Linguists are wary of false friends – false cognates – which is when two words in different languages seem very similar, but have no common history. One example is Arabic “sharif” which is a tribal title for someone who protects their tribe, and English “sheriff” a law man who protects a district. Related? Nope, just a coincidence.
In historical linguistics there is a problem when two words from different times in the history of a languages seem to be the same, but the latter really didn’t evolve from the first one.
My friend Andreas told me about this cool “false friend” in Swedish. We have this island off of Gotland called “Fårö”. Får = sheep, ö = island. Så sheep island, right? Noo, Får was originally far – as in farväg “road for travel” or farvatten “water for travel”. So “travel island”.
A clue in this is that, unlike on the mainland, the Gotlanders say “lamm” for sheep, and not “får…