How to Say ‘Mother’ in Korean

Last Updated on March 25, 2022 by 90 Day Korean
A little girl kissing the nose of a woman

It’s easy to learn how to say “Mother” in Korean. You only need a few minutes.

It’s a common Korean word you’ll hear in Korean movies, K-Dramas, and in K-Pop songs.

However, there are a few different versions of the word. This can be confusing, so it pays to take a few minutes to understand the differences.

We’ll explain what you need to know!

A little girl kissing the nose of a woman

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‘Mother’ in Korean

Just like in English, there is more than one way to say ‘mother’ in Korean. Let’s start off with the most formal way, and then work our way down to the more informal ways of saying ‘mother’ in Korean.

Formal ‘Mother’ in Korean

1. 어머님 (eomeonim)How to Say Mother in Korean formal

When addressing somebody formally, we need to add the suffix ‘님’ (nim) to our subject’s name (never add this to your own name). The word for ‘mother’ is no exception, so if we want to say ‘mother’ in a formal situation, we need to say 어머님 (eomeonim). This is the best word to use when referring to other people’s mothers.


어머님께 안부 좀 전해 주세요 (eomeonimkke anbu jom jeonhae juseyo)

Say hello to your mother for me.

Standard ‘Mother’ in Korean

1. 어머니 (eomeoni)How to Say Mother in Korean standard

This is the standard way to say ‘mother’ in Korean. You can use this in most situations when talking about your own mother. If you are talking about your own mother, you need to use the word 우리 (uri), meaning ‘our’, instead of the word ‘my’.


어머니들은 자식들을 사랑하길 절대 멈추지 않는다.

(eomeonideureun jasikdeureul saranghagil jeoldae meomchuji anneunda)

Mothers never stop loving their children.

Informal ‘Mother’ in Korean

1. 엄마 (eomma)How to Say Mother in Korean informal

This word has a similar meaning to ‘mom’ in English, and should only be used when talking to your own mother. When referring to your own family in Korean, instead of saying ‘my mom’, you need to say ‘our mom’ (우리 엄마 | uri eomma)

You might notice this use of the word 우리 (uri) in places like Woori Bank in Korea. It’s a special cultural word that you’ll see in many situations.


우리 엄마는 걱정이 굉장히 많아요. (uri eommaneun geokjeongi goengjanghi manayo.)

My mother has a lot of anxiety.

If you need help understanding the example sentences above, you may want to brush up on your Korean grammar or sentence structure knowledge. Sometimes the Korean particles are omitted, which is normal in everyday Korean conversation.

We’ve outlined some of the most important aspects of the language in our Korean learning guide here.

A Word of Caution About Romanization

We’ve added in the romanization for all of these words to help with pronunciation. However, learning the Korean alphabet (Hangeul) will help you learn Korean a lot faster than if you solely rely on romanization. Hangeul can be learned here in less than an hour. It will benefit your Korean learning massively by improving your reading ability, pronunciation, and ability to learn new words and phrases more quickly.

If you really want boost your Korean speaking skills, it’s best to make sure you have real conversations. Get some practice with a language exchange partner or join our full Korean course for all the help you will need when conversing in Korean.

Wrap Up

You may hear Koreans using family words when referring to non-family members. Although the word 이모 (imo), which means ‘aunt’, is the most common family word used for addressing women of a mother’s age, the word 어머니 may occasionally be used by people so don’t get confused if you hear it in this context (although I don’t recommend that you use it yourself).

Now that you know how to say ‘mother; in Korean, start asking your Korean friends about their families, and telling them about yours!

Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

    26 replies to "How to Say ‘Mother’ in Korean"

    • Avatar for Soshi Soshi

      Why do koreans sometimes call their mom eomma or eommoni? Does it have something to do with age? Say for example: you call your mon eomma as a kid but when you get older change it to eommoni?

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        You can think 엄마 as ‘mom’ and 어머니 as ‘mother’ in English. ^^

    • Avatar for Spencer Spencer

      Hi! What about “엄마가”? If I were to write my mum’s contact name, would I just put “엄마”?

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        For ‘mum’ you can just put 엄마. 엄마가 is used when mum is a subject of sentence. e.g. 엄마가 말했어요=My mum told.

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