This is a question from the proposal phase.

What is the difference between 소고기and 쇠고기 ?

  • 2
    Note that 쇠고기 is getting obsolete these days. Sep 7, 2016 at 15:11
  • @JinyoungKim Yeah, it seems. It still works with no problem to mean beef, though. Mar 26, 2018 at 7:34

4 Answers 4


'소' is 'bull (cow)' and '쇠' is a contraction of '소의' and '쇠고기' means '소의 고기'.

'소고기' literally means 'bull (cow) meat' and '쇠고기' means 'bull (cow)'s meat'.

There is nothing wrong with using either of them as they have the same meaning.


소 -> cow
소의 -> cow's
소의고기 -> cows's meet (beef)
However, 소의 generally gets contracted into 쇠. This is due to the combination of vowel sounds (ㅗ at the bottom of 소 and the following 의 sound)
Hence 쇠고기 literally means "cow's meat" and 소고기 would mean "cow meat".
However, in general conversation both would be understood as "beef"


They mean the same thing, are interchangeable, and are both used in 표준어.

쇠고기 is a shortening of 소의 고기

KRDic Information from Naver.


Those are both the same words as other answers suggest. In real life, 쇠고기 tends to sound more polite and offical than 소고기.

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