A Quick Lesson on False Cognates!

As we mentioned in our previous blog, there are many medical terms whose roots are the same in English as in Spanish since they are derived from Latin and Greek.  These are referred to as cognates.

However, there are other misleading terms which sound alike, but alas, do not have the same meaning.  Thus, they are referred to as FALSE COGNATES.

Please have a look at the following and either memorize, enjoy, or both!


embarrassed =  avergonzado(a) / apenado(a) ≠ embarazada (pregnant)
to stretch =  extender/estirar/forzar ≠ estrechar (to make narrower)
to rest =  descansar ≠ restar (to subtract, deduct)
to record =  anotar, registrar ≠ recordar (to remember, remind)
intoxicated =   ebrio ≠ intoxicado (food poisoning, drunk)
constipation =   estreñimiento ≠ constipación (congestion)
injury =   lesión, herida, daño ≠ injuria (insult, offence)
parent =  progenitor/padre ≠ pariente (relative)
discharge from hospital = dar de alta ≠ descargar (download)

# vaginal discharge     = desecho/flujo

How many of the above have you mistakenly used?  And how many of those will now be emblazoned in your mind for eternity?

There are several more lists of false cognates and of course, cognates, which, you can find in our Complete Medical Spanish book and audio USB.


You may find our book and audio USB on our shop section of our website: www.riosassociates.com/shop/


For those of you planning to participate in any of our CME Medical Spanish and Cultural Competency Classes, you will have the opportunity to learn more cognates and false cognates, as well as, a wealth of Medical Spanish vocabulary, easily explained Spanish grammar and cultural competency tips that will assist you in better communicating with your Latino patients.

Even if you are just beginning your journey in Spanish, saying a few words to your Latino patients, will help you build a rapport and connect with us.

A little bit goes a long way and we are here to help you in that process!

You may find our schedule of classes for all our CME Medical Spanish & Cultural Competency Courses at www.riosassociates.com/schedule-registration/


If you would like a description of each course, for your convenience we are providing a link to our CME Medical Spanish & Cultural Competency courses:

Live CME Medical Spanish and Cultural Competency Conferences in the U.S.


Live CME Medical Spanish and Cultural Competency Conferences in Mexico


CME Medical Spanish and Cultural Competency Onsite Courses


CME Medical Spanish and Cultural Competency Virtual Trainings


CME Medical Spanish Personalized One-on-One Classes (Webinars)


CME Medical Spanish Self-Study Program



Cuídense mucho…Stay safe and healthy!

Warm regards from Rios Associates

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