How To Address Family & Relatives In Korean

5 September 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Unsplash: Philippe Murray-Pietsch

Knowing how to address family members in Korean is very important. That’s because in Korean culture, family and family talk is common and inevitable. Many times you’ll hear talks about parents, cousins, siblings, and even grandparents. Therefore, it is very necessary to know how to address them respectfully. Or else how else would you be able to reference them? By their first names? Nope, you cannot really do that and you shouldn’t because calling someone, most particularly a family member, in South Korea by their first name is considered rude, inappropriate, and disrespectful. So, try to avoid doing that. Instead, you can refer to a family member by their family title: mom, dad, niece, brother, etc.

  • family: 가족 (kajok)
  • parents: 부모님 (bumonim)
  • grandparents: 조부모님 (jobumonim)
  • [paternal] grandfather: 할아버지 (harabeoji)
  • [paternal] grandmother: 할머니 (halmeoni)
  • [maternal] grandmother: 외할아버지 (oehalabeoji)
  • [maternal] grandmother: 외할머니 (oehalmeoni)
  • children: 아이들 (aideul)
  • father: 아버지 (abeoji)
  • dad: 아빠 (appa)
  • mother: 어머니 (eomeoni)
  • mom: 엄마 (eomma)
  • relatives: 친척 (chin-cheok)
  • brothers: 형제 (hyeongje)
  • sisters: 자매 (jamae)
  • baby: 아기 (agi)
  • son: 아들 (adeul)
  • daughter: 딸 (ttal)
  • [if you are a boy] big brother: 형 (hyeong)
  • [if you are a girl] big brother: 오빠 (oppa)
  • [if you are a boy] big sister: 누나 (noona)
  • [if you are a girl] big sister: 언니 (eonni)
  • younger sibling: 동생 (dongsaeng)
  • younger brother: 남동생 (namdongsaeng)
  • younger sister: 여동생 (yeodongsaeng)
  • niece: 조카딸 (jokattal)
  • nephew: 조카아들 (jokaadeul)
  • grandchildren: 손주 (sonju)
  • grandson: 손자 (sonja)
  • granddaughter: 손녀 (sonnyeo)
  • cousin: 사촌 (sachon)
  • aunt: 숙모 (sungmo)
  • [father’s side, father’s younger brother] uncle: 삼촌 (samchon)
  • [father’s side, father’s married younger brother] uncle: 작은아버지 (jageunabeoji)
  • [father’s side, father’s older brother] uncle: 큰아버지 (keunabeoji)
  • [father’s side, husband of father’s sister] uncle: 고모부 (gomobu)
  • [mother’s side, mother’s sister’s husband] uncle: 이모부 (imobu)
  • [mother’s side, mother’s brother] uncle: 외삼촌 (oesamchon)