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I am very alarmed! At university, as far as I can remember, we learned 同屋 as “roommate” and 室友 as a synonym, particularly popular in southern China.

Now this site

claims that:

同屋" usually refers to two people or a couple who live in the same house/bedroom and are most likely in a sexual relationship.

Is that true? I don’t want such misunderstandings to arise, possibly insulting people!!!

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    bkrs:同屋1) v.o. share a room 2) n. roommate 谓夫妇同房(cohabitate (2) сожительствовать) (couple)) (as in English meaning may depend on context) (pets and plants can be roommates), 同居 ,同住 are more explicit for cohabitation
    – user6065
    Mar 4, 2018 at 18:12
  • @user6065 "谓夫妇同房(cohabitate" this is totally contradictory - 夫妇 = husband and wife and cohabitate = two people who are not married live together.
    – Mou某
    Mar 5, 2018 at 3:25
  • No difference between the two words.
    – Sepwolves
    Mar 5, 2018 at 5:30
  • anyhow bkrs also has сожительствовать, see Russian-English dictionaries
    – user6065
    Mar 5, 2018 at 7:28

2 Answers 2

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I live in north, we only use 室友, when I see your question, I have to check dictionary for 同屋( I have never heard of it) to make sure I know it right, cuz we can not rely on the literary meanings, for example 家里那人 refer to husband or wife, not any other family members.

You would better avoid 同屋, because that is a slang, they always have other meanings in different areas. For example 同一个屋檐下 usually refer to neighbors, relations but not rootmates.

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I'm from southern China. I would usually say 室友 or 舍友 to refer to my roommate. That's only a personal preference. I can still understand if someone says 同屋. But I would be unsure that if that person and his/her roommate are a couple. I do not know if 同屋 in northern Chinese dialects may mean couples, at least from my own experience.

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  • We never use 同屋 in north, I thought that is a southern slang...
    – sfy
    Mar 5, 2018 at 6:13
  • @Jacob 我也没有听北方同学和朋友说过 :)
    – pjhades
    Mar 5, 2018 at 16:31

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