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11 Ways to Say “I am Sorry” in Korean

“How can I say sorry in Korean?” you may be asking.

“Sorry” is one of the first words that language learners come across when starting out. It’s a practical word because you can use it in many situations. There are many different ways to say sorry in English, such as “I am sorry,” “I apologize,” and so on, and the same is true for Korean. Some Korean apologies are formal and some are slang words, and sometimes words are only used in a specific situation.

“Sorry” in learning Korean is just as essential as it is in any other language. In this blog, we’re going to introduce eleven ways to say “I am sorry” in Korean, and when to use an expression appropriately. There are many words for sorry in Korean vocabulary, as well as many common gestures that make up a big part of how to apologize in Korean culture. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Korean Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) - Formal
  2. 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) - Formal
  3. 미안해요. (mianhaeyo.) - Formal
  4. 죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.) - Formal.
  5. 미안해 (mianhae) - Informal
  6. 미안 (mian) - Informal
  7. 잠시만요. (jamsimanyo.) - Informal/Formal
  8. 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.) - Formal
  9. 진심으로 사과드립니다. (jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.) - Formal
  10. 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.) - Formal
  11. 저기요 (jeogiyo) - Informal
  12. How KoreanClass101.com Can Help You

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1. 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) - Formal

죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) is the most commonly used phrase to say sorry, and if you’ve just started learning how to say sorry in Korean, memorize this phrase at all costs. Why? Because you’ll hear this wherever you go, and you’ll be using it a lot while traveling in South Korea.

죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) is a more respectful way to apologize than 미안합니다. (mianhamnida.) and 죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.), which we’ll explain to you in more detail later.

In addition, using the appropriate body gesture is very important when you say this phrase; you need to slightly bow your head when saying sorry. Also, unlike in some of the countries where eye-contact is very important, making direct eye-contact is considered rude in Korea. Therefore, when you want to apologize to someone, try not to make eye-contact; instead, look slightly downward, toward the floor.

Situation 1:

Someone comes along and pushes you while you’re holding a cup of coffee, which results in spilling the coffee on someone else.

  • You: 어머, 괜찮으세요? 너무 *죄송합니다. [bow]
    You: eomeo, gwaenchaneuseyo? neomu joesonghamnida.
    You: “Oh no, are you okay? I am so sorry.”

*죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) is a good way to apologize to someone. However, when you want to more sincerely apologize to someone, add 너무 (neomu), meaning “very,” before 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.).

  • Customer: 아, 괜찮습니다.
    Customer: a, gwaenchanseumnida.
    Customer: “Ah, it’s okay.”

In this situation, you spilled the coffee by accident and are sincerely apologizing someone. In this case, you need to bow as you apologize.

Situation 2:

You accidently stepped on someone’s foot when entering the bus.

  • You: 죄송합니다. [no need to bow in this situation]
    You: joesonghamnida.
    You: “I am sorry.”
  • Other person: 아니요, 괜찮습니다.
    Other person: aniyo, gwaenchanseumnida.
    Other person: “It’s okay, never mind.”

In this situation, you don’t have enough time to bow and apologize to someone. So this simple version of how to say “I’m sorry” in Korean to the person whose foot you stepped on is good enough.

2. 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) - Formal

3 Ways to Say Sorry

잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) is translated as “It is my fault,” in Korean, and it’s a formal way to say sorry. It’s used when you know that something you did was completely wrong, and want to ask for their forgiveness. You can add 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) to sound more apologetic.

The classical example of how to use this phrase is when a child asks for his mother’s forgiveness. When a child apologizes, he/she usually rubs their hands together as they apologize. The informal way to say 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) is 잘못했어 (jalmothaesseo).

Situation 1:

You wronged your friend before, and need to apologize to them.

  • You: 네 말이 맞았어, 다 내 잘못이야. 잘못했어.*
    You: ne mari majasseo, da nae jalmosiya. jalmothaesseo.
    You: “You were right, it’s all my fault. Please forgive me.”
  • Your friend: 휴… 됐다.
    Your friend: hyu… dwaetda.
    Your friend: “Sigh..whatever.”

* Be careful with spacing the phrase. Many Korean learners make mistakes here. For example, 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.), meaning “It is my fault, I am sorry,” and 잘 못했습니다. (jal mothaetseumnida) meaning “I did not do well,” have two completely different meanings.

Woman With Palms Facing Outward

3. 미안해요. (mianhaeyo.) - Formal

Each apology expression has a different level of politeness, and 미안해요. (mianhaeyo.) is the least formal way to say “I am sorry.” It’s not often used, but you will hear this expression a lot in Korean dramas. Just note that 미안해요. (mianhaeyo.) is another option for apologizing.

It sounds a lot more natural to say 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.) or 죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.) instead of 미안해요. (mianhaeyo.) in practice. Also, 미안합니다 (mianhamnida) sounds more polite, but in most situations, you should just stick to 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.).

Situation 1:

You’ve received many missed calls from someone who’s a couple of years younger than you, and you want to apologize for not answering their calls.

  • You: 전화했었어요?. 못 받아서 미안해요.
    You: jeonhwahaesseosseoyo?. mot badaseo mianhaeyo.
    You: “Did you call? I am sorry for missing your calls.”
  • Other person: 괜찮습니다. 전화 주셔서 감사합니다.
    Other person: gwaenchanseumnida. jeonhwa jusyeoseo gamsahamnida.
    Other person: “It’s okay. Thank you for returning the call.”

Situation 2:

A colleague was calling, but you couldn’t pick up the phone because you were driving. You’re returning the call and want to apologize.

  • You: 미안해요, 운전하고 있었어요.
    You: mianhaeyo, unjeonhagoisseosseoyo.
    You: “I am sorry, I was driving.”
  • Your colleague: 아 그러셨군요. 괜찮습니다.
    Your colleague: a geureosyeotgunyo. gwaenchanseumnida.
    Your colleague: “I see. It’s okay.”

4. 죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.) - Formal.

죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.) has the same meaning as 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.), but sounds less formal. You can’t say this phrase to your professor or someone who’s much older than you. If you want to be on the safe side, stick to 죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida.).

Situation 1:

You’ve already asked a few questions to your colleague about something, but you still want to ask more questions.

  • You: 바쁘신데 계속 방해해서 죄송해요.
    You: bappeusinde gyesok banghaehaeseo joesonghaeyo.
    You: “I am sorry to keep bothering you.”
  • Your colleague: 아닙니다. 괜찮습니다.
    Your colleague: animnida. gwaenchanseumnida.
    Your colleague: “No, it’s okay.”

Situation 2:

You interrupted someone and the person seems annoyed by it.

  • You: 죄송해요 방해할 생각은 아니였어요.
    You: joesonghaeyo banghae hal saenggageun aniyeosseoyo.
    You: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
  • The other person: 괜찮습니다.
    The other person: gwaenchanseumnida.
    The other person: “It’s okay.”

5. 미안해 (mianhae) - Informal

미안해 (mianhae) is an informal way to say 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.). 미안해 (mianhae) and 미안 (mian) are used interchangeably, but keep in mind that 미안해 (mianhae) sounds more polite and gives the impression that the speaker cares about the listener’s feelings. On the other hand, 미안 (mian) sounds more like how a child would apologize.

Situation 1:

You want to apologize to your friend.

  • You: * 정말 미안해, 용서해주라. 응?
    You: jeongmal mianhae, yongseohaejura. eung?
    You: “I’m really sorry, can you forgive me. Ey?”
  • Your friend: 알았어. 이번 한번만 용서해줄께.
    Your friend: arasseo. ibeon hanbeonman yongseohaejulkke.
    Your friend: “Alright. I will forgive you this time.”

* 정말 (jeongmal) means “really.” Add this word if you want to sincerely apologize to your friend.

Situation 2:

You’re supposed to meet your friend at three o’clock, but you arrived half an hour late.

  • You: 많이 늦었지? 정말 미안해!
    You: mani neujeotji? jeongmal mianhae!
    You: “I’m so sorry for arriving late!”
  • Your friend: 괜찮아. 나도 방금 도착했어.
    Your friend: gwaenchana. nado banggeum dochakaesseo.
    Your friend: “It’s fine. I’ve just arrived too.”

Little Boy Who Needs to Use Restroom

6. 미안 (mian) - Informal

미안 (mian) is a casual way to apologize to your friends, and the direct translation is “sorry.” In addition, 미안 (mian) can also mean “no” in some situations. For example, when you’re invited to a party organized by your friend and want to politely decline, you can simply say 미안 (mian).

Situation 1:

You’re thirty minutes late and want to apologize to your friend, and need to know how to say “Sorry I’m late,” in Korean.

  • You: 늦어서 미안! (=먄!*)
    You: neujeoseo mian!
    You: “Sorry I’m late!”
  • Your friend: 괜찮아.
    Your friend: gwaenchana.
    Your friend: “It’s okay.”

* 먄 (myan) is a shorter word to say sorry, and it’s a Korean slang. This Korean slang is used frequently in written context among young people. A more polite Korean slang to say sorry is 죄송 (joeson), which is another casual way for people of the same age to apologize to each other.

Situation 2:

You’re invited to a party that you don’t want to go to.

  • Your friend: 이번주 토요일에 이태원에서 하는 파티 갈래?
    Your friend: ibeonju toyoire itaewoneseo haneun pati gallae?
    Your friend: “Do you want to go to a party in Itaewon this Saturday?”
  • You: 음… 미안. 별로 가고 싶지 않네.
    You: eum… mian. byeollo gago sipji anne.
    You: “Hmm… sorry. I don’t feel like going.”
  • Your friend: 알았어.
    Your friend: arasseo.
    Your friend: “Alright.”

7. 잠시만요. (jamsimanyo.) - Informal/Formal

Saying Sorry

The direct translation of 잠시만요. (jamsimanyo.) is “please hold on.” It also translates as “Excuse me,” in Korean depending on the situation, and is roughly how to say “Excuse me, sorry” in Korean. 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.), which we’ll discuss below, and 잠시만요 (jamsimanyo.) are interchangeable; by just remembering one of these two phrases, you’ll be able to survive in Korea.

To distinguish between these two phrases, 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.) sounds slightly more formal, and it’s often used by professionals. Therefore, when you say this phrase, people around you will instantly think that you’re a professional white-collar worker.

잠시만요 (jamsimanyo.), on the other hand, is often used by people of different age groups, and it sounds casual and friendly. Also, 잠시만요 (jamsimanyo.) is used a lot more than 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.).

Situation 1:

You want to pass through the crowd at the bus stop.

  • You: 잠시만요.*
    You: jamsimanyo.
    You: “Excuse me.”

* When someone says 잠시만요. (jamsimanyo.), usually you don’t need to respond with anything. If you do want to respond, you can say 네 (ne) or 알겠습니다. (algetseumnida.). An alternative response is to slightly nod to the person without saying a word.

Situation 2:

Your colleague came to ask where some important documents are.

  • You: 아, 그 서류요. 어디에 있는지 알아요. 잠시만요.
    You: a, geu seoryuyo. eodie inneunji arayo. jamsimanyo.
    You: “Oh, I know where the documents are. Please hold on.”

8. 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.) - Formal

The direct translation of 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.) is “Excuse me” in Korean. It can also be translated as “I am sorry for interrupting.” You can use this phrase in many situations, such as when you want to interrupt someone.

You can also say 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.) when you want to go through a narrow area, such as a corridor between two bookshelves at a bookstore, and want to ask someone to move a bit for you.

Situation 1:

You’re riding on a rush hour train in Korea. Your stop has been reached and you need to pass through the crowd to get off the train.

  • You: 실례합니다. (지나가겠습니다.)*
    You: sillyehamnida. (jinagagetseumnida.)
    You: “Excuse me. (I would like to go through.)”

* It’s not necessary to say 지나가겠습니다. (jinagagetseumnida.); usually 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.) is adequate enough to discern your message. If you want to be more expressive, just add 지나가겠습니다. (jinagagetseumnida.), and you’re guaranteed to have enough space to go through the crowd.

Situation 2:

You received an urgent phone call from a client and you must pass the message to the manager, who’s chatting with someone.

  • You: 실례합니다. 급한 전화가 와서 그러는데요…
    You: sillyehamnida. geupan jeonhwaga waseo geureoneundeyo…
    You: “I am sorry for interrupting. There is an urgent phone call….”

Woman Bowing in Respect

9. 진심으로 사과드립니다. (jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.) - Formal

The direct translation of 진심으로 사과드립니다. (jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.) is “I would like to sincerely apologize,” which is a business Korean phrase. Therefore, if you’re planning to work in South Korea, this phrase will come in handy. You’ll see this expression a lot in written context, such as in an email, and a person who says this phrase will bow, usually ninety degrees, to show great respect to the person they’re speaking to.

Situation 1:

You work in a customer service department and received a complaint email.

  • You: 폐를 끼친 데 대해 진심으로 사과드립니다.
    You: pyereul kkichin de daehae jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.
    You: “Please accept our apology for any inconvenience caused.”
  • The customer: 죄송하지만 바로 환불 부탁드립니다.
    The customer: joesonghajiman baro hwanbul butakdeurimnida.
    The customer: “I apologize, I would like to return the product.”

Situation 2:

There was a technical issue with the company website, and you want to apologize to its users.

  • You: 불편을 끼쳐드려 대단히 죄송합니다.
    You: bulpyeoneul kkichyeodeuryeo daedanhi joesonghamnida.
    You: “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.”
  • The customer: 괜찮습니다. 해당 부분에 대해 보고해 주셔서 감사합니다.
    The customer: gwaenchanseumnida. haedang bubune daehae bogohae jusyeoseo gamsahamnida.
    The customer: “It is okay. Thank you for reporting the issue to us.”

10. 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.) - Formal

용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.) has the same meaning as 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.). To understand the differences between these expressions, 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) is used to apologize, while indirectly requesting someone’s forgiveness (and acknowledge that you made a mistake). 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.), on the other hand, is directly asking for forgiveness.

잘못 (jalmot) means “mistake,” and 했습니다 means “I did ~,” so together it means: “I did make a mistake (morally).” 용서 (yongseo) means “forgiveness,” and 해주세요 means “Please do ~,” so together, it means “Please forgive me.”

To some extent, this is similar to the English “I’m really sorry,” in Korean, but is more sincere.

Situation 1:

You broke a promise you made with your parents and you want to ask for forgiveness.

  • You: 제가 잘못했어요. 한번만 용서해주세요.*
    You: jega jalmothaesseoyo. hanbeonman yongseohaejuseyo.
    You: “I made a mistake. Please forgive me.”
  • Parents: 알겠다. 이번 한번만 용서해주마.
    Parents: algetda. ibeon hanbeonman yongseohaejuma.
    Parents: “Understood. We will forgive you this time.”

* You can combine the two apology phrases, as follows: 잘못했습니다. 용서해주세요. (jalmothaetseumnida. yongseohaejuseyo.), in order to admit your mistake and ask directly for forgiveness.

Situation 2:

You got caught by the police for speeding.

  • You: 잘못했습니다. 용서해주세요.
    You: jalmothaetseumnida. yongseohaejuseyo.
    You: “I made a mistake. Please forgive me.”
  • Police officer: 면허증 주십시오.
    Police officer: myeonheojeung jusipsio.
    Police officer: “Please present your driver’s license.”

11. 저기요 (jeogiyo) - Informal

We’ve introduced a number of ways to say “excuse me” in Korean, and you’ve learned that 실례합니다. (sillyehamnida.), 죄송합니다 (joesonghamnida) have the same meaning. Although the translation of 저기요 (jeogiyo) is “excuse me,” you need to be careful to use this phrase in the proper context. 저기요 (jeogiyo) has two meanings:

Firstly, this phrase is used to draw attention from someone, usually in order to directly make a complaint to the person. Therefore, it’s not used to excuse yourself to do something (e.g. passing through the crowd). In general, it also gives a negative feeling to the listener, so unless you want to complain to someone, just stick to the formal phrases.

Secondly, this phrase is used to call someone, especially at a restaurant. Note that you can’t say this phrase at a luxurious restaurant, as 저기요 (jeogiyo) is a very informal way to draw attention to yourself.

When you want to call someone, especially a staff member at a restaurant, the best way to call them is to make eye contact with them and raise your hand. You don’t necessarily need to say 저기요 (jeogiyo) if the staff acknowledges you, but adding 저기요 (jeogiyo) will definitely draw attention from all the staff at a restaurant.

Situation 1:

Someone stepped on your foot without saying sorry.

  • You: 저기요, 발을 밟았으면 사과해야 하는 거 아닌가요?
    You: jeogiyo, bareul balbasseumyeon sagwahaeya haneun geo aningayo?
    You: “Excuse me, if you stepped on my foot, aren’t you supposed to apologize to me?”
  • Stranger: 아, 몰랐습니다. 죄송합니다.
    Stranger: a, mollatseumnida. joesonghamnida.
    Stranger: “Oh, I did not know. I am sorry.”

Situation 2:

You’re at a Korean restaurant and are about to order Ddeukbokki. You make eye contact with a waiter and say:

  • You: 저기요~
    You: jeogiyo~
    You: “Excuse me!”
  • A waiter: 네~ 잠시만요.
    A waiter: ne~ jamsimanyo.
    A waiter: “Yes! One sec.”

Someone Holding Miniature Korean Flag

How KoreanClass101.com Can Help You

In summary, we introduced eleven ways to say “I am sorry” in Korean and provided appropriate scenarios to use each expression. Learning how to say sorry in Korean phrases doesn’t have to be hard. On KoreanClass101, we have a vocabulary list of common ways to say sorry in Korean, which introduces sixteen different ways to apologize, apart from what we introduced in this blog, so feel free to check this page out too.

We also have many other free vocabulary lists, such as “Phrases to Use When You Are Angry” and “Negative Emotions,” both of which will certainly help you understand more about how people express themselves when they’re angry (even after an apology!). Feel free to check out KoreanClass101.com and begin studying Korean for free. Know that with enough practice and dedication, you can become a master of Korean!

Before you go, drop us a comment about what new things you learned today about Korean apologies. Do you feel more confident about apologizing in Korean, or are there some things you’re still struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

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Hangul Proclamation Day: Writing Korean Made Easy

The creation of the Hangul language in 1446 may be one of the most important and influential events in Korea’s history. This new way of writing down the Korean language greatly improved Koreans’ access to writing, as it was made to be much simpler and easier to learn.

In this article, you’ll learn all about Korean Hangul Proclamation Day (sometimes spelled Hangeul Proclamation Day), including traditions and what exactly makes the Hangul language so easy. This South Korean holiday is a clear reflection of language progress, and learning about it will give a deeper look into South Korea’s history and current culture.

Let’s get started and cover the basics of Hangeul Proclamation Day in South Korea.

At KoreanClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Hangul Proclamation Day?

Hangul are the Korean characters created and spread in 1446 by King Sejong of the Joseon dynasty. Even back then, Korean was spoken in Korea like it is today, but since Korean had no characters of its own, they wrote with Chinese characters.

However, there was a problem with this. Chinese characters took a long time to learn, meaning that farmers and people who had to work had trouble learning them. So King Sejong, in order to create a writing system that anyone could learn, founded a place called Jiphyeonjeon where Hangul was created in 1446.

Hangul Proclamation Day has been celebrated since 1926, but was called Gagya Day. Korean Hangul’s alphabet starts with the characters with Giyeok such as Ga, Gya, G
eo, Gyeo, Go, Gyo, Geu
and Gi. That was how it first got its name of Ga-gya Day, and perhaps why it’s sometimes still referred to as Korean Alphabet Day.

2. When is Hangul Proclamation Day?

Hangul Proclamation Day

Each year, Hangul Proclamation Day is celebrated on October 9.

3. Celebrations for the Hangul Language

To celebrate how great Hangul is, various events take place all over Korea on Hangul Proclamation Day. There are fashion shows with clothes designed and inspired by Hangul, and various pieces of art that use Hangul are also shown.

Also on Hangeul Day, many websites change their logo from English to Korean characters. Even the search site Google changes its logo to Hangul on Hangul Proclamation Day.

4. Why is Hangul so Easy?

Man Relaxing on Sofa

Why do you think Hangul is easy to learn? It’s because Hangul is a combination of consonant and vowel sounds, and its special characteristic is that almost every sound can be written, and the number of characters you need to memorize is low.

Also, many Hangul letters were made similar to the shape of your mouth or tongue when you pronounce the letter. If the pronunciation is similar, then the character shapes are most likely similar too, so anyone can easily memorize and learn it.

5. Essential Vocabulary for Hangul Proclamation Day

Do You Speak English?

Here’s the essential vocabulary you need to know for Hangul Proclamation Day in South Korea!

  • 언어 (eoneo) — “language”
  • 쓰다 (sseuda) — “write”
  • 읽다 (iktta) — “read”
  • 한글날 (Hangeullal) — “Hangul Proclamation Day”
  • 소리 (sori) — “sound”
  • 훈민정음 (hunminjeongeum) — “Hunminjeongeum
  • 주시경 (ju sigyeong) — “Ju Si-gyeong
  • 세종대왕 (sejong daewang) — “the Great Sejong”
  • 모음 (moeum) — “vowel”
  • 우수성 (ususeong) — “superiority”
  • 조선 시대 (joseon sidae) — “Joseon Dynasty
  • 창제 (changje) — “invention”
  • 한글 (hangeul) — “Hangul”
  • 반포 (banpo) — “distribution”
  • 자음 (jaeum) — “consonant”
  • 태극기 (taegukgi) — “Flag of South Korea”
  • 문자 (munja) — “letter”
  • 공휴일 (gonghyuil) — “legal holiday”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, alongside relevant images, check out our Hangul Proclamation Day vocabulary list!

How KoreanClass101 Can Make a Korean Language Master

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Chuseok: How to Celebrate Korean Thanksgiving Day


Today, we will discuss one of the most important Korean holidays in Korea–Chuseok, or the Korean version of Thanksgiving. We will be offering detailed information about what you are expected to do during the holidays, as well as the activities that take place during the holidays.

  1. Chuseok Holiday: What is Chuseok and When Is It?
  2. Korean Traditional Holiday: History of Chuseok
  3. Chuseok Activities: Are There Any Korean Traditional Games?
  4. Traditional Chuseok Foods: What do you eat on Chuseok?
  5. Chuseok Greetings: Phrases You Need to Know
  6. Activities for Foreigners During Chuseok
  7. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

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1. Chuseok Holiday: What is Chuseok and When Is It?

1- What is Chuseok and What Do You Do on Chuseok?

추석 [Chuseok], also known as the Korean Thanksgiving holidays, is one of the most important cultural holidays in Korea, along with 설날 [Seollal; New Year’s Day], in South Korea. It is celebrated on the 15th day(full moon) of the 8th month in the lunar calendar.

Traditionally, Koreans used to wear traditional clothes called 한복 [Hanbok] when visiting their parents and extended family during the holidays. Women usually prepared the table filled with food for the family’s ancestors. It may sound fun since everyone visits their home to meet their family, but preparing the food is still not an easy task for Korean women as there are many different dishes to prepare, such as rice, soup, rice cakes, fruits, and various other dishes, traditional drinks, and desserts.

After the meal preparation and ancestral worship, the family will gather to have big meals together. Some Korean families will visit their ancestor’s graveyards located in the deep mountains, while others engage in family activities together. We’ll provide more details below.

2- So When is Chuseok?


Chuseok fell on the 13th of September in 2019, but the holiday period actually lasts for three or more. The date of Chuseok is different every year as it is based on the lunar calendar, so it’s mandatory to check the exact date and plan the traveling in advance. This is because most Koreans will return to their hometowns, resulting in a lack of train and airplane tickets and major traffic jams.

Here are the dates of Chuseok for the next 10 years:

  • 2019: 9월 13일 [guwol sipsamil] - September 13, 2019
  • 2020: 10월 1일 [siwol iril] - October 1, 2020
  • 2021: 9월 21일 [guwol isibiril] - September 21, 2021
  • 2022: 9월 10일 [guwol sibil] - September 10, 2022
  • 2023: 9월 29일 [guwol isipguil] - September 29, 2023
  • 2024: 9월 17일 [guwol sipchiril] - September 17, 2024
  • 2025: 10월 6일 [siwol yugil] - October 6, 2025
  • 2026: 9월 25일 [guwol isiboil] - September 25, 2026
  • 2027: 9월 15일 [guwol iboil] - September 15, 2027
  • 2028: 10월 3일 [siwol samil] - October 3, 2028

2. Korean Traditional Holiday: History of Chuseok

The origin of the Chuseok holidays isn’t clear. From what little that we know, Chuseok originates back to nearly 2,000 years ago, when the third king of the Silla dynasty, King Yuri (24-57) supposedly started the chuseok holidays as a competitive festival. Legend states that the women in the kingdom were put into different groups for a certain amount of time. During this time, each team weaved as much cloth as they could, and the winning team was treated to a feast of food.

3. Chuseok Activities: Are There Any Korean Traditional Games?

There are many activities that you can enjoy during Chuseok.

1- 강강술래 [Ganggangsullae] - 5,000-year-old Korean Traditional Dance

강강술래 [Ganggangsullae] is a Korean traditional dance that is performed by women only at night.

The women stand in circle and hold each other’s hand as they move around in a clockwise direction. There is no music accompanying the dance; one woman sings, while the other women repeat 강강술래 [ganggangsullae] over and over. The songs performed during the dance tell stories about everyday life in Korea.

2- 윷놀이 [Yunnori] - Traditional Board Game Played in Korea

윷놀이 [Yunnori] is a traditional Korean board game. Usually, the game is played by two teams or more. It is similar to a board game where you throw one or two dices to move forward. Instead of a dice, there are 윷[yut] sticks, which are 4 sticks. Also, when you throw these Yut sticks, each combination has its name. For example:

  • 도 [do]: One stick over and three sticks up; take a step forward
  • 개 [gae]: Two sticks up and two sticks over; take two steps forward
  • 걸 [geol]: One stick up and three sticks over; take three steps forward
  • 윷 [yut]: All sticks over; take 4 steps forward
  • 모 [mo]: All sticks up; take 5 steps forward

If you are not sure how the combination works, check out this image.

Also, when sticks result in either 윷 [yut] or 모 [mo], the play gets another chance of throwing the sticks.

3- 씨름 [ssireum]- Traditional Korean Wrestling


씨름 [ssireum] also known as Korean wrestling is a traditional national sport of Korea since the fourth century. Ssireum was originated back in the Goguryeo period.

In the 20th century, 씨름[ssireum] gained popularity and quickly became a nationally televised sport in South Korea. People would gather around to watch the 씨름[ssireum] championships. However, in recent days, 씨름[ssireum] has lost its popularity and is rarely shown on TV.

4- 줄다리기 [juldarigi] - Korean Traditional Tug of War

줄다리기 [juldarigi] is the Korean version of tug of war.

The concept is similar to the Western version. Participants use a huge rice-straw rope which is pulled at by two teams. The number of rice-straw ropes and the rules may vary depending on the region.

5- 거북놀이 [geobungnori] - Turtle Play

거북놀이 [geobungnori], direct translation being ‘Turtle Play’, is a play which is performed to drive away negative spirits and ghosts, and wish for good health and long life.

It is usually performed in the 경기도 [Gyeonggi Province] and 충청도 [Chungcheong Province] regions during the Chuseok holidays.

4. Traditional Chuseok Foods: What do you eat on Chuseok?

1- Exchanging Gifts: Huge Variety of Chuseok Gifts

Gift-giving is a new tradition. Koreans show their appreciation for the people in their lives by giving others gifts for Chuseok–this can be to family, friends, coworkers, and bosses.

At a supermarket, you will be able to see a variety of Chuseok gift sets, such as Spam, high-quality cuts of beef, baskets of beautifully wrapped fresh fruits, and so on. Between business acquaintances, Koreans usually exchange sets of Korean traditional sweets or wines.

One thing to note is 김영란법 [Kim Young-ran Act; The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act], so there is a limit to how much money you can spend on gifts. This law does not apply to friends or family members but does for business acquaintances, so please watch out for it if you are planning to exchange Chuseok gifts.

2- List of Traditional Korean Chuseok Food that You Can Eat

On Chuseok, there is some food that you can only eat during the holidays–it is similar to Seollal, when Koreans eat 떡국 [tteokguk; rice cake soup] to celebrate the New Year. During Chuseok, Songpyeon, a type of sweet rice cake, is the signature food. It is relatively easy to make and delicious. Now let’s see a list of Chuseok foods:

1. 송편 [Songpyeon] - Korean Rice Cakes with Honey

송편 [songpyeon] is a signature Chuseok food which is made of glutinous rice. Songpyeon is half-moon shaped rice cakes that contain sweet ingredients such as honey, chestnut paste or red bean paste inside. Half-moon shaped Songpyeon is the original, but these days, there are various different shapes of Songpyeons available.

2. 전 [Jeon] - Traditional Korean-style Pancake

전 [jeon] is a traditional Korean-style pancake. You can eat it as a main dish, side dish, or even as an appetizer or snack. The ingredients you put inside is completely up to you. You can add scallions, kimchi or various vegetables and seafood.

3. 잡채 [Japchae] - Stir-fried glass noodles with various vegetables

잡채 [japchae] is savory stir-fried glass noodles with meat and various vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, and onions, seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. Japchae is a traditional Korean food that is served on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and holidays.

4. 제사상 음식 [Jesasang eumsik] - Variety of Foods for Ancestral Rites Table

The main activity of Chuseok is 제사 [jesa], which is a ceremony practiced in South Korea. Women prepare meals for ancestors and you will be able to eat all the dishes after the worship. Variety of dishes are placed on a table. For example: fruits and vegetables such as [gam; persimmon], [bae; Asian pear], 사과 [sagwa; apple], 배추 [baechu; Napa cabbage], [bam; chestnut], 곶감 [gotgam; Dried Persimmon] and other dishes such as 생선 [saengseon; fish], 나물 [namul; seasoned vegetables], [jeon; Korean traditional pancake], 한과 [Hangwa; Korean traditional sweets] and many more. Note that the preparation of dishes vary slightly depending on a family, as some families add 바나나 [banana] or other foods that are not normally being served during Chuseok, but simply survived because one of the ancestors loved them. To give you an idea of how dishes are places, here are some pictures.

5. Chuseok Greetings: Phrases You Need to Know

Knowing how to say ‘Happy Chuseok’ in Korea is important since people exchange many Chuseok greetings to each other in Korea.

1- 즐거운 한가위 보내세요.

  • Jeulgeoun hangawi bonaeseyo.
  • I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

즐거운[jeulgeoun] - pleasant
한가위 [hangawi] - Korean Thanksgiving Day, aka 추석 [Chuseok]

2- 좋은일만 가득하세요.

  • Joeunilman gadeukaseyo.
  • I wish you all the best.

좋은일 [joeunil] - good things
가득하다 [gadeukada] - full

3- 즐겁고 행복한 추석 보내시길 바랍니다.

  • Jeulgeopgo haengbokan chuseok bonaesigil baramnida.
  • We wish you a wonderful and happy Chuseok.

행복한 [haengbokan] - happy
추석 [Chuseok] - Korean Thanksgiving
바랍니다 [baramnida] - wish

4- 추석 때 어디 갔어요?

  • Chuseok ttae eodi gasseoyo?
  • Where did you go during Chuseok?

~때 [~ttae] - the moment
어디 갔어요? [eodi gasseoyo?] - where did you go?

5- 추석 때 무엇을 했나요?

  • Chuseok ttae mueoseul haennayo?
  • What did you do on Chuseok?

~때 [~ttae] - the moment
무엇을 했나요? [mueoseul haennayo?] - what did you do?

6- ~에 갔었습니다.

  • ~e gasseotseumnida.
  • I went to ~

추석 때 서울에 갔었습니다.
Chuseok ttae seoure gasseotseumnida.
I went to Seoul during Chuseok.

6. Activities for Foreigners During Chuseok

For travelers or foreigners living in Korea, Chuseok can be lonely since everyone including friends will be away to celebrate Chuseok. The good news is there are many events only for foreigners during this time–for example, 캐리비안베이 [Caribbean Bay] at Everland offers special discounts for foreigners, so that they can enjoy the indoor and outdoor water park.

To receive a discount, visit their website and download a special discount coupon during the Chuseok event. Caribbean Bay is one of the most crowded amusement parks in Korea, but if you have a privilege to enjoy a spacious place with fewer people.

Also, many other touristic areas offer special events during Chuseok, so be sure to check out their events to enjoy them too.

7. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

You may want to check out our free lessons such as Korean Thanksgiving Day, a culture class about Chuseok and 7 must-know vocabularies for Chuseok and many more. We also have more Chuseok related Korean articles such as here and top 10 Korean Special event :Chuseok .
Feel free to visit KoreanClass101 for free vocabulary lists, pronunciation practices and also a forum where you can ask any questions about Korea including grammar, pronunciation, cultures and so on.

We hope you found this blog informative and good luck with studying Korean!

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10 Korean Hand Gestures You Need to Know


In general, people are fascinated by body language. Body gestures are all about movements—whether they’re visible or subtle—made by people to deliver a specific message to the listener. Additionally, it helps us understand additional non-spoken messages by a sender.

There are many benefits of learning Korean gestures and body language. Firstly, you’ll be able to communicate with locals more effectively. Secondly, you’ll be more likely to avoid miscommunication. And lastly, it’s fun to see the cultural differences and how some of these body gestures differ from those in your country, and so on. Therefore, we’ll introduce ten Korean hand gestures you should know here at KoreanClass101.

Practice these common body gestures in Korea, and you’ll start sounding and acting more like a native around your Korean friends. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Korean Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Peace Sign
  2. Korean Heart
  3. “Let’s Go for a Drink” Gesture
  4. Receiving and Giving Something to Someone
  5. Covering Mouth when Laughing
  6. Two Thumbs Up
  7. Promise Handshake
  8. Come over Here
  9. The Double Hand Wave
  10. Korean “Rock, Paper, Scissors” Sign
  11. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

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1. Peace Sign

Peace Sign

Everyone knows what the V sign is. However, the meaning of this gesture varies depending on the cultural context. In Korea, the peace sign is commonly used when taking pictures. Also, it can be used to show how proud you are of something. For example, when you’re praised by your friend for receiving a full mark for an exam, you can show this peace sign for “victory.” This is one of the more common hand gestures in Korean cultures.


A: 우와, 시험 100점 맞았어? 대박*.
A: uwa, siheom 100jeom majasseo? daebak.
A: “Wow you got a full mark for the exam? That’s awesome!”

B: (While showing the peace sign) 히히
B: hihi
B: “haha”
대박* is a Korean slang word for “awesome.”

C: 셀카* 찍자!
C: selka jjikja!
C: “Let’s take a selfie!”

D: 응 (While showing the peace sign) 치~즈!
D: eung chi~jeu!
D: “Okay, cheese!”

셀카* is a slang word for “selfie.”

2. Korean Heart

This Korean hand gesture is relatively new in Korea and to make this hand gesture is very easy. Take your thumb and index finger and cross them to make the shape of a heart—that’s it!

The heart gesture shows a tiny heart, but if you look at the entire hand, you’ll come to realize that it’s actually the shape of a human’s heart. Your fist is the shape of a heart and your two fingers, which are the index and the thumb, are two main vessels.

Human Heart

This Korean heart gesture is used to say “I like/love you” to someone and it’s commonly used to show how much you adore someone (e.g. K-Pop idol singers at a concert). You can also use this sign when you want to express how much you like something, such as food, toys, movies, and so on.

3. “Let’s Go for a Drink” Gesture

정승환 (Jung Seung-hwan), a Korean balad singer, in this video clip is telling someone in the crowd to go for a drink. The gesture indicates that the person is holding a small Soju glass and is emptying the glass by pretending to drink an invisible Soju.

Soju Glass

That’s the gesture of “Let’s go for a drink.” This hand gesture is commonly used among friends, as a friendly gesture. Therefore, don’t use this gesture toward elders or people of a higher status than you; this is against Korean cultural etiquette.

4. Receiving and Giving Something to Someone

Giving and receiving an object with only one hand is considered rude in Korea. This is one of the common mistakes that foreigners make, since doing this movement with one hand is completely okay in many countries.

In Korea, you need to receive or give something with both hands; this is to show that you’re showing respect. You don’t necessarily need to do this for your friends, but you’ll definitely need to use both hands for elders or people of higher status.


A: B씨, 이 자료들 오늘까지 처리 가능해요?
A: bissi, i jaryodeul oneulkkaji cheori ganeunghaeyo?
A: “Is it possible to finish working on these documents by today?”

B: 네, 팀장님. 오늘 중으로 처리하도록 하겠습니다. (Receives the documents with two hands)
B: ne, timjangnim. oneul jungeuro cheorihadorok hagetseumnida.
B: “Sure. I will try to finish them by today.” (Receives the documents with two hands)

C: 소주 한잔 드세요.
C: soju hanjan deuseyo.
C: “I will pour you a drink.”

D: 아, 네 감사합니다. (Holds a Soju glass with two hands)
D: a, ne gamsahamnida.
D: “Ah, sure, thank you.” (Holds a Soju glass with two hands)

Hold Two Hands

5. Covering Mouth when Laughing

When you travel to South Korea, you’ll notice that many women hide their mouth with their hand when laughing. This is commonly done by women since it’s very feminine.

We’re not sure where this popular gesture in Korea originated from. However, it could be influenced by Confucianism, where it’s believed that public displays of emotion shouldn’t be expressed to others. Another assumption is that Korean women are shy in general and by hiding their mouth while laughing, they can avoid embarrassment (for instance, of food stuck in their teeth).

Example: You (female) are on a date with someone. When he makes you laugh, use this hand gesture to show your feminine side.

Hand Gestures

6. Two Thumbs Up

The one thumb up gesture is to say 잘했어요 (jalhaesseoyo) or “great job,” but if you do the two thumbs up gesture, it’s equivalent to 진짜 짱이다 (jinjja jjangida) or “it’s super awesome.” This gesture is used only among friends.


A: 이번 방탄소년단 콘서트 어땠어?
A: ibeon bangtansonyeondan konseoteu eottaesseo?
A: “How was the BTS concert?”

B: [As you show two thumbs up] 진짜 짱이었어!
B: jinjja jjangieosseo!
B: “It was AWESOME!”

C: 이번에 새로 나온 게임하러 갈래?
C: ibeone saero naon geimhareo gallae?
C: “Do you want to go and play the new game?”

D: 아 그거? 나 벌써 해봤지. [As you show two thumbs up] 진짜 짱이야.
D: a geugeo? na beolsseo haebwatji. jinjja jjangiya.
D: “Ah that game? I already played. It was really great.”

Hand Gesture

7. Promise Handshake

Everyone knows how to make a “promise” hand gesture - it’s similar to a pinky swear. In Korea, a promise hand gesture itself isn’t enough; we have many more hand gestures after that. The most popular ones are “signature,” “scan,” and “handshake.” There are many varieties in Korea, so ask your Korean friends what their promise handshake gestures are.

Example: You made a vow to your friend that you’ll invite him over for dinner next Tuesday, but he seems doubtful. If you want to ensure that you’ll make it happen, do the promise hand gesture to gain his trust.


A: 다음주까지 빌린 돈 꼭 갚을께 약속!
A: daeumjukkaji billin don kkok gapeulkke yaksok!
A: “I promise to pay back the money I owe you!”

B: 그럼 손가락 걸고 약속 하자.
B: geureom songarak geolgo yaksok haja.
B: “Then let’s do the promise handshake.”

8. Come over Here

If you want to ask someone to come to you with a gesture, Koreans hold their hand up with their palm down, and move it up and down. This gesture is exactly the same as in America, expect it’s an upside-down version.

If you use the American gesture (to say come here), Koreans may feel offended because it conveys a different meaning to them. You can’t use this gesture for elders or superiors, so be careful when using this hand gesture.


A: 수미야! 일루와봐! (hand gesture)
A: sumiya! illuwabwa!
A: “Sumi! Come over here!” (hand gesture)

B: 왜, 무슨일있어?
B: wae, museunirisseo?
B: “What’s up?”

Hold Two Hands Up

9. The Double Hand Wave

This is another important body gesture in Korean cultures and is used when you want to strongly say “NO” to someone. You can use only one hand to say “no” to someone, but if you use two hands, it sends a strong message that you don’t want to do. Also, it can mean, “No thank you.”

For example: You spotted that someone dropped a wallet while walking in a busy street and you hand the wallet over to that person.

The conversation goes like this:

  • You: 저기요, 지갑 떨어뜨리셨어요. 여기 있습니다.
    You: jeogiyo, jigap tteoreotteurisyeosseoyo. yeogi itseumnida.
    You: “Excuse me, you dropped your wallet. Here it is.”
  • Person: 어머, 너무 감사합니다. 감사의 표시로 무료 커피 사용 증정권 드릴께요.
    Person: eomeo, neomu gamsahamnida. gamsaui pyosiro muryo keopi sayong jeungjeonggwon deurilkkeyo.
    Person: “Oh, thank you so much. Please accept this free coffee coupon as a small token of my appreciation.”
  • You: *[Gently waving your two hands] 아니에요. 괜찮습니다.
    You: anieyo. Gwaenchanseumnida.
    You: “No. It is okay.”

*It’s a friendly gesture to refuse something offered by the person you’re talking to.

10. Korean “Rock, Paper, Scissors” Sign

In Korea, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” is called 가위 바위 보 (gawi bawi bo). Unlike the gestures you may be used to, there’s another way to show scissors in Korea, and it’s the shape of a gun.

Three Women Smiling While Opening Box

How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

In summary, we introduced ten commonly used Korean gestures in Korea. Your conversation skills will definitely improve if you understand these Korean hand gestures. Speaking of improving your Korean skills, KoreanClass101 has many free study materials to help Korean learners master their language skills.

Do you want to improve your listening skills? Check out our vocabulary list called “How to Improve Your Listening Skills.” You can’t miss out on the latest Korean slang words either, so check out “Most Common Texting Slang” to level up your Korean slang words.

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Gwangbokjeol: Celebrating Independence Day in Korea

The National Liberation Day of Korea celebrates the Korean liberation from Japan, and commemorates those who sacrificed to attain this freedom. This Korean liberation took effect only after many years of struggle and oppressive living conditions, making this newfound freedom that much sweeter.

Learn more about Korean Liberation Day with KoreanClass101.com, and gain insight into Korea’s history and how it shapes its culture today. We hope to make this lesson both fun and informative!

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1. What is Korean Liberation Day?

On this day, Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces in World War II. At the same time, the Korean Peninsula was also freed from the domination of Japan. On Liberation Day, Koreans celebrate the granting of their long-held wish to be independent from Japan.

The Korean name of this holiday, Gwangbokjeol, is made of Chinese characters.
Gwang means “light” and Bok means “returning.” In other words, it means “the day the light came back.”

Did you know that even in the late 1990s, when the economic situation was bad enough to receive a bailout from the IMF, Koreans held a variety of events on National Liberation Day? This was done to encourage people in the economic crisis to overcome the hardship by reminding them of their ancestors, who overcame the harsh Japanese colonial period without losing hope.

2. When is Korean Liberation Day?

August 15, 1945

Each year on 15 August, Koreans celebrate their Liberation Day.

3. Traditions & Significance of Liberation Day

On National Liberation Day, many people visit the Independence Hall in Cheonan City. This is where people honor the activists who fought for the independence of the Republic of Korea. In particular, families come to visit with their children to instill a sense of respect and inspiration in them toward their country and those who sacrificed for its freedom.

Koreans raise the national flag on this day, as they do on Independence Movement Day and Korea Memorial Day. The flag is particularly prevalent in South Korea, though it can be seen around the world.

Since Liberation Day takes place in August, one of the most popular vacation months, it’s not uncommon for Koreans to gather in places around the world to celebrate this holiday. So if you happen to be in Paris, France on August 15, don’t be surprised to see a Liberation Day celebration taking place here! The Eiffel Tower is a hotspot for Liberation Day celebrations.

4. Outstanding Korean Activist

Firework Celebration

Of the independent activists, there was one man who organized the national liberation army, the independence army, and established the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea to establish the independence of the Korean peninsula. Do you know who that man is?

Kim Koo was the activist who argued strongly for the independence of the Republic of Korea to the world leaders who took the Japanese domination of the Korean peninsula for granted at the time. That is why Kim Koo has always been selected as the representative figure of Koreans’ respect.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Liberation Day in Korea

Map of Colony

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Liberation Day in Korea!

  • 광복절 (gwangbokjjeol) — Liberation Day
  • 독립 기념관 (dongnip ginyeomgwan) — Independence Hall of Korea
  • 식민지 (singminji) — colony
  • 전쟁 (jeonjaeng) — war
  • 항복 (hangbok) — submission
  • 대한민국 정부 수립 (daehanminguk jeongbu surip) — Republic of Korea Government establishment
  • 기념 (ginyeom) — remembrance
  • 해방 (haebang) — liberation
  • 일본 제국주의 (ilbon jegukjuui) — Japanese imperialism
  • 독립 운동 (dongnip undong) — independence movement
  • 만세 (manse) — hurray
  • 청와대 (cheongwadae) — Blue House
  • 1945년 8월 15일 (cheongubaeksasibonyeon parwol siboil) — August 15, 1945

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Korean Liberation Day vocabulary list!

Conclusion: How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Master Korean

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Secret to Mastering Korean Slang and Abbreviations

Are you an active SNS user? If you are, there’s a high chance that you come across many Korean slang words that you’re not familiar with. We receive questions from our students about grammar structure, Korean culture, pronunciation, and so on. In addition, we noticed that there has been an increase in the number of Korean learners wanting to understand the meaning of slang words.

Have you seen ㅃㅃ or ㅋㅋ? Do you know what they mean? Like “brb” (abbreviation for “be right back”), ㅃㅃ is 빠이빠이 (ppaippai) meaning “goodbye” and ㅋㅋ is 크크 (keukeu) which is an Onomatopoeia for the sound of laughter, which is similar to “lol” (meaning “laugh out loud”). The difference is that 크크 (keukeu) is not as loud as “lol” in English. These words are frequently used, so let’s try to remember these basic Korean slang words.

Before we look into Korean texting slang words and symbols, try this mini test to see if you already know Korean texting slang or not:

Q1. What does “kkk” mean in Korean texting?
A. It’s the sound of laughing in Korean internet slang
B. It’s the sound of a mechanic in Korean internet slang
C. It doesn’t mean anything in Korean internet slang

Answer: A

Q2. What does “091012” mean in Korean texting?
A. It’s someone’s mobile number
B. It means “study hard”
C. It means a special date

Answer: B

Q3. What does “OTL” mean in Korean texting?
A. It’s an abbreviation for a famous department store in Korea
B. It shows someone kneeling down to show misery
C. It shows someone kneeling down to show that the person has just woken up

Answer: B

Q4. Choose the Korean internet slang for B.
수미: 오늘 내 생일이야!
소진: _________!
A. ㅉㅉ!
B. ㅊㅋㅊㅋ!
C. ^-^;;;;;

Answer: B

What score did you get on this mini test? Some questions are harder than others, so don’t worry if you didn’t get a perfect score. You’re here to learn, so let’s look into Korean text slang and expressions!

Table of Contents

  1. Korean Text Slang List — Simplified Korean Texting Slang
  2. Korean Text Slang List — Combined Words
  3. Korean Text Slang List — Swearing Words
  4. Korean Text Slang List — Emoticons
  5. Korean Text Slang List — Text slang with Numbers
  6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

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1. Korean Text Slang List — Simplified Korean Texting Slang

Let’s take a look at a number of common Korean slang terms that Koreans use frequently.

  • ㄱㅅ, short for 감사 (gamsa) meaning “ty,” or “Thank you”
    • Example:
      • 선물 ㄱㅅ
        (seonmul gamsa)
        “Thank you for your present.”
  • ㄴㄴ, short for 노노 meaning “no no”
    • Example:
      • 노노 사진
      • (nono sajin)
        “No no picture,” which is a way of saying that these pictures are ugly.
  • ㄷㄷ, short for 덜덜 (deoldeol), a word to describe shivering, especially due to fright
    • Example:
      • 노래는 좋은데 가사가 ㄷㄷ.
        (noraeneun joeunde gasaga deoldeol.)
        “Melody is great but lyric is scary.”
  • ㅁㄹ, short for 몰라 (molla) meaning “idk” or “I don’t know”
    • Example:
      • 그거 난 ㅁㄹ.
        (geugeo nan molla.)
        “I do not know about that.”
  • ㅉㅉ, short for 쯧쯧 (jjeutjjeut) meaning “tsk tsk”
    • Example:
      • 또 늦은것 봐. ㅉㅉ
        (tto neujeungeot bwa.jjeutjjeut.)
        “He’s late again, tsk tsk.”
  • ㄹㄷ, short for 레디 (redi) meaning “Are you ready?”
    • Example:
      • ㄹㄷ? ㄱㄱ!
        (redi? gg!)
        “Ready? Let’s go!”
  • *ㅂㅂ, short for 바이바이 (baibai) meaning “Goodbye”
    • Example:
      • 내일 봐, ㅂㅂ!
        (naeil bwa, baibai!)
        “See you tomorrow, bye!”
  • *ㅃㅃ, short for 빠이빠이 (ppaippai) meaning “Goodbye.” This texting word sounds cuter than ㅂㅂ, and is therefore commonly used by young teenagers or ladies.
    • Example:
      • 오빠 내일 봐, ㅃㅃ!
        (oppa naeil bwa, ppaippai!)
        “See you tomorrow honey, goodbye!”
  • ㄱㄱ, short for 고고 (gogo) meaning “Let’s go!”
    • Example:
      • ㄹㄷ? ㄱㄱ!
        (rd? gogo!)
        “Ready? Let’s go!”
  • ㅇㅇ, short for 응 (eung) meaning “Yes.” If you use only “ㅇ,” it sounds rude, so try to use ㅇㅇ.
    • Example:
      • ㅇㅇ 알겠어.
        (Eungeung, algesseo.)
  • ㅊㅋㅊㅋ, short for 축하축하 (chukachuka) meaning “congratulations.” It’s usually used with the “!” sign.
    • Example:
      • 결혼 진심으로 ㅊㅋㅊㅋ!
        (gyeolhon jinsimeuro chukachuka!)
        “Congratulations on your wedding!”
  • ㅇㅋ, short for 오케이 (okei) meaning “okay”
    • Example:
      • ㅇㅋ, 그렇게 할께.
        (okei, geureoke halkke.)
        “Okay, I will do that.”
  • ㅎㅇ, short for 하이 (hai) meaing “hello” or “hi”
    • Example:
      • ㅎㅇㅎㅇ!
        “Hello hello!”
  • ㅈㅅ, short for 죄송 (joesong) meaning “sorry”
    • Example:
      • 내가 실수했네, ㅈㅅ.
        (naega silsuhaenne, joesong.)
        “I made a mistake, I am sorry.”
  • ㅁㅊ, short for 미친 (michin), meaning “crazy.” Use this word when someone’s acting or saying something insane or out of control.
    • Example:
      • ㅁㅊ, 너 돈이 어디있다고 이 비싼 차를 사?
        (michin, neo doni eodiitdago i bissan chareul sa?)
        “How did you even buy this expensive car when you are broke? You are insane.”
  • ㅇㄷ , short for 어디야 (eodiya) meaning “Where are you?” or “Where r u?”
    • Example:
      • ㄷ? 나 거기로 갈까?
        (Eodi? na geogiro galkka?)
        “Where are you? Should I go there?”
  • ㅇㄴ, short for 인남 (innam), which is a slang expression for 일어나다 (ireonada) meaning “to wake up”
    • Example:
      • 피곤, 나 지금 ㅇㄴ.
        (pigon, na jigeum innam.)
        “Tired, I’ve just woken up.”
  • ***ㅋㅋㅋ, short for 크크크 (keukeu) which is the sound of laughter
    • Example:
      • ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ 아 웃겨.
        (Keukeukeukeukeukeu a utgyeo.)
        “Hahahahahahahahahah that’s funny.”
  • ***ㅎㅎㅎ, short for 흐흐흐 (heuheuheu) which is the same as 크크크 (keukeu), except that 흐흐흐 (heuheuheu) represents a weaker laugh sound.
    • Example:
      • ㅎㅎㅎ;;
        To show that you’re feeling uncomfortable and are laughing it off
  • ㄱㅇㄱ? , short for 게임고? (geimgo?) which is a slang expression for 게임하러 갈래? (geimhareo gallae?) meaning “Let’s play the game?”
    • Example:
      • ㅇㄴ? ㄱㅇㄱ?
        (Innam? geimgo?)
        “Are you awake? Let’s go play the game?”
  • ㅎㄹ, short for헐 (heol) meaning “What the..” or “Oops”
    • Example:
      • ㅎㄹ;;;;;
        “What the…”
  • ㄷㅈㄹ , short for 더잘래 (deojallae) meaning “I want to sleep more”
    • Example:
      • 어제 3시에 잤어. ㄷㅈㄹ.
        (eoje 3sie jasseo.deojallae)
        “I went to sleep at 3am yesterday, I want to sleep more.”

2. Korean Text Slang List — Combined Words

Following are a few of the most frequently used Korean slang terms and words. These happen to be a bit more complex than the ones above, as they’re composed of more than one Korean expression. Let’s take a look.

  • 짐 (jim), short for 지금 (jigeum) meaning “now”
    • Example:
      • 나 진짜 급한데, 짐가면 안돼?
        (na jinjja geupande, jimgamyeon andwae?)
        “I’m really in a hurry, can’t we just go now?”
  • 샘 (saem) or 쌤 (ssaem), short for 선생님 (seonsaengnim) meaning “teacher”
    • Example:
      • 우리 썜 진짜 잘생긴것 같아.
        (uri ssyaem jinjja jalsaenggingeot gata.)
        “I think my teacher is really handsome.”
  • 어케 (eoke), short for 어떻게 (eotteoke) meaning “What should I do”
    • Example:
      • 헐 어케, 이거 엄마가 좋아하는 그릇인데.
        (heol eoke, igeo eommaga joahaneun geureusinde.)
        “Oops, what should I do, this was my mother’s favorite plate.”
  • 담 (dam), short for 다음 (daeum) meaning “Next time”
    • Example:
      • 담에 가지머 (=다음에 가지뭐)
        (dame gajimeo) or (daeume gajimwo)
        “Let’s go next time.”
  • 스샷 (seusyat) short for 스냅샷 (seunaepsyat) meaning “Snapshot”
    • Example:
      • 스샷 한번 찍자.
        (seusyat hanbeon jjikja.)
        “Let’s take a snapshot.”
  • 눈팅 (nunting) short for 눈 채팅 (nun chaeting) meaning to read a chat without interacting
    • Example:
      • 난 인스타그램은 그냥 눈팅만해.
        (nan inseutageuraemeun geunyang nuntingmanhae.)
        “I spend time lurking on Instagram.”
  • 강추 (gangchu) short for 강력 추천 (gangnyeok chucheon) meaning “highly recommended”
    • Example:
      • 이거 짱 맛있어 강추!
        (igeo jjang masisseo gangchu!)
        “This is really delicious, highly recommended!”
  • 비번 (bibeon) short for 비밀번호 (bimilbeonho) meaning “passwords”
    • Example:
      • 엄마, 아파트 비번 뭐야?
        (eomma, apateu bibeon mwoya?)
        “Mum, what’s the code for our apartment door?”
  • 컴 (keom) short for 컴퓨터 (keompyuteo) meaning “computer”
    • Example:
      • 컴터 넘 오래하면 잠이 안와.
        (keomteo neom oraehamyeon jami anwa.)
        “If I use the computer for a long time, I have trouble falling asleep.”
  • 멜 (mel) short for 메일 (meil) meaning “email”
    • Example:
      • 잠만, 나 멜좀 쓰고.
        (jamman, na meljom sseugo.)
        “Wait a moment, let me write an email.”
  • 겜 (gem) short for 게임 (geim) meaning “game”
    • Example:
      • 겜 하러 갈건데, 같이 갈래?
        (gem hareo galgeonde, gachi gallae?)
        “We are going to play a game, do you want to play too?”
  • 울 (ul) short for 우리 (uri) meaning “we”
    • Example:
      • 울 남친 사진 보여주까? (우리 남자친구 사진 보여줄까?)
        (ul namchin sajin boyeojukka?) or (uri namjachingu sajin boyeojulkka?)
        “Do you want me to show you a picture of my boyfriend?”
  • 설 (seol) short for 서울 (seoul) meaning “Seoul”
    • Example:
      • 설에 올라오면 연락줘. (서울에 올라오면 연락줘)
        (seore ollaomyeon yeollakjwo.) or (seoure ollaomyeon yeollakjwo)
        “Give me a call when you are in Seoul.”
  • 짱나 (jjangna) short for 짜증나 (jjajeungna) meaning “I am frustrated”
    • Example:
      • 날씨 엄청 더워서 넘 짱나.
        (nalssi eomcheong deowoseo neom jjangna.)
        “I feel so cranky because of this crazy weather.”
  • 근데 (geunde) short for 그런데 (geureonde) meaning “so what”
    • Example:
      • 근데? 너가 하고 싶은말이 뭔데?
        (geunde? neoga hago sipeunmari mwonde?)
        “So what? What are you trying to say?”
  • 땜에 (ttaeme) short for 때문에 (ttyaemune) meaning “because of”
    • Example:
      • 너 땜에 엄마가 화났잖아!
        (neo ttaeme eommaga hwanatjana!)
        “Mum is angry because of you!”
  • 아님 (anim) short for 아니면 (animyeon) meaning “or”
    • Example:
      • 초콜릿 먹을래? 아님 쿠키 먹을래?
        (chokollit meogeullae? anim kuki meogeullae?)
        “Do you want to eat some chocolates or some cookies?”
  • 알써 (alsseo) short for 알겠어 (algesseo) meaning “okay”
    • Example:
      • 알써, 집에 가는길에 우유 사갈께.
        (alsseo, jibe ganeungire uyu sagalkke.)
        “Okay, I will buy some milk on the way home.”
  • 첨 (cheom) short for 처음 (cheoeum) meaning “for the first time”
    • Example:
      • 너를 첨 만났을때…
        (neoreul cheom mannasseulttae…)
        “The first time I met you was…”
  • 낼 (nael) short for 내일 (naeil) meaning “tomorrow”
    • Example:
      • 낼 보자!
        (nael boja!)
        “See you tomorrow!”
  • 젤 (jel) short for 제일 (jeil) meaning “the most; the best”
    • Example:
      • 내가 젤 잘나가.
        (naega jel jallaga.)
        “I am the best.”
  • 조아 (joa) short for 좋아 (joa) meaning “I like”
    • Example:
      • 조아 눌러주세요.
        (joa nulleojuseyo.)
        “Please press the ‘like’ button.”
  • 방가 (bangga) short for 반갑습니다 meaning “nice to meet you”
    • Example:
      • 만나서 방가.
        (mannaseo bangga.)
        “Nice to meet you.”
  • 월욜 (wollyol) short for 월요일 (wollyoil) meaning “Monday”
  • 화욜 (hwayol) short for 화요일 (hwayoil) meaning “Tuesday”
  • 수욜 (suyol) short for 수요일 (suyoil) meaning “Wednesday”
  • 목욜 (mongnyol) short for 목요일 (mongnyoil) meaning “Thursday”
  • 금욜 (geumyol) short for 금요일 (geumyoil) meaning “Friday”
  • 토욜 (toyol) short for 토요일 (toyoil) meaning “Saturday”
  • 일욜 (illyol) short for 일요일 (illyoil) meaning “Sunday”
    • Example:
      • 그럼 [월욜]에 볼까?
        (geureom [wollyol]e bolkka?)
        “Shall we meet on [Monday]?”

3. Korean Text Slang List — Swearing Words

Korean curse words slang terms—hopefully you never have to use some of these, but they’re still good to know in case your conversations ever get heated or intense.

  • ㄷㅊ, short for 닥쳐 (dakchyeo) meaning “shut up”
  • Example:
  • 야 시끄러워 좀 ㄷㅊ.
    (ya sikkeureowo jom ㄷㅊ.)
    “Hey, you are too noisy, shut up.”
  • ㅅㅂ, short for 시발 (sibal) meaning “f***”
  • Example:
  • ㅅㅂ. 재수없어.
    “You suck!”
  • ㄲㅈ, short for 꺼져 (kkeojyeo) meaning “f*** off”
  • Example:
  • 좀 ㄲㅈ.
    (Jom kkeojyeo.)
    “F*** off.”
  • ㅗㅗ, short for “f***.” This is the shape of a middle finger. Depending on how angry the person is, the number of this sign in a text or chat can vary.
  • Example:
  • ㅗㅗㅗㅗ!!
    Showing middle fingers.

4. Korean Text Slang List — Emoticons


Sometimes emoticons are just the best (and most entertaining) way to express how you’re feeling during a text or chat. Learning Korean texting emoticons will help you immensely when it comes to communicating a range of emotions to your Korean friends. So, let’s take a quick glance at the world of Korean texting emoticons!

  • Crying face: (ㅠ_ㅠ), (ㅜ_ㅜ), (ㅜ.ㅜ), (ㅠㅠ), (ㅜㅜ), (;ㅅ;), (ㅜㅡ)
  • Smiley face: (^_^), (^^), (^0^)
  • Surprised face: (ㅇㅅㅇ) , (ㅇㅁㅇ), (ㅁㅅㅁ)
  • OTL = the shape of someone kneeled down in misery
  • ^^, ^^;^-^;;;;; = use this sweating face when you’re embarrassed or feel awkward
  • ㅡㅡ has the same meaning as this Korean texting emoticon: 헐.
  • ;;;;;; = sweating marks, used when you feel extremely embarrassed
  • @.@ = to show that you’re confused
  • *^^* = blushing
  • +_+ = use when you feel excited or when you have great ideas
  • ^_~ = winking
  • **ㅜㅜ = crying face
  • **ㅠㅠ = crying face (It has the same meaning as the emoticon above, but ㅠㅠ conveys more emotion)
  • -_-a = scratching one’s head
  • 0ㅠ0 = vomiting

This isn’t it—there are many more! You can even create your own emoticons, so feel free to invent your own.

5. Korean Text Slang List — Text slang with Numbers

One unique characteristic about these texting slang words is that these texting words deliver their meaning by using only numbers or the sound of the spelling. Often, the original meaning of numbers, signs, and spellings differ from that of the texting words used. So let’s take a look at some of these Korean slang words and phrases that contain numbers.

  • 하2루 = “hello”
    • Original texting word from 하이루 (hairu)
    • 2 is (i) or “two” in Korean
    • By replacing 이 with 2, it becomes 하2루
    • The meaning and the pronunciation are the same.
    • Example:
      • ㅎ2루, 오늘은 좋은 아침입니다.
        (Hairu, oneureun joeun achimimnida.)
        “Hairu, it’s such a wonderful morning.”
  • 감4 = “Thank you”
    • Original texting word from 감사 (gamsa)
    • 4 is (sa) or “four” in Korean
    • By replacing 사 with 4, it becomes 감4 and it has the exact same meaning.
    • Example:
      • 선물 감4!
        (Seonmul gamsa)
        “Thank you for the gift!”
  • 1004 = “angel”
    • 1004 is pronounced as (cheon) or “1000” and is (sa) or “four”
    • In addition, 천사 (cheonsa) is “angel” in the Korean language
    • Example:
      • 넌 나의 1004.
        (neon naui cheonsa.)
        “You are my angel.”
  • 8282 = “do it quickly”
    • “8” is (pal) and “2” is (i) in Korean; 8282 is 팔이팔이 (paripari) or “8282” which sounds similar to 빨리빨리 (ppallippalli) meaning “quickly”
    • 8282 is used when you want to make someone do something quickly
    • Example:
      • 8282와!
        “Hurry up!”
  • 바2 = “Goodbye”
    • Original texting word came from 바이 (bai) meaning “bye”
    • 2 is (i) or “two” in Korean
    • 바이 becomes 바2
    • The meaning and the pronunciation are the same.
    • Example:
      • 나 집에 갈래. ㅂ2!
        (na jibe gallae.bai)
        “I am heading home, goodbye!”
  • 밥5 = “stupid” or “moron”
    • Original texting word came from 바보 (babo) meaning “stupid”
    • 5 is (o) in Korean
    • 바보 (babo) becomes 밥5
    • 밥5 sounds cuter than 바보
    • The meaning and the pronunciation are the same.
    • Example:
      • ㅎㅎㅎ ㅂ5
        (Heuheuheu babo)
        “Hahaha, moron”
  • 미5 = “I dislike you” or “I hate you”
    • Original texting word came from 미워 (miwo) meaning “I hate you”
    • 5 is (o) in Korean
    • 미워 (miwo) becomes 미5
    • The meaning and the pronunciation are the same.
    • Example:
      • 너 정말 못됐다. 미5!
        (neo jeongmal motdwaetda. miwo!)
        “You are so mean, I hate you!”
  • 10C미 = “diligently” or “hard”
    • Original texting word came from 열심히 (yeolsimhi) “diligently”
    • 10 is in Korean
    • “C” is pronounced as in Korean
    • 10C미 is pronounced as 열+씨+미, which is very close to 열심히 (yeolsimhi) meaning “diligently.”
    • The meaning and the pronunciation are the same.
    • Example:
      • 공부 10C미.
        (Gongbu yeolsimhi.)
        “Study hard.”
  • 091012 = “study hard”
    • Original texting word came from 공부 열심히 해 (gongbu yeolsimhi hae) meaning “study hard.”
    • “0” is (gong) in Korean
    • “9” is (gu) in Korean
    • “10” is (yeol) in Korean
    • “12” is 십이 (sibi) in Korean
    • Together, it sounds like 공+구+열+십+이, which is very close to 공부 열심히 해 (gongbu yeolsimhi hae) meaning “study hard.”
    • The meaning and the pronunciation are the same.
    • Example:
      • 091012!
        (Gongbu yeolsimhi!)
        “Study hard!”

You’ll understand these number texting words more once you begin to better understand numbers in Korean. If you’re not familiar with it, you can learn 한국숫자 (hanguksutja) or “Korean numbers” for free.

6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

In summary, we had a look at commonly used Internet slang words in Korean. We hope that you find these words useful and use them next time you speak to your Korean friends online.

As much as learning Korean slang words is important, it’s also important to learn other proper forms of speech and action in Korea. KoreanClass101 has the world’s number-one study materials available online for you to study. So why don’t you create a free lifetime account today and immerse yourself in the Korean language? You’ll never regret it!

Do you have more questions about Korean slang? Please leave a question on our forum page. We’re more than happy to help you with improving your Korean. What’s your favorite Korean slang word or expression so far? Leave us a comment!

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Jeheonjeol: South Korean Constitution Day

Are you good at abiding by the law? Laws are rules that were made so that people can live together peacefully, right? In 1948, South Korea created the first constitution. And they made Constitution Day to celebrate its founding.

The creation of the South Korea constitution is one of the most significant events in the country’s history, and learning about it is a huge step forward in your Korean studies. At KoreanClass101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative!

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1. What is South Korean Constitution Day?

On Constitution Day, South Korea remembers and celebrates the creation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. On this important holiday, many activities take place, most of which are directly related to the legal system and other government systems.

Did you know that since 2008, Constitution Day has been excluded from the list of public holidays after the implementation of the five-day work week? That’s why, even though it’s a national holiday, companies and schools are open as usual on this day.

Despite this inconvenience, on Constitution Day, Koreans wholeheartedly celebrate the forming of their constitution, as they should!

2. When is Constitution Day in South Korea?

July 17, 1948

Each year, Korea celebrates its Constitution Day on July 17, the date in 1948 that the Constitution of the Republic of Korea came into effect.

3. What Happens in South Korea on Constitution Day?

So, what kind of Constitution Day activities go on in South Korea?

The National Assembly Building, where Korean laws are passed, is located in Yeouido, Seoul. There is a Constitution Day celebration held in front of the National Assembly Building on the morning of Constitution Day. In this event, people selected as the National Representatives also participate. What should you do to become a National Representative? Just like everyone is equal under the law, anyone can apply online to become a National Representative without any special requirements.

There is also another special event held at the National Assembly Building, like the Constitution Day celebration. It’s the Korean College Student Debate. Students hold a heated debate on various topics such as the release of sex offenders’ private information and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

There are numerous events related to law-making held at elementary and middle schools. One of them is the mock legal court for children. Students become a judge or lawyer to learn how the law and daily life are related, in a court-like atmosphere. During this event, they address legal issues related to children, such as school violence.

4. South Korean National Assembly

Man Hoisting a Flag

Do you know how many congressmen and women—the people who make the laws—are in South Korea?

Currently, the South Korean National Assembly has 299 congressmen and women. They aren’t divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives, and they’re all elected every five years via an election.

5. Essential Vocabulary for South Korea’s Constitution Day

National Assembly Membership

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Korea’s Constitution Day!

  • 제헌절 (Jeheonjeol) — “Constitution Day”
  • 대한민국 (daehanminguk) — “The Republic of Korea”
  • 준법정신 (junbeopjeongsin) — “the law-abiding spirit”
  • 공포 (gongpo) — “promulgation”
  • 태극기 게양 (tageukgi gyeyang) — “National flag hoisting”
  • 국회의사당 (gukhoeuisadang) — “national assembly building”
  • 1948년 7월 17일 (cheongubaeksasippallyeon chirwol sipchiril) — “July 17, 1948″
  • 헌법 제정 (heonbeop jejeong) — “enactment of constitution”
  • 헌법 (heonbeop) — “constitution”
  • 국회의원 (gukhoeuiwon) — “a member of the national assembly”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Korean Constitution Day vocabulary list! Here, you’ll find each vocabulary word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation, as well as images to help you better understand each concept.


We hope you enjoyed learning about South Korea’s Constitution Day with us! Did you learn anything new today? What does your country’s Constitution Day look like? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you, as always. :)

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Learning Korean is no easy feat, but fret not. Your hard work and determination will pay off, and with our constant support, you’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Korean like a native before you know it!

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10 Untranslatable Korean Words You Need to Know

Have you ever encountered some interesting Korean words, but they were just impossible to translate into another language?

All language learners know that there are many hard-to-translate words, because some words and expressions are specific to a given language and are often linked to its culture. Knowing these words will help you become more fluent in the language, know more about that country’s culture, and understand more about the native speakers’ mindset.

In truth, there are many Korean untranslatable words with no English equivalents, as well as untranslatable words in Korean that are difficult to translate. In this article, we’ll be going over some untranslatable words in South Korea. Study and practice this list of untranslatable Korean words to truly be an insightful Korean speaker!

Let’s learn ten untranslatable Korean words with deep meaning, at KoreanClass101!

Table of Contents

  1. 애교 (aegyo)
  2. 온돌 (ondol)
  3. 내숭 (naesung)
  4. 눈치가 빠르다 (nunchiga ppareuda)
  5. 눈치가 없다 (nunchiga eopda)
  6. 어이없다 (eoieopda)
  7. 효도 (hyodo)
  8. 답답하다 (dapdapada)
  9. 개이득 (gaeideuk)
  10. 엄친아 (eomchina)
  11. How KoreanClass101.com Can Help You with Korean

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1. 애교 (aegyo)

  • Literal Translation: “Being lovely”
  • Meaning: 애교 (aegyo) is used to describe someone who acts charmingly to appear cute and appealing. This behavior is commonly used by women, and many Korean men like this. Thus, this could be considered one of the most beautiful untranslatable Korean words in this respect.
  • Example Situation: Check out a short video clip of Lee Hye-ri’s aegyo in Real Man 300. This is a classic example of Korean aegyo.

1- Examples

  • 그녀는 애교많아서 남자들에게 인기가 많습니다.
    Geunyeoneun aegyoga manaseo namjadeurege ingiga manseumnida.
    “Because she acts cute, she is very popular among guys.”
  • 강아지는 애교가 많아서 주인에게 많은 사랑을 받습니다.
    Gangajineun aegyoga manaseo juinege maneun sarangeul batseumnida.
    “Dogs are loved by their owners since they know how to please them.”

2- Notes

  1. The word that negatively describes 애교 (aegyo) is 내숭 (naesung).

2. 온돌 (ondol)

  • Literal Translation: “Heated rock”
  • Meaning: According to Wikipedia, 온돌 (ondol) is an “underfloor heating that uses direct heat transfer from wood smoke to heat the underside of a thick masonry floor.” An alternative word for 온돌 (ondol) is 온돌바닥 (ondolbadak).

1- Examples

  • 옛날에는 겨울이 되면 온돌을 데워 추운 겨울을 따뜻하게 지낼 수 있었습니다.
    Yennareneun gyeouri doemyeon ondoreul dewo chuun gyeoureul ttatteuthage jinael su isseotseumnida.
    “A long time ago, Koreans used Ontol and were able to stay warm during the winter.”

A Lady Sneaking Out

3. 내숭 (naesung)

  • Literal Translation: “Coy.”
  • Meaning: A person who hides their true colors and acts differently (usually more coy) around people of his/her interest.
  • Example Situation: A lady has a crush on a man. She’s usually very outgoing and assertive, but she knows that he doesn’t like this type of person, so in order to attract him she hides her true colors and acts more feminine around him.

1- Examples

  • 저 여자는 남자들 앞에만 가면 변해. 완전 숭이야.
    Jeo yeojaneun namjadeul apeman gamyeon byeonhae. wanjeon naesungiya.
    “That girl acts differently around men. She is so coy.”
  • 남자들 앞에서는 약한 척하고 있어. 이제 숭은 그만 떨어.
    Namjadeul apeseoneun yakan cheokago isseo. Ije naesungeun geuman tteoreo.
    “You act weak around guys. Stop being coy.”

2- Notes

  1. 내숭이야 (naesungiya), means “You are being coy.”
  2. 내숭녀 (naesungnyeo) is used to describe a person who acts differently around people of interest. It’s commonly used.
  3. A similar word for 내숭 (naesung) is 여우짓 (yeoujit).

4. 눈치가 빠르다 (nunchiga ppareuda)

  • Literal Translation: “Observant; Perceptive.”
  • Meaning: This word is used to describe someone who’s able to comprehend that something is going on with someone (e.g. friends or family). It’s one of the many strong Korean words that are untranslatable.
  • Example Situation: You’re having dinner with your parents and you instantly feel that something is up with them. Perhaps they had a fight. You can’t tell for sure that they had a fight, but you can just feel it.

1- Examples

  • 사회생활을 하면 눈치가 빨라야 하는 상황이 자주 일어나곤 한다.
    Sahoesaenghwareul hamyeon nunchireul bwaya haneun sanghwangi jaju ireonagon handa.
    “Once you start a social life, there will be times where you need to be able to be observant.”
  • 내가 말을 끝나기도 전에 그녀는 내가 무슨 말을 하고 싶은지 알아챘다. 눈치가 정말 빠른 것 같다.
    Naega mareul kkeunnagido jeone geunyeoneun naega museun mareul hago sipeunji arachaetda. Nunchiga jeongmal ppareun geot gatda.
    “Even before I finished my statement, she understood what I was trying to say. I think that she is very observant.”

2- Notes

  1. A word that means the opposite of 눈치가 빠른 (nunchiga ppareun) is 눈치가 없는 (nunchiga eomneun).
  2. 눈치가 빠르다. (nunchiga ppareuda.)

    E. g. 저 사람은 진짜 눈치 빠르다.
    Jeo sarameun jinjja nunchi ppareuda.
    “That person is very observant.”

  3. 3. 눈치가 빠른 (nunchiga ppareun) + Noun

    E.g. 눈치가 빠른 사람
    Nunchiga ppareun saram
    “A person who is very observant.”

    눈치가 빨라야 하는 상황.
    Nunchiga ppallaya haneun sanghwang.
    “A situation where you need to be observant.”

A Confused Old Man

5. 눈치가 없다 (nunchiga eopda)

  • Literal Translation: “Clueless.”
  • Meaning: This phrase is used to describe someone who doesn’t read the air; someone who is slow-witted.
  • Example Situation: You bumped into your friend while walking with your girlfriend. You want him to go away, so you continue to give him hints that he should leave, but he’s so clueless that you end up having dinner together that day.

1- Examples

  • 내가 몇 번이고 거절했는데도 계속 데이트 신청이 와. 진짜 눈치가 없는 것 같아.
    Naega myeot beonigo geojeolhaenneundedo gyesok deiteu sincheongi wa. jinjja nunchiga eomneun geot gata.
    “I turned him down so many times but he still asks me out on a date. He is so clueless.”
  • A: 저 두사람 사내연애 하고 있는거 알아?
    A: Jeo dusaram sanaeyeonae hago inneungeo ara?
    A: “Did you know that those two people over there are dating at work?”

    B: 어? 진짜? 난 왜 몰랐지?
    B: Eo? Jinjja? Nan wae mollatji?
    B: “What? Really? How did I not know about this?”

    A: 모든 사람들이 알고 있는데? 너 진짜 눈치없다.
    A: Modeun saramdeuri algo inneunde? Neo jinjja nunchieopda.
    A: “Everyone knows about this! You are so clueless.”

2- Notes

  1. A word that means the opposite of 눈치가 없는 (nunchiga eomneun) is 눈치가 빠른 (nunchiga ppareun).
  2. 눈치가 느리다 (nunchiga neurida) is a synonymous phrase for 눈치가 없는 (nunchiga eomneun).
  3. 저 사람은 진짜 눈치가 느려. (Jeo sarameun jinjja nunchiga neuryeo.) 눈치가 느린 + Noun. 저 사람은 눈치가 느린 사람이다. (Jeo sarameun nunchiga neurin saramida.) 눈치가 느린 남편 (Nunchiga neurin nampyeon)

KoreanClass101 has a free vocabulary list to describe someone’s personality. Check out this page when you have time!

6. 어이없다 (eoieopda)

  • Literal Translation: “Unbelievable.”
  • Example Situation: The meaning slightly changes depending on the situation. It could also mean “What the hell,” “I cannot believe it,” “beyond common sense,” and so on.
  • Example Situations:
  1. You’re about to leave work and suddenly your manager comes and drops off more documents to work on. You could think to yourself: 어이없다 (eoieopda).
  2. You were watching a football game and your favorite team was winning. However, they lost due to silly mistakes at the end of the game. This is 어이없다 (eoieopda).
  3. Everyone thought that A would win to become president, and the opponent unexpectedly wins the campaign and becomes president instead. This is 어이없다 (eoieopda).

1- Examples

  • 축구 경기중에 상대 선수가 어이없는 자살골을 넣어 경기에 지고 말았다.
    Chukgu gyeonggijunge sangdae seonsuga eoieomneun jasalgoreul neoeo gyeonggie jigo maratda.
    “The opponent player scored a goal against their own team by accident and his team lost the football game.”
  • 내가 분명히 하지 말라고 몇 번이나 말했는데도, 계속하더라고. 진짜 어이가 없어.
    Naega bunmyeonghi haji mallago myeot beonina malhaenneundedo, gyesokadeorago. Jinjja eoiga eopseo.
    “I told him many times not to do this but he continued. It’s unbelievable.”

2- Notes

  1. A slang word that has the same meaning is 헐 (heol).

A Young Lady and An Old Lady with Flowers

7. 효도 (hyodo)

  • Literal Translation:Filial duty.”
  • Meaning: Another one of the most beautiful untranslatable Korean words, this means to devote yourself to your parents by taking care of them until they pass away.
  • Example situation: Anything you do to show your love or respect to your parents is 효도 (hyodo). For example, if your parents have never traveled outside the country and you use your savings to send them on an overseas trip, this would be called a 도여행 (filial duty trip).

1- Examples

  • 더 늦기 전에 부모님이 살아 계실 때 효도하는 것이 좋다.
    Deo neutgi jeone bumonimi sara gyesil ttae hyodohaneun geosi jota.
    “Before it’s too late, you should be good to your parents while they are here with you.”
  • A: 최근에 부모님이랑 같이 해외여행 1주일 다녀왔어.
    A: Choegeune bumonimirang gachi haeoeyeohaeng iljuil danyeowasseo.
    A: “I recently went overseas with my parents for a week.”

    B: 정말? 그 비용 모두 네가 지불했어? 너 진짜 효도 잘한다.
    B: Jeongmal? Geu biyong modu nega jibulhaesseo? Neo jinjja hyodo jalhanda.
    B: “Really? You also paid for all the expenses? You are such a great son!”

2- Notes

  1. The opposite word of 효도 (hyodo) is 불효 (bulhyo).
  2. A person who treats his/her parents and family well is called 효자 (hyoja) for a male and 효녀 (hyonyeo) for a woman.

8. 답답하다 (dapdapada)

  • Literal Translation: “Feeling frustrated.”
  • Meaning: You can use this word when a situation doesn’t go according to your expectations.
  • Example Situation: You recently hired a new intern and she has just finished training. It has been a few months and although you tried to explain a few things to her, she still makes many mistakes. In this case, you can say 답답하다 (dapdapada).

1- Examples

  • 그녀가 일하는 걸 보기만 해도 너무 답답하다.
    Geunyeoga ilhaneun geol bogiman haedo neomu dapdapada.
    “I get so frustrated watching her work.”
  • 그때 하고 싶은 말이 있었는데, 답답하게 아무 말도 못했어.
    Geuttae hago sipeun mari isseonneunde, dapdapage amu maldo mothaesseo.
    “I really wanted to say something at that moment, but I couldn’t say it.”

2- Notes

  1. There’s a Korean slang word that has the same meaning, 고답이, which is an abbreviation for 고구마를 100개 먹은 것 처럼 답답한 사람 (godabi [Gogumareul 100gae meogeun geot cheoreom dapdapan saram]). It means that you feel extremely frustrated.
  2. The opposite phrase for 답답해 (dapdapae) is 속이 시원하다 (sogi siwonhada). A slang word for this is 사이다 (saida).

9. 개이득 (gaeideuk)

  • Literal Translation: To convert these untranslatable Korean words to English: 개* (gae) means “a dog” and 이득 (ideuk) means “profit.”
  • Meaning: Young Koreans use 개 (gae) to say “very much,” so to say that it was a great deal, you say 개이득 (gaeideuk).

1- Examples

  • A: 이거 100만원 짜리 가방인데, 세일 가격에 40만원에 샀어!
    A: Igeo 100manwon jjari gabanginde, seil gagyeoge sasipmanwone sasseo!
    A: “The original price of this bag is one million won, but I managed to buy it for forty-thousand won!”

    B: 대박, 개이득인데!
    B: Daebak, gaeideuginde!
    B: “Wow, what a great deal!”

  • A: 나 학교 가는 길에 10만원 주웠어. 완전 개이득.
    A: Na hakgyo ganeun gire simmanwon juwosseo. Wanjeon gaeideuk.
    A: “I found a 100,000 KRW bill on the way to school. How lucky I am.”

    B: 10만원 잃어버린 사람 불쌍하다.
    B: Simmanwon ileobeorin saram bulssanghada.
    B: “I feel sorry for whoever lost that note.”

2- Notes

  1. This is a very casual slang word, so you can’t use this in a business setting.
  2. Some people take this word as a swear word, so be careful when you use it. (It’s usually used among younger generations.)

A Lady is Surrounded by Many People

10. 엄친아 (eomchina)

  • Literal translation: “Mother’s friend’s son.”
  • Meaning: This is an abbreviation of 엄마친구의 아들 (eommachinguui adeul). If we were to convert this untranslatable Korean word to English words, it would be “Mr. Right” or “Mr. Perfect.”
  • Example Situation: This word is used to describe a person who’s well-educated and skillful at everything—that is, the type of person that you can’t compete against. Has your mother or father made a comparison or any comments about one of the sons of their friends being better at doing something than you? (E.g. mathematics or school in general). The first friend that comes to your mind is a classic example of 엄친아 (eomchina).

1- Examples

  • 그는 과학도 잘하고 수학도 잘해. 심지어 미술이랑 음악도 모두 A+를 받고 있어. 엄친아인 것 같아.
    Geuneun gwahakdo jalhago suhakdo jalhae. simjieo misurirang eumakdo modu A+reul batgo isseo. Eomchinain geot gata.
    “He is good at science and math. He also gets straight A+s for art and music. He must be Mr. Perfect.”
  • 남자공부 잘하고, 도 잘 벌고 진짜 엄친아인 것 같아. 저런 남자랑 결혼하고 싶다.
    Jeo namjaneun gongbu jalhago, dondo jal beolgo jinjja eomchinain geot gata. Jeoreon namjarang gyeolhonhago sipda.
    “He is good at studying and earning money, he is just perfect overall. I wish I could marry someone like him.”

2- Notes

  1. The feminine version of 엄친아 (eomchina) is 엄친딸 (eommachinguui ttal), which is an abbreviation for 엄마친구의 딸 (eommachinguui ttal). A similar phrase to describe this word is “Miss Perfect.”

11. How KoreanClass101.com Can Help You with Korean

We introduced ten untranslatable Korean words in detail and hope you found this article interesting and educational. As you can see, there are several beautiful Korean words that don’t exist in English, and they’re sure to enrich your Korean vocabulary and cultural knowledge.

If you’re interested in learning other untranslatable Korean words, we suggest that you check out our common texting slang list. KoreanClass101 has many free Korean lessons and vocabulary lists for you to study at your own pace too, so feel free to visit our website!

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Key Korean Phrases: Introducing Yourself in Korean

Today, we’re going to study key phrases for introducing yourself in Korean. This article is aimed toward beginners, but it’ll be a good review for intermediate learners as well.

Table of Contents

  1. Identifying Yourself
  2. Placing Yourself in Society
  3. Sharing Personal Details
  4. Culture Insights
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean


1. Identifying Yourself

1- Stating your Name

In a Formal Setting

안녕하세요, 반갑습니다. 저는 000이라고 합니다.
annyeonghaseyo, bangapseumnida. jeoneun 000irago hamnida.
“Hello, nice to meet you. My name is 000.”

This is the most basic self-introduction in Korean and can be used in any situation, such as introducing yourself to your new classmates or colleagues, and to any strangers. It’s important to know how to introduce yourself in Korean formally, so that you can give a good first impression to those you’ll live and work with.

Say “Hello” and “Nice to meet you.” And then replace “000” with your name. If you don’t know how to write your name in Korean, ask our teachers on our Korean Names page! You won’t get very far in Korea without talking about your name in Korean!

Alternatively, you can say:

  • 제 이름은 000입니다.
    • je ireumeun 000imnida.
    • “My name is 000.”
  • 저는 000이라고 합니다.
    • jeoneun 000irago hamnida.
    • “I call myself 000.”

These are the two most commonly used phrases in Korea. There’s not much difference in these two phrases, so feel free to choose the one you like most.


  • 소연: 안녕하세요, 반갑습니다. 저는 박소연이라고 합니다.
    • Soyeon: annyeonghaseyo, bangapseumnida. jeoneun baksoyeonirago hamnida.
    • Soyeon: “Hello, nice to meet you. I am Park Soyeon.”
  • 수지: 안녕하세요, 반갑습니다. 이수지입니다.
    • Sooji: annyeonghaseyo, bangapseumnida. Lee Soojiimnida.
    • Sooji: “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Lee Sooji.”

In Korea, you need to say your family name first, followed by your given name. For example, if your family name is Jackson and your first name is Michael, you’ll need to say “Jackson Michael” in Korea, since Koreans address their family name first. Also, if you want to make sure that everyone hears your name clearly, say your family name first, pause, then state your last name.


  • 안녕하십니까, 제 이름은 잭슨 마이클이라고 합니다.
    • Annyeonghasimnikka, je ireumeun jaekseun maikeurirago hamnida.
    • “Hello, my name is Michael Jackson.”
  • 안녕하십니까, 제 이름은 스미스 윌입니다.
    • Annyeonghasimnikka, je ireumeun seumiseu wirimnida.
    • “Hello, my name is Will Smith.”
In an Informal Setting

안녕, 만나서 반가워. 000이라고 해.
annyeong, mannaseo bangawo. 000irago hae.
“Hello, nice to meet you. I’m 000.”

It’s also good to know how to introduce yourself in Korean casually. This casual self-introduction is used when you introduce yourself to friends, or someone who’s younger than you. You can’t use this phrase in a formal setting.

Alternatively, you could say:

  • 내 이름은 00이야.
    • nae ireumeun 00iya.
    • “My name is 00.”
  • 난 00야.
    • nan 00ya.
    • “I’m 00.”
  • 난 00이야.
    • nan 00iya.
    • “I’m 00.”

When to Use 야 or 이야:

To distinguish when to use 야 (ya) and 이야 (iya) when introducing yourself in Korean is very simple. However, many Korean learners struggle to use the appropriate subject marker. The rule is very simple: When a word ends with a consonant, 이야 (iya) is added and when a word ends with a vowel, 야 (ya) is added.

Here are a couple of examples of what we mean:

  • 에밀리 (emilli) or “Emily” ends with a vowel (ㅣ), therefore 야 (ya) is added.
    • 난 에밀리야. (nan emilliya.) or “I’m Emily.”
  • 셴셴 (syensyen) or “Shenshen” ends with a consonant (ㄴ), therefore 이야 (iya) is added.
    • 난 셴셴이야. (nan syensyeniya.) or “I’m Shenshen.”


  • 소연: 안녕, 난 박소연이야. 만나서 반가워.
    • Soyeon: annyeong, nan Park Soyeoniya. mannaseo bangawo.
    • Soyeon: “Hello, I’m Soyeon Park. Nice to meet you.”
  • 수지: 안녕, 반가워. 이수지라고해.
    • Sooji: annyeong, bangawo. Lee Soojiragohae.
    • Sooji: “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Sooji Lee.”

More and more Korean learners make their own Korean name. You can make your Korean name based on your birthday on KoreanClass101. Please check it out!

2- Nationality

When learning how to introduce yourself using Korean, it’s important to know how to describe your nationality. To do this, attach the suffix 사람 (saram) meaning “person” to your country in Korean:

저는 00사람입니다. [Formal]
jeoneun 00saramimnida.
“I am 00.”

For example:
저는 한국 사람입니다. [Formal]
jeoneun hanguk saramimnida.
“I am Korean.”

To say that you are Korean, simply attach the suffix 사람 (saram) meaning “person” to 한국 (hanguk) meaning “Korea.” The resulting clause, 한국사람 (Hanguksaram) translates literally to “Korea person.” Alternatively, you can say 한국인 (Hangukin). The word 인 (in) meaning “person” is derived from the Chinese character 人 and has the exact same meaning as 사람 (saram). So, all you need to do is attach the suffix 인 (in) meaning “person” to 한국 (Hanguk) meaning “Korea” which results in 한국인 (“Korean”). If you’re not sure how to say your country in Korean, you might find vocabulary for nationalities useful.


  • 저는 말레이시아 사람입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoneun malleisia saramimnida.
    • “I am Malaysian.”
  • 나는 말레이시아 사람이야. [Informal]
    • naneun malleisia saramiya.
    • “I am Malaysian.”
  • 저는 일본 사람입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoneun ilbon saramimnida.
    • “I am Japanese.”
  • 나는 일본 사람이야. [Informal]
    • naneun ilbon saramiya.
    • “I am Japanese.”
  • 저는 프랑스 사람입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoneun peurangseu saramimnida.
    • “I am French.”
  • 나는 프랑스 사람이야. [Informal]
    • naneun peurangseu saramiya.
    • “I am French.”

Alternatively, you could say:

You can also say 한국에서 왔습니다. (hangugeseo watseumnida.) which means “I came from Korea.” All you need to do is add your country, followed by 에서 왔습니다 (eseo watseumnida) meaning “I came from.” For example, to say that “I came from England,” England is 영국 (yeongguk) in Korean, therefore you could say:

저는 영국에서 왔습니다. (jeoneun yeonggugeseo watseumnida) which translates to: “I came from England.”


  • 저는 미국에서 왔습니다.
    • jeoneun migugeseo watseumnida.
    • “I came from America.”
  • 저는 싱가포르에서 왔습니다.
    • jeoneun singgaporeueseo watseumnida.
    • “I came from Singapore.”

Here’s a list of vocabulary for countries. Learn how to say your country in Korean and introduce yourself to others!

3- Age

저는 00살입니다.
Jeoneun 00salimnida.
“I am 00 years old.”

저는 (jeoneun) is a formal way to say “I am” in English. 살 (sal) means “age” and 입니다 (imnida) means “to be.” For example, if you’re twenty-one years old, you say:

저는 스물한살입니다. (jeoneun seumulhansarimnida.) in Korean.

Did you know that international age and Korean age are different? To find out your Korean age, use our Korean Age Calculator, and learn how to say how old you are in Korean. Talking about your age in Korean is a fairly important skill to learn!

Another way of stating your age is:

  • 저의 나이는 00 입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoui naineun 00 imnida.
    • “My age is 00.”
  • (나는) 00살이야. [Informal]
    • (naneun) 00sariya.
    • “My age is 00.”

The sentence structure is the same for this phrase. Insert your age in Korean and you’re done! For example, if you’re twenty-one years old, the phrase becomes 저의 나이는 스무살입니다 (je naineun seumusarimnida).

“I was born in 1988.”

Here’s another way to state your age in Korean. If you don’t want to say your age out loud, or if you’re not sure about your Korean age, just let the listener figure out your age on their own by using this phrase:

  • A: B씨는 몇 살이에요?
    • A: Bssineun myeotsariyeyo?
    • A: “How old are you, B?”
  • B: 저는 한국나이로 스무살입니다.
    • B: jeoneun hangungnairo seumusarimnida.
    • B: “I’m twenty years old in Korean age.”
  • C: D씨는 몇년생이에요?
    • C: Dssineun myeonnyeonsaengiyeyo?
    • C: “What year were you born, D?”
  • D: 1990년생 이에요..
    • D: cheongubaekgusimnyeonsaeng ieyo..
    • D: “I was born in 1990.”

2. Placing Yourself in Society

1- Information About Your Family

우리 가족은 모두 4명입니다.
uri gajogeun modu nemyeongimnida.
“There are four members in my family.”

Talking about your family in Korean is essential, and this is the simplest way to introduce your family. 명 (myeong) is the counter for people (informal). 분 (bun) is a formal counter for people, but we don’t use this to count family members. Let’s say that you have five family members. The phrase should be:

우리 가족은 모두 5명입니다 (uri gajogeun modu daseonmyeongimnida).

You may also want to extend the sentence by adding the name of a family member. For this, we have a list of family members which will come in handy. Also, note that we have different ways of referring to sisters and brothers based on the gender of the speaker.


If you’re female and have a younger brother and an older brother, you should say:

  • 우리 가족은 모두 5명입니다.
    저의 아버지, 어머니, 오빠와 남동생, 그리고 저입니다.
    • uri gajogeun modu daseonmyeongimnida.
      jeoui abeoji, eomeoni, oppawa namdongsaeng, geurigo jeoimnida.
    • “There are five family members.”
      “There are my father, mother, older brother, younger brother, and me.”

If you’re male and have an older brother and an older sister, you should say:

  • 우리 가족은 모두 5명입니다.
    저의 아버지, 어머니, 형과 누나, 그리고 저입니다.
    • uri gajogeun modu daseonmyeongimnida.
      jeoui abeoji, eomeoni, hyeonggwa nuna, geurigo jeoimnida.
    • “There are five family members.”
      “There are my father, mother, older brother, younger sister, and me.”

Alternatively, you can say:

  • 저의 가족은 아버지, 어머니 이렇게 3명이 있습니다.
    • jeoui gajogeun abeoji, eomeoni ireoke semyeongi itseumnida.
    • “In my family there are three: my father and my mother.”
  • 우리 가족은 아버지, 어머니, 오빠 그리고 저를 포함해 4명입니다.
    • uri gajogeun abeoji, eomeoni, oppa geurigo jeoreul pohamhae nemyeongimnida.
    • “In my family there are four people including me: my father, my mother, my older brother, and me.”

3. Sharing Personal Details

1- Describing Hobbies

Talking about your hobbies in Korean is one of the most interesting topics you may cover, so let’s take a look at some examples of how to introduce this in Korean.

~ 이/가 취미에요.
~ i/ga chwimieyo.
“My hobby is ~.”

When to use 이 or 가:

You may be bewildered by these two subject markers: -이 (i) and 가 (ga). Many Korean learners struggle to use the appropriate subject marker. Don’t worry though, it’s very simple: Just remember that when a word ends in a consonant, 이 (i) follows the word. When a word ends in a vowel, 가 (ga) is added to the word. For example, 독서 (dokseo) or “reading a book” ends in a vowel (ㅓ), therefore 가 (ga) needs to be added. So the sentence becomes 독서가 취미에요. (dokseoga chwimieyo.) meaning “My hobby is reading.” Here’s another example: 수영을 하는 것 (suyeongeul haneun geot) or “to swim” ends in a consonant (ㅅ), therefore 이 (i) is added after 수영. The sentence should be 수영을 하는 것이 취미에요. (suyeongeul haneun geosi chwimieyo.) meaning “My hobby is swimming.”


  • 독서가 취미에요.
    • dokseoga chwimieyo.
    • “My hobby is reading.”
  • 운동이 취미에요.
    • undongi chwimieyo.
    • “My hobby is working out.”

Alternatively, you can say:

  • ~ 을/를 좋아해요
    • ~ eul/reul joahaeyo.
    • “I like ~”


  • 책 읽기를 좋아해요.
    • chaek ilgireul joahaeyo.
    • “I like reading a book.”
  • 수영을 좋아해요.
    • suyeongeul joahaeyo.
    • “I like swimming.”
  • 영화보기를 좋아해요.
    • yeonghwabogireul joahaeyo.
    • “I like watching movies.”

Sometimes just addressing your hobby may not be enough, and you may need a more detailed explanation regarding your hobby. KoreanClass101 has a vocabulary list for hobbies and weekend activities.

2- Pets

(저는) 강아지를 키우고 있어요.
(jeoneun) gangajireul kiugo isseoyo.
“I have a dog.”

Literal translation of 키우고 있어요 (kiugo isseoyo) is “I am raising ~” in English. To say that you have a dog, which is 강아지 (gangajir) or “a puppy” in Korean, add the word in front of eul kiugo isseoyo, as shown above.

If you have more than one pet, you need to know how to say the numbers. Koreans use different counter words for various topics, such as animals, objects, and so on. For animals, we say the number in Korean followed by 마리 (: mari) which is the counter for animals.

For example:

  • 한 마리 (han mari) — “one animal”
  • 두 마리 (du mari) — “two animals”
  • 세 마리 (se mari) — “three animals”
  • 네 마리 (ne mari) — “four animals”
  • 다섯 마리 (daseon mari) — “five animals”
  • 여섯 마리 (yeoseon mari) — “six animals”
  • 일곱 마리 (ilgom mari) — “seven animals”
  • 여덟 마리 (yeodeol mari) — “eight animals”
  • 아홉 마리 (ahom mari) — “nine animals”
  • 열 마리 (yeol mari) — “ten animals”

Let’s say you have a dog and two cats, the phrase would be:

강아지 한마리와 고양이 두마리를 키우고 있어요.
gangaji hanmariwa goyangi dumarireul kiugo isseoyo.
“I have a dog and two cats.”

More examples:

  • 고양이 두마리를 키우고 있어요.
    • goyangi dumarireul kiugo isseoyo.
    • “I am raising two cats.”
  • 토끼 세마리를 키우고 있어요.
    • tokki semarireul kiugo isseoyo.
    • “I am raising three rabbits.”
  • 햄스터 한마리를 키우고 있어요.
    • haemseuteo hanmarireul kiugo isseoyo.
    • “I am raising a hamster.”

Alternatively, you could say:

  • 집에 강아지 한마리 있어요.
    • jibe gangaji hanmari isseoyo.
    • “I have a dog at home.”

집에 (jibe) means “at home” and 있어요 (isseoyo) means “there is” in English. The direct translation is “There is a dog at home,” meaning the person has a dog at his or her house as a pet. You can use this phrase to explain that you own a pet.

If you want to know how to say “your pet” in Korean, we have a vocabulary list for animals in Korean, so feel free to check it out. With all of this information, you shouldn’t have any problems talking about your pets in Korean!

3- Your Current Interests

K-pop에 관심이 많아요.
keipabe gwansimi manayo.
“I have a great interest in K-pop.”

When you introduce yourself in Korean, you may want to talk about your interests. 관심 (gwansim) means “interest” and 많아요 (manayo) means “(there is) a lot” in Korean—by combining these two words, the phrase becomes 관심이 많아요 (gwansimi manayo), meaning “I am very interested in…” in English. In addition, you can only use a noun or noun phrase for this phrase.


  • 시사 프로그램에 관심이 많아요.
    • sisa peurogeuraeme gwansimi manayo.
    • “I am interested in current affair.”
  • 뉴스에 관심이 많아요.
    • nyuseue gwansimi manayo.
    • “I have a great interest in news.”
  • 한국어 공부에 관심이 많아요.
    • hangugeo gongbue gwansimi manayo.
    • “I have a great interest in studying Korean.”

In addition, you could easily extend the phrase by adding more information.


  • 방탄소년단에 관심이 있어서, 그룹 멤버들의 사진을 모우는 것을 좋아합니다.
    • bangtansonyeondane gwansimi isseoseo, geurup membeodeurui sajineul mouneun geoseul joahamnida.
    • “I am interested in BTS, so I like collecting pictures of each member.”
  • 동물에 관심이 많아서, 동물의 사진을 찍는 것을 좋아합니다.
    • dongmure gwansimi manaseo, dongmurui sajineul jjingneun geoseul joahamnida.
    • “Since I have a great interest in animals, I like taking pictures of animals.”
  • 뉴스에 관심이 많아서 매일 밤 뉴스를 보고 있습니다.
    • nyuseue gwansimi manaseo maeil bam nyuseureul bogo itseumnida.
    • “Since I have a great interest in news, I watch the news every night.”

4. Culture Insights

1- Bowing is Important

When learning how to introduce yourself in Korean, expressions are only part of the equation. Keep in mind that bowing is a big part of Korean culture, since Koreans bow in every situation. Hence, it’s considered good manners. When you plan to visit South Korea, the first thing you need to learn is when to bow according to the situation you’re in. In addition, if you want to learn more about Korean etiquette, we have an article that explains Seven do’s and don’ts in Korea which explains in detail things that you need to know before traveling to Korea.

2- Be Careful when You Make Eye Contact

It’s alright to make eye contact when you’re speaking with people around your age. However, it’s NOT okay to make direct eye contact with people of higher status or someone older than you. In many countries, such as America and European countries, making eye contact is a friendly way to connect with people. However, Koreans will interpret it differently, thinking that you’re trying to overpower them.

5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

Let’s review what we discussed. We explained to you about how to introduce yourself in Korean. While the phrases we introduced are for beginners, intermediate learners can also use this article to review what they’ve learned so far. In addition, we have an article on ten lines that you can use when introducing yourself, so feel free to use our free materials.

KoreanClass101 offers a variety of free study materials online. We also have teachers standing by to answer your questions about Korean. So if you have any questions regarding Korean grammar, expressions, or even cultural insights, create your lifetime account today, so that you can get access to our forums or even receive answers from our teachers regarding any questions you may have during your Korean studies.

Good luck with studying Korean! Be sure to practice introducing yourself in Korean using our examples of how to introduce yourself in Korean, so that you can master it in no time!


Hyeon Chung Il: Memorial Day in Korea

Each year, Koreans observe their Memorial Day in commemoration of all their fallen soldiers. Memorial Day in Korea is similar to the U.S. Memorial Day, though of course with its own cultural nuances (such as the South Korean Flag meaning in ceremonies).

At KoreanClass101.com, we hope to make learning about Korean culture and holidays both fun and informative, because this may be the most vital step in being able to master the language. That in mind, keep reading for more information on Memorial Day (South Korea).

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1. What is Memorial Day to Koreans?

Have you ever heard of Memorial Day in the United States of America? It’s a day to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

In Korea, there is also a day like U.S. Memorial Day, known as Korean Memorial Day (Hyeon Chung Il). In Korea, in order to honor those who lost their lives for the country, the month of June has been known as the Month of Defense of Korea and Patriots and Veterans every year since 1954.

2. When is Memorial Day in Korea?

Memorial Day on June 6

For this holiday in Korean, June 6 is when South Korea celebrates its Memorial Day.

3. Reading Practice: How is Korean Memorial Day Celebrated?

How do Koreans commemorate this June 6 holiday in Korea? Read the Korean text below to learn about the traditions that accompany Korean Memorial Day, and find the English translation directly below it.

이 때가 되면 많은 사람들이 서울에 있는 현충원을 방문합니다. 국립 서울 현충원은 나라를 위해서 목숨을 잃은 분들이 묻힌 곳인데요. 6월 6일이 되면 이곳 현충원에 독립유공자와 국군 유가족, 대통령 그리고 국가 주요 인사들이 모여서 현충일 추념식을 갖습니다.

특히 현충일 추념식 중간에 순국선열을 위해서 묵념을 하는 시간이 있는데요. 이 때에는 현충원 뿐만 아니라 전국 여기저기에서 사이렌이 울리고, 전국에 있는 모든 사람들이 함께 묵념을 합니다. 사람들은 1분간 묵념을 하면서 고인의 명복을 빌게 됩니다. 또한, 서울 광화문로와 같은 전국의 주요도로에 다니는 모든 차량도 이 1분간은 잠깐 정지하게 됩니다.

현충일이 되면 초등학교나 중학교에서도 현충일과 관련된 다양한 행사가 열립니다. 특히 현충일 글짓기 행사와 포스터 그리기 행사가 대표적인데요. 이 행사에 참가한 학생들은 한국전쟁 때 나라를 위해서 싸웠던 국군 장병의 모습을 그리고, 지금도 휴전선 근처에서 나라를 지키고 있는 군인들에게 감사의 마음을 담은 글을 적습니다.

여러분 그거 아세요? 지금도 한국은 휴전 중이기 때문에, 아직도 휴전선 근처에서는 크고 작은 전투들이 종종 일어나고 있습니다. 그래서 최근까지도 적지 않은 국군장병들이 나라를 위해서 싸우다 목숨을 잃는 경우가 종종 생기는데요. 이렇게 목숨을 잃거나 다친 사람들을 한국 사람들은 “국가유공자”라고 부릅니다.

On this day, a lot of people visit Seoul National Memorial Cemetery in Seoul. Seoul National Memorial Cemetery is the burial site of those who lost their lives for their country. On June 6th, a ceremony that honors the veterans of Korean Memorial Day is held with the bereaved families of the dead soldiers, the contributors to independence, the President, and the National Key Personnel.

In particular, there is a moment of silence in the middle of the ceremony on Korean Memorial Day, to honor the Patriotic Martyr. During the moment of silence, a siren sounds across the country as well as in the Cemetery, and everyone in the country observes a moment of silence. For one minute of silence, people pray for the repose of the deceased. Also, all vehicles on the main roads of the country, such as Gwanghwamun ro, stop for one minute for the moment of silence.

When Memorial Day is drawing near, a variety of associated events take place in elementary and junior high schools. In particular, there are representative events such as creative writing and poster drawing on Korean Memorial Day. Students who participate in these events draw the soldiers who fought for the country during the Korean War, or write to the soldiers who still defend the country near the Military Demarcation Line, to express their gratitude to them.

Did you know that large and small battles are still often happening around the Military Demarcation Line despite Korea being under a flag of truce? So, until recently, a considerable number of soldiers have lost their lives during the fight for their country. Korean people call those who lose their lives or were injured “men of National Merit” (gukgayugongja).

4. Why June 6th?

Silent Tribute by Candlelight

Do you know why Memorial Day (Korea) is on June 6th?

In Korea, a year is divided into twenty-four. In those twenty-four divisions, June 6th is the first day of the ninth period. And since old times, various sacrifices have been made on this day. That’s why the South Korean government set June 6th as Korean Memorial Day (Hyun Choong Il) when the government decided the Memorial Day in 1954.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Korean Memorial Day

South Korean Flag

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Memorial Day in South Korea!

  • 현충일 (hyeonchungil) — “Memorial Day”
  • 태극기 (taegukgi) — “Flag of South Korea”
  • 묵념 (mungnyeom) — “silent tribute”
  • 애국 (aeguk) — “patriotism”
  • 국군 (gukgun) — “national army”
  • 애국가 (aegukga) — “national anthem”
  • 순국 선열 (sunguk seonyeol) — “martyr”
  • 목숨 (moksum) — “life”
  • 6월 6일 (yuwol yugil) — “June 6th”
  • 영웅 (yeongung) — “hero”
  • 명복 (myeongbok) — “happiness in the next world”
  • 호국 (hoguk) — “defense of one’s country”
  • 국립 서울 현충원 (gungnip seoul hyeonchungwon) — “Seoul National Cemetery”
  • 조의 (joui) — “mark of respect to the dead”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Korean Memorial Day vocabulary list. Here, each word is listed alongside an audio file of its pronunciation.


What do you think about Memorial Day in Korea? Does your country observe a Memorial Day? Let us know in the comments!

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