Vrais Amis - French English Cognates

Words with identical spelling and (sometimes) meaning

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One of the great things about learning French or English is that many words have the same roots in the Romance languages and English. The 1,700 words on the following pages are spelled (although not pronounced) identically in French and English and are true or semi-true cognates.


Many of these words are only semi-true (aka semi-false) cognates; that is, they mean the same thing in both languages in some instances but not in others.

Therefore, this list should be used only as a guide, rather than as a definitive vocabulary list. Verify meanings with a native speaker or a good dictionary before incorporating these cognates into your vocabulary.

The part(s) of speech listed apply to both languages. Some words also belong to another part of speech in one of the languages, but the equivalent in the other language is not a true cognate. For example, abandon is a noun in both French and English, but it is also a verb in the latter. It is listed only as a noun here, because the French equivalent of the verb abandon is abandonner.