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Learning Korean Honorific Titles

In western countries, some do not use honorific titles, but in Korean culture, respect is shown even by calling or greeting people, young or old. In this article, Ziptoss has made a quick guide on how and where to use basic honorific Korean words and titles.

  • Older brother- “Oppa” (오빠)

“Oppa” is commonly used when a female is calling an older male friend or sibling.

[Name]+ oppa(for example, kibum oppa)

  • Older brother- “Hyeong/Hyung”(형) 

“Hyung” is used when a younger male is calling an older male friend or sibling.

[Name]+hyung(for example, kyungsoo hyung)

  • Older sister- “Eonni/Unnie”(언니)

“Eonni” is often used when a female is calling an older female friend or sibling.

[Name]+unnie(for example, Hoyeon unnie)

  • Older sister- “Nuna/Noona”(누나)

“Noona” is commonly used when a male is calling an older female friend or sibling.

[Name]+noona(for example, Yuri noona)

  • Senior- “Sunbae/Seonbae”(선배)

“Sunbae” is often used when calling a female or male that is older than you(in school or work)

  • Junior- “Hubae/Hoobae“(후배)

“Sunbae” is often used when calling a female or male that is younger than you

  • Younger sibling- “Dongsaeng”(동생)

“Dongsaeng” is generally used when a male or female is calling a younger female or male friend/sibling.

  • Younger sister- “Yeodongsaeng”(여동생)

“Yeodongsaeng” is commonly used when a male or female is calling a female sibling that is younger.

  • Younger brother- “Namdongsaeng”(남동생)

“Namdongsaeng” is commonly used when a male or female is calling a male sibling that is younger than them.

  • Mr./Ms./Mrs.- “Ssi”()

“Ssi” is often used when you need to show respect to someone in a business environment.

[Name]+ssi(for example, Junkissi)

  • Mr./Ms./Mrs.- “Nim”()

“Nim” is used when you need to show respect to someone in a business environment. “Nim” shows more respect and politeness than “Ssi”.

[Name]+nim(for example, Jiyeonnim)

  • Mother- “Umonim/Eomeonim”(어머님)

“Eomonim” is commonly used to greet a mother-in-law or an acquaintance’s mother.

  • Mother- “Umma/Eomma”(엄마)

“Umma” is used to greet mothers casually.

  • Father- “Abunim”(아버님)

“Abunim” is commonly used to greet a father-in-law or an acquaintance’s father.

  • Father “Appa”(아빠)

“Appa” is used to greet fathers casually.

  • Madam- “Ajumoni”(아주머니)

“Ajumoni” is often used when greeting a woman between the ages of 40 and 60.

  • Mister- “Ajusshi”(아저씨)

“Ajusshi” is usually used when calling or greeting a man between the ages of 40 and 60.

  • Grandfather- “Halabuji”(할아버지)

“Halabuji” is used by a male or female when calling a man that is over 70 years of age.

  • Grandmother- “Halmeoni”(할머니)

“Halmeoni” is used by a male or female when calling a woman that is over 70 years of age.

  • Young lady- “Agassi”(아가씨)

“Agassi” is often used by older people for young women that aren’t married yet.

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