Korean Words And Basic Vocabulary That Are Used Most Often

Korean is one of the most fun languages that I have researched and tried to learn. Though it can be challenging as starters it is worth the time spent.

So if you are interested and eager to learn Korean, then, this article will aid you.

In this article, we have compiled all the simple Korean words and basic vocabulary as well as phrases that can be used most often in our daily lives for easy learning.

Korean Words And Basic Vocabulary

In this section, the Korean Words will be divided into segments to aid effective learning and understanding.

These words have been written in both Hangul (Korean Alphabet) and romanized English.

Having said that, if you are ready for some fun, let’s get started….

  • Korean Words For Beginners

The Korean words for beginners like you are words you can easily learn as they are often used in Korean dramas, movies, and other entertainment channels.

They are very useful as they are often used in daily conversations.

Here’s a list of Korean words for beginners:

  • 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo): Hello
  •  감사합니다 (kamsahamnida): Thank you
  •  천만에요 (cheonmaneyo): You’re welcome
  •  잠시만요 (jamsimanyo): Excuse me
  •  괜찮아요 (gwaenchanayo): Okay
  •  죄송합니다 (joisonghamnida): I’m sorry
  •  주세요 (juseyo): Please give me
  •  몰라요 (mollayo):  Don’t know
  • 알아요 (arayo): I know
  •  이해해요 (ihaehaeyo): I understand
  •  좋아요 (joayo): Good
  •  안 좋아요 (an joayo): Not good
  • Korean Food Words

Food plays a big part in Korean culture. 

So, learning these simple Korean words will be helpful as you learn Korean and South Korean culture. 

It’ll be easy for you to talk about food in your everyday life in South Korea if you learn these basic Korean words. 

Below are the basic Korean words related to food with their respective meaning.

They are as follows:

  • Korean word: 물 (mul) 

  English Meaning: Water

   Sentence illustration: 

하루에 물 세 잔 마셔요.

(harue mul se jan masyeoyo.)

I drink 3 glasses of water a day

  • Korean Word: 밥 (bap)

English Meaning: Rice

Sentence illustration: 

내일 밥 같이 먹을래요?

(naeil bap gachi meogeullaeyo?)

Shall we eat together tomorrow?

  • Korean Word: 야채 (yachae)

English Meaning: Vegetable

Sentence illustration: 

시장에서 야채를 샀어요.

(sijangeseo yachaereul sasseoyo.)

I bought vegetables at the market.

  • Korean Word: 과일 (gwail)

English Meaning: Fruit

Sentence illustration: 

어떤 과일 좋아하세요?

(eotteon gwail joahaseyo?)

What kind of fruit do you like?

  • Korean Word: 고기 (gogi)

English Meaning: Meat

Sentence illustration: 

어제 저녁에 고기를 구워 먹었어요.

(eoje jeonyeoge gogireul guwo meogeosseoyo.)

“Last night I ate grilled meat”

  • Korean Word: 빵 (ppang)

English Meaning: Bread

Sentence illustration: 

빵 먹을때 버터랑 잼이랑 같이 먹어요.

(ppang meogeulttae beoteorang jaemirang gachi meogeoyo.)

I eat bread with butter and jam

Korean Family & Relationship Words

These are fantastic Korean words to learn to help you understand everyday conversations. 

For sure, you’ll need these if you’re going to meet and talk to Koreans in their language!

  • Korean Word: 친구 (chingu)

English Meaning: Friend

Sentence illustration: 

오늘 친구하고 만나기로 했어요.

(oneul chinguhago mannagiro haesseoyo.)

I made plans to meet my friend today

  • Korean Word: 가족 (gajok)

English Meaning: Family

Sentence illustration: 

가족들과 함께 여행을 가요

(gajokdeulgwa hamkke yeohaengeul gayo)

I go on a trip with my family

  • Korean Word: 아빠 (appa)

English Meaning: Dad

Sentence illustration: 

우리 아빠 친절하세요

(uri appa chinjeolhaseyo)

My dad is kind

  • Korean Word: 엄마 (eomma)

English Meaning: Mom

Sentence illustration: 

어제 엄마랑 통화했는데 아주 기뻐하셨어.

(eoje eommarang tonghwahaenneunde aju gippeohasyeosseo.)

My mom was happy because I talked to her on the phone yesterday.

  • Korean Word: 남자 친구 (namja chingu)

English Meaning: Boyfriend

Sentence illustration: 

아직도 남자친구가 없어요?

(ajikdo namjachinguga eopseoyo?)

Do you still not have a boyfriend?

  • Korean Word: 여자 친구 (yeoja chingu)

English Meaning: Girlfriend

Sentence illustration: 

여자친구와 커피 마시러 카페에 갑니다.

(yeojachinguwa keopi masireo kapee gamnida.)

I go to the cafe to drink coffee with my girlfriend.

  • Korean Word: 결혼 (gyeolhon)

English Meaning: Marriage

Sentence illustration: 

다음 달에 결혼할 거예요.

(daeum dare gyeolhonhal geoyeyo.)

I will get married next month

  • Korean Word: 남편 (nampyeon)

English Meaning: Husband

Sentence illustration: 

내 첫사랑은 지금의 남편입니다.

(nae cheotsarangeun jigeumui nampyeonimnida.)

My first love is now my husband

  • Korean Word: 아내 (anae)

English Meaning: Wife

Sentence illustration: 

아내를 만나러 왔습니다.

(anaereul mannareo watseumnida.)

I came out to meet my wife

Korean Basic Conversation Words

This is the most common vocabulary you will hear in everyday language discussions and chats. 

These are great words to know along with how to write your name in Korean and how to do a simple self-introduction.

  • Korean Word: 집 (jip)

English Meaning: House

Sentence illustration:

집에 도착했어요.

(jibe dochakaesseoyo)

I arrived at my house.

  • Korean Word: 화장실 (hwajangsil)

English Meaning: Bathroom

Sentence illustration: 

화장실 앞에서 20분이나 기다렸어요.

(hwajangsil apeseo isipbunina gidaryeosseoyo.)

I waited in front of the bathroom for 20 minutes.

  • Korean Word: 나라 (nara)

English Meaning: Country

Sentence illustration:

나는 따뜻한 나라가 너무 좋아!

(naneun ttatteuthan naraga neomu joa!)

I really like warm countries!

  • Korean Word: 직업 (jigeop)

English Meaning: Job

Sentence illustration: 

직업이 뭐예요?

(jigeobi mwoyeyo?)

What’s the person’s job?

  • Korean Word: 사람 (saram)

English Meaning: Person

Sentence illustration: 

어느 나라 사람이에요?

(eoneu nara saramieyo?)

What country are you from?

  • Korean Word: 왼쪽 (oenjjok)

English Meaning: Left

Sentence illustration: 

그림을 왼쪽으로 옮겨주세요.

(geurimeul oenjjogeuro olgyeojuseyo.)

Please move the picture to the left.

  • Korean Word: 오른쪽 (oreunjjok)

English Meaning: Right

Sentence illustration: 

내리실 문은 오른쪽입니다.

(naerisil muneun oreunjjogimnida)

The exit door is on the right.

Korean Time Words

Use these Korean time words to talk about common events and when they happen.

After learning the words below, you can up your time game by learning the Korean numbers and start telling time in Korean.

Having these two skills are very useful for learning the Korean language.

  • Korean Word: 시간 (sigan)

English Meaning: Time  

Sentence illustration: 

저는 1시간 동안 운동했어요

(jeoneun han sigan dongan undonghaesseoyo)

I exercised for 1 hour

  • Korean Word: 지금 (jigeum) 

English Meaning: Now  

Sentence illustration: 

지금 점심 시간이에요

(jigeum jeomsim siganieyo)

It’s lunchtime now.

  • Korean Word: 오늘 (oneul)

English Meaning: Today  

Sentence illustration: 

오늘 약속 있어요?

(oneul yaksok isseoyo?)

Do you have plans today?

  • Korean Word: 어제 (eoje)

English Meaning: Yesterday  

Sentence illustration: 어제 파 티 어땠어요?

(eoje pati eottaesseoyo?)

How was the party yesterday?

  • Korean Word: 내일 (naeil)

English Meaning: Tomorrow  

Sentence illustration: 

내일 여동생 생일이에요

(naeil yeodongsaeng saengirieyo)

Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday

Korean Verbs

Learn these common Korean verbs first and be having conversations in Korean in no time. 

Here are the common Korean verbs that’ll help you speak Korean in daily conversations.

  • Korean Word: 가다 (gada)

English Meaning: To go  

Sentence illustration: 

학원에 갑니다.

(hagwone gamnida.)

I go to the academy

  • Korean Word:  오다 (oda)

English Meaning: To come  

Sentence illustration: 

언니가 집에서 호텔로 옵니다.

(eonniga hotello omnida.)

My sister came to the hotel from home.

  • Korean Word: 있다 (itda)

English Meaning: To have

Sentence illustration: 

나 커다란 인형을 가지고 있어!

(na keodaran inhyeongeul gajigo isseo!)

I have a large doll!

  •  Korean Word: 이다 (ida)

English Meaning: To be  

Sentence illustration: 아빠가 한국 사람이다.

(appaga hanguk saramida.)

My dad is Korean

  •  Korean Word: 먹다 (meokda) 

English Meaning: To eat  

Sentence illustration: 

고양이가 생선을 먹었다.

(goyangiga saengseoneul meogeotda.)

The cat ate a fish

  •  Korean Word: 마시다 (masida)

English Meaning: To drink

Sentence illustration: 

달리기하고 나서 물을 마십니다.

(dalligihago naseo mureul masimnida)

I drink water after running.

  •  Korean Word: 주다 (juda)

English Meaning: To give 

Sentence illustrationon: 아빠가 생일선물을 주셨다.

(appaga saengilseonmureul 3jusyeotda.)

My dad bought me a birthday present

Korean Adjectives

Korean adjectives help you a lot with your language learning as it enables you to describe objects, events, places, or feelings. 

As you’re starting out with your Korean language learning, you don’t need to know all of them. 

You just need to know the common Korean words.

Here are the top adjective Korean words that are commonly used in everyday life. 

  • 좋다 (jota)

English Meaning: To be good  

Sentence illustration: 강아지보다 고양이가 좋아요.

(gangajiboda goyangiga joayo.)

I like cats more than dogs

  • 싫다 (silta)

English Meaning: To be bad  

Sentence illustration: 파프리카를 싫어합니다.

(papeurikareul sileohamnida.)

I don’t like bell peppers

  • 덥다 (deopda)

English Meaning: To be hot

이번 여름은 아주 더워요.

(ibeon yeoreumeun aju deowoyo.)

This summer is really hot

  • 춥다 (chupda)

English Meaning: To be cold

한국의 겨울은 추워요.

(hangugui gyeoureun chuwoyo.)

Korea is cold in the winter

  • 슬프다 (seulpeuda)

English Meaning: To be sad  

다희야, 왜 슬퍼 보여?

(dahuiya, wae seulpeo boyeo?)

DaHee, why do you look sad?

  • 아프다 (apeuda)

English Meaning: to be sick or in pain  

언제부터 배가 아팠어요?

(eonjebuteo baega apasseoyo?)

When did your stomach start hurting?

  • 피곤하다 (pigonhada)

English Meaning: To be tired  

오늘따라 피곤합니다.

(oneulttara pigonhamnida.)

Today I am tired

  • 재미있다 (jaemiitda)

English Meaning: To be interesting  

이 책은 정말 재밌는것 같아요.

(i chaegeun jeongmal jaeminneungeot gatayo.)

This book seems really interesting

Korean Adverbs

Another set of basic words for everyday life you need to know when you learn Korean is adverbs. 

These are words that will be helpful as you speak Korean. They’ll enable you to describe verbs and adjectives that’ll make you sound more like a native.

Below are some of the basic Korean adverbs.

  • 매우 (maeu)

English Meaning: Very  

나는 북한과 남한의 역사에 매우 관심이 있어요.

(naneun bukangwa namhanui yeoksae maeu gwansimi isseoyo)

I’m very interested in the history of North and South Korea.

  • 아주 (aju)

English Meaning: Very  

바닥이 아주 미끄러워요. 조심하세요.

(badagi aju mikkeureowoyo. josimhaseyo)

The floor is very slippery. Please be careful.

  • 꽤 (kkwae)

English Meaning: quite  

이 가방은 꽤 무거워요.

(i gabangeun kkwae mugeowoyo)

This bag is quite heavy.

  • 상당히 (sangdanghi)

quite 가격은 상당히 비싼 편이에요.

(gagyeogeun sangdanghi bissan pyeonieyo)

The price is quite high.

  • 거의 (geoui) almost  

공항에 거의 다 왔어요.

(gonghange geoui da wasseoyo)

We’re almost at the airport.

  • 빨리 (ppalli) fast  

존은 한국어를 빨리 배우고 있어요.

(joneun hangugeoreul ppalli baeugo isseoyo)

John is learning the Korean language fast.

  • 천천히 (cheoncheonhi) slowly  

내 친구가 한국어를 천천히 배우고 있어요.

(nae chinguga hangugeoreul cheoncheonhi baeugo isseoyo)

My friend is slowly learning the Korean language.

Aesthetic Korean Words

As you learn Korean, you’ll discover that there are words in the language that don’t have a direct English translation.

There might be words in English that can be used to explain them, but they don’t necessarily give the exact meaning.

Below is a list of these aesthetic Korean words.

You might be surprised to know about them as you’ve already might have heard them from Korean dramas, movies, or even from your favorite K-pop idols.

  • 눈치 (noonchi)

This word is translated as “sense” or “wits” in English. However, this Korean word is more than just sense and wits.

It’s one’s ability to read, feel and understand people or situations without the need to verbally hear what it is.

A person who has 눈치 is able to react, do or say something simply by observing.

This word comes from the expressions 눈치가 없다 and 눈치가 빠르다.

눈치가 없다 is used for someone who doesn’t know how to weigh or understand situations. Thus making them unable to respond, react or act accordingly.

눈치가 빠르다 is the opposite of 눈치가 없다. 눈치가 빠르다 is used for a person who’s quick to see things through. They easily understand people and situations.

  • 정 (jeong)

정 (jeong) is a word that can talk about affection, attachment, and a feeling of connection. When Koreans use this word, they’re usually referring to the invisible bond that exists in Korean society.

  • 효 (hyo)

This is a word that can be defined as “filial duty.” This can be used to talk about one’s devotion to one’s parents in taking care of them and taking responsibility for them until their old age.내숭 (naesung)

내숭 is used to describe a person who is not real or in other words fake. This can be used for a person who hides their real identity or color.

  • 애교 (aegyo)

There’s no exact one English word that can directly express the meaning of 애교 (aegyo). However, it may be defined as “acting cute” or “being lovely”.

  • 온돌(ondol)

This word literally means “heated rock”. However, in practice, this word is used to refer to the Korean floor heating system.

  • 답답해 (dapdapae) or 답답하다 (dapdapada)

These 2 expressions are translated as “stuffy” or “suffocating”. 

However, these 2 words, when in use, can have a meaning other than “stuffy” or “suffocating”.

In usage, 답답해 or 답답하다 are used when someone feels “frustrated”. It can also be used when you get impatient, or feel irritated at someone’s slowness or narrow point of view.

  • 엄친아 (eomchina)

This word is a combination of 3 Korean words which are 엄마, 친구, and 아들. These words combined mean “son of one’s mother’s friend”. However, this isn’t exactly what 엄친아 means.

엄친아 is used to describe someone, particularly a man who is close to perfection or someone who comes from or has a good background. He could be someone better than you.

For example, a man who is very talented, smart, handsome, and has a good educational background can be described as 엄친아.

The word used to describe women like this is 엄친딸.

  • 어이없다 (eoieopda)

This word can express one’s unbelief of an event or news. It may also be used when you’re left speechless or have nothing to say or comment about because of an out-of-the-ordinary event.

Korean Words Vocabulary

Here are some useful vocabulary words in Korean. 

These are common Korean words you’ll often encounter as you learn the Korean language.

  • Words in Korean

Korean words are called 단어 (daneo). The word for vocabulary in Korean is 어휘 (eohwi) or 용어 (yongeo). There are special words in the Korean language for different types of vocabulary.

  • Nouns in Korean

The word 명사 (myeongsa) is used to talk about nouns in Korean. The different types of nouns are called 보통 명사 (botong myeongsa), 고유 명사 (goyu myeongsa) and 불가산 명사 (bulgasan myeongsa).

The Korean phrases 보통 명사 (botong myeongsa), 고유 명사 (goyu myeongsa), and 불가산 명사 (bulgasan myeongsa) are used for common nouns, proper nouns, and uncountable nouns respectively.

  • Verbs in Korean

동사 (dongsa) is the Korean word for verbs. The Korean phrases for regular and irregular verbs are 규칙동사 (gyuchik dongsa) and 불규칙 동사 (bulgyuchik dongsa).

  • Adjectives in Korean

The Korean word for adjectives is 형용사 (hyeongyongsa).

  • English to Korean Words

You can write English words in Korean by sounding them out slowly in English and then writing the equivalent sounds in Korean.

Read Also:


If you are done reading this, start looking out for words and Korean phrases in your favorite K-dramas, at your neighborhood, Korean restaurant as well on your next trip to Seoul.

It will really go a long way in helping you to memorize them perfectly.

For more tips or comments, do well to post them in the comment section below.

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