Momentum can be a false friend

Momentum can be a false friend

While reading the news today, a German statement in the sports section caught my eye:

Wir haben ein tolles Momentum im Team […]

For some reason, this incorrect and completely unnecessary use of the word Momentum has become much more common recently, although it seems to be confined to sports so far. Clearly, Momentum is used with the meaning of the English word momentum, even though there is a perfectly adequate German word for it, namely Schwung. The word Momentum does exist in German, but is rarely used and means (the right) moment, see here.

A related false friend encountered when translating from German to English in a scientific context is the word impulse. The correct translation of the German word Impuls is momentum.


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