A slightly late 추석 잘 보내세요! to you.

Wikipedia states that 추석 means 'Autumn eve'. The usual word for autumn is 가을, but in the biggest K>E dictionary I have, I stumbled across 추계. Is that traditional or literary? Also, I can't find anything about 석 at all.

In general, the syllables of Korean words necessarily have a meaning of their own, or are some words un-decomposable?

  • 秋季(추계) does not mean 추석. It just means 'Autumn'.
    – mharti
    Sep 16, 2019 at 6:05
  • @user3352855 I think the OP itself implies 추계 means autumn
    – user17915
    Sep 16, 2019 at 6:42

2 Answers 2


This is sino-Korean word, so we can decompose it. So, let's see...

추석(秋夕), 秋 means autumn, and 夕 means evening. To find these, you need Chinese character dictionary.

sino-Korean words can be decomposed. Like, 대학교(大學校/University). 大 means big, 學 means learn, and 校 means school.

But 'pure' Korean cannot be decomposed by characters. For example, 사람(Human).

  • My knowledge of hanja is limited, so I'm struggling to ask the right question, to get the right answer. The hanja for 추석 is 秋夕. According to Google Translate, 秋 is pronounced Qiū and I assume that it's 'the same word' as 추. Google Translate translates it as 가을. 夕 is pronounced Xī, which I assume is not 'the same word' as 석. Google Translate translates it as 저녁. But 저녁 doesn't mean 'eve' - it means 'evening'. So what is my question? I still don't know.
    – Sydney
    Sep 16, 2019 at 10:21
  • @Sydney Oh right. I forgot the word evening. Yup. Evening is right. And Qiū and is Chinese pronunciation, while 추(chu) and 석(suk) is Korean pronunciation. Same word.
    – LegenDUST
    Sep 17, 2019 at 8:26
  • I can understand how Qiū in one language became chu in another, but I can't think of how Xī became seok.
    – Sydney
    Sep 22, 2019 at 12:47
  • You know English and German was one language once, right? They are totally different. It's somewhat like that. They came from Chinese, and about 2000 years before, some Korean introduced Chinese character to Korea. Chinese language changed, and Korean pronunciation also changed. That's how.
    – LegenDUST
    Sep 23, 2019 at 6:56

It's not clear, but it may oriented from 월석(月夕). http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/kr/topic/detail/4657

Or, you can find the literal meaning of '한가위' from here https://ko.wikipedia.org/wiki/추석#유래

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