I have been trying to memorize the words one at a time and it isn't sticking.

  • 2
    Any particular ones you are having trouble with? Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 6:56
  • 하나하나 다 외우셔야합니다. 저같은 경우는 친척이 거의 없기때문에 한국인인데도 불구하고 친족간 호칭을 어떻게 해야하는지 잘모릅니다.
    – GKK
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 0:32
  • here is a table that might be helpful: blog.naver.com/243-7080/220815033094
    – user17915
    Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 14:45
  • The Kinship terminology always irks me. It's been years I've first seen the word “조카” back in my childhood and it still sounds alien to me. It reminds me of a “joker.” A native Korean word that has a letter “” in it? So weird…. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 3:10
  • @user17915 Saying just in case, those terms are not addressing terms, the ones that someone would use to call another in the same family. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


Usually, Korean people do not know well the pattern beyond 사촌(cousin)

We will focus to relation when I was a child.

Couple is 무(zero)촌. That is, there is no curtain. But parents and child has 일(one)촌. But we do not use 일촌. We use father (아빠, 아버지) or mother (엄마, 어머니). Similarly, grandfather(할아버지) or grandmother(할머니) has 이(two)촌.

Consider father's younger brother. me->father -> grandfather-> brother so that we call him 삼(three)촌 (uncle). But if he married, we use 작은아버지(small father) (And we call his wife 작은어머니)

Here we call his child 사(four)촌 (cousin). With respect to age, we use 사촌 동생, 사촌 누나 and so on.

Consider father's older brother : 큰(big)아버지.

Consider mother's brother : 외삼촌. (We call his wife 외숙모)

Consider father's sister and mother's sister : 고모 (aunt, her husband 고모부) and 이모 (her husband 이모부)

@Here 부 is China character implying man or husband.

Consider when we married or we are old :

(a) Older sister's husband is 매형 and conversely, he call me 처남. Younger sister's husband is 매제.

My wife call my older sister 시누이 and younger sister 아가씨. Conversely, my sister call my wife 올캐

(b) My younger brother's wife is 제수씨. Conversely, she call me 아주버님.

My wife call younger brother 도련님 (If he married, then it is 서방님). In further he call my wife 형수.

In further, consider wife's family :

Wife's older sister call me 제부 and her husband call me 동서. Wife's father and mother are 장인 어른 and 장모님.

Lastly, wife's older brother is 형님 (compare 처남)

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