I have a terrible time remembering 마찬가지. Usually I want to use it and kind of remember what the word sounds like, but I can't remember the exact characters.

Perhaps understanding the etymology of this word would help. I will accept any other tips for remembering this word, too.

1 Answer 1


The etymology page of the National Institute of Korean Language's site explains that 마찬가지 is a shortened form of 마치 한가지.

‘마찬가지’라는 단어는 옛 문헌에서 발견되지 않는다. 사전으로서는 <조선어사전>(1938)에서 처음으로 확인된다. ‘마찬가지’는 ‘마치 한가지’라는 표현이 줄어든 단어이다. ‘마치 한가지’의 ‘마치’는 ‘흡사(恰似)’의 뜻이고 ‘한가지’는 “형태, 동작 따위가 서로 같은 것”을 뜻하므로 이것이 줄어든 ‘마찬가지’는 “흡사 서로 같은 것처럼 동일함”이라는 뜻이다. ‘매한가지’와 의미가 비슷하다. 중세국어에서 ‘마치’는 ‘마치’로, ‘한가지’는 ‘ᄒᆞᆫ가지’로 나오므로 ‘마찬가지’가 일찍부터 존재했다면 이른 시기에 ‘*마ᄎᆞᆫ가지’의 형태를 취하고 있었을 것이다.

The word '마찬가지' is not found on older documents. It's first attested in a dictionary in <조선어사전>(1938). '마찬가지' is a word shortened from the expression '마치 한가지'. The meaning of '마치' in '마치 한가지' is the same as '흡사(恰似), "alike"', and '한가지' means "equivalent in form and action", so the shortened '마찬가지' means "equivalent as if the two were the same". Its meaning is similar to the word '매한가지'. In Middle Korean, '마치' was '마치', and '한가지' was ‘ᄒᆞᆫ가지’, so if '마찬가지' existed since the early days, it would have the form '*마ᄎᆞᆫ가지'. (The asterisk means 'unattested'.)

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