You have an infection WHERE?

I love language, so I loved Margaret’s recent post about false cognates and “fake false cognates” (a term coined by her!). Although I’ve never gotten into trouble with the words she mentioned, I did have a hilarious moment a couple of years ago. I was talking to F. on Skype and I was really sick. I had a sinus infection. I didn’t know how to say “sinus” so I looked it up on wordreference.com and got this entry:


So, I told F. “Tengo una infección de los senos” (I have a sinus infection).

He started laughing uncontrollably.

“What did I say? What did I say??” I insisted that he tell me.

As soon as he stopped laughing he told me (well, I actually already knew this, but just forgot) that seno also means breast. I had just told him I had a breast infection.

In case you’re wondering, sinus infection = sinusitis. That’s a word I will never forget.

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