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When would you use one over the other? I see Google Translate says both equate to "soft" in English.

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Welcome to the site. An upvote to get you going. –  Tom Au May 6 '12 at 0:11

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

"blando" = easy to deform
"suave" = soft to the tact

"blando" is a property of the body or volume. Its opposite is "duro" or "rígido".

"suave" is a property of the surface. Its opposite is "áspero".

A piece of rubber, or a mattress, is "blando"

A kitten fur is "suave".

Muscles are "blandos", skins are "suaves".

"blando" can be also applied to semi-liquids materials (thin, as opposed to thick ; eg: honey). Furthermore, both have many analogous uses: "blando" can be used for a maleable personality; "suave" can mean soft to the ear ("música suave"), etc

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I love the breadth of examples and also the fact that you listed their opposites. Thanks. –  Bill Paetzke May 5 '12 at 22:49

In social terms, "suave" implies "smooth." That's a positive kind of "soft."

"Blando" implies weak or "wimpy." That's a negative kind of "soft."

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The song "Rico Blando" is one of my favourites. –  Michael Wolf Jan 11 '13 at 3:45

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