Sad in Korean – Vocabulary for when you feel blue

Last Updated on September 9, 2022 by 90 Day Korean
A girl with a sad expression with her chin leaned at the back of her hand

In this article, we’ll teach you how to say “sad” in Korean. None of us can help it, we all feel unhappy sometimes. And there’s nothing wrong with it! You will likely even come across situations where you will feel negative emotions while living your life in Korea, be that homesickness or something else.

A girl with a sad expression with her chin leaned at the back of her hand

In those moments, wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to explain how you are feeling to your local friends and maybe even connect more closely with them?

Read on as we teach you the most common word for “sad” in the Korean language, as well as some sample sentences that will get you started using this new vocabulary.

How to say “sad” in Korean

In Korean, the word “sad” is a basic part of the vocabulary too. The dictionary form for sad is 슬프다 (seulpeuda). This is typically the first word related to the unhappy emotion that you will learn in Korean.

Below you can quickly go over how the usage of the word changes based on which formality level you are speaking from.

Formal “Sad” in Korean

The formal version of “sad” is 슬픕니다 (seulpeumnida).

You can use this formal way to express the emotion of sadness when you are talking to someone much older than you or who is of higher authority than you. Here is an example sentence of the word in use:

저는 일때문에 슬픕니다 (jeoneun ilttaemune seulpeumnida)

I am sad because of work.

Standard “Sad” in Korean

The standard version of “sad” is 슬퍼요 (seulpeoyo).

This is appropriate to use in most general situations you will come across. Here are some sentences that show you how you can use this word:

왜 슬퍼요? (wae sulpeoyo?)

Why are you sad?

요즘 매일 비 와서 슬퍼요. (yojeum maeil bi waseo seulpeoyo.)

I’m sad because lately, it rains every day.

Informal “Sad” in Korean

Lastly, the informal version of “sad” is 슬퍼 (seulpeo).

As you may remember from grammar lessons, this form should only be used with your closest friends or those significantly younger than you. Here are some example sentences so you can see how it gets used in action:

아, 이 영화가 너무 슬퍼 (a, i yeonghwaga neomu seulpeo)

Ah, this movie is really sad.

너무 슬퍼 보인데. 다 괜찮아? (neomu seulpeo boinde. da gwaenchana?)

You look really sad. Is everything OK?

어제 해어져서 오늘 아주 슬퍼 (eoje haeeojyeoseo oneul aju seulpeo)

I’m really sad because we broke up yesterday.

How to pronounce “sad” in Korean?

The romanization of the word 슬프다, which is seulpeuda, can give you a great idea of how the word “sad” is pronounced in Korean. For comprehensive rules on how to pronounce words in Korean, you may want to refer to our guide on Korean pronunciation.

How to spell “sad” in Korean?

As you may have noticed above, the romanization of 슬프다 is seulpeuda. In parentheses, you’ll also have the romanizations of each level of formality.

Romanization is a useful tool to use as a guide when you are only getting started on learning Korean pronunciation. However, it is not always perfect in showcasing how a word is pronounced. Thus, you really should learn to read and use Hangeul instead of relying on romanization.

You can always use romanization to support your studies, but learning the alphabet itself is integral to your learning journey. You can use our article on the Korean alphabet to start learning them immediately!

A sad looking girl with her hand on her palm

What is “I am sad” in Korean?

Depending on the level of formality you are speaking with, the way you say “I’m sad” in the Korean language may change a little bit. You might hear these terms in K-dramas or in a movie with a dramatic story.

Speaking formally, you may say:

저는 슬픕니다 (jeoneun seulpeumnida)

Speaking politely, you may say:

저는 슬퍼요 (jeoneun seulpeoyo)

And when speaking informally, you may say:

나는 슬퍼 (naneun seulpeo)

And in some informal cases, even just saying this may suffice:

슬프다 (seulpeuda)

What is “That’s sad” in Korean?

Using the term for sad you’ve learned so far in this post, the Korean translation for “that’s sad” is 슬프네요 (seulpeuneyo).

However, there may be other words that would be more appropriate to use depending on the situation. This is why next, we will go over other words in Korean that can be used quite similarly to convey unhappiness and similar feelings.

Other Korean words similar to “sad”

Although 슬프다 (seulpeuda) is the general word for “to be sad” and is what many foreign learners are first taught, it is just one expression with which native Koreans speak out about their feelings of unhappiness. It is commonly used as an adjective describing a certain noun.

Firstly, you will want to understand that in the Korean language, there are multiple different words that native Koreans use to describe the sad expression or their equivalent feelings. For example, the word we have presented throughout this post only relates to emotional feelings of sadness.

For other usages, you will want to refer to the words and phrases related to “sad” we will introduce to you below. In casual conversations, native Koreans also use these terms.

“To be a pity” in Korean

“To be a pity” in Korean is expressed using the word 아쉽다 (aswipda). It is used when you want to say something along the lines of “what a pity.”

“To be depressed” in Korean

The word 우울하다 (uulhada) means “To be depressed” in Korean.

You can use 우울하다 (uulhada) quite easily to convey that you are unhappy. It has a more serious edge to it, but it is also not used with as much gravity as its English meaning.

“To be disappointed” in Korean

As the English translation details, the term 낙담하다 (nakdamhada) can be used when you are specifically feeling disappointed over something. It can also be used to describe emotions of discouragement.

“To be disappointed” in Korean

Another way to express being disappointed is 실망하다 (silmanghada).

This term is more widely used than the above-mentioned one. You can use it in any kind of situation you want to express disappointment in.

“To be unhappy” in Korean

You can use 불행하다 (bulhaenghada) to say “To be unhappy” in Korean.

You can use this in situations where you want to convey the very opposite of being happy.

“To be hopeless” in Korean

“To be hopeless” is expressed as 희망이 없다 (huimangi eopda) in Korean.

This is the term you can use in situations where you want to convey that you are feeling hopeless or that something is looking hopeless, and other similar cases.

Hopefully, as you learn Korean words for sad, you can now more eloquently express different feelings and situations of sadness! Also, let us know in the comments if there is one particular expression for the sadness you like to use!

Next, maybe you’d like to learn Korean terms related to something more fun and uplifting, so take a look at our lesson on how to say Happy in Korean.

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