I've been using Anki to memorize kanji and words. This word came up: 寒冷{かんれい} which means cold. However I've never heard of this word being used for cold, chilly, etc. Usually it's 寒い{さむい} that is used.

Could some one give an example of when 寒冷 would be used in a sentence?

  • I think your second question is a duplicate of japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/3191/…, so hopefully answers here can concentrate on the first question.
    – user1478
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 0:00
  • @snailboat Thank you! I didn't realize there was already a discussion on this but that link cleared it up for me. :D
    – Chocoreto
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 0:47
  • I'm glad the question is resolved for you! I'm going to go ahead and edit that portion out of your question now, but people will still be able to see what you wrote before by looking at the revision history.
    – user1478
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 0:51
  • greatly appreciated!
    – Chocoreto
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 0:52
  • In addition to the present answers, don't forget that the 冷 kanji is also used in 冷たい (tsumetai) for cold objects. (Or for people in the sense of uncaring, unfriendly.)
    – user12549
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 5:15

3 Answers 3


「[寒冷]{かんれい}」 is a fairly technical/academic word and very few people, if any at all, would use it to say everyday things like "It's so cold today." As you said, the word we use for that purpose is 「[寒]{さむ}い」. (Dialectally, people from the north may, for instance, opt to use 「しばれる」, but that has the same level of informality as 「寒い」. Point is 「寒冷」 is too big a word for everyday use everywhere.)

We use 「寒冷」 in formal, technical or academic speech to talk about cold regions and cold weather. You may hear/see us say:

「[寒冷]{かんれい}な[地方]{ちほう}ではオレンジは[育]{そだ}たない。」 "Oranges do not grow in cold regions."

「シベリアは[寒冷]{かんれい}な[気候]{きこう}で[知]{し}られている。」 "Siberia is known for its cold climate."

In compounded technical terms, 「寒冷」 is also often used.

「[寒冷低気圧]{かんれいていきあつ}」 "cold-core cyclone"

「寒冷[前線]{ぜんせん}」 "cold front"


寒冷 is verbatim Cantonese (as hon4 laang5) and is typically used to refer to cold climates:




Some examples of 寒冷{かんれい}:

  • Global Cooling: (地球寒冷化{ちきゅうかんれいか})

  • Hives from the cold: 寒冷アレルギー

  • A cold place: 寒冷な地域{ちいき}

Some other examples are found here.

I think in general it's used in more formal contexts.

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