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Common Korean Words

A list of the most common Korean words ordered by their frequency of use. You can use this list to learn words efficiently, ensuring you cover the basic vocabulary of Korean.

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Rank Word Root Meanings
1 1. n. A thing; an object, one (impersonal pronoun)
     비싼 것 - an expensive thing; something expensive; an (the) expensive one
2. n. (used to create noun phrases) what; the thing which
     내-가 원하-는 것 - what I want
2 하다 1. v. I. 「…을 하다」
2. v. to do
     하루 분의 일을 하다 - to do a full day of work
3. v. to make; to arrange; to cook
     내일 먹을 밥을 미리 하다 - to cook rice ahead for tomorrow
3 있다 1. v. to be (in a place); to exist
     뉴욕-은 미국-에 있다. - New York is in the United States.
     물속-에 물고기-가 있다. - There are fish in the water.
2. v. To be (in a state)
     서 있다 - to be standing
4 되다 1. v. to become
     왕이 되다 - to become king
2. v. (of a time) to come, to arrive
     약속한 시간이 되었다. - The appointed time has arrived.
3. v. (as an auxiliary verb after a verb in its ko-l), ko-l, —아, or ko-l, —해 form to be permissible; to be OK; may
5 1. n. way, means, possibility
2. n. male (non-human)
3. n. number
     수를 세다
       sureul seda
6 1. pron. I, the first-person singular plain (non-polite) pronoun
2. part. just; at least
     (koex, 하던 거나 하련다., Gonna do just what I've been doing.)
3. part. or
     (koex, 진주나 창원 쪽으로 가려면 몇 번 국도를 타야 하나요?, What route should I take to get to Jinju or Changwon?)
7 1. det. (demonstrative) that (of what has been already said or known)
2. pron. (demonstrative) that (of what has been already said or known) (see ko-l, 그것, , that thing)
3. pron. (literary) he; she
8 없다 1. adj. there are none; (to be) lacking; (to be) nonexistent
2. adj. not
9 않다 1. adj. (adjective-지 않다)(auxiliary) not
     어렵-지 않다. - It's not hard.
2. v. (verb-지 않다) (auxiliary) not
     사-지 않았습니다. - (I) didn't buy (it).
3. v. (를 않다) not to do something
10 사람 1. n. person; human; people
11 우리 1. pron. we, us
2. pron. our
3. pron. (when referring to one's own family members) my
4. n. cage, pen, coop
12 1. n. A tooth or teeth.
     이 없으면 잇몸으로 산다. — literally without teeth, I would live with the gum..
2. n. louse
3. det. this
     이 그림을 본 적이 있다. (i geurimeul bon jeogi itda.) I have seen this picture.
13 아니다 1. adj. to be not (something)
     사람-은 짐승이 아니다. - Men are not animals.
14 보다 1. v. to see, look at
2. v. to look after (a baby, child, house, etc.)
     아이-를 보다 - to look after a child
3. v. to watch (a film, TV, etc.)
     영화-를 보다 - to watch a film
15 1. n. back.
2. n. lantern, compare 등불.
3. n. rank.
4. n. et cetera, often in series: 등등.
16 1. n. time
2. n. an occasion, the time when...
     어렸을 때 - when one was young/ when one was a child
3. n. dirt, especially dead skin produced by exfoliation
17 1. interj. well!
2. n. thing.
3. n. what, that which.
     그건 내 한 거예요.
       That’s what I did.
18 같다 1. adj. (to be) the same
     같은 말-을 되풀이하다 - to say the same thing over and over
2. adj. (to be) like or similar (often used with (ko-l, 와)/ko-l, 과)
3. adj. (to be) probably so; (to be) apparently so
     In this sense, it often follows (ko-l, 것) and is often translated as it looks like.
19 주다 1. v. to give
     선물-을 주다 - to give a present
2. v. (auxiliary verb) to do for someone else
20 대하다 1. v. to pertain or relate to a topic
2. v. to greet or respond to
3. v. to face, to stand across from
21 가다 1. v. To go
     가자! - Let's go!
     서울-에 가요. - (I am, you are, he is, etc.) going to Seoul.
22 1. n. year
2. n. (vulgar) bitch
23 1. n. 하나: one
2. n. 恨: grudge
3. n. 韓1: abbreviated word which means Korea.
4. n. 韓2: name of country.
24 1. n. word, speech, language
2. n. horse
3. n. sawhorse
4. n. checker, checkerman
5. n. measure (containing about 18 liters or 10 doe (되))
25 1. n. work, job
     앉아라. 우리는 할 일-이 있어. - Sit down! We have work to do.
2. n. business
3. n. matter, affair, concern
     무슨 일-이 있니? - What's the matter? What's wrong?
26 때문 1. n. (dependent noun) reason for something, usually in phrase ...하기 때문에.
27 말하다 1. v. to speak, to talk
     한국-어로 말하자! - (colloquial) Let's talk in Korean!
     날 사랑한다고 말해줘. - Tell me you love me. (colloquial)
2. v. to explain (by talking)
     이 상황을 어떻게 말해야지? - How do I explain this situation? (colloquial)
28 위하다 1. v. to help or benefit
2. v. to do for the sake of, for the purpose of
     세계평화-를 위하여 - for the sake of world peace
29 그러나 1. adv. but, however
2. adv. like that, but; contraction of (ko-l, 그러하나)
30 오다 1. v. To come
     파티-에서 와서 고마워. - Thanks for coming to the party.
2. v. (of rain, snow etc) to fall
     비-가 온다. - It's raining. (Literally, Rain comes.)
Dictionary entries from Wiktionary