Many languages have a way to create diminutive forms, which can denote small size, or be a term of endearment.

One English example is "-y" : dog becomes doggy, Bob can become Bobby, and so on.

In Italian, "-ino" and "-ina" can be used; A girl called Chiara might be called 'Chiarina'. "Topo" is a mouse, so "topolino" is a "little mouse".

The List of diminutives by language on Wikipedia doesn't currently mention any ways to make diminutives in Korean. Is there anything at all similar in Korean? (Not necessarily a suffix).

1 Answer 1


Diminutives are called 지소사 in Korean. There are several:

  • -아지 : most common one.

    • 모가지(목 + -아지): neck
    • 소가지(속 + -아지): mind (noun)
    • 망아지(말 + -아지): foal
    • 송아지(소 + -아지): calf
    • 강아지(개 + -아지): puppy
  • -앙이

    • 고양이 (괴 + -앙이): cat, kitten
    • 꼬랑이 (꼬리 + -앙이): tail
    • 가장이 (가지 + -앙이): branch
    • 나방이 (나비 + -앙이): moth
  • 좀- : usually used in plant names

    • 파리 - 좀파리
    • 가지풀 - 좀가지풀
    • 딸기 - 좀딸기
    • 민들레 - 좀민들레
    • 목이버섯 - 좀목이버섯
  • 졸- : usually used in plant names

    • 참나무 - 졸참나무
    • 갈매나무 - 졸갈매나무
  • 애기- : usually used in plant names

    • 똥풀 - 애기똥풀
    • 장대 - 애기장대
    • 땅빈대 - 애기땅빈대

Other diminutive prefixes used in plant names include '난쟁이-', '어리-', etc.

  • 1
    For the sake of completeness: -아지/-앙이 are not productive and can be only used for a handful of already established forms. (E.g., you can't add -아지 to 쥐 and create 쥐아지.) The others are more like specialized biological terms, used for some species' names.
    – jick
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 6:03

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