I had a terrible misunderstanding with a semi-conservative Turkish woman who was offended when I said

"Let's have brunch, and I'll bring some platonic female friends"

I'm told that in Turkey, "platonic" has a meaning of one person who deeply desires the other (sexually), but that is not reciprocated. The English version is that of a non-sexual friendship, where lust isn't in the picture.

She thought that I wanted all these women present who admired me in that sexual way.

I don't wan to create these offenses again, and so is there a list of words that have a strong similarity to English, but with a different meaning?

  • None of my Turkish friends nor Google translate can substantiate your friend's claim. Platonik means exactly the same in turkish as in English – mplungjan Jan 20 '14 at 15:15

What you are looking for is called false friends. Providing a list of all false friends in all pairs of languages is off-topic here, plus the answer would be endless and useless — but at least now you can go ahead and look up "English–Turkish false friends", or what have you.

  • bbc.co.uk/languages/yoursay/false_friends.shtml My favourite is the Swedish "Knäppa" which is "take a snapshot" vs the Danish "Kneppe" which is a synonym for sexual intercourse. So when a Swedish colleague told his new Danish female acquaintance at the picnic to stand against the tree so he could take a snapshot, it was fun to watch ;) – mplungjan Jan 20 '14 at 15:19
  • @mplungjan heh, nice one. I quite like the French and German meanings of the word bitte as well. – terdon Jan 20 '14 at 17:07

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