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Old August 09, 2010, 04:52 PM
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Lukewarm water

I've heard some hair stylist on TV saying the hair should be washed "with lukewarm water; not hot, not cold".

I understand "warm" is already "not hot, not cold", so what's the nuance in meaning if you say "lukewarm" instead of just "warm"?
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Old August 09, 2010, 05:45 PM
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Lukewarm is that imaginary and arbitrary midpoint between hot and cold.
Warm can be nearly hot or almost cool, but lukewarm is right in the middle.
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Old August 09, 2010, 06:11 PM
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Another word for lukewarm is tepid. I don't like tepid bathwater.

Lukewarm is also a descriptive word that can be used figuratively similarly to the way that you would use "hot" and "cold", meaning halfway between hot and cold. He had a lukewarm response to my idea of going to the play. ("lacking enthusiasm")
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Old August 09, 2010, 06:19 PM
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I see now, thank you both!

Apart from the figurative use, can it also be applied to something else than fluids, like the weather or a gas or another substance? (like in "lukewarm weather", "lukewarm iron", "lukewarm bed"??)
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Old August 09, 2010, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelicaDeAlquezar View Post
I see now, thank you both!

Apart from the figurative use, can it also be applied to something else than fluids, like the weather or a gas or another substance? (like in "lukewarm weather", "lukewarm iron", "lukewarm bed"??)
Well, I've never heard it used with "weather", but when I googled it, I found it in a Scottish news source in a quote from a frisbee player. That's the only place I could find it....

As far as other uses, I just had a conversation with my mother (who is a voracious reader and has excellent grammar) and we agree that you can be flexible with the use of the word lukewarm. It wouldn't necessarily sound strange to say "lukewarm iron" or "lukewarm bed".

As I think about this, when you're using the word figuratively, it has more of a negative, glass-half-empty sense as opposed to just warm, which I would say has a more positive, glass-half-full sense.
- His poetry received warm applause. (The audience liked it.)
- His poetry received lukewarm applause. (The audience was more enthusiastic about the previous readings.)
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Old August 10, 2010, 07:36 AM
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Thank you, Lou Ann, very useful!
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Old May 27, 2013, 04:17 PM
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Actually, I think that lukewarm means "tibio" in Spanish. It's water (for example) that is neither warm nor cold. You can simply think of it in terms of being on a temperature scale (from low to high):

cold, cool, lukewarm, warm, hot.

That is not the same as saying that lukewarm is in the middle between hot and cold. More accurate would be to say that it's temperature is lower than "warm" but higher than "cold" or "cool".

Last edited by Manuel; May 27, 2013 at 04:40 PM.
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Old May 27, 2013, 04:52 PM
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Thank you, Manuel.
Most dictionaries tend to translate both words as "tibio", so that didn't help me at first either.
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Old May 27, 2013, 07:28 PM
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Correct. But in Chile, tepid or lukewarm water translates as "quitado al hielo o del hielo" I don't recall which one now, I don't know why, but that's it.
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Old May 28, 2013, 05:53 AM
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En nuestra casa es "Templado".
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