Ever wondered how to say ‘cute’ in Korean? Unlike English, the Korean word for cute is used a lot! You can use it to describe something cute, such as a puppy or doll, or you can use the word to pay somebody a compliment.
In fact, many people in Korea want to be seen as ‘cute’, and will behave in ‘cute’ ways. This is known as 애교 (aegyo). People acting in this way will be pleased to hear you describe them as ‘cute’, so make sure you learn this word so that you can make lots of friends in Korea.
Note: If you want to say cute as in ‘handsome’, such as ‘check out that cute guy over there’, then you should use the word for handsome instead.
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‘Cute’ in Korean
1. It is cute
To say ‘cute’ as in ‘It is cute’ or ‘she is cute’, you can use the word 귀엽다 (gwi-yeop-da).
If you are talking to yourself (such as when you are walking down the street and see a cute dog or cat) then you can use this version of the word. However, if talking to somebody else, you should remember to use the correct level of politeness.
Formal ‘Cute’ in Korean
1. 귀엽습니다 (gwi-yeop-seum-ni-da)
You might hear this word in a presentation about cuteness, in an interview, or in an announcement.
이 가수가 귀엽습니다 (i ga-su-ga gwi-yeop-seum-ni-da)
This singer is cute.
Standard ‘Cute’ in Korean
1. 귀여워요 (gwi-yeo-wo-yo)
You can use this expression when talking to people who are older or not particularly close to you.
강아지가 너무 귀여워요 (gang-a-ji-ga neo-mu gwi-yeo-wo-yo)
The puppy is very cute
Informal ‘Cute’ in Korean
1. 귀여워 (gwi-yeo-wo)
You can use this expression with people who are very close to you, such as with your girlfriend or date.
너는 완전 귀여워! (neo-neun wan-jeon gwi-yeo-wo)
You are so cute! [literally – you are ‘totally’ cute]
Bonus: ‘The Cute Puppy’ in Korean
If you want to say ‘cute’ as in “the cute puppy” then you should use the word 귀여운 (gwi-yeo-un).
귀여운 강아지 (gwi-yeo-un gang-a-ji)
귀여운 아기 (gwi-yeo-un a-gi)
귀여운 여자 (gwi-yeo-un yeo-ja)
Example (standard politeness level):
공원 안에 귀여운 강아지가 많아요 (gong-won an-e gwi-yeo-un gang-a-ji-ga man-a-yo)
There are lots of cute dogs at the park
A word of caution about Romanization
We’ve added in the Romanization for all of these words to help with pronunciation. However, we recommend that you try to move onto reading comfortably in Hangul (the Korean alphabet), as this will improve your pronunciation and your reading skills. It will also help you notice patterns in words, which will lead you to improve the rate at which you learn new Korean words and grammar points.
Learning vocabulary words is a great way to help you learn the basics of a language, but your language learning will only really take off one you start attempting to have conversations in Korean. Take a look at our free list of Korean phrases or our full Korean course for all the help you will need when studying Korean.
Now that you know how to say cute in Korean, you can start complimenting people on their ‘aegyo’ or describing all of the cute things that you see in Korea!