Ready for the most common Korean words out there?
Learn this basic Korean vocabulary, and you’ll start to pick up what people are saying in no time!
After reading this, start looking out for the words in your favorite K-Pop songs, in Korean Dramas, at your neighborhood Korean restaurant, from your spouse/significant other, on your next trip to Seoul, or during daily life in Korea.
We’ve included audio to help your listening and pronunciation skills. Just click the speaker icon next to each Korean vocabulary word.
Ready for some fun? Let’s do this!
On this page, we’re going to give you a list of the top words that occur the most frequently in Korean. Learn these and you’ll be well on your way!
Keep in mind these are only single vocabulary words. If you’re looking for special words or phrases, you might want to go here:
Note: This article contains Hangul (the Korean alphabet) If you can’t read Hangul yet, you can get a free guide to learn in about 90 minutes here.
Korean Family & Relationship Words
These are fantastic words to learn, you’re going to for sure hear them in everyday Korean conversations. For sure you’ll need these if you’re going to talk to Koreans!
You’ll also hear them often in K-Dramas and K-Pop lyrics. Get to recognize them in your favorite shows and movies–or just listen for them in regular conversations.
They’re sure to show up, and you’ll be one-step closer to understanding Korean!
1. 친구 (chingu) – friend
The word 친구 (chingu) means “friend”, but only same-age friend. If someone you know is a different age, then you would want to use the correct title.
2. 가족 (gajok) – family
This one is a piece of cake, 가족 (gajok) is family. This one will come up often, so best to make sure you know how to talk about your family in Korean.
3. 아빠 (appa) – dad
You can use 아빠 (appa) which is similar to “dad”. You can also use the slightly more respectful/formal 아버지 (abeoji), which is similar to saying “father”.
4. 엄마 (eomma) – mom
Just like “mom”, there are two versions you’ll commonly hear for “mom”.
You can use 엄마 (eomma) for “mom”, or 어머니 (eomeoni) for “mother”. Change them up if you want, but make sure to tell Mom how much you care!
5. 남자 친구 (namja chingu) – boyfriend
No doubt you’ll hear this one in Korean everyday life.
This one is easy, just put together together the words for “man” (남자 | namja) + “friend” (친구 | chingu), and you’ve got “boyfriend”.
Let’s just hope it’s not a 남사친! ㅋㅋ
6. 여자 친구 (yeoja chingu) – girlfriend
This one is also popular, so defintiely make sure you learn the words 여자 (yeoja) and 친구 (chingu).
Put them together, and you’ve got 여자친구 (여자친구 | girlfriend)!
Don’t have one yet? Get out there and find one today.
7. 결혼 (gyeolhon) – marriage
After you and your 여자친구 (yeoja chingu) or 남자친구 (namja chingu) decide to 약혼 (yakon | engagement), the next step is 결혼 (gyeolhon)!
Prepare the 청첩장 (cheongcheopjang | wedding invitations), get ready to count the 축의금 (축의금 | congratulatory gift money), and we’ll see you at the 결혼식장 (결혼식장 | wedding hall)!
8. 남편 (nampyeon) – husband
As you talk and hear about family, get ready to use the word 남편 (nampyeon). You might hear the phrase 우리 남편 (uri nampyeon | our husband). While the direct translation is “our husband”, it actually means “my husband”.
The word 우리(uri | we, our) is used quite commonly in Korean to talk about things that belong to the whole group, such as 우리 나라 (uri nara | our country), 우리 집 (uri jip | our house), and 우리 아내 (uri anae | our wife).
9. 아내 (anae) – wife
If you’re hearing the word 남편 (nampyeon), then 아내 (anae) is likely coming next!
Another commonly used vocabulary word for “wife” is 부인 (buin). You can use the two interchangeably.
Korean Basic Conversation Words
These are the most common Korean words you’re going to hear in everyday discussions and chats.
Learn these key Korean vocabulary, and you’ll start to get the gist of what’s you hear in conversations, songs, movies, and dramas right away!
10. 집 (jip) – house
This is a fun one! If you want to know an easy way to remember 집 (jip), think of the vehicle brand Jeep. 집 (jip ) sounds just like Jeep, so you can imagine that there is a Jeep parked in front of your 집 (jip)!
11. 화장실 (hwajangsil) – bathroom
Make sure you learn this word early on, especially if you’ll be traveling around in Korea. This is the common word for bathroom or restroom, so you can use it anytime you need to excuse yourself.
You can get some bonus Korean vocabulary out of this one. 화장 (hwajang) means “makeup”, and 실 (sil) is an ending for “room”, so you can think of 화장실 (hwajangsil) as the “makeup room”.
Make yourself up, and look amazing!
12. 나라 (nara) – country
If you visit Korea, no doubt people will ask country you are from. Therefore, make sure you know the word 나라 (nara). Now that you can recognize this key word, also make sure you can answer!
Type your country name into the Naver Korean Dictionary, and practice saying it in Korean. You’re all set for your first Korean conversation!
13. 직업 (jigeop) – job
After country (나라 | nara), one of the most common questions you’ll hear is related to your job.
Listen for this word, and be prepared to answer with your job title. If you’re a student, you can say 학생 (haksaeng).
14. 왼쪽 (oenjjok) – left
This one is especially useful when you’re giving directions, especially when riding in a tax. Remember that the second syllable starts with a ㅉ(jj) sound, so put some power behind it!
15. 오른쪽 (oreunjjok) – right
The twin sister to 왼쪽 (oenjjok). You’ll be using these more than you think!
16. 네 (ne) – yes
This is the polite and standard way of saying “yes” in Korean. You’ll also hear 예 (ye), which is the same as 네 (ne). Sometimes you’ll hear a few in a row, like 네, 네, 네 (ne, ne, ne), always a classic!
The informal version of 네 (ne) is 응 (eung). You can stack these one after another (응, 응, 응 | eung, eung, eung) for some extra fun. Use this with people you are close with or who are younger than you.
17. 아니요 (aniyo) – no
Korean Time Words
18. 시간 (sigan) – time
19. 지금 (jigeum) – now
20. 오늘 (oneul) – today
21. 어제 (eoje) – yesterday
22. 내일 (naeil) – tomorrow
Korean Food Words
23. 물 (mul) – water
24. 사람 (saram) – food
25. 밥 (bap) – rice
26. 커피 (keopi) – coffee
27. 맥주 (maekju) – beer
Want more goodness to supercharge your Korean language and culture skills? Check out our top resources here!