Media began its linguistic life as the Latin plural of medium. Next post: What is the plural of media?

Maybe Previous Post: 15 ways to say ‘maybe’

Dutch slagroom means whipped cream in English

13 foreign words that sound rude in English

If you’re learning a foreign language you’ve probably been in this situation before: getting all excited about coming across a seemingly familiar word only to find out that its actual meaning is very different from what you expected. There’s no doubt that false friends – i.e. words or expressions that have similar forms to the ones in a person’s native language, but different meanings – can be a major minefield for language students.

In some cases, however, false friends can also be a source of great amusement: below are 13 foreign words that may be completely innocuous in their native language, but sound very rude indeed to English ears.

1. Slagroom

whipped cream

Language: Dutch
Translation: whipped cream

2. Biche


Language: French
Translation: doe

3. Fahrt


Language: German
Translation: drive, ride, trip

4. Prick


Language: Swedish
Translation: dot, check, spot

5. Phoque


Language: French
Translation: seal

6. Damit


Language: German
Translation: with it/them, thereupon, thus, so that

7. Kant


Language: Dutch
Translation: side, border

8. Slutspurt


Language: Swedish
Translation: finish

9. Faca


Language: Portuguese
Translation: knife

10. Coque


Language: French
Translation: seashell

11. Dick


Language: German
Translation: thick, fat

12. Drug


Language: Russian
Translation: friend

13. Womit


Language: German
Translation: whereby, with what

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.