How To Say ‘Headache’ In Korean

How To Say 'Headache' In Korean

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Sometimes it is unavoidable and you get sick while in another country. Whether it’s something small like a cold, or something more severe that requires a hospital visit, it’s important to know some basic ways to describe what’s wrong. So today we will learn how to say headache in Korean.

As you may know through experience, oftentimes a headache is nothing more than a nuisance and an inconvenience. But occasionally it gets severe enough to affect your daily life. You may need to cancel your schedule to take a rest, you may need to drop by the pharmacy to ask for medication, or you may even need to see a doctor. Thus, learning how to describe the things in the local language is important! Here is how to say headache in Korean.

A man in pain holding his head with both hands

‘Headache’ in Korean

The correct word for how to say headache in Korean is 두통 (duthong). This is the direct translation and medical term for the word ‘headache’.

However, in case you have trouble remembering the word, there is also another expression you can use. This expression is 머리가 아프다 (meoriga apheuda) in its basic form. In English, this translates to ‘my head hurts’. You’ll be understood just fine by using this expression, but know that the word 두통 is the more official one, and the one you’ll likely impress others with by knowing.

Associations for ‘Headache’ in Korean

To remember the official word for headache, 두통, just imagine you have a massive two-ton (두통) weight on your head that is causing a massive headache.

To remember the expression 머리가 아프다 we first need to break it down:

머리가 – head

아프다 – hurt (to be painful)

For 머리가, we can use the story: “Our head gives us more rigor to get through the day.” 머리가

For 아프다, think of the Simpson’s TV character Apu. Whenever he introduces himself, Apu Da! something bad happens to hurt him and he yells Da! 아프다

So then we have the easy story: “Apu is introducing himself but then he gets hit in the head! Ouch!” 머리가 아프다

편두통 (phyeonduthong) – migraine

치통 (chithong) – toothache

위통 (withong) – stomachache

(yeol) – fever

인두통 (induthong) – sore throat

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A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?

Sample Sentences

strong headache


저는 심한 두통을 앓아서 약을 필요해요. (jeoneun shimhan duthongeul arhaseo yakeul phiryohaeyo.)

I need medication for my severe headache.

두통이 심하면 약을 좀 먹어요. (duthongi shimhamyeon yakeul jom meokeoyo.)

If your headache is severe, eat some medicine.

제 두통은 뭘 써도 나을 것 같지 않아서 도와주세요. (je duthongeun mwol sseodo naeul geot katji anhaseo dowajuseyo.)

Please help, nothing seems to be relieving my headache.


미안해, 머리가 아파서 우리 약속을 취소해야해. (mianhae, meoriga aphaseo uri yaksokeul chwisohaeyahae.)

I’m sorry, I have to cancel our plans because my head hurts.

아이구, 지독한 두통이 보이나 봐. (aigu, jidokhan duthongi boina bwa.)

Aigoo, looks like a vicious headache.

오늘 머리가 굉장히 아파. (oneul meoriga gwingjanghi apha.)

My head hurts severely today.

So now that you know how to say “headache” in Korean, you’ll have no problem telling the pharmacist what you need! What other words would you like to learn? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto

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