In many Indo-European languages metaphors of temperature are used to describe people. Is it the same in Chinese, can we say '他很热' and not mean that they have a high temperature?

  • see dictionaries regarding 热:热情、热爱, 冷:冷酷、冷漠、 冷淡 (note Chinese has become a language with preponderance of disyllabic words)
    – user6065
    Nov 28, 2017 at 22:50

6 Answers 6


You may need words of 2 characters, but I'm sure Chinese can do that. Specifically, what do you want to express? Hot or cold: passion, zeal, enthusiasm, interest, love, desire, hate? Here are some pairs of opposites.

  • 热情 —— 冷静
  • 热心 —— 冷淡
  • 热门 —— 冷漠

Furthermore, you can write:

他冷冷地对我说了 ...
我热情地微笑着, ...

  • 热情 vs 冷漠, 热心 vs 冷淡, 热门 vs 冷清.
    – xenophōn
    Nov 30, 2017 at 12:30

Without a context,

  • "他很热" means: He feels hot (due to high temperature or catch a fever)

  • "他很冷" means: He's feeling cold (due to cold weather or catch a cold)


Short answer: No.

From my experience, we can say '他很冷' to mean that he is the person who doesn't care. But we do not say ‘他很热’. Instead, we say ‘他很热情’.


In my experience, I heard of usage like (他)手很热/(他)手很冷, which are used in PC games to describe players in a good/bad state.


Definitely, you can use "他很热"to indicate " he is very hot".But, in English, "he is hot" could mean " he is sexy".In Chinese"他很热"do not have mean of "he is sexy".

  • 1
    Hi 田小东, thank you for writing a reply. Normally answers on this website are meant to provide something valuable to all readers. While your answer to the OP's question isn't wrong, it doesn't provide much insight either. Please see Pedroski's post to get an idea of what makes a reply useful.
    – blackgreen
    Nov 30, 2017 at 15:38
  • where can I see pedroski's post? By the way my answer is valuable to all readers.
    – 田小东
    Dec 1, 2017 at 3:32

"热" and "冷" are used to describe temperature.

Both "热情" and "热心" mean enthusiastic, but the former can be used to describe one's quality; we often use the latter when expressing one's attitude to specific people or affairs. For example:



"热门" means popular.

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