Ultimate list of Korean terms for family members 

 July 11, 2021

By  Smriti

The Korean term for referring family is 가족 and member is 구성원 so the term for family member is 가족 구성원.

In Korea, people don't call the family members by their names, instead they use their terms. However, it is not so easy to talk about them because there are many terms and they are sometimes confusing.

Therefore today I will let you know about all the most commonly used terms used in Korea as well as how to use them in the right manner.

Koreans often refer to their family members by using a special word rather than by using names. This way of calling people may seem strange to foreigners but you will get used to them in time. There are many different terms of addressing family members that Koreans use.

Let's look at the common terms used to address any person who is not in the family. 

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

아이

Child

2

애들

Kids

3

아저씨

Uncle in 40's

4

삼촌

Uncle in 30's

5

 아가씨

Lady in 30's

6

아줌마

Lady in 50's

7

사장님

Owners of shop, store etc.

First let's see the general basic terms used to describe family members in Korean :

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

할아버지

Grandad

2

할머니

Grandma

3

손자

Grandson

4

손녀

Grand daughter

5

아버지

Father

6

아빠

Dad

7

어머니

Mother

8

엄마

Mom

9

Boy's older brother

10

누나

Boy's older sister

11

오빠

Girl's older brother

12

언니

Girl's older sister

13

남동생

Younger brother

14

여동생

Younger sister

15

아들

Son

16

며느리

Son's wife

17

Daughter

18

사위

Daughter's husband

19

조카

Niece / Nephew

20

사촌

Cousin

After learning the basic terms for family members. Let's look at the Korean terms for the father's side of the family.

General term for father's side of the family is 친가.

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

할아버지

Grandad

2

할머니

Grandma

3

큰 아버지 / 큰 아빠 

Dad's elder brother

4

큰 어머니 / 큰 엄마 

Dad's elder brother's wife

5

작은 아버지 / 작은 아빠

Dad's younger brother

6

작은 어머니 / 작은 엄마

Dad's younger brother's wife

7

숙부 

Brother

8

숙모

Brother's wife

9

고모

Sister

10

고모부

Sister's husband

Now let's take a loot at the Korean terms used for maternal side of the family.

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

외할아버지

Mom's dad

2

외할머니

Mom's mom

3

외숙부

Mom's brother

4

외숙모

Mom's brother's wife

5

이모

Mom's sister

6

이모부

Mom's sister's husband

Tip : 

Add 님 ( nim )suffix after the term to make it sound respectful when addressing the maternal or paternal side of the family. 

Let's see the terms that are used to address the significant other after the marriage :

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

여보

Honey

2

당신

You

3

남편

Husband

4

아내

Wife

5

XXX 아빠

( Name of the child ) 아빠

6

XXX 엄마

( Name of the child ) 엄마

Terms used by husband to address the wife's side of the family :

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

장인

Father in law

2

장모

Mother in law

3

형님

Older brother in law

4

아주머님

Older brother in law's wife

5

처남

Younger brother in law

6

처남댁

Younger brother in law's wife

7

처형

Older sister in law

8

형님

Older sister in law's husband

9

처제

Younger sister in law

10

동서

Younger sister in law's husband


Terms used by wife to address the husband's side of the family :

No.

Korean term

Meaning in English

1

시아버지

Father in law

2

시어머니

Mother in law

3

아주버님

Older brother in law

4

언니

Older brother in law's wife

5

도련님

Younger unmarried brother in law

6

서방님

Younger married brother in law

7

동서

Younger brother in law's wife

8

언니

Older sister in law

9

서방님

Older sister in law's husband

10

아씨

Younger sister in law

11

서방님

Younger sister in law's husband

If there are no terms that you are familiar with, then the easiest way would be using their names, however in this situation, you may still get confused as it is quite a sensitive topic.

So the trick is to learn slowly and use 님 after the term to sound polite. 

See also : Emotions in Korean Language

Complete List of Body Parts vocabulary in Korean

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