さびしい or さみしい, how lonely?

So recently I’ve felt like I’ve forgotten 寂しい, because I swear I’ve been hearing both さびしい and さみしい used. Up until recently I only knew “lonely” to be さびしい but I looked it up and it turns out both さびしい and さみしい mean lonely, so what’s the difference? Is there even a difference in meaning or is it a matter of personal preference?

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It’s not unusual for words with m and b to have related pronunciations, or one to evolve from the other, etc. They both involve closing the lips together to pronounce them.

There may be a slight nuance for very careful writers, I’m not sure, but for everyday conversation either is okay.

さむい and さぶい is another pair. Though I don’t hear さぶい as much unless the person is emphasizing how cold it is.

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Or it’s so cold they have a blocked nose? :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’ve seen さびしい written as either 淋しい or 寂しい (the former in an old book), but never pronounced さみしい, but things like that happen quite a lot I guess.

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Thanks! I was talking to someone yesterday and I wasn’t sure which to say so I think a vague combination of both, sambishii, ended up coming out. The other person didn’t seem to notice thankfully.

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I will add that generally you don’t hear さみしい in the more objective sense. So, you would typically hear さびしい道 but not さみしい道.

Also, apparently さびしい, さみしい, さむい, and さぶい all have origin in さぶし.

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