A German businesswoman was asked by her company to travel to London to make a sales presentation. Before the meeting, the woman asked an employee of the British company if he had a Beamer. “No,” said the man, confused by the question, “but I have an Audi.”

In German, a Beamer is a device used to project an enlarged image onto a surface, typically from a computer onto a projection screen. The word ‘Beamer’ apparently entered the German language (as well as Dutch and Latvian) from a brand name in the 1970s (the Advent VideoBeam 1000). In the English-speaking world, however, the word projector was used instead.

In English, Beamer (also Beemer or Bimmer) is simply a slang word for a BMW.

Have you ever made the mistake of using Beamer instead of projector when speaking English? What happened?

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