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12 Korean Zodiac Elements and Their Personality Traits

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Today, we will introduce the 12 Korean zodiac elements and their personality traits. By learning the adjectives that describe the characteristics of each Zodiac character, you will be able to learn new words and expand your vocabulary skills.

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1. The Korean Zodiac: Who is Your Animal Guardian?

12 Korean zodiac elements

The Lunar calendar was the basis of Korean life cycle way back when, and  many traditional Korean holidays , such as 추석 (Chuseok) and 설날 (Seollal), are still based on the moon’s cycle. There are 12 animal signs, thus, the order is repeated every 12 years.  In Korea, when someone asks about your zodiac sign, they usually do this to determine your age and to get a grasp of your personality–the way they do when they ask you for your blood type or astrology sign.

Let’s learn how to determine your animal guardian based on the year of your birth, and how to say your sign in Korean. We will also learn about the interesting stories behind each animal sign. 

2. What is Your Korean Zodiac Sign and How to Say it in Korean

In Korean, the twelve animal guardians are called “십이지신 (sibijisin), Sexagenary cycle”,  and the order is as follows:

  1. “Mouse” (쥐, jwi)
  2. “Cow” (소, so)
  3. “Tiger” (호랑이, horangi)
  4. “Rabbit” (토끼, tokki)
  5. “Dragon” (용, yong)
  6. “Snake” (뱀, baem)
  7. “Horse” (말, mal)
  8. “Sheep” (양, yang)
  9. “Monkey” (원숭이, wonsungi)
  10. “Rooster” (닭, dak)
  11. “Dog” (개, gae)
  12. “Pig” (돼지, dwaeji)

Usually when you try to memorise the order of 12 Korean animal guardians, we call each animal from Korean characters: 

  • Mouse: 子 which has the sound of 자 [ja] in Korean 
  • Cow: 丑 which has the sound of 축 [chuk] in Korean 
  • Tiger: 寅 which has the sound of 인 [in] in Korean 
  • Rabbit: 卯 which has the sound of 묘 [myo] in Korean 
  • Dragon: 辰 which has the sound of 진 [jin] in Korean
  • Snake: 巳 which has the sound of 사 [sa] in Korean
  • Horse: 午 which has the sound of 오 [o] in Korean
  • Sheep: 未 which has the sound of 미 [mi] in Korean
  • Monkey: 申 which has the sound of 신 [shin] in Korean
  • Rooster: 酉 which has the sound of 유 [yu] in Korean
  • Dog: 戌 which has the sound of 술 [sul] in Korean
  • Pig: 亥 which has the sound of 해 [hae] in Korean

But for now, let’s focus on a more easier way to say your Korean zodiac sign. It is actually very easy – you just need to say the name of the animal in Korean, followed by 띠 [tti]. 

1- List of animal signs in Korean and Birth Year:

  • “Mouse”: 띠 (jwi-tti) – 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
  • “Cow”: 띠 (so-tti) – 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
  • “Tiger”: 호랑이띠 (horangi-tti) – 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
  • “Rabbit”: 토끼띠 (tokki-tti) – 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
  • “Dragon”: 띠 (yong-tti) – 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
  • “Snake”: 띠 (baem-tti) – 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
  • “Horse”: 띠 (mal-tti) – 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
  • “Sheep”: 띠 (yang-tti) – 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
  • “Monkey”: 원숭이띠 (wonsungi-tti) – 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
  • “Rooster”: 띠 (dak-tti) – 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
  • “Dog”: 띠 (gae-tti) – 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
  • “Pig”: 돼지띠 (dwaeji-tti) – 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

When you are asked what your zodiac sign is, you can simply answer by ___띠입니다 (___tti-im-ni-da.), this means “My Korean zodiac sign is ___.” in English. 

For example, let’s say you were born in 1988. This means you are dragon. In that way, when someone asks 무슨 띠예요? (museun ttiyeyo?, What is your Korean zodiac?), meaning “What is your Korean zodiac sign?” in English, you can reply to them by saying, 용띠입니다 (yongttiimnida), meaning “I am the year of the dragon.”

Example sentence #1:

  • Friend: 너 무슨 띠야?

Friend: Neo museun ttiya?

Friend: What’s your sign? 

  • You: 나? 나(는) 용띠(야).

You: Na? Na(neun) yongtti(ya).

You: Me? I’m the year of the dragon. 

Example sentence #2:

  • Friend: 무슨 띠예요?

Friend:  Museun ttiyeyo?

Friend: What’s your Korean zodiac?

  • You: 돼지띠입니다. 

You: Dwaejittiimnida.

You: I’m the year of the pig.

3. Korean Zodiac Sign: Personality Traits and Example Sentences

Now that you have figured your Korean zodiac sign, it’s time to look at it in detail. We have prepared ten adjectives to describe the various personalities of the animals, and listed some of the most famous Korean celebrities who has the same animal year as you. And of course, example sentences for you to practice Korean too! 

A drawing of a mouse

1- 쥐띠 [jwi-tti]  – The Year of the Mouse

1. Personality Traits of Mouse are:

  1. “Imaginative”: 상상력이 풍부하다 (sangsangnyeogi pungbuhada) 
  2. “Sociable”: 사교성이 좋다 (sagyoseongi jota)
  3. “Inquisitiveness”: 캐묻기를 좋아하다 (kaemutgireul joahada) 
  4. “Agile”: 민첩하다 (mincheopada)
  5. “Introverted”: 내성적이다 (naeseongjeogida)
  6. “Philosophical”: 철학적이다 (cheolhakjeogida)
  7. “Fashionable”: 패션감각이 있다 (paesyeongamgagi itda)
  8. “Fun”: 재미있다 (jaemiitda)
  9. “Sociable”: 사교적이다 (sagyojeogida)
  10.  “Smart”: 똑똑하다 (ttokttokada)

2. Korean Celebrities: 

3. Example Sentences:

  • 쥐띠의 사람은 상상력이 풍부하며 사교성이 좋습니다. 

Jwittiui sarameun sangsangnyeogi pungbuhamyeo sagyoseongi joseumnida.

“The person who was born in the year of the mouse is very imaginative and sociable.”

  • 쥐띠의 사람은 궁금증이 많아 캐묻기를 좋아합니다.

Jwittiui sarameun gunggeumjeungi mana kaemutgireul joahamnida.

“The person who was born under the year of the mouse is very curious in nature, therefore likes to ask many questions.”

A drawing of a cow

2- 소띠 [so-tti] – The Year of the Cow

1. Personality Traits of the Cow are:

  1. “Trustworthy”: 믿음직 스럽다 (mideumjik seureopda)
  2. “Very patient”: 참을성이 강하다 (chameulseongi ganghada)
  3. “Authoritative”: 권위적이다 (gwonwijeogida)
  4. “Efficient”: 능률적이다 (neungnyuljeogida) 
  5. “Rational”: 논리적이다 (nollijeogida)
  6. “Systematic”: 조직적이다 (jojikjeogida)
  7. “Calm”: 침착하다 (chimchakada)
  8. “Independent”: 자립적이다 (jaripjeogida) 
  9. “Warm”: 따뜻하다 (ttatteuthada)
  10. “Slow”: 둔하다 (dunhada)

2. Korean Celebrities: 

  1. 전도연 (Jeon Do-yeon)
  2. 고준희 (Go Joon-hee)
  3. 이정재 (Lee Jung-jae)
  4. 임창정 (Im Chang-jung)
  5. 송은이 (Song Eun-i)

3. Example Sentences:

  • 소띠의 사람은 믿음직스럽기로 유명합니다.

Sottiui sarameun mideumjikseureopgiro yumyeonghamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the cow is famous for being patient.

  • 소띠의 사람은 마음이 따뜻하기로 유명합니다.

Sottiui sarameun maeumi ttatteuthagiro yumyeonghamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the cow is for having a very warm heart.

A drawing of a tiger

3- 호랑이띠 [horangi-tti] – The Year of the Tiger

1. Personality Traits of the Tiger are:

  1. “Independence”: 독립심이 강하다 (dongnipsimi ganghada) 
  2. “Adventurous”: 모험심이 강하다 (moheomsimi ganghada) 
  3. “Outgoing” : 적극적이다 (jeokgeukjeogida)
  4. “hones”: 솔직하다 (soljikada)
  5. “Competitive (likes to win all the time)”: 승부력이 강하다 (seungburyeogi ganghada)
  6. “Stubborn”: 자기고집이 세다 (jagigojibi seda)
  7. “Unable to tolerate any injustice”: 불의를 참지 못한다 (buruireul chamji mothanda)
  8. “Optimistic” : 낙천적이다 (nakcheonjeogida)
  9. “Assertive”: 자기 주장이 강하다 (jagi jujangi ganghada)

2. Korean Celebrities: 

3. Example Sentences:

  • 호랑이띠의 사람은 주로 독립심이 하고 적극적인 성격을 가졌습니다. 

Horangittiui sarameun juro dongnipsimi hago jeokgeukjeogin seonggyeogeul gajyeotseumnida.

A person who was born in the year of the tiger has very independent and outgoing personality.

  • 호랑이띠의 사람은 승부력이 강하기때문에 자기 주장을 강하게 말합니다. 

Horangittiui sarameun seungburyeogi ganghagittaemune jagi jujangeul ganghage malhamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the tiger is very competitive, therefore is very assertive.

Drawing of a rabbit

4- 토끼띠 [tokki-tti] – The Year of the Rabbit

1. Personality Traits of the Rabbit are:

  1. “Sensible”: 현명하다 (hyeonmyeonghada) 
  2. “Very rational”: 합리화가 강하다 hamnihwaga ganghada) 
  3. “Hard-working”: 부지런하다 (bujireonhada)
  4. “Gentle personality”: 온화한 성격이다 (onhwahan seonggyeogida) 
  5. “Quick-witted”: 재치가 있다 (jaechiga itda)
  6. “Intellectual”: 지적이다 (jijeogida)
  7. “Polished”: 세련적이다 (seryeonjeogida)
  8. “Honest”: 정직하다 (jeongjikada)
  9. “Sympathetic”: 동정적이다 (jeogida)
  10. “Reluctant”: 망설인다 (mangseorinda)

2. Korean Celebrities: 

3. Example Sentences:

  • 토끼띠의 사람은 온화한 성격을 가지고 있어 주위 사람으로부터 인기가 많다. 

tokkittiui sarameun onhwahan seonggyeogeul gajigo isseo juwi sarameurobuteo ingiga manta.

A  person who was born in the year of the rabbit is gentle so that people like him.

  • 토끼띠의 사람은 부지런한 성격을 가졌다. 

tokkittiui sarameun bujireonhan seonggyeogeul gajyeotda.

A  person who was born in the year of the rabbit is famous for being hard-working.

A drawing of a dragon

5- 용띠 [yong-tti] – The Year of the Dragon

1. Personality Traits of the Dragon are:

  1. “Generous”: 관대하다 (gwandaehada)
  2. “Outgoing”: 외향적이다 (oehyangjeogida)
  3. “arrogant”: 오만해 보인다 (omanhae boinda) 
  4. “Active”: 활동적이다 (hwaldongjeogida) 
  5. “Self-assertive”: 자기 주장이 강하다 (jagi jujangi ganghada)
  6. “Perfectionist”: 완벽함을 추구한다 (wanbyeokameul chuguhanda)
  7. “Talkative”: 수다를 좋아한다 (sudareul joahanda)
  8. “Lucky”: 운이 좋다 (uni jota)
  9. “Impatient”: 성급하다 (seonggeupada)
  10. “Straightforward”: 직설적이다 (jikseoljeogida)

2. Korean Celebrities: 

3. Example Sentences:

  • 용띠의 사람은 평소 자기 주장이 강하여 오만해 보일 수 있다. 

Yongttiui sarameun pyeongso jagi jujangi ganghayeo omanhae boil su itda.

A person who was born in the year of the dragon is self-assertive, therefore they may be seen as arrogant by others.

  • 용띠의 사람은 외향적이고 활동적이다. 

Yongttiui sarameun oehyangjeogigo hwaldongjeogida.

A person who was born in the year of the dragon is outgoing and active.

A drawing of a snake

6- 뱀띠 [baem-tti] – The Year of the Snake

1. Personality Traits of the Snake are:

  1. “Intuitive”: 현명하다 (hyeonmyeonghada)
  2. “Calm”: 차분하다 (chabunhada)
  3. “Charismatic”: 카리스마가 강하다 (kariseumaga ganghada)
  4. “Graceful”: 우아하다 (uahada)
  5. “Jealous”: 질투심이 있다 (jiltusimi itda)
  6. “Quite”: 조용하다 (joyonghada)
  7. “Self-critical”: 자기 비판적이다 (jagi bipanjeogida)
  8. “Insuitive”: 직관력이 있다 (jikgwallyeogi itda)
  9. “Romantic”: 로맨틱하다 (romaentikad)
  10. “Humble”: 겸손하다 (gyeomsonhada)

2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 뱀띠의 사람은 차분하고 카리스마가 강한것으로 알려져있다.

Baemttiui sarameun chabunhago kariseumaga ganghangeoseuro allyeojyeoitda.

A person who was born in the year of the snake is known to be calm and charismatic.

  • 뱀띠의 사람은 로맨틱하지만 쉽게 질투심을 느낀다.

Baemttiui sarameun romaentikajiman swipge jiltusimeul neukkinda.

A person who was born in the year of the snake is romantic but gets jealous easily.

A drawing of a horse

7- 말띠 [mal-tti] – The Year of the Horse

1. Personality Traits of the Horse are:

  1. “Independent”: 독립심이 강하다 (dongnipsimi ganghada)
  2. “Realistic”: 현실적이다 (hyeonsiljeogida)
  3. “Individualists”: 개인주의자이다 (gaeinjuuijaida)
  4. “Stubborn”: 고집이 있다 (gojibi itda)
  5. “On a short fuse”: 화를 잘낸다 (hwareul jallaenda)
  6. “Persuasive”: 설득력이 있다 (seoldeungnyeogi itda)
  7. “Careless”: 조심성이 없다 (josimseongi eopda)
  8. “Faithful”: 성실하다 (seongsilhada)
  9. “Cheerful”: 명랑하다 (myeongnanghada)
  10. “Sociable”: 사회성이 있다 (sahoeseongi itda)

2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 빅뱅의 멤머인 승리는 말띠입니다. 

Bikbaengui memmeoin seungnineun malttiimnida.

Seungri is one of the members of BingBang and was born in the year of the horse.

  • 말띠의 사람은 사회성이 있고 명랑하다고 알려져 있다.

Malttiui sarameun sahoeseongi itgo myeongnanghadago allyeojyeo itda.

A person who was born in the year of the horse is known to be sociable and cheerful.

A drawing of a sheep

8-  양띠 [yang-tti] – The Year of the Sheep

1. Personality Traits of the Sheep are:

  1. “Timid”: 소심하다 (sosimhada) 
  2. “Friendly”: 친절하다 (chinjeolhada)
  3. “Weak of purpose”: 의지가 약하다 (uijiga yakada)
  4. “Considerate”: 이해심이 많다 (ihaesimi manta)
  5. “Peaceful”: 평화롭다 (pyeonghwaropda)
  6. “Adaptable”: 적응력이 뛰어나다 (jeogeungnyeogi ttwieonada)
  7. “Gracious”: 품위가 있다 (pumwiga itda)
  8. “Sensitive”: 예민하다 (yeminhada)
  9. “Pessimistic”: 비관적이다 (bigwanjeogida)
  10. “Unpredictable”: 변덕스럽다 (byeondeokseureopda)

 2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 연기자 배두나는 양띠입니다. 

Yeongija baedunaneun yangttiimnida.

Actress named Bae Doona was born in the year of the sheep. 

  • 양띠의 사람은 친절하고 이해심이 많습니다. 

Yangttiui sarameun chinjeolhago ihaesimi manseumnida.

A person who was born in the year of sheep is friendly and considerate. 

A drawing of a monkey

9-  원숭이띠 [wonsungi-tti] – The Year of the Monkey

1. Personality Traits of the Monkey are:

  1. “Stern”: 단호하다 (danhohada
  2. “Confident”: 자신이 있다 (jasini itda)
  3. “Vanity”: 허영심이 있다 (heoyeongsimi itda)  
  4. “Arrogant”: 잘난 체를 한다 (jallan chereul handa)
  5. “Observant”: 관찰력이 있다 (gwanchallyeogi itda)
  6. “Versatile”: 다재다능이다 (dajaedaneungida)
  7. “Quick”: 재빠르다 (jaeppareuda)
  8. “Independent”: 독립적이다 (dongnipjeogida)
  9. “Imaginative”: 창의력이 있다 (changuiryeogi itda)  
  10. “Opportunist”: 기회주의자이다 (gihoejuuijaida)

2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 원숭이띠의 사람은 다재다능인 사람입니다. 

Wonsungittiui sarameun dajaedaneungin saramimnida.

A person who was born in the year of the monkey is versatile.

  • 원숭이띠의 사람은 매우 독립적입니다. 

Wonsungittiui sarameun maeu dongnipjeogimnida.

A person who was born in the year of the monkey is very independent. 

A drawing of a rooster

10- 닭띠 [dak-tti] – The Year of the Rooster

1. Personality Traits of the Rooster are:

  1. “Sensitive”: 예민하다 (yeminhada)
  2. “Impatient”: 성급하다 (seonggeupada)
  3. “Intelligent”: 똑똑하다 (ttokttokada)
  4. “Kind”: 인정이 많다 (injeongi manta) 
  5. “Faithful”: 의리가 있다 (uiriga itda)
  6. “Dreamers”: 몽상가이다 (mongsanggaida)
  7. “Pure”: 마음의 청순하다 (maeumui cheongsunhada)
  8. “Meticulous”: 꼼꼼하다 (kkomkkomhada)
  9. “Braggers”: 자랑을 좋아한다 (jarangeul joahanda) 
  10. “Not good at lying”: 거짓말을 못한다 (geojinmareul mothanda)

2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 닭띠의 사람은 거짓말을 잘 못합니다. 

Dalttiui sarameun geojinmareul jal mot hamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the rooster is not good at lying. 

  • 닭띠의 사람은 의리가 있어서 믿음직합니다. 

Dalttiui sarameun uiriga isseoseo mideumjikamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the rooster is faithful, therefore he/she is trustworthy.

A drawing of a dog

11- 개띠 [gae-tti] – The Year of the Dog

1. Personality Traits of the Dog are:

  1. “Devotional”: 헌신적이다 (heonsinjeogida)
  2. “Trustworthy”: 믿을 수 있다 (mideul su itda)
  3. “Responsible”: 책임감이 있다  (chaegimgami itda)
  4. “Pugnacious”: 싸우기를 좋아한다 (ssaugireul joahanda) 
  5. “Cynical”: 냉소적이다 (naengsojeogida)
  6. “Understanding”: 너그럽다 (neogeureopda)
  7. “Serious-minded”: 생각이 깊다 (saenggagi gipda)
  8. “Frank”: 솔직하다 (soljikada)
  9. “Passionate”: 열정적이다 (yeoljeongjeogida)
  10. “Defensive”: 방어적이다 (bangeojeogida)

2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 개띠의 사람은 생각이 깊습니다. 

Gaettiui sarameun saenggagi gipseumnida.

A person who was born in the year of the dog is serious. 

  • 개띠의 사람은 매우 솔직한 편입니다. 

Gaettiui sarameun maeu soljikan pyeonimnida.

A person who was born in the year of the dog is quite frank (about his/her opinion).

A drawing of a pig

12- 돼지띠 [daweji-tti] – The Year of the Pig

1. Personality Traits of the Pig are:

  1. “Honest”: 정직하다 (jeongjikada)
  2. “Equitable”: 공평하다 (gongpyeonghada)
  3. “Impulsive”: 충동적이다 (chungdongjeogida)
  4. “Attentive”: 자상하다 (jasanghada)
  5. “Simple”: 단순하다 (dansunhada)
  6. “Easily deceived”: 잘 속는다 (jal songneundl)
  7. “Brave”: 용기가 있다 (yonggiga itda)
  8. “Gallant”: 씩씩하다 (ssikssikada)
  9. “Polite”: 예의가 바르다 (yeuiga bareuda)

2. Korean Celebrities:

3. Example Sentences:

  • 돼지띠의 사람은 다른 사람들에게 자상합니다.

Dwaejittiui sarameun dareun saramdeurege jasanghamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the pig is attentive of others.

  • 돼지띠의 사람은 항상 씩씩합니다. 

Dwaejittiui sarameun hangsang ssikssikamnida.

A person who was born in the year of the pig is always gallant.

Yin yang and 12 zodiac signs

4. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

Do you think that the personality lists of your animal year match with your personality? KoreanClass101.com has various lessons about animals. If you want to extend your vocabularies for animals or marines, check out these two pages: “Animal Names(동물 이름, dongmul ireum) and “Marine Animals (해양 동물, haeyang dongmul). Once you learn these words, you cannot miss out on onomatopoeia! Check out “Sounds That Animals Make (동물이 내는 소리, dongmuri naeneun sori) when you have time. 
We also have a free adjective vocabulary list on our website, check out “Which Adjective Describes Your Personality Best?” (당신의 성격을 가장 잘 표현하는 형용사는 무엇입니까?, Dangsinui seonggyeogeul gajang jal pyohyeonhaneun hyeongyongsaneun mueosimnikka?) to learn more adjectives to describe personalities.

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