Italian false friends are the cause of many misunderstandings among our Italian students at As you know, this is not the first time we deal with this topic on our blog. You can read our articles about German and Portuguese false friends.

Are you one of those who thinks that Spaniards and Italian are more or less the same? Well, good food, outgoing people, passionate artists…; yes, we share the Mediterranean blood, but we are also very different, and our languages are a good sample of that. Let’s see some of the funniest false friends between Spanish and Italian.

Being ‘un licenciado’ is not so good in Italian

After Bologna Process, the world of education and universities in Europe changed forever. Before that, there were two types of degrees in Spain: licenciados (the higuest-education degree previous to doctoral studies) and diplomados (a three years degree, previous to licenciatura). Ser un licenciado is very important in Spain, but, believe us, you don’t want to be that in Italy.



Licenziato’ is ‘despedido’ (an employee who has been fired from a job) in Italian.

Amigo italiano: Estoy muy triste; soy licenciado.

Amigo español: Pues yo no fui a la universidad y soy muy feliz.

Don’t be embarrassed if you are pregnant

Of course, half a century ago, women in Spain used to feel avergonzadas (embarrassed) if they got embarazadas (pregnant) without being married. We guess it was the same in Italy. However, in Spanish, both words have nothing to do, they are Italian false friends.

Imbarazzata’ is ‘avergonzada’ (embarrassed) in Italian!

Amiga italiana: María, ¡estoy embarazada! Se me olvidó felicitarte por tu cumpleaños.

Amiga española: No te preocupes. Con las preocupaciones del bebé es normal que se te haya olvidado.

A pregnant woman

‘Autistics’ can be false friends

Un autista is a person who can experience difficulties with social communication and interaction; however, why can’t he or she drive a car? In Italian, besides the meaning of a person who suffers from autism, the term ‘autista’ also is a person who drives an auto. What an Italian false friends!

Un autista’ is ‘un conductor’ (a driver) in Italian!

Turista italiano: Necesito encontrar a un autista para que me lleve al aeropuerto.

Español: ¿No te gusta conversar durante el viaje?

If a Italian false friend asks about your wallet

Imagine you went out last night. You are coming back home and you can’t find your wallet. Is it in your pocket or in the tavern? The answer to that simple question can save your night or spoil it. Una tasca is a traditional tabern in Spain, but it has a very different meaning in Italian.

Una tasca’ is ‘un bolsillo’ (a pocket) in Italian!

Amigo español: ¡Oh, Dios mío! ¡Me he dejado la cartera en la tasca!

Amigo italiano: ¡Qué exagerado eres! ¡Mete la mano y cógela!

A wallet in the pocket

A false friend would make you exit on the last floor

If you are not welcome to a place, you will probably be invited to ‘salir’ (to leave or exit). However, what if that person starts going upstairs, instead of exit the place?

Salire’ is ‘subir’ (to go up) in Italian!

Amigo español en un coche: ¡Date prisa! ¡Sal ya, que no llegamos!

Amigo italiano: ¿Salir adónde? ¿Al techo del coche?

All these funny situations are the consequences of Italian false friends. On, we try to teach Spanish in a natural way; literal translations, no more! Only with this method, you will be able to avoid these funny but annoying situations.