Could you let me know the difference between these two adjectives? In my book they seem to be slightly different(by it's not clearly explained) while on the internet most people say that they've the same meaning, just 'muggy' is more colloquial. Could you enlighten me?

  • Have you looked in a dictionary? – BillJ Dec 22 '18 at 13:14
  • Of course, but definitions from dictionaries aren't always clear – ანო ანო Dec 22 '18 at 13:23

muggy is an informal term that refers to the discomfort of humidity. Synonyms would be stifling, airless, oppressive, sticky, clammy.

humid is, or at least can be, a neutral term that refers to moisture in the air.

For example, the air in the Pacific Northwest is quite humid, but people who live there do not feel it to be muggy.


In science, humidity is the amount of water vapour present in air. When talking about the the way the air feels, "humid" means "wet", and sometimes, in casual usage, warm as well. Muggy (about the air) always means "wet and warm".


  • While the definition for humid is: 'hot and damp', how can we concern together 'warm' and 'humid'?(therefore warm and hot??) – ანო ანო Dec 22 '18 at 13:27
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    Humid is not universally defined as "hot and damp". Cambridge gives it as meaning merely "containing extremely small drops of water in the air". Humid does not necessarily imply warmth; muggy does. – Michael Harvey Dec 22 '18 at 14:06
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    Likewise, we sometimes informally say "it's damp outside" when we really mean that it's "cold and damp outside" -- Like humidity, dampness really just says that there's moisture around, and doesn't say anything about temperature and/or comfort level, though we frequently omit the extra bits that are obvious in context. – A C Dec 22 '18 at 18:20
  • Humidity is relative. 100% humidity means that there is as much moisture in the air as possible (without turning into water droplets) at the current temperature. Heat is associated with uncomfortable humidity because the amount of moisture in hot air at high humidity is much greater than in cold air. – Ben Jackson Dec 22 '18 at 22:44
  • So very humid necessarily implies warm? – Michael Harvey Dec 22 '18 at 23:55

According to this website:

As adjectives the difference between humid and muggy. is that humid is containing sensible moisture (usually describing air or atmosphere); damp; moist; somewhat wet or watery; as, humid earth; consisting of water or vapor while muggy is humid, or hot and humid.


"Muggy" has a connotation of hot, still air, while "humid" doesn't.

For example, if the humidity is high but there's a strong breeze, it's humid, but you wouldn't call it muggy.

Or for a better example, sometimes in the fall, the air is really still and saturated, and it's too cool to go out in short sleeves, but with a jacket or heavy shirt, you feel sticky and gross because the air is so moist that it's like having a film of water all over you. That's humid, but it isn't muggy.

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