100 Portuguese-English cognates: Nouns

Cognates are words from different languages that not only look and sound alike but have the same meaning. Portuguese and English share many of these. For example: capital/capital, banana/banana, restaurante/restaurant, impossível/impossible, etc.

Although pronunciation and spelling may vary slightly, knowing a good number of cognates can help boost your confidence when starting out in a new language.

Portuguese English complementary info
acidente accident by extension:
ácido acid -----
adversário adversary by extension:
aeroporto airport -----
agente agent by extension:
alarme alarm by extension:
animal animal -----
ar air -----
área area -----
arte art by extension:
atividade activity by extension:
atmosfera atmosphere -----
avenida avenue -----
aventura adventure -----
banana banana -----
bicicleta bicycle -----
blusa blouse -----
cafeteria cafeteria -----
calculadora calculator by extension:
câmera camera -----
carro car -----
centro center often used to refer to
a city's downtown area
cereal cereal -----
classe class applies to "school classes",
"elegance", "type"
companhia company applies to both "business"
and "companionship"
construção construction by extension:
continente continent by extension:
controle control intangible and tangible
(controle remoto = remote control)
costa coast WATCH OUT
when discussing the anatomy,
costas means "back" (dorsal)
debate debate -----
desastre disaster -----
diretor director by extension:
distância distance by extension:
dragão dragon -----
elefante elephant -----
elevador elevator by extension:
erro error by extension:
explosão explosion by extension:
família family by extension:
fator factor -----
festival festival -----
fotografia photograph by extension:
fruta fruit -----
funeral funeral -----
galáxia galaxy by extension:
girafa giraffe -----
gorila gorilla -----
grupo group -----
guitarra guitar by extension:
helicóptero helicopter -----
hipopótamo hippopotamus -----
honorário honorary WATCH OUT!
the plural "honorários" means
"payment for services rendered"
– quite the opposite of the
connotation of "honorário"
hospital hospital -----
hotel hotel -----
humano human by extension:
ideia idea by extension: ideal/ideal
identidade identity by extension:
independência independence by extension:
informação information -----
inseto insect by extension:
inspeção inspection by extension:
inteligência intelligence by extension:
laptop laptop tech-related names
are often identical
leopardo leopard -----
lista list -----
literatura literature -----
mágica magic magia can also be used
to mean "magic" when
referring to the art (magia
= black magic)
maneira manner-----
mapa map -----
memória memory -----
metal metal by extension:
microfone microphone the abbreviation "mic" is
not used in Portuguese
militar military militar can also mean "soldier"
or "military officer"
minuto minute -----
momento moment -----
música music música can also mean "song"
objeto object by extension:
observatório observatory -----
ocasião occasion ocasional and "occasional" are
not always equivalent;
ocasional can mean "by chance"
oceano ocean -----
paciência patience by extension:
(both a medical patient and
a person who has patience)
palácio palace -----
pânico panic -----
parque park -----
parte part by extension:
perfume perfume -----
piano piano -----
planeta planet by extension:
problema problem by extension:
rádio radio by extension:
rancho ranch not the sauce!
restaurante restaurant -----
série series applies to "a series of things"
as well as "TV series"
sofá sofa -----
telefone telephone WATCH OUT!
you cannot use "fone"
to mean "phone";
cell phone = celular
televisão television You can also say "TV"
teste test for school tests, use prova
turista tourist -----
uniforme uniform applies in the sense of
"consistent" as well as
the identical clothes
worn by a group
universo universe by extension:

Do you know any other Portuguese-English cognates? Share your examples in the comments section!

September 23, 2017


example - exemplo serious - sério universe - universo mathematics - matemática message - mensagem massage - massagem text -texto exam - exame test - teste infernal - infernal venus - vênus mars - marte cognates - cognatos ball - bola frequent - frequente usual - usual exact - exato fact - fato music - musica private - privado barb/biarb - barba list - lista edit - editar zero - zero six - seis zone - zona perimeter - perímetro hipnosis - hipnose computer - computador pan - panela lamp - lâmpada and so goes on...

October 21, 2017

Thanks for even more cognates! I now have a total of 137 to memorise, in fact, if one doesn't know the correct word in Portuguese then it's always worth trying the English word - it could be almost the same. I now have to check which are Euro P and which are Brazilian. Found one already PAN - PANELA / CACAROLA ( Euro. P). Duo is keeping me busy! :))

October 21, 2017

Thank you this is great and helpful information. I love Portuguese and have been in need of outside information. Muito obrigado

September 23, 2017

More very useful info. for my notice board. Thank you. :))

September 23, 2017

Wow! I always have seen persons talking about False Friends. This is the first time that I see a text about Cognates. Very useful, thanks.

My list:

Cinema - cinema

Comedy – comédia

Different – diferente

Emotion – emoção

Future – futuro

Other – outro

Present – presente

There are many others.

September 23, 2017

Because I'm English, I can't really add to the list, except maybe Jeans - jeans - the type we wear! ha ha It's amazing to see how many Cognates there are - it really does help in learning and linking English/Portuguese together! Obrigada :))

September 23, 2017

Hi Helpful, I've found 2 more Cognates to add to the list :- Radiator - radiator
Racial - racial :))

October 2, 2017

Hi Jenny, thanks for sharing these. They would definitely fit in our list! :)

October 4, 2017

Cell Phone in Portuguese is called "Telemóvel" (combination of Telefone and Móvel [Mobile Telephone]) A school test is usually called "teste" or "ficha de avaliação" (evaluation sheet). For national tests, the term "Exames" is used.

February 3, 2018

Are there more than these 100 words?

How about a special Tinycards / Flashcard (e.g Memrise) course which explicitely teaches the mass of Portuguese/English and Portuguese/German cognates and false friends?

September 27, 2017

Hi Thomas, thanks for participating in the forum. In answer to your question: Yes, there are definitely more than 100 cognates. These 100 examples were chosen randomly, but there are plenty more.

Great idea regarding the Tinycards/Flashcards course! I have forwarded your suggestion to our team. For now, we'd like to recommend the 2 decks you'll find in this link: . Also, we welcome you to create your own decks to study and share with others!

September 27, 2017

tímido - timid fácil - facile simples - simple indispensável - indispensable rápido - rapid deferencia - deference transmissão - transmission missão - mission ...

January 22, 2018
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