O padre celebrou a missa no domingo. (The priest celebrated mass on Sunday.)

2 – PELADO in Portuguese and PELADO in Spanish:

The word “pelado” in Spanish means bald, without hair.

In Brazil, the word “pelado” is used to refer to a person without clothes.

For example:

  • Pedrinho gosta de dormir pelado. (Pedrinho likes to sleep naked.)

3 – PRONTO in Portuguese and PRONTO in Spanish:

The word “pronto” in Spanish means soon or shortly.

In Portuguese, “pronto” is something that has been concluded, finished. For example:

  • A comida está pronta. (The food is ready.)

We also use this word to indicate that you are ready for something. For example:

  • Estamos prontos para sair. (We're ready to go.)

4 – PROPINA in Portuguese and PROPINA in Spanish:

The word “propina” in Spanish means tip.

In Brazil, “propina” is an amount of money offered to someone in exchange for an illicit favor or benefit.

For example:

  • Ele tentou dar propina ao policial para não receber uma multa. (He tried to bribe the policeman so he wouldn't get a ticket.)

5 – PELO in Portuguese and PELO in Spanish:

The word “pelo” in Spanish means hair.

In Portuguese, “pelo” is the hair we have in the body. What we have on our head, we don't call “pelo,” but "cabelo". What we have on our body we call “pelo.” And animals have “pelo” too.

For example:

  • O gato de Maria solta muito pelo. (Maria's cat sheds a lot of fur.)

  • Eu não tenho muito pelo nos braços. (I don't have much hair on my arms.)

6 – QUITAR in Portuguese and QUITAR in Spanish:

The word “quitar” in Spanish means to remove or withdraw.

In Portuguese, “quitar” means paying in full or settling a debt.

For example:

  • Vou quitar o financiamento do carro este mês. (I will pay off the car loan this month.)

7 – RATO in Portuguese and RATO in Spanish:

The word “rato” in Spanish means a moment.

In Portuguese, “rato” is a rodent animal that transmits diseases.

For example:

  • Tem muito rato em Nova York! (There are a lot of rats in New York!)

8 – SACO in Portuguese and SACO in Spanish:

The word “saco” in Spanish means jacket.

In Portuguese, “saco” is a container used to transport things, such as a "saco de lixo" (garbage bag), for example.

There are also expressions and slang with the word “saco.” We use this word to express that we are uncomfortable with something or that we don't have patience for something.

For example:

  • Está chovendo de novo. Que saco! (It's raining again. That’s annoying!)

  • Eu não tenho saco para essas coisas! (I don't have patience for these things!)

9 – TIRAR in Portuguese and TIRAR in Spanish:

The word “tirar” in Spanish means to throw something with your hands or to throw something away.

In Portuguese, “tirar” means to remove. It’s the opposite of putting.

For example:

  • Você pode tirar seus pés da mesa, por favor? (Can you take your feet off the table, please?)

  • Pode tirar o casaco e pendurar no cabide. (You can take off your coat and hang it on the hanger.)

10 – VASO in Portuguese and VASO in Spanish:

The word “vaso” in Spanish means cup/glass.

In Portuguese, “vaso” is a decorative object, usually used to put flowers and other plants.

For example:

  • Eu tenho muitos vasos com plantas em minha casa. (I have a lot of potted plants in my house.)

That's it, everybody!

Até a próxima!

Your teacher,



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