I was asking a Korean friend called 단비 what her name meant in Hanja, and she surprised me by explaining that it was a pure Korean name, meaning a rain (비) that has been long-awaited (from naver: 꼭 필요한 때 알맞게 내리는 비 ).

Is there any more general pattern with + noun?

2 Answers 2


단 = 달다 = taste of sugar

1) 단비 : 가뭄에 내리는 비는 적절하다. 참 달게 느껴진다.

During drought, rain is suitable. The rain is felt to us like a sugar.

2) 단꿈 : 난 백만 장자에 대한 단꿈을 꾼다.

I imagine millionaire but it is just a dream.

3) 단잠=good sleep, 단감=a sweet persimmon, etc.

@ another uses among several meanings of 단 :

1) 단세포 = one cell

2) 단공장 = factory where we make steel hard.


Everyone loves sweets.

It is technically not a prefix. (← 달다 + -ㄴ) is the 관형어 (modifier) form of 달다, meaning sweet: having the pleasant taste characteristic of sugar or honey; pleasing in general. These words below are compound words (합성어) made with the . Note, you should not space them when you write these.

  • 단잠 (sweet + sleep): a pleasing sleep; a refreshing, deep sleep. The slang for this: 꿀잠 (honey + sleep).
  • 단꿈 (sweet + dream): a sweet dream; a pleasing dream.
  • 단맛 (sweet + taste): a taste of sweetness; sweetness.
  • 단비 (sweet + rain): timely, opportune rain.
  • 단것 (sweet + thing): sweets.
  • 단물 (sweet + water): sweet water; soft water; fresh water; a part containing the essence.
  • 단내 (sweet + smell): sweet smell.
  • 단김 (sweet + steam (gas)): a main flavor or carbon dioxide that makes a food or drink taste good; especially, carbon dioxide in soda or beer.
  • 단침 (sweet + saliva): the saliva dropped when one is drooling over food.
  • 단감 (sweet + persimmon): Diospyros kaki; or, a sweet name for a persimmon.
  • 단씨 (sweet + seed): a sweet corn. (But I have never heard this word ever.)
  • 단술 (sweet + alcoholic drink): the sweet alcoholic drink.
  • 단밤 (sweet + chestnut): a sweet, yummy chestnut.
  • 단배 (sweet + stomach): one's stomach appetitive for food.
  • 단국 (sweet + soup): a soup (especially, not glutinous one.) with a sweet flavor. (You should know what Korean soups look like to use this word.)

Do not get confused with

  1. The other (← 달다 + -ㄴ); it is also the 관형어 (modifier) form of 달다, but here 달다 is a different word, meaning to be red-hot.

    • 단솥 (heated + pot): a heated pot.
  2. Sino-prefixes that sound 단-: (solo), (short), and et cetera.

    • 단술 (단(單)-one + spoon)
    • 단신 (단(單)-sole + 신(身)body)
    • 단신 (단(短)-short + 신(身)body)
    • 단벌 (단(單)-sole + clothes)
    • 단세포 (단(單)-uni- + 세포cell)
    • 단숨에 (단(單)-one + breath + -에with)
    • 단박 (단(單)-one + 박(likely 拍)beat)
    • 단번 (단(單)-one + 번(番)the number of times)

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