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What's the difference in the usage between 懒惰 and 懒? Both can be translated as "lazy".

  • what source would just say "lazy" for both?, cf. bkrs: 、 嬾 (1) (形声。 从心, 赖声。 本义: 懒惰) (2) 同本义 [lazy; indolent; slothful] 懒, 懈也。 怠也。 一曰卧也。 --《说文》。 字亦作懒。 吾少懒学问, 晚成人。 --《宋书·范晔传》 (3) 又如: 懒待(没有精神和兴致); 懒怠(懒于做某种事); 懒得(不想, 不情愿); 懒残和尚煨芋(唐衡狱寺和尚明瓒禅师, 性子懒惰, 常吃别人剩食, 因号懒残。 李泌在寺里夜读访他时, 他正在牛粪中煨芋, 并送半个芋头给李, 叫他小心不要多讲话, 去做十年宰相。 后果如其言) (4) 疲惫 [sluggish; drowsy]。 如: 懒困(疲倦困怠); 懒怯(疲倦虚弱) 偷懒 unwilling to work 好吃懒做 caring for nothing but eating; be gluttonous and lazy 人勤地不懒。 Where the tiller is tireless, the land is fertile. (疲倦; 没力气) sluggish; languid: 伸懒腰 stretch oneself 身上发懒 feel languid (drowsy) – user6065 Jul 3 '17 at 22:13
  • 懒惰 (1) [lazy; slothful]∶偷懒; 不喜欢费体力或脑力 有天赋却懒惰的艺术家 (2) [indolent]∶不勤快 这对懒惰的作家是个刺激 also find 100 samples for each, used predicatively or with following verb (loath to), or with 于 (unlike 懒惰) 懒惰 used attributively or predicatively, also as noun, laziness – user6065 Jul 3 '17 at 22:14
  • "100 samples" in preceding comment refers to jukuu – user6065 Jul 4 '17 at 2:37
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懒 (lazy) is mainly an adjective (less often as a noun)

Example:

人 (lazy person)

(the person is lazy)

懒惰 (lazy/ laziness) can be an adjective or a noun.

Example:

由于他懒惰,他的花园里充满了杂草 (Due to he being lazy, his garden is full of weeds )

由于他的懒惰,他的花园里充满了杂草 (Due to his laziness, his garden is full of weeds )

The adjective 懒惰 preceding a noun usually requires the adjectival prefix '的'

Example: 懒惰的人 (lazy person)

The adjective 懒惰 after a noun doesn't require adjectival prefix '的'

Example:人懒惰 (the person being lazy)

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懒 (lazy) can also be a noun. It is used more often in spoken language compared with 懒惰(lazy). (Adding to @Tang Ho's answer)

  • compare to 懒惰, 懒 is more often be used as an adjective than being a noun. It is uncommon to say 由于 [他的懒],他的花园里充满了杂草. 懒惰 on the other hand, is equally common to be used as a noun as an adjective. – Tang Ho Jul 4 '17 at 1:58

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