4

These words were used in a chat, according to jisho.org both terms mean being relaxed or taking it easy. How do you use them?

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They belong to different word classes. のんびり is an adverb and suru-verb, and くつろぐ is a verb on its own. That means のんびり (without する) and くつろぐ are never interchangeable.

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The difference between のんびりする and くつろぐ is small and they are mostly interchangeable. But くつろぐ tends to refer to relaxing physically (e.g., in a sofa, doing almost nothing). のんびりする tends to refer to mentally feeling relaxed, not being pressed for time. You can say のんびりする even when mild physical activities are involved (e.g., ハワイでダイビングやドライブをしながらのんびり過ごした).

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