Photo: Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock

10 Words That Look the Same in Polish and English but Have Totally Different Meanings

Poland Languages
by Olga Mecking Oct 19, 2015

1. But

In English, you have “but” and “butt,” and they’re very different things. In Polish, but is pronounced “boot” and means simply, “shoe.”

2. Jest

In English, “jest” is an old-fashioned word for joke. In Polish, pronounced “yest,” it’s the third person singular of the word być (”to be”).

3. Pan

In English-speaking countries, a pan is used for cooking. In Polish, you can say, for example, Pan Kowalski or Pan Nowak. In this language, it simply means “mister.”

4. Most

In English, this word is used to form superlatives (the most important thing, for example). In Polish, most is “bridge.” Just keep in mind that the “O” is pronounced like “aw” in “awesome.”

5. Brat

We all know who “brat” is: an unruly, loud, badly behaved child. In Polish, brat means “brother.” And while the meanings of these two words can definitely overlap, not all brothers are brats and not all brats are brothers.

6. Fart

In Polish, mam fart doesn’t mean what you think it means. In fact when someone tells you that, you should be either happy for them because in Polish, fart simply means “good luck.”

7. Windy

In Polish, this word has nothing to do with the weather. The Polish word for “elevator” is winda, pronounced “veenda.” The plural form is windy, making it look similar to the English word describing a certain kind of weather.

8. Herb

In English, herb is something that you use in your cooking. In Polish, it means “coat of arms.” But if you ask me, I find the culinary herbs much more interesting.

9. Chart

Pronounced in a similar manner to the word “heart” but with a rolled R, it actually refers to a certain breed of dog, a sighthound to be exact. It has nothing to do with an actual, English “chart.”

10. Prom

There is no connection whatsoever between the “prom” that all American secondary school children are looking forward to and the Polish word prom, which is actually a ferry.

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