In Japanese I know 曖 from the word aimai 曖昧. When I look 曖 up in jdict, I only get compounds with this same word, often written in kana, like for example aimai seigyo あいまい制御 (apparently a computer term for “fuzzy control”).¹

Out of context, I mistook 曖 for 暖 (the graph used in for example atatakai 暖かい “warm” or danbou 暖房 “indoor heating”). After my mistake I looked up 曖 in wiktionary, and noticed to my surprise that the PRC has simplified 曖 to 暧. That looks even more like 暖!

And yet both 暖 and 暧 are being used in Chinese. For example, there is “vague; ambiguous” àimèi, written as 暧昧, and “warm (up)” nuǎnhuo 暖和. That must be hard.

I looked up 暧昧 and 暖和 in LINE Dict, which gives example sentences. Under 暧的 it lists these examples:

screenshot LINE Dict

In the first example sentence it has the word nuǎnhuo 暖和, which I cited as an example word for 暖. Here however, it is incorrectly spelled with 暧. (The transcription is automatic, and therefore also incorrect.) The other two example sentences contain similar errors. Just a few minutes after I thought, gee, why would they simplify a graph in such a way to make it almost identical to that other graph, I already find confusions between the two.

Truthfully, I can hardly believe this.

  1. To write the Japanese word aimai 曖昧, you have to learn two graphs that are not used in any other word (strictly, 昧 occurs in a few Buddhist names). Aimai shares this dubious feature with aisatsu 挨拶 “greetings”. It comes as no surprise to see it spelled in kana.