= Kyou atsui? Atatakai?
= Is it hot today or warm?
Hi everybody! It is getting hotter lately in Japan. How about in your countries?
Maggiesensei.com reader, Jack, sends us this question:
I was wondering if you could make a lesson about (or just including) the usage of あたたかい ( = atatakai) and あつい ( = atsui) , I’m always confusing them…
and what’s worse, both have two appropriate kanji, so I never know which one to use, 暑い ( = atsui) , 熱い ( = atsui) , 暖かい ( = atatakai) or 温かい ( = atatakai) . I hope you can clear
this up for me. Thanks in advance.
There are many kanji that have the same sound but what’s worse, the following two pairs have the same sound and the same meaning when you look them up in the dictionary.
暑い = atsui、熱い = atsui hot
暖かい = atatakai、温かい = atatakai warm
Then how do we distinguish between them? Here are some tricks to help you remember!
熱い ( = atsui) VS 暑い ( = atsui ) = hot
1) If you touch something and it’s hot, you use 熱い（ = atsui)
= Atsui koohii
= Hot coffee
= Atsui ofuro
= Hot bath
= Atsui ocha
= Hot tea
= Kono ocha wa atsui
= This tea is hot.
= Suupu atsui kara kiwo tsuketene.
= The soup is very hot so be careful.
= Ie ni kaette atsui ofuro ni hairitai.
= I want to go home and take a hot bath.
= Maggie, karada ga atsui yo. Netsu ga arunjanai?
= Maggie, your body is burning (hot) . Maybe you have a fever.
2) You can also use 熱い ( = atsui) for intangible things.
= atsui giron
= a hot discussion
= Atsui yuujou
= Strong ties of friendship
=Ano futari wa oatsui naka da.
= Those two are really in love.
= Ano sensei wa totemo atsui.
= That teacher is very passionate/ enthusiastic.
Note : In modern Japanese 熱い ( = atsui) is often used to describe personalities.
It comes from the word 熱心 ( = nesshinn) = zealous, earnest
Ex. 熱い奴 ( = atsui yatsu ): 奴 ( = yatsu) is a derogatory term used to refer to a guy, but it is also a very casual way to call to a guy in a friendly manner.
So “熱い奴” ( = atsuiyatsu) refers to a guy who is very enthusiastic, energetic, zealous, someone who goes after one’s goal without any hesitation, or believes in one’s dream and tries to make it come true.
If you say “He is hot!” in English it means sexually attractive. But in Japanese,
Ex. 彼は熱い。= Kare wa atsui. = He is very enthusiastic (energetic, passionate.)
暑い ( = atsui) is used when you talk about climate.
Ex. 暑い夏 = atsui natsu = hot summer
= Sakunen no natsu wa ijou na gurai atsukatta.
= It was abnormally hot last summer.
= Kinou wa atsukute nerarenakatta.
= I couldn’t sleep last night because it was too hot.
暖かい ( = atatakai) VS 温かい ( = atatakai )
They both mean “warm”
暖かい ( = atatakai) is used for climate, air or the temperature or something that you feel with your whole body.
= Atatakai heya
= A warm room
= Atatakai haru no ichinichi
= A warm spring day
=Himashi ni atatakaku natte kimashitane.
= It is getting warmer and warmer everyday.
= Atatakai moufu
= warm blanket
= Atatakai kuuki
= warm air
The transitive verb is 暖める ( = atatameru) = to warm, to heat up something and intransitive verb is 暖まる ( = atatamaru)
= Heya wo atatameru
= to warm up the room
= Sutoubu no soba de atamaru
= to warm up oneself by the heater
If you touch something and it feels warm, you use 温かい ( = atatakai) . Also for body, food, feelings, we use 温かい ( = atatakai)
温かい ( = atatakai) is used when you feel with a part of your body.
= atatakai shokuji
= warm meal
=Samui kara nanika atatakai mono wo tabeyou ka?
= It’s cold so why don’t we eat something warm?
= Atatakai koohii
= Hot coffee
Note : 熱い ( = atsui) VS 温かい ( = atatakai)
Now some of you might have wondered what the difference between 温かいコーヒー ( = atatakai koohii) and 熱いコーヒー ( = atsui koohii) because both translations are “hot coffee”. Usually when we say 熱い ( = atsui), it is simply “hot” temperature-wise and 温かい ( = atatakai) implies “comfortably hot” which you feel with your heart.
So if someone says
= Kono koohii atsui!
The person is complaining that the coffee is too hot, ”This coffee is burning hot!”
But if they say
= Kono koohii atatakai!
It means “I like this coffee. It’s nice and hot” and we can tell they are very happy with that coffee.
But if you expect something is supposed to be “hot” we use 熱い = atsui
（Ex. 熱いお茶が飲みたい！ = Atsui ocha ga nomitai = I want a hot tea!)
= Atatakai ononimono wa ikaga desu ka?
= Would like some warm drink?
Also we can use 温かい ( = atatakai) for intangible things when we feel warm in our hearts.
Note: The transitive verb is 温める ( = atatameru) = to warm (up), to heat up something and intransitive verb is 温まる ( = atatamaru)
= Atatakai katei
= warm family
= atatakai hito
= A warm person
=Kokoro atatamaru hanashi
= heart warming story
Note 1 ) When we talk about “heart” or “feelings”it is said not to use 暖かい ( = atatakai) but actuallyI found 暖かい心 ( = atatakaikokoro) in a Japanese dictionary and you will get a lot of hits with 暖かい心 ( = atatakai kokoro) if you do a search on the net. That proves, even many Japanese people don’t know which one to use. Yet, basically when you feel warm in your heart, we are supposed to use 温かい = atatakai)
Note 2) 温い ( = nurui) can be read“ぬるい“ ( = nurui) it means lukewarm, tepid. Since it is confusing to write it in kanji, it
isoftenwritten in hiranaga.
= Koohii ga nurukunaru.
= My coffee gets lukewarm
Special cases :
= futokoro ga atatakai
= to have a fat purse
懐 ( = futokoro) is the inside breast pocket but it also refers one’s financial situation at that time.
So when you say
= Kyou wa futokoro ga atatakai.
It means to have plenty of money today.
opposite : 懐が寒い ( = futokoro ga samui ) or 懐が寂しい ( = futokoro ga samishii)
暖かい色 = atatakai iro = warm color(s) (or 暖色 = danshoku)
When you refer to colors, you use 暖かい ( = atatakai)
温暖= ondan = warmth
When we combine 温 and 暖, it will be 温暖 ( = ondan) and it used to describe mild warm climate.
=Hawaii wa ichinen wo tsuujite ondan da.
= The climate in Hawaii is mildly warm all through the year.
= Green house effect
あったかい ( = attakai ) a casual way to say 暖かい+温かい →あたたかい ( = atatakai)
= Kyou wa attakai ne!
= It’s warm today, isn’t it?
Ex . マギー、あったかい！
= Maggie attakai!
= You are warm, Maggie!
= Watashi wa”atsui” sensei? Soretomo “atatakai” sensei?
=Am I a “passionate (energetic)” teacher or a “warm” teacher?
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