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False Friend and Bimbo

April 21, 2010

After my American Labor History class tonight, the professor asked a female student if she knew what the English word “bimbo” meant, to which she replied, “No.” The female student in question was wearing a t-shirt with that very word sprawled across it. As it turns out, “bimbo” was referring to a Mexican bakery called Grupo Bimbo, not a self-proclamation of being a stupid woman.

A word that looks or sounds the same in two different languages but has different meanings is known as a false friend. It shouldn’t be confused with a friend who can’t be trusted or is found to be untrue.

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