40+ Ways to Say Hello in Korean & Other Greetings

So, you want to start conversing in Korean. Good for you! Practicing what you learn by actually speaking or writing is the best way to retain knowledge. And having your first conversation starts by learning how to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean!

billboard signs in korea

As most language learners know, there are so many ways to say โ€œhelloโ€ in different languages. Itโ€™s no different in the Korean language. How do you know which one to use in particular situations? Stick around and Iโ€™ll go through different ways to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean as well as other common Korean greetings.

Korean speech levels or politeness levels

Before you learn how to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean language, you must first bear in mind that Korean (ํ•œ๊ตญ์–ด or hangugeo) is a hierarchal language.

There is a hierarchy of formality and politeness based on who youโ€™re talking to. Age, social status, and level of intimacy come into play and when you donโ€™t use the correct level of politeness, you may come off as either rude or too formal.

There are seven speech levels in the Korean language, from high formality (language used for kings) to informal, casual speech. No need to panic though! We wonโ€™t go through all seven, but this is something worth looking into when you go deeper into learning Korean.

The most common levels of speech that you should be aware of are these three:

  • Formal โ€“ This is the language you use to show respect to a person of authority (i.e. a government official or your boss), customers (if youโ€™re working in the service industry), in a very formal business setting, or someone older who youโ€™re not close with.

This form of speech is also used in ์‚ฌ๊ทน (sageuk; historical drama), formal announcements or news broadcasts.

  • Standard Polite โ€“ This is the most commonly used form of speech in Korea. You can use it in everyday speech, with people at work, or someone you donโ€™t know very well.
  • Informal or Casual โ€“ You should only use this if youโ€™re among close friends, somebody younger than you, or to children.

If youโ€™re just beginning to learn Korean or you have plans of traveling to Korea soon, knowing the standard speech will suffice because it has the proper politeness for everyday situations. However, it wouldnโ€™t hurt to know formal speech if youโ€™re applying for a job in Korea or doing a business transaction with a Korean.

Without further ado, letโ€™s start learning how to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean and other greetings in Korean language!

Ways to say hello in Korean + other Korean greetings

์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-ha-se-yo) โ€“ Hello or Good day

saying hello in a language

Whether youโ€™re a Korean noob or advanced in your studies, Iโ€™m sure you already heard the phrase โ€œannyeong haseyo.โ€ It means โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean and in Hangul (Korean alphabet), this is written as ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š”. It can also mean โ€œgood day.โ€

์•ˆ๋…• (annyeong) means โ€œwell-beingโ€ or โ€œpeaceโ€ while ํ•˜์„ธ์š” (haseyo) comes from the verb ํ•˜๋‹ค (hada). So ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” literally means โ€œto do peaceโ€ or โ€œto have peaceโ€. When ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” is used in question form, it means โ€œare you at peace?โ€ to which you can reply โ€œ์˜ˆ (ye) or โ€œyes.โ€

There are three common ways of saying โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean based on formality levels:

์•ˆ๋…• (annyeong) is the casual way to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean and is only used when talking to someone youโ€™re close with or someone whoโ€™s younger than you. Think of it as โ€œhiโ€ in Korean language. Additionally, annyeong is an informal way to say โ€œgoodbye.โ€

์—ฌ๋ณด์„ธ์š” (yeo-bo-se-yo) โ€“ Hello, when on the phone

girl saying hello on phone

How do you say โ€œhelloโ€ on the phone in Korean? You say ์—ฌ๋ณด์„ธ์š” (yeoboseyo).

If youโ€™ve read our article on Korean terms of endearment, you probably remember that yeobo used to mean โ€œlook hereโ€ or โ€œhey, youโ€ in Korean. Hence, ์—ฌ๋ณด์„ธ์š” is also be used to get someoneโ€™s attention, in an informal and negative way. Itโ€™s like saying โ€œhello?!โ€ in English but in a sarcastic way so unless youโ€™re initiating an argument, stick to using this on the phone.

์ข‹์€์•„์นจ์ด์—์š” (jo-eun-achim-i-e-yo) โ€“ Good morning

To say โ€œgood morningโ€ in Korean, you can say its standard polite form, ์ข‹์€์•„์นจ์ด์—์š” (joeun achimieyo). It is made of the adjective ์ข‹๋‹ค (jota) which means โ€œgoodโ€, ์•„์นจ (achim) which is the Korean word for โ€œmorningโ€, and the verb ์ด๋‹ค (ida) which means โ€œto be.โ€

There is no way to say โ€œgood afternoonโ€ in Korean, nor is there one for โ€œgood evening.โ€ ์ข‹์€์•„์นจ์ด์—์š” (joeun achimieyo) itself is not used as frequently as ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” (annyeong haseyo), which can be used at all times of the day.

Here are four ways to say โ€œgood morningโ€ in Korean:

๊ตฟ๋ชจ๋‹ (gunmoning) is commonly used by younger people when addressing their close friends.

๋งŒ๋‚˜์„œ ๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (man-na-seo-ban-gap-seum-ni-da) โ€“ Nice to meet you

handshake sign

When you meet someone for the first time, you can greet him or her with ๋งŒ๋‚˜์„œ ๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (mannaseo bangapseumnida). The phrase consists of ๋งŒ๋‚˜๋‹ค (mannada) which means โ€œto meetโ€ and ๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘๋‹ค (bangapda), which means โ€œto be happy or pleased.โ€

I know I said earlier that the standard polite form is the most common speech in Korean. But for โ€œnice to meet you,โ€ you will more commonly hear its most polite โ€œnidaโ€ form. This is because formal speech is more commonly used with people you meet for the first time.

There are so many ways to say โ€œnice to meet youโ€ in Korean!

์˜ค๋žœ๋งŒ์ด์—์š” (o-raen-ma-ni-e-yo) โ€“ Long time no see

You can use ์˜ค๋žœ๋งŒ์ด์—์š” (oraenmanieyo) to greet someone you havenโ€™t seen in a long time. The word ์˜ค๋žœ๋งŒ (oraenman) literally translates to โ€œlong time.โ€

Here are various ways to say โ€œlong time no seeโ€ in Korean:

์–ผ๊ตด ๋ณด๋‹ˆ๊นŒ ์ข‹๋‹ค (eol-gul-bo-ni-gga-jo-ta) – Itโ€™s good to see your face

It sounds weird to say โ€œitโ€™s good to see your faceโ€ to your friends in English. But ์–ผ๊ตด ๋ณด๋‹ˆ๊นŒ ์ข‹๋‹ค (eolgul bonigga jota) is just another way to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean. Be careful, however, as this is a colloquial, informal greeting used only among teenagers and close adult friends.

๋ฌด์Šจ ์ผ์ด์•ผ? (mu-seun-ir-i-ya?) โ€“ Whatโ€™s up?

๋ฌด์Šจ ์ผ์ด์•ผ? (museum iriya?) is a Korean greeting that you can use exclusively for close friends. It means โ€œwhatโ€™s upโ€ or an informal way of saying โ€œhow are you doing?โ€ and like in English, you donโ€™t say this in formal situations.

์•ผ! (Ya!) โ€“ Hey!

Want to know how to say โ€œheyโ€ in Korean? You can simply say ์•ผ! or ya! Easy to remember, right?

But like ๋ฌด์Šจ ์ผ์ด์•ผ? (mu-seun-ir-i-ya?), you can only use this Korean greeting with close friends. Itโ€™s informal and if you use it to call people older than you or people youโ€™re not close with, you will no doubt come off as rude.

์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š”? (jal-ji-nae-sseo-yo?) โ€“ How are you?

After youโ€™ve said โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean, what commonly follows is asking how they are or how theyโ€™ve been. To do that, you can ask ์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š”? (jaljinaesseoyo?)

์ž˜ (jal) means โ€œwellโ€ and ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š” (jinaesseoyo) means โ€œto spend time or liveโ€. ์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š”? (jaljinaesseoyo?) is the standard form of โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean but there are other ways to say it:

Also Read: 24 Ways to Say “How Are You” in Korean

๋ฐฅ ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด์š”? (bap-meo-geo-sseo-yo?) โ€“ Did you eat?

korean food

It probably sounds strange to ask โ€œdid you eat?โ€ as a way of greeting someone, but this is common in Korea and other Asian countries.

๋ฐฅ (bap) means rice or food and ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด์š” (meogeosseoyo) means to eat. ๋ฐฅ ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด์š”? (bap-meo-geo-sseo-yo?) doesnโ€™t necessarily mean that youโ€™re asking if theyโ€™ve literally eaten. Instead, itโ€™s a way of showing concern or interest in the personโ€™s well-being. Still, you can answer this with a simple ๋„ค (ne, or yes) or ๊ดœ์ฐฎ์•„์š” (gwaenchanhayo, or Iโ€™m fine).

์ž˜ ์žค์–ด์š”? (jal-ja-sseo-yo?) – Did you sleep well?

korean girl in bed

์ž˜ ์žค์–ด์š”? (jaljasseoyo?) stems from ์ž˜ (jal), which, as explained above, means โ€œwellโ€ and the verb ์ž๋‹ค (jada) which means โ€œto sleep.โ€ This is just another way of asking the person youโ€™re talking to how she or he is, and a way to show concern.

์ž˜๋ถ€ํƒ๋“œ๋ฆฝ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (jal-bu-tag-deu-rim-ni-da) – Please look after me

์ž˜๋ถ€ํƒ๋“œ๋ฆฝ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (jalbutag deurimnida) is another Korean greeting that may sound strange to non-native speakers. It is often translated as โ€œplease look after meโ€ or โ€œplease take care of me.โ€ But its meaning, when used in context, is closer to โ€œletโ€™s have a good relationshipโ€ or I look forward to working with you.โ€

This common Korean greeting is used when a new employee starts his or her new job. The phrase comes after his or her self-introduction. This is not limited to corporate settings though. Iโ€™ve seen a lot of behind-the-scenes clips of Korean celebrities saying this phrase to directors or filming crews before starting a new project.

This phrase is very polite and often said with a bow. The informal way of saying it is ์ž˜ ๋ถ€ํƒํ•ด (jal butakhae). You may only use this casual form with people of the same age or younger than you, and people you know you are close with.

ํ™˜์˜ํ•ด์š” (hwan-yeong-hae-yo) โ€“ Welcome

welcome sign

How do you say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean when youโ€™re working in a store or restaurant? While you can still say the standard ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” (annyeong haseyo), you can also say ํ™˜์˜ํ•ด์š” (hwanyeong haeyo) which means โ€œwelcome.โ€ The formal way of saying this is ํ™˜์˜ํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค or hwanyeong hamnida.

์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-hi-ga-se-yo) or ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ณ„์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-hi-gye-se-yo) โ€“ Goodbye

korean girl saying goodbye

You now know how to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean, as well as other common greetings. But when itโ€™s time to say goodbye, what should you say?

It depends on who is leaving.

์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (annyeonghi gaseyo) is the standard form of โ€œgoodbyeโ€ in Korean and it is used when the person you are talking to is leaving. ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (gaseyo) is the polite way of telling somebody to go.

์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ณ„์„ธ์š” (annyeonghi gyeseyo), on the other hand, is used when you are the one whoโ€™s leaving. ๊ณ„์„ธ์š” (gyeseyo) is the polite form of ์žˆ์œผ์„ธ์š” (isseuseyo), from the verb ์žˆ๋‹ค (itda), which means โ€œto exist.โ€ So ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ณ„์„ธ์š” (annyeonghi gyeseyo) literally means โ€œto peacefully exist.โ€

The pronunciation may sound confusing at first but with enough practice, youโ€™ll be able to say either phrase with ease. If itโ€™s any consolation, if you say it fast enough (which is how most Koreans say it), no one will notice it even if you interchange the two.

Like โ€œhelloโ€ and other greetings in Korean, โ€œgoodbyeโ€ also has other forms:

And thatโ€™s it! Congratulations, you now know how to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean, plus other basic Korean greetings!

If youโ€™re interested in learning Korean, you can check out this comprehensive list of resources, including apps, online courses, books, podcasts, and online tutors. Happy learning!

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