My understanding is that 冷える describes the state of going from room temperature to a lower one, e.g. to chill beer, to get cold (weather, relationship), etc. On the other hand, 冷める is about going from a high temperature to room temperature.

If the above holds true, how come this sentence found under a dictionary entry defies such definition:

(Entry "温める," taken from ルミナス、研究社)

I do not think they are referring to gazpacho (served cold) and the like, because it does not make much sense to heat up something you intentionally let chill, that which is meant to be cold in the first place. Neither do I think it is a mere typo, since I believe a mistake as simple as such would have been edited out in a published dictionary.

*Much to my dismay, found under their 冷める entry:



  • 2
    I’m confused. Why don’t you think the soup came from the refrigerator?
    – mamster
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 3:23
  • What a timely slap to my face. I must be stoned out of my mind... Now do I delete this question, or leave it for reference (to how silly I can be, for instance)...
    – Yeti Ape
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 3:31
  • 1
    Leave it. In English we have the phrase "chilled soup" which always refers to "soup intentionally served cold"; 冷えたスープ sounds like the corresponding phrase, but it's a false cognate. Useful info!
    – mamster
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 3:35

1 Answer 1



This phrase makes perfect sense if the soup had been refrigerated (instead of being left at the room temperature).

If the soup had been left at the room temperature, however, it would be far more natural to say:


  • その使い分けは初めて聞いたんです。私は九州で日本語を学んだんですけども、ここでは両方の意味で「冷えた」を使うのが普通と思います。「冷めた」は大体感情的な意味で使います。調べてみたら、九州限定の方言らしい。
    – a20
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 16:18

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