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what is the difference between 暖かい and 温かい?

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Although not part of the original question, your question is answered here too: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/213/575 – atlantiza Apr 30 '12 at 18:36

暖かい refers to the climate or surrounding atmosphere that is warm:

  • この部屋は暖かい - It is warm in this room.

温かい is of tangible things like solids and liquids and it means it is warm to the touch. Also it can be used to describe a "warm heart" :

  • 温かいご飯 - A warm meal

  • 温かい心 - A warm heart

A similar difference is observed in 暑い・熱い and 寒い・冷たい. 暑い and 寒い refer to weather/environment. While 熱い and 冷たい is used for hot and cold to the touch respectively.

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