Korean nouns – Essential words for your language learning

Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by 90 Day Korean
a dog, sun, apple, map, a boy, lightbulb, pizza, house and car

In this article, we will teach you all about Korean nouns.

Even if you know plenty about verbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and grammar in general for a language, you wouldn’t be able to string a single sentence together if you knew none of the vocabulary. And the reality is that whether you are a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or native level speaker of a language, many of us are learning new vocabulary each day of our lives.

a dog, sun, apple, map, a boy, lightbulb, pizza, house and car

Beyond simply knowing a word, we also need to, of course, know how to then use it. Once you know at least the most common Korean nouns and know how to distinguish them and place them into sentences correctly, you’ve already made a lot of headway with your Korean language learning journey.

What are Korean nouns?

As you already know from your previous language studies, whether your native language or a new language you’re learning, a noun refers to either a person, object, or thing. They can be either physical or abstract.

They can be used as subjective or objective in a sentence and can commonly be replaced by a pronoun. Korean nouns work exactly the same way. To learn Korean nouns, it is useful to understand that they are separated into three groups, as follows.

Sino-Korean nouns

Approximately 60% of all Korean nouns fall under this category. These are Korean words that originated from Chinese and in the case of nouns, typically represent abstract or complex ideas, or relate to the academics.

Native Korean nouns

35% of all nouns are purely native to the Korean language. Usually, they are Korean words familiar with traditional culture. They’re also the most common Korean words that the fundamental elements in life, such as the different seasons.

Korean Loan words

5% of nouns in the Korean language have been imported from other languages, most commonly English, Japanese or German. In this vocabulary, many have the same meaning as they do in their language of origin, but there are also loan words that have been given a new meaning. In this case, it’s more accurate to call them Konglish rather than refer to them as loan words.

*Do note that there are also some Korean words that can all mean the same thing. Typically they are differentiated by the context in which they are used.

How do you say “noun” in Korean?

The Korean word for “noun” is 명사 (myeongsa). It is an umbrella term with which you can refer to all of the nouns as a whole or any singular noun.

Lists of the Most Common Korean Nouns

Below you can find a couple of category lists with basic Korean nouns for you to know. For many categories, we also have their own dedicated posts already, where you can find even more useful vocabulary to memorize. Knowing these will be especially helpful if you’re in South Korea.

Here are some of the most common Korean words related to animals.

If you’re interested in learning even more basic Korean words for animals, head over to our article on animals in Korean.

KoreanEnglish
앨리게이터 (aelligeiteo)Alligator
곰 (gom)Bear
새 (sae)Bird
황소 (hwangso)Bull
고양이 (goyangi)Cat
암소 (amso)Cow
크로커다일 (keurokeodail)Crocodile
까마귀 (kkamagwi)Crow
사슴 (saseum)Deer
강아지 (gangaji)Dog
돌고래 (dolgorae)Dolphin
오리 (ori)Duck
독수리 (doksuri)Eagle
어류 (eoryu)Fish
여우 (yeou)Fox
고릴라 (gorilla)Gorilla
말 (mal)Horse
사자 (saja)Lion
원숭이 (wonsungi)Monkey
무스 (museu)Moose
돼지 (dwaeji)Pig
조랑말 (jorangmal)Pony
토끼 (tokki)Rabbit
장닭 (jangdal)Rooster
상어 (sangeo)Shark
양 (yang)Sheep
뱀 (baem)Snake
거미 (geomi)Spider
호랑이 (horangi)Tiger
칠면조 (chilmyeonjo)Turkey
거북 (geobuk)Turtle
고래 (gorae)Whale
늑대 (neukdae)Wolf

Below are different appliances and devices and what they are called in the Korean language. These words may come in handy if you’re looking for a birthday present for yourself or for your loved ones.

KoreanEnglish
가전제품 (gajeonjepum)Appliances
전자 기술 (jeonja gisul)Electronics
에어컨 (eeokeon)Air Conditioner
믹서기 (mikseogi)Blender
충전기 (chungjeongi)Charger
디지털 카메라 (dijiteol kamera)Digital camera
헤어드라이기 (heeodeuraigi)Hairdryer
노트복 (noteubok)Laptop
전자 레인지 (jeonja reinji)Microwave
핸드폰 (haendeupon)Mobile phone
스마트폰 (seumateupon)Smartphone
라디오 (radio)Radio
냉장고 (naejanggo)Refrigerator
밥솥 (bapsot)Rice cooker
텔레비전 (tellebijeon)Television
청소기 (cheongsogi)Vacuum cleaner
세탁기 (setakgi)Washing machine

Below are some of the most common Korean words for body parts. If you’re in Korea and you feel pain in your body, you can express how you feel easier to Koreans.

If you read our article body parts in Korean, you can learn even more vocabulary for this category.

KoreanEnglish
몸 (mom)Body
신체 부분 (sinche bubun)Body part
뇌 (noe)Brain
발목 (balmok)Ankle
팔 (pal)Arm
등 (deung)Back
뼈 (ppyeo)Bone
가슴 (gaseum)Chest
귀 (gwi)Ear
팔꿈치 (palkkumchi)Elbow
눈 (nun)Eye
얼굴 (eolgul)Face
손가락 (songarak)Finger
발 (bal)Foot
머리가락 (meorigarak)Hair
손 (son)Hand
머리 (meori)Head
심장 (simjang)Heart
무릎 (mureup)Knee
다리 (dari)Leg
입술 (ipsul)Lips
간 (gan)Liver
폐 (pye)Lungs
입 (ip)Mouth
근육 (geunyuk)Muscle
목 (mok)Neck
코 (ko)Nose
어깨 (eokkae)Shoulder
피부 (pibu)Skin
위 (wi)Stomach
혀 (hyeo)Tongue
이 (i)Tooth
허리 (heori)Waist
손목 (sonmok)Wrist

There is plenty of vocabulary that falls under this category. Below, you can find Korean nouns that are related to cooking and different types of food.

Cooking tools

Here are some common Korean words related to cooking tools.

KoreanEnglish
주방 (jubang)
부엌 (bueok)
Kitchen
요리 (yori)Cooking
조리기구 (jorigigu)Cooking utensils
그릇 (geureut)Bow
도마 (doma)Chopping board
젓가락 (jeotgarak)Chopsticks
냄비 (naembi)Cooking pot
컵 (keop)Cup
날붙이류 (nalbutiryu)Cutlery
포크 (pokeu)Fork
후라이팬 (huraipaen)Frying pan
유리잔 (yurijan)Glass
항아리 (hangari)Jar
칼 (kal)Knife
머그 (meogeu)Mug
오븐 (obeun)Oven
접시 (jeopsi)Plate
숟가락 (sutgarak)Spoon
스토브 (seutobeu)Stove

Cooking ingredients

Here is the vocabulary related to cooking ingredients. We also have an article dedicated to “cook” in Korean, with which you can learn Korean even more in terms of utensils and appliances.

KoreanEnglish
제빵 가루 (jeppang garu)Baking powder
바질 (bajil)Basil
버터 (beoteo)Butter
계피 (gyepi)Cinnamon
식용유 (singnyongyu)Cooking oil
옥수수 가루 (oksusu garu)Corn flour
크림 (keurim)Cream
밀가루 (milgaru)Flour
마늘 (maneul)Garlic
꿀 (kkul)Honey
잼 (jaem)Jam
케첩 (kecheop)Ketchup
마요네즈 (mayonejeu)Mayonnaise
겨자 (gyeoja)Mustard
올리브 오일 (ollibeu oil)Olive oil
파슬리 (paseulli)Parsley
후추 (huchu)Pepper
고추장 (gochujang)Red pepper paste
고춧가루 (gochutgaru)Red pepper powder
쌀 (ssal)Rice
호밀 (homil)Rye
소금 (sogeum)Salt
참깨 (chamkkae)Sesame seeds
간장 (ganjang)Soy sauce
설탕 (seoltang)Sugar
식초 (sikcho)Vinegar
밀 (mil)Wheat
효모 (hyomo)Yeast

Beverages

Here is a list of vocabulary related to beverages.

KoreanEnglish
음료 (eumryo)Drink
술 (sul)Alcohol
맥주 (maekju)Beer
커피 (keopi)Coffee
주스 (juseu)Juice
우유 (uyu)Milk
차 (cha)Tea
소주 (soju)Soju
물 (mul)Water

Food

If you’d like to eat something while in Korea, expressing this will be easier for you.

KoreanEnglish
음식 (eumsik)Food
빵 (ppang)Bread
치즈 (chijeu)Cheese
고추 (gochu)Chili
계란 (gyeran)Egg
햄 (haem)Ham
김치 (gimchi)Kimchi
양고기 (yanggogi)Lamb
돼지고기 (dwaejigogi)Pork
팥 (pat)Red bean
소시지 (sosiji)Sausage
식사 (siksa)Meal
비스킷 (biseukit)Biscuit
버거 (beogeo)Burger
케이크 (keikeu)Cake
사탕 (satang)Candy
시리얼 (sirieol)Cereal
초콜렛 (chokollet)Chocolate
아이스크림 (aiseukeurim)Ice cream
면 (myeon)Noodles
파스타 (paseuta)Pasta
피자 (pija)Pizza
죽 (juk)Porridge
밥 (bap)Rice
샐러드 (saelleodeu)Salad
수프 (supeu)Soup
스파게티 (seupageti)Spaghetti
토스트 (toseuteu)Toast
채식 (chaesik)Vegetarian food
양식 (yangsik)Western food

Meat

Below are the most common Korean words related to meat. For more vocabulary related to this topic, we have a separate article on “meat” in Korean.

KoreanEnglish
고기 (gogi)Meat
베이컨 (beikeon)Bacon
쇠고기 (soegogi)Beef
닭고기 (dalgogi)Chicken
오리 고기 (ori gogi)Duck

Fruits

Here are the most common Korean words related to fruits. We also have an article that further covers Korean terms for fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

KoreanEnglish
사과 (sagwa)Apple
살구 (salgu)Apricot
바나나 (banana)Banana
블랙베리 (beullaekberi)Blackberry
블루베리 (beulluberi)Blueberry
대추 (daechu)Dates
과일 (gwail)Fruit
포도 (podo)Grape
자몽 (jamong)Grapefruit
청포도 (cheongpodo)Green grapes
할라봉 (hallabong)Jeju orange
귤 (gyul)
Mandarin
오렌지 (orenji)Orange
복송아 (boksonga)Peach
배 (bae)Pear
감 (gam)Persimmon
자두 (jadu)Plum
석류 (seongnyu)Pomegranate
건포도 (geonpodo)Raisins
라즈베리 (rajeuberi)Raspberry
딸기 (ttalgi)Strawberry
수박 (subak)Watermelon

Vegetables

Listed below are the most common Korean words related to vegetables.

KoreanEnglish
야채 (yachae)Vegetable
콩나물 (kongnamul)Bean sprouts
브로콜리 (beurokolli)Broccoli
양배추 (yangbaechu)Brussels sprouts
배추 (baechu)Cabbage
당근 (danggeun)Carrot
옥수수 (oksusu)Corn
오이 (oi)Cucumber
부추 (buchu)Leek
양상추 (yangsangchu)
Lettuce
버섯 (beoseot)
Mushroom
양파 (yangpa)Onion
감자 (gamja)Potato
호박 (hobak)Pumpkin
무 (mu)Radish
시금치 (sigeumchi)Spinach
파 (pa)Spring onion
고구마 (goguma)Sweet potato
토마토 (tomato)Tomato

Nuts

Here are some of the most common Korean words related to nuts.

KoreanEnglish
아몬드 (amondeu)Almond
밤 (bam)
Chestnut
땅콩 (ttangkong)
Peanuts
호두 (hodu)Walnut

Below are the common Korean words that are related to family. To learn the full roster of different terms for family members, we have an article entirely dedicated to Korean family terms for you to go and learn from.

KoreanEnglish
가족 (gajok)Family
숙모 (sungmo)
Aunt
아이 (ai)Child
딸 (ttal)
Daughter
아버지 (abeoji)
Father/Dad
할아버지 (harabeoji)
Grandfather
할머니 (halmeoni)Grandmother
남편 (nampyeon)Husband
부부 (bubu)Married couple
어머니 (eomeoni)Mother/Mom
부모님 (bumonim)
Parents
아들 (adeul)Son
쌍동이 (ssangdongi)
Twins
삼촌 (samchon)Uncle
아내 (anae)Wife

Below is the common vocabulary for occupations in Korean. If you’d like to discover more occupations, head over to our jobs in Korean article. Perhaps your dream job is also included in there?

KoreanEnglish
직업 (jigeop)Job
예술가 (yesulga)Artist
바리스타 (bariseuta)Barista
부기계원 (bugigyewon)Bookkeeper
출납계원 (chullapgyewon)Cashier
요리사 (yorisa)Chef
건설노동자 (geonseollodongja)Construction worker
의사 (uisa)Doctor
전기기사 (jeongigisa)Electrician
관리인 (gwalliin)Janitor
변호사 (byeonhosa)Lawyer
정비사 (jeongbisa)Mechanic
음악가 (eumakga)
Musician
간호사 (ganhosa)Nurse
회사원 (hoesawon)Office worker
경찰관 (gyeongchalgwan)Police officer
웨이터 (weiteo)Server
군인 (gunin)Soldier
트럭 운전사 (teureok unjeonsa)Truck driver

Below are the most common school-related Korean words. We also have an article on “school” in Korean from where you can learn even more vocabulary.

KoreanEnglish
학교 (hakgyo)School
수업 (sueop)
Class
숙제 (sukje)
Homework
공책 (gongchaek)
Notebook
학생 (haksaeng)Student
교수 (gyosu)Professor
선생님 (seonsaengnim)Teacher

Below are the most common Korean words related to time. If there weren’t enough time-related terms for you here, you can learn even more about time in Korean on our blog.

KoreanEnglish
시간 (sigan)Time
날 (nal)
Day
오늘 (oneul)
Today
내일 (naeil)
Tomorrow
주 (ju)
Week
년 (nyeon)
Year
어제 (eoje)
Yesterday
시계 (sigye)
Clock
시 (si)
Hour
분 (bun)
Minute
초 (cho)Second

Below are the most common Korean words related to transportation. These are important to know especially if you’re in South Korea.

We also have articles specifically dedicated to terminology for “car” in Korean and “train” in Korean.

KoreanEnglish
교통 (gyotong)
Transportation
비행기 (bihaenggi)Airplane
자전거 (jajeongeo)Bicycle
버스 (beoseu)Bus
교차로 (gyocharo)Intersection
횡단보도 (hoengdanbodo)Pedestrian road
도로 (doro)Road
길 (gil)Street
전철 (jeoncheol)Subway
택시 (taeksi)Taxi
신호등 (sinhodeung)Traffic light
기차 (gicha)Train

Other common Korean words

Here are more words that you can learn to enhance your Korean language skills.

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KoreanEnglish
미술 (misul)Art
책 (chaek)
Book
도시 (dosi)City
나라 (nara)Country
문화 (munhwa)Culture
문 (mun)Door
친구 (chingu)Friend
게임 (geim)Game
건강 (geongang)Health
역사 (yeoksa)History
집 (jip)Home
발상 (balsang)Idea
삶 (sal)Life
남자 (namja)Man
돈 (don)Money
영화 (yeonghwa)Movie
음악 (eumak)Music
이름 (ireum)Name
번호 (beonho)Number
파티 (pati)Party
사람 (saram)Person
대통령 (daetongryeong)President
질문 (jilmun)Question
이유 (iyu)Reason
방 (bang)Room
이야기 (iyagi)Story
팀 (tim)Team
전쟁 (jeonjaeng)War
창문 (changmun)Window
여자 (yeoja)Woman
세계 (segye)World

Korean nouns in sentences

Nouns in Korean typically have 4 positions they can take in each sentence.

  1. It can appear by itself, in which case there is no particle attached to them. For example when you call out to someone by their name or status.
  2. It can appear with a particle attached to it.
  3. It may be followed by another noun. An example of this is 오렌지 주스 (orenji juseu), “orange juice.”
  4. It can be followed by a copula, aka a connecting word, typically a form of the ‘be”-verb.

Examples of Korean sentences

Below you can find example sentences of the different ways these words can be placed in a sentence. Each example can be used to practice how to write the vocabulary, as well as speaking, and pronunciation.

KoreanEnglish
언니, 충전기를 좀 빌려줄래요? 핸드폰 배터리가 거의 다 닳았어요.
(eonni, chungjeongireul jom billyeojullaeyo? haendeupon baeteoriga geoui da dalasseoyo.)

Eonni, can I borrow your charger? My phone is nearly out of battery.
공책에 무엇을 쓰고 있나?
(gongchaege mueoseul sseugo inna?)
What are you writing in your notebook?
잠깐만 기다리면 호랑이를 볼 수 있을 것 같아요.
(jamkkanman gidarimyeon horangireul bol su isseul geot gatayo.)
It looks like you’ll be able to see the tiger if you just wait a moment.
오빠, 같이 영화를 보러 갈래?
(oppa, gachi yeonghwareul boreo gallae?)
Oppa, do you want to go see a movie together?
카페라떼는 제가 가장 자주 마시는 커피음료예요.
(kaperatteneun jega gajang jaju masineun keopieumnyoyeyo.)
Cafe latte is the coffee drink I drink the most often.
이번 주말에 기차타고 부산에 가자!
(ibeon jumare gichatago busane gaja!)
Let’s take the train and go to Busan this weekend!
제일 좋아하는 한국음식은 뭐예요? 제가 김치찌개 제일 좋아해요.
(jeil joahaneun hangugeumsigeun mwoyeyo? jega gimchijjigae jeil joahaeyo.)
What is your favorite Korean food? Mine is kimchi jjigae.
요즘 발목이 너무 아파서 달리기를 못하고 의사를 봐야 할 것 같아.
(yojeum balmogi neomu apaseo dalligireul mothago uisareul bwaya hal geot gata.)
Because my ankle hurts a lot these days, it looks like I can’t go running and must see a doctor.

Conclusion

Today we covered so many different categories of nouns and learned how they could be placed in phrases and sentences. We hope you learned a lot of new vocabulary and are proud of yourself. We have more lessons in different Korean vocabulary that you can find in our blog.

If you think it’s too many Korean words to learn at once, perhaps you can turn this Korean vocabulary into flashcards? You’ll definitely memorize these common Korean words in no time! You can also test yourself on this topic later on. After all, Korean quizzes are proven to be a fun way to enhance your skills in the Korean language.

Now that you have mastered Korean nouns, perhaps you’d like to memorize verbs next? Our Korean verbs article can help you with that! Or how about learning even more useful Korean words and vocabulary for daily life? Before you go, do you want to take a guess how many common Korean words you know by now? We bet it’s more than you think!

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