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Besides 따뜻하다 having an extra usage to describe personality, 따뜻하다 and 따스하다 both mean warm, at least that's what I found in my dictionary. Are these words interchangeable, or do they have nuances/different degrees of warmth, etc?

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There are differences.

The difference is that 따뜻하다 is simply descriptive or tangible without emotions involved while 따스하다 is sentimental or intangible and is usually more emotional.

Example: You can say 마음이 따스하다, but seldom 마음이 따뜻하다 since 마음 is intangible.

Ex: 홍차가 따뜻하다 instead of 따스하다 ! since 홍차(red tea) is tangible.

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  • So, "body warming" vs heart warming, or (I suppose it's fine to use Chinese on this site for this purpose?) 温暖 vs 温馨, is that correct?
    – busukxuan
    Nov 18 '16 at 10:28
  • I think it is correct, but it needs to be confirmed by natives after all. Nov 18 '16 at 15:06

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