English speakers learning Spanish should become familiar with some of the common vocabulary pitfalls, embarazada and embarrassed being one of the most notorious. These are called false friends – the linguistic – not the human variety. Also known as false cognates, they are words that sound similar in both languages but do not have the same meaning.
When it comes to food a few more come to mind: Tuna is a prickly pear in Spanish, while tuna fish is atún – although some now call it tuna in Spanish too. Cola is a tail, not a carbonated drink. An abogado is a lawyer, not an avocado. Meringue is suspiro, not merengue, the Dominican national dance.
A pair of false friends with a particularly complicated relationship is lemon and lime. You’d think that in Spanish lemon would be called limón and lime would be lima.
The origin of the word “lemon” is thought to be Middle Eastern, from the Arabic laymun and from the Persian limun, the generic term for citrus fruit. The actual fruit originated in Asia and it is said that Columbus himself brought the first seeds to Hispaniola in 1493. (Simple by Clara)