What is the opposite of 寒い(さむい)?



Last week, I wrote about the difference between 寒い(さむい)and 冷たい(つめたい). 寒い(さむい) is usually used when the ambient temperature is too cold to be comfortable and I wrote the opposite of 寒い(さむい) is 暑い(あつい). However, 暑い(あつい) is not the only opposite.


The word 寒い(さむい) implies discomfort, so if you are sitting in a room with a heater in the middle of a winter like the kids in the illustration, you are comfortable enough and you can describe it as 暖かい(あたたかい). The problem is 暖かい(あたたかい) is often translated as "warm", so some people say in early summer きょうはあたたかいですね (It is warm today, isn’t it?)。In Japanese it is wrong usage. 暖かい(あたたかい) is a word to describe a mild ambient temperature in a cold period. So once the general ambient temperature warms up, you should not use 暖かい(あたたかい).


Similarly 涼しい(すずしい) is the word to describe a comfortable ambient temperature during the hot season, so you should not use 涼しい(すずしい) in winter.


In extreme situations where an air conditioner is over working, you can use さむい in summer and あつい in winter, but it is best you avoid using あたたかい in summer and すずしい in winter!












One thought on “What is the opposite of 寒い(さむい)?

  1. Reply
    25 July 2018 at 11:40 am

    Of course, I was talking about the ambient temperature here. If you are
    talking about some"thing" warm, like hot chocolate, then it
    should be written as 温かい(あたたかい)ホットチョコレート and you can have it in summer
    as well!

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