I was talking yesterday to a Korean who had been to the doctor, and they proceeded to tell me what the '선생님' said.

I double-checked and they confirmed they were referring to the doctor.

Why would one refer to a doctor as 선생님? Would it be ok to address the doctor as 선생님?

What other positions might be referred to in the same way?


의사 선생(님) is the proper way to address/refer to a medical doctor. 선생(先生) is traditionally a title given to a person who has high degree of skills in arts and sciences. It does not necessarily mean "teacher".

Lots of historical Korean scholars and activists are titled 선생, such as (백범) 김구 선생, 율곡 선생, etc.

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