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ほわぁ~って感じが好きです

A woman who's looking at a painting says that after saying that she likes it.

I've searched for ほわって, ほわっと, ほわっ, ほわ, ほわほわ on Jisho and Weblio (Japanese-English), but they're not there.

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  • Are you familiar with 「って」 as a contraction of 「という」?
    – istrasci
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 18:41
  • Are you sure you searched ほわほわ? It's definitely on Weblio and pretty much answers your question.
    – Jimmy
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 18:58
  • @Jimmy Could you give a link please? I don't see ほわほわ on Weblio either. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong section. Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 20:05
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    Yeah, maybe you were looking in the wrong section. Here's the link: ejje.weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%BB%E3%82%8F%E3%81%BB%E3%82%8F
    – Jimmy
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 22:06
  • @istrasci Yes, of course. Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 16:55

2 Answers 2

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This site gives the following meanings for ほわっ(と)

  • 物や状態が軽く柔らかである様子。
  • 表情や動作がゆったりとしている様子。
  • 暖かな煙や湯気が立ち上る様子。

Basically, it expresses something being soft, mild, relaxing, warm. (Just searched on google, and found it's used in a product name for bread - being soft and relaxing is probably intended.)

Another related word (than the one linked in the comment) is ほんわか.

[副]心がなごんで、気持ちのよいさま。「—(と)して暖かい」「—ムード」


Though this may not be really helpful for learners, the meaning of onomatopoeia (at least many two-letter ones) depends on its consonants as mentioned in this answer. In this case, it is howa. As such it has some similarity with another onomatopoeia huwa=ふわっ/ふわふわ/ふわり/ふんわり, which shares with ほわっ the meaning of softness (ふわっ has no 'warm' sense).

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ほわ (or ほわほわ, ほわっと) is essentially an uncommon variant of ふわ (ふわふわ, ふわっと). ほわ sounds a bit cuter to me, but the difference is small. It's a very abstract word used to describe almost anything that is non-rigid, elusive, girly, happy, warm, foggy, daydreamy, fluffy, relaxing or soft.

It's impossible to guess which part of the picture is being described as ほわぁ without actually seeing it, and it may still be challenging even when I see it. It may refer to the overall softness, happiness, or warmth of the picture, but it may be used to describe a super-abstract picture.

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    I agree with this distinction from sundowner’s answer: “ (ふわっ has no 'warm' sense).”, do you not get the same feeling? Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 12:26
  • @DariusJahandarie In this case, "warm" refers to psychological warmness, and it's difficult to strictly differentiate between "happy" and "warm". I don't think that the meaning of "warm" is more strongly expressed in either ふわ or ほわ. Still, I agree that ふわ tends to describe physical softness or fluffiness, while ほわ is more...abstract, so they may not be completely the same.
    – naruto
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 2:05

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