There is a sentence

희망의 나래를 편다. (Literally) Spread (Open) your wings of hope.

And according to Naver Korean Dictionary, 나래 means

흔히 문학 작품 따위에서, ‘날개’를 이르는 말. ‘날개’보다 부드러운 어감을 준다.

How are these two words related etymologically and what are the differences between '나래' and '날개' in terms of their usage?

2 Answers 2


According to the National Institute of Korean Language's etymology page,

날개 comes from -+-개, which is 다(to fly, Modern 날다) + -개(suffix meaning "a tool to do such action").

Other words with -개 suffix are:

덮개, 지우개, 이쑤시개, 베개, 마개, 깔개, 끌개

나래 is just another form of 날개, which appeared as 래 in the 15th century, which is unfortunately is as far as we can go back in the Korean Language. But linguists from NIKL think that 래 came from 개 where ㄱ changed to ㅇ after ㄹ, which was a common phenomenon(sonorization of laryngeal consonants, Korean 후두유성음화) at the time. Note that ㅇ had a sound value [ɦ] back in the 15c.

The etymology page explains:

아마도 동의어 ‘날개’와의 경쟁에서 밀려나 특정 지역에 국한되어 쓰이고 있는 것이 아닌가 한다.

It probably fell behind in the competition with the synonym '날개' and is now being only used in a specific area(in literature).


Basically '나래' refers to followings.

A pair of paddles. Placing criminals under arrest.

In THAT case it should take the first case 'cause it looks like you flapping when you row. I assume that's how both words are etymologically related.

In short term, it looks like [나래 => rowing => flapping => 날개]

Hope it helps!

  • 1
    Hello, welcome to Korean Language Stack Exchange. Do you have any reference to support '나래' means 'placing criminals under arrest' or 'a pair of paddles'? Please include them if you have.
    – user7
    Jul 18, 2016 at 16:28
  • The definitions that you are giving are homonyms of the meaning that Rathony is referring to, with different entries in the dictionary. You cannot assume they are etymologically related just because of a tenuous semantic similarity.
    – gaeguri
    Jul 19, 2016 at 12:24
  • @Rathony When it comes to '나래' which means 'arresting' not quite much ways for etymological approach in Korean cause it's Chinese character(拿來). That means capture and take someone rather than 'incarcerating' sorry my bad. Aside from, the other '나래' had come from primitive form of '개' or '애' (encoding type doesn't support this character; consonant not used anymore).
    – Cloude 9
    Jul 20, 2016 at 7:00
  • Assuming that '개' is a combination of 다(verb, prefix) and -개(noun, prefix ), '개' is some kind of organ used to fly. '날개' had been transformed into ''개'' since 1800's. '래' is just another form of 애 and had been transformed into '날개'.
    – Cloude 9
    Jul 20, 2016 at 7:00
  • Please try to incorporate your comments into the answer. (It's not my downvote).
    – user7
    Jul 20, 2016 at 7:01

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