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What's the real, definite difference between [寝]{ね}る and [眠]{ねむ}る?

I know they both mean "sleep", but also that each carries some additional (sometimes, figurative) meanings.

Where do the meanings overlap? In what scenarios are they interchangeable?

  • 5
    this website had a long and detailed explanation it did the trick for me: maggiesensei.com/2011/05/27/… – yadokari Oct 4 '11 at 19:36
  • Why don't you put that as an answer? – istrasci Oct 4 '11 at 19:38
  • I re-corrected your question. My edit needs to be peer reviewed but remember that you should meet some standards when writing a question, like: No abusing of bold, unnecessary expressions (SMACKDOWN in the title is distracting). I posted on your question "Disallow "petty" editing" in Meta. – Alenanno Oct 7 '11 at 9:28
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寝{ね}る

go to bed, be in bed.
Does not imply you sleep, since you could be listening to the radio, watching TV…
毎日11時に寝ます。

眠{ねむ}る

to sleep, not be awake.
Physiological state.
毎日何時に眠っているか当然分からない!

  • 2
    Do you mean "Does not necessarily imply you sleep"? Because it can mean "to sleep, not be awake". – istrasci Oct 5 '11 at 17:46
  • @istrasci: "not(imply(A))" is different from "imply(not(A))", so "necessarily" is redundant. – Axioplase Oct 6 '11 at 3:56
  • 2
    寝る sometimes does imply sleeping, just in the same way as “go to bed” sometimes implies sleeping. It depends on the context. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 7 '11 at 11:22
  • 1
    "毎日何時に眠っているか当然に分からない!" ← ?「自分が毎日何時に眠っているかなんてわかるわけがない」って意味ですかね・・ – Chocolate Mar 28 '16 at 5:12
  • 1
    「寝る」には「眠る」"sleep" という意味もあります・・・eg. 昨夜は8時間寝ました。 = 昨夜は8時間眠りました。 ← 日常会話では前者のほうがよく使われます – Chocolate Mar 28 '16 at 5:13
2
  • 寝る 'sleep', 'lie down', 'have sexual intercourse'
  • 眠る 'fall asleep', 'remain untouched'
1

寝る means sleeping.
Eg. He is sleeping. 彼は寝ている。

眠る means sleepy.
眠い (adv) means sleepy.
so.. we usually use "So sleepy today.." => 眠いなあ。。

Hope this help :)

Edited:

寝る

1) 横になる Lie down

彼は草の上に寝ている。 He is lying on the grass.

2) Get to bed

寝る時間だ。 Time to go to bed.

3) Sleep (same with 眠る)

お茶を飲みすぎて寝られなかった。Too much tea kept me awake.

4) Lie idle (things, etc)

銀行に寝ているお金 Money sitting in the bank

5) Sleep (with somebody)

Other usage:
寝ても覚めても awake or asleep

========================

眠る

1) Sleep; have a sleep.

ぐっすり眠っている fast asleep

2) Lie buried.

3) Lie idle (things, etc)

  • 1
    What you explained is the difference between 寝ている and 眠い, not between 寝る and 眠る. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 5 '11 at 10:44
  • you are right. actually. it is quite difficult to explain japanese vocab in overall as each words has so many meanings :) – user764 Oct 5 '11 at 12:32

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