I encountered this small passage:

오늘 가능한 건 내일 도 가능해,
그러니까 오늘은 이만 자자고

This was translated for me as

Things we can do today can be done tomorrow, so let's sleep now.

i.e. 이만 meaning 'now'. I was confused, then, when I was told that 이만 means something similar to 그만, which I thought meant "stop", "no more". Daum dictonary defines 이만 as

  1. this much 2. this far 3. by this

Which is similar to the 'this much and no more' meaning of 그만.

Does 이만 have two (or more) specific meanings, or is there a single way of understanding it that could cover these different cases?

  • The origin of 그만 is simply 그 (that) + 만 (only, just) ..."only/just that." Similarly, 이만 originates from "only/just this." To my knowledge, there is no "now" meaning associated with 이만. I'm going to guess that "now" comes from the present tense verb, but there is no "now" in that sentence.
    – B. Alvn
    Jan 29, 2017 at 23:21
  • I also think that very possibly this is a set phrase and maybe something like 해서 (or 두어서 or 놔서 maybe) has been historically contracted out following 이만... 하다, in particular, is often contracted out of colloquial language, and we might get some insight by looking at Daum's meaning #2 for 이만 >>> [이만하고서] by this (much); this far. So much[That's all] for today./This is all for today. 오늘은 이만 (합시다)
    – B. Alvn
    Jan 29, 2017 at 23:33
  • Regarding 그만두다 -- it is the combination of 그만 + 두다 ("leave" and many more related meanings). Source: oldict.com/%EA%B7%B8%EB%A7%8C%EB%91%90%EB%8B%A4 (Etymology on lower part of the page)
    – B. Alvn
    Jan 29, 2017 at 23:41
  • @B.Alvn on a badly-worded version of this question that I deleted, Leftium commented that "이만 자자" sounded more like "let's sleep now" than "그만 자자" - at least if I'm quoting it right. It sounded from that like 이만 had more of a 'now' feel, but I was confused by that because similar thoughts about the word construction to those in your first comment. On the other hand, another native Korean said that "그만 자자" could also mean "let's sleep now", in some contexts.... so I'm still collecting data points on this one! Jan 29, 2017 at 23:51
  • hmmm...well it sounds like a work type of situation to me, no? Like "we did enough" kind of thing?
    – B. Alvn
    Jan 30, 2017 at 0:01

2 Answers 2


"이만" does mean the same thing as "그만".

"그만" has several meanings, the first being "stop" or "no, more," or in Korean, "그 정도까지만."

So, for example, "그만 좀 먹어!" means "Stop eating!" or "그만 좀 해!" signifies "Stop It!".

However, "그만"also has a second meaning, which is the one it shares with "이만".

It can mean "(That's enough)..let's now" or "그 정도로 하고" in Korean.

So, if someone were to say "그만 자자. " it would translate into "(That's enough), So let us go to sleep now. " In this case, "그만 자자" is interchangable with "이만 자자."

In you case,

오늘 가능한 건 내일 도 가능해, 그러니까 오늘은 이만 자자고.

translates into

That's enough, what can be done today can be done tomorrow, so let's sleep now.

and is interchangable with

오늘 가능한 건 내일 도 가능해, 그러니까 오늘은 그만 자자고

I hope this addresses your question!


그러니까 오늘은 이만 자자고

... is actually ...

그러니까 오늘은 이만하고 자자고

In which "이만하고" means

정도까지 하고

In English, it's:

Besides the work we have done till now

If this sounds so Shakespeare-ish, here's a more natural one.

Pause, and (then)

It's how I actually interpreted when I was like five.

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