How to Say “Doctor” in Korean – Useful medical terms to learn

Last Updated on December 6, 2021 by 90 Day Korean
A doctor at work wearing his white coat

If you happen to have an emergency situation in Korea, knowing how to say “doctor” in Korean will come in handy. While none of us come to Korea with the hopes and dreams of getting hurt – surely it’s the opposite – sometimes a visit to a doctor simply is inevitable.

In addition to that, before you enter the doctor’s office or hospital in Korea, it’s good to know the medical terms in Korean. ! In those moments, knowing how to say doctor is an essential addition to your Korean vocabulary. It allows you to explain to your Korean friends what you need help for, and in turn, they can help you find the right doctor for your needs and perhaps even get you to the doctor’s office.

In this lesson, we will go over Korean words for different medical terms, from how to say common cold or flu, to how to ask for help in an urgent situation regarding your health. It will be a helpful guide to you if you ever need to see a doctor when in Korea – even if it’s just a small issue like an eye infection!

“Doctor” in Korean

So, how to say doctor in Korean? The word you’re looking for is “의사” (uisa). Whether you’re describing a physician, pediatrician, or a general doctor, the basic word to use is always “의사 (uisa)”. You might trip over the pronunciation a little bit at first, but otherwise, the word is easy peasy to memorize!

Korean medical vocabulary

Now that you’ve learned how to say “doctor” in Korean, let’s now continue learning more terms. We’ve listed essential medical-related Korean vocabulary below along with their pronunciation and grouped them into categories; from the general terms to diseases and medicines. Before that, it’s also relevant to know why learning these is important.

Why is it important to learn medical vocabulary in Korean?

By knowing the exact Korean word for each medical term, you can more comfortably pinpoint where it hurts and what you are feeling, from a simple sore throat or headache to something that needs a visit to the emergency room. Knowing the precise Korean word will help your native Korean friends in helping you at the hospital, and you will not accidentally be diagnosed by doctors with the wrong thing.

You can also understand your Korean friend better when they speak of their sickness and therefore offer accurate assistance. By referring to our “body parts in Korean” vocabulary article, you will also become familiar with each Korean word for different body parts. Know both these medical terms and Korean words for the body parts to determine what’s wrong early on. After all, prevention is better than cure!

Basic medical vocabulary

These are the Korean words that are commonly used when talking about medical-related topics.

KoreanEnglish
약 (yak)Medicine (drug)
의학 (uihak)Medicine (field)
아프다 (apeuda)Sick, hurt, in pain
메스껍다 (meseukkeopda)Sick, nauseous
병이 난 (byeongi nan)
Sick, ill, unwell
혈액형 (hyeoraekhyeong)
Blood type
감기 (gamgi)Cold
독감 (dokgam)Flu
기침 (gichim)
Cough
콧물 (kotmul)Runny nose
귀 통증 (gwi tongjeung)Ear ache
열 (yeol)Fever
고열 (goyeol)High fever
떨다 (tteolda)Shiver
체온 (cheon)Body temperature
두통 (dutong)Headache
어지럽다 (eojireopda)
아찔하다 (ajjilhada)
Dizzy
흐릿한 시야 (heurithan siya)
Blurry vision
고혈압 (gohyeorap)High blood pressure
맥박 (maekbag)
Pulse
복통 (boktong)Stomachache
구토 (guto)Vomiting
설사 (seolsa)Diarrhea
변비 (byeonbi)Constipation
욕지기 (yokjigi)Nausea
토할 것 같다 (tohal geot gatda)
Feel nauseous
치통 (chitong)Toothache
치료 (chiryo)Treatment
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Common diseases and conditions

Below are the Korean words for diseases and conditions that can be commonly experienced.

KoreanEnglish
관절염 (gwanjeollyeom)Arthritis
알레르기 (allereugi)Allergy
천식 (cheonsik)Asthma
감기 (gamgi)Colds
암 (am)Cancer
당뇨병 (dangnyobyeong)Diabetes
임신중 (imsinjung)Pregnancy
일사병 (ilsabyeong)Sunstroke

Korean words for medicines

Learning the Korean words for these treatments is very important especially when you’re not feeling well.

KoreanEnglish
항생제 (hangsaengje)Antibiotic
아스피린 (aseupirin)Aspirin
기침약 (gichimyak)Cough syrup
진통제 (jintongje)Painkiller
처방전약 (cheobangjeonyak)
Prescription medicine
비타민 (bitamin)Vitamin
백신 (baek-sin)Vaccine
주사 (jusa)Injection
수술 (su-sul)Operation

Hospital in Korean

The word for hospital in the Korean language is 병원 (byeongwon). You can use it for any type, such as a field hospital or cottage hospital. Below you will see more vocabulary related to hospitals.

Medical concept with hospital building and ambulance car in flat style. Vector.

Korean vocabulary for hospitals

Below are Korean words that are often used in hospitals.

KoreanEnglish
구급차 (gugeupcha)Ambulance
진단 (jindan)Diagnosis
응급실 (eunggeupsil)Emergency room
진찰 (jinchal)Examination
간호사 (ganhosa)Nurse
아픔 (apeum)Pain
환자 (hawanja)Patient
증상 (jeungsang)Symptom

Different branches of medicine vocabulary

The Korean words below pertain to medicine’s different branches. These can help you locate them easier in hospitals.

KoreanEnglish
피부과 (pibugwa)Dermatology
치과 (chigwa)Dentistry
이비인후과 (ibiinhugwa)Ear, nose, and throat
외과 (oegwa)General surgery
안과 (angwa)Ophthalmology
정형외과 (jeonghyeongoegwa)Orthopedic
소아과 (soagwa)Pediatrics
성형외과 (seonghyeongoegwa)Plastic surgery

Sample Korean medical phrases

Here is a list of phrases in the Korean language that may be good as they are or provide guidance for how to say what you need to say. These can be used with your friend, personnel in hospitals, or perhaps a taxi driver in case of emergency.

Phrases to say to a taxi driver:

The first step of getting treatment is actually going to hospitals. Here are some useful Korean phrases to say to the taxi driver.

KoreanEnglish
제일 가까운 병원으로 가주세요. (jeil gakkaun byeongwoneuro gajuseyo.)Please take me to the nearest hospital.

Phrases said to patients:

If you’re a patient, these might be questions or sentences that you’ll often hear.

KoreanEnglish
통증이 있으세요? (tongjeungi isseuseyo?)Do you have any pain?
어디가 아프세요? (eodiga apeuseyo?)Where does it hurt?
증세가 어떻세요? (jeungsega eotteoseyo?)
What are your symptoms?
언제부터 아프셨어요? (eonjebuteo apeusyeosseoyo?)
Since when has it hurt?
의사 선생님이 곧 오실 거예요. (uisa seonsaengnimi got osil geoyeyo.)The doctor will be here soon.
검사가 더 필요해요. (geomsaga deo pillyohaeyo.)You need further examination.
결과는 며칠후에 나와요. (gyeolgwaneun myeochilhue nawayo.)We'll get the results in a few days.
입원하셔야 돼요. (ibwonhasyeoya dwaeyo.)You need to be admitted to the hospital.
수술해야 돼요. (susulhaeya dwaeyo.)You need surgery.
의사를 필요하세요? (euisareul piryohaseyo?)Do you need a doctor?

Phrases a patient uses in hospitals:

Here are some useful phrases often used by patients in hospitals.

KoreanEnglish
입원실 비용이 어떻게 되세요?
(ibwonsil biyongi eotteoke doeseyo?)
How much does hospitalization cost?
언제 퇴원할 수 있나요? (eonje toewonhal su innayo?)When can I be discharged?
응급실이 어디에요? (eunggeupsiri eodieyo?)Where is the ER?
저는 의사가 필요해요. (jeoneun uisaga pillyohaeyo.)I need a doctor.
의사 선생님 좀 불러주세요. (uisa seonsaengnim jom bulleojuseyo.)Please call a doctor.
오늘 의사가 계세요? (oneul euisaga gyeseyo?)Is the doctor present today?
저는 의사를 필요해요. (jeoneun euisareul piryohaeyo.)I need a doctor.

Phrases to express how you feel:

Here are some useful ways to clearly express what you’re feeling.

KoreanEnglish
감기 걸렸어요. (gamgi geollyeosseoyo.)I have a cold.
저 지금 많이 아파요. (jeo jigeum mani apayo.)I am in a lot of pain right now.
X 아파요. (X apayo.)My X hurts.
여기 아파요. (yeogi apayo.)It hurts here. 
열이 있어요. (yeori isseoyo.)I have a fever.
심장병이 있어요. (simjangbyeongi isseoyo.)I have heart disease.
설사 해요. (seolsa haeyo.)I have diarrhea.
어제보다 나아졌어요. (eojeboda naajyeosseoyo.)I feel better than yesterday.
제 병이 악화됐어요. (je byeongi akwadwaesseoyo.)My disease worsened.

Other useful phrases you might use:

Here are more medical-related Korean phrases that might be useful.

KoreanEnglish
건강보험증 있어요. (geongangboheomjeung isseoyo.)I have an insurance card.
건강보험증 없어요. (geongangboheomjeung eopseoyo.)I don't have an insurance card.
구급차 불러 주세요! (gugeupcha bulleo juseyo!)Please call an ambulance!
응급상황이에요. (eunggeupsanghwangieyo.)It's an emergency.
일회용 밴드가 필요해요. (ilhoeyong baendeuga pillyohaeyo.)I need a band-aid.
붕대가 필요해요. (bungdaega pillyohaeyo.)I need a bandage.
진통제가 필요해요. (jintongjega pillyohaeyo.)I need painkillers.
제일 가까운 병원은 어디 있어요? (jeil gakkaun byeongwoneun eodi isseoyo?)Where is the closest hospital?
병원에 가야될 것 같아요. (byeongwone gayadoel geot gatayo.)I think I'll need to go to a hospital.
다리를 이렇게 아프게 다쳤으면 의사를 보러 가요. (darireul ireohke apeuge dachyeosseumyeon euisareul boreo gayo.)If you hurt your leg this bad, go see a doctor.
우리 아버지는 안과 의사예요. (uri abeojineun angwa euisayeyo.)Our father is an eye doctor.
나는 의사로 되고 싶어. (naneun euisaro dwaego sipeo.)I want to become a doctor.

Want more Korean phrases? Click here for a complete list!

Korean medical dramas to watch to learn even more

To enhance today’s learning, as well as to make memorizing these terms and learning Korean even more fun, how about watching a Korean drama taking place in the hospitals?

Hospital Playlist

Photo credit: https://sbs.com.au

Hospital Ship

The first one is “Hospital Ship” from 2017, starring the amazing Ha Ji-won, is an interesting Korean drama taking place on a ship. Besides offering a unique twist on a medical drama, it’s got a great cast with excellent characters. And, it’s available on Netflix!

Doctors

Another one that we recommend is 2016’s “Doctors” which takes a more traditional approach to medical dramas, with the adorable Park Shin Hye as its lead. It was a top drama among Korean viewers, and should also be available for you to see on Netflix.

Hospital Playlist

Lastly, the Korean drama Hospital Playlist is a must-watch. It had two seasons which already says a lot. This drama gives you a mix of comedy, romance, drama, and friendship. But most importantly, it can give you an idea about Korean medical terms, how each department in the hospital function, and it can describe setups in hospitals in Korea.

These are just three examples of the many Korean dramas out there that touch upon the topics we’ve been learning about today! Watching these can be a great way to learn some terms. And not only that, but you can also learn a little bit more about the medical culture in Korea, even if these are works of fiction.

Hurray, you have learned a lot today about Korean medical terms! They are such an important topic to learn about in case an emergency or illness strikes while you are in the South. Have you ever needed to see a doctor before when traveling or living abroad? What’s the most exciting thing you learned today? Let us know below in the comments! Stay healthy! Read more about life in Korea for foreigners in another article of ours!

Photo Credit: Bigstock.com

    10 replies to "How to Say “Doctor” in Korean – Useful medical terms to learn"

    • Avatar for Heizi Heizi

      How do I call doctor with their name? for example i want to call ‘Dr. Hanna’ ??

    • Avatar for JD JD

      Can a doctor called seonsaengnim?

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        That’s right, JD! Doctors are commonly called ‘선생님’ or ‘의사 선생님’ in Korea. ^^

    • Avatar for Nina Nina

      Hi, how do you say “cardiologist” in korean? Please.

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi, Nina! It’s 심장전문의사 in Korean. 심장 means ‘heart’, 전문 means ‘specialized’, and 의사 means ‘doctor’. ^^

    • Avatar for Blac Blac

      If the doctor is a girls, will she be called the same as 선생님?

    • Avatar for 린다 자매 린다 자매

      Is this the same for someone who earned PhD? Such as Psychology, Education, History, etc?

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi 린다!
        This is for medical doctors. PhD is called “박사” in Korean. ^^

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