Korean Greetings

Korean Greetings You Need to Know!


When you meet new people, the first thing you say is “Hello,” right? It sounds simple. But when you go to a country like Korea with different greetings for friends and strangers, it gets a little trickier.

We’ve brought you a list of general Korean greetings. And since it’s almost Christmas, we’ve also included holiday greetings. Consider it a present from the Seoulteam!

How Do You Say “Hello”?

The most common greeting is “Annyeonghaseyo.” (안녕하세요) You can use it with anyone. When introducing yourself, or in any other formal situations, say “Annyeonghaseyo” with a bow to show extra respect to your seniors.

Korean bow greeting

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If you’re with friends or family, you can shorten it to simply “Annyeong,” (안녕) or “Hi.” 


If you’re a store employee greeting customers, you’ll say “Annyeong hashimnikka.” (녕하십니까) You can also say “Hwangyong hamnida” (환영합니다), or “Welcome.”

Welcome greeting

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And for talking on the phone, you’d say, “Yeoboseyo.” (여보세요)

Phone call

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When meeting someone for the first time, you’d say “Mannaseo bangapseumnida” (만나서 반갑습니다) or “Nice to meet you.” To make it more casual, you can shorten it to “Bangapseumnida.” (반갑습니다)

Afterwards, you could say, “Jal butak deurimnida.” (잘부탁드립니다) It means “Please look after me” and is helpful if you’re new to Korea.

Formal Greeting

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When getting together with people you haven’t seen in a while, you’d say, “Oraenmanieyo” (오랜만이에요) or “Oraenman-e” (오랜만에). Both phrases mean “Long time no see,” but the first one is more formal and the second is more casual.

Long time no see greeting

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To ask someone about their health, say “How are you?” (Eotteoke jinaeseyo; 어떻게 지내세요) or “What’s up?” (Yojeum eottae; 요즘 어때) You can also ask “Did you eat?” or “Bab meogeoss-eo?” (밥 먹었어)

Meal time

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And let’s not forget “Ya!” (야!) It means “Yo” and should only be used with close friends!

Korean Hello Greeting

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Wishing You Well During the Holidays

It’s almost Christmastime, when everyone’s getting together with friends and family. Here are some phrases you’re likely to hear during this special season.

There are different ways to say, “Merry Christmas.” First, there is “Keuriseumaseu jal bonaeseyo” (크리스마스 잘 보내세요), which is more formal.

Korean Christmas gift giving

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Then, there’s Jeulgeoun seongtanjeol bonaeseyo” (즐거운 성탄절 보내세요), which is more casual. “Seongtanjeol” is “Christmas” in Korean.

Christmas in Korean

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You can also just say Meri keuriseumaseu.” (메리 크리스마스) 

Koreans with Santa costume

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And let’s not forget Jeulgeoun myeongjeol bonaeseyo” (즐거운 명절 보내세요), or “Happy Holidays.”

Christmas Stray Kids

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Now it’s your turn to try these greetings out! Remember to always smile, and bow if you want to be more respectful. Don’t be afraid of messing up. If the other person sees that you’re happy to meet them, they’ll appreciate your efforts and overlook any mistakes you make.

Hwaiting! (화이팅)

Author: Sophia Wasylinko

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