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I have a question about expressing hair color in Korean. For example, how would I say in Korean that my girlfriend has brown hair? What about saying someone is a red-head, or is blonde?

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  • I have edited the question to read more clearly. Please take a look at it and see if I have retained your desired meaning. @DC 541 – Vladhagen Sep 22 '16 at 22:06
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I have seen a few different ways to express hair color in Korean.

빨강 머리 (or alternative spelling 빨간 머리) is a widely used term in Korean for a redhead. It literally means "red head."

나는 빨강머리가 되고 싶네! I want to become a redhead! 저는 빨간 머리입니다. I am a redhead.

Similarly, a brunette (brown hair) is often referred to using the term 갈색 머리 (literally, brown head). I have also heard 브루네트 ("brunette").

To twist things up slightly, a blonde is commonly referred to by the term 금 머리.

금발 머리인 여자가 김밥을 먹었어요. The blonde ate some kimbap.

Although there is some debate as to the grammatical legitimacy of the term 금발인 (with the 인 being the person 인 人), I have seen it used as a noun. Most of these instances were informal and on social media or in 만화. The Korean girls I inquired about on this matter seemed to agree that 금발인 can be used as a noun stand alone, however they had no idea if it was a dictionary approved term. They seemed to use it more as slang perhaps. I am not seeing this as an authoritative, be all end all, my way or the highway answer. I am just passing along what I have seen.

You may also hear the English word itself:

블론드의 여자 (blonde woman).

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  • Probably most Koreans would understand the word 금발인(人) upon seeing it, but honestly, this is the first time I saw that word. Are you sure that's what you heard, instead of the much more common "금발" + "-인" (from 이다)? E.g., people will more likely say "금발인 사람이 김밥을 먹었어요". – jick Sep 23 '16 at 2:52
  • m.endic.naver.com/… – Vladhagen Sep 23 '16 at 3:04
  • At least on Naver, the term 금발인 is used as a stand alone noun. See this Instagram hashtag as well: instagram.com/explore/tags/금발인 – Vladhagen Sep 23 '16 at 3:12
  • I agree with @jick. I had the same thought when I read 금발인이 김밥을 먹었어요. By the way, 블론드 and 브루네트 are also not as broadly used as 금발 머리 or 갈색 머리. – user7 Sep 23 '16 at 3:14
  • Err, you misunderstood the Naver dictionary entry. It is customary for English-Korean dictionary to explain an English adjective by 관형어(?) form (the form that can modify a noun). E.g., beautiful is listed as "아름다운, 멋진, 훌륭한", NOT "아름답다, 멋지다, 훌륭하다". "금발인" is the analogous form of noun+copula "금발이다". The phrase "원래 금발인 저한테", in your second Naver link, is the same. Compare, for example, 미국인 (American): you must say "원래 미국인인 저한테" (미국인 + copula 인), not "원래 미국인 저한테". – jick Sep 23 '16 at 5:28
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There are Korean words using Chinese characters that end with '-발' which literally means 'hair'.

흑발 (Black hair), 금발 (Gold/Blonde hair), 백발 (White hair), 적발 (Red hair), 황발 (Yellow/Blonde hair), etc.

You can use the following sentences.

그녀의 머리는 (머리카락은) 검은색(흑발)이야.

그녀는 검은색(흑발)의 머리를 가지고 있어.

그녀는 흑발이야. (Note that it is not as broadly used as 그녀는 금발이야) , etc.

You need to note that '적발' and '황발' are very rarely used in Korean. There is no name using Chinese characters for brown hair. If you use '갈발', it won't be understood.

Another way is to use adjectives such as

검은 머리 (Black hair), 노랑/노란 머리 (Gold hair), 하얀 머리 (White hair), 빨간/빨강 머리 (Red hair), 갈색 머리 (brown hair), etc.

There are so many ways to express hair color using the words above listed.

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    I have never seen any of the -발s used in conversation, with the exception of 금발 which is used ubiquitously as 금발 머리 to mean blond hair. And to me, 노란 머리 (yellow hair) implies the hair's not blond but has been dyed yellow. – user3932000 Oct 11 '16 at 3:58

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