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Hellow everyone!

I would like to know what's the difference between 「軽い」and 「身軽」? When is good to use each one? Could you give me an example?

Thank you!

  • You've tried some dictionaries, right? Please show what you've found so far, and tell us what you're confused with. – Chocolate Mar 28 at 1:14
  • @Chocolate yes, I have tried. Both words are marked as "light". That's my confusion – marcosprins Mar 28 at 1:19
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You may have known「軽{かる}い」and 「身軽{みがる}」can both be translated as "light". However, they are used in different situations.

  • 「軽{かる}い」is not so different from "light" in English and normally used to describe things have the nature of having little weight. It can be quantitatively measured by weighing scales.

  • 身軽{みがる}」is, however, often used in a metaphorical sense or qualitatively. If you have measured having less weight than before, you feel you are moving more swiftly than before, you can say「動きが身軽{みがる}になった」or similar.

  • In a metaphorical sense, you might say「金メダルの重責から解放されて身軽{みがる}になった。」: "I feel relaxed now as I have been released from the pressure of winning the gold medal at Olympic Games". i.e. You are not saying that you physically weigh less than before, but rather that you do not feel the burden to be the best of the Olympic Games.


Interestingly, regarding the word「身軽{みがる}」, if you switched the「軽」: "light" to its antonym「重」: "heavy", it is 身重{みおも} and it only means "pregnant", as far as I know. In other words, switching「軽」to「重」does not imply the opposite meaning i.e. you move slowly because of having lots of luggage or you feel the burden.

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