I wonder why some words have or do not have pure Korean version. One explanation I found is that everyday basic usage words have Korean version because they originated long time ago. The more modern a word is, less is the likelyhood of a Korean version.

So, what is the pure Korean version of 동생?

1 Answer 1


There are several terms, all of which are archaic in the standard. There was a fluidity with the terms, just as 동생 is used across both genders nowadays.

  • a younger brother, but also younger sibling in general: 아우 in standard, most commonly seen in translations of the Bible into Korean; 아스 in Hamgyeong; 아시 in Jeju; all are from Middle Korean 아ᅀᆞ [azo; note the archaic hangeul there]. Although Wiktionary currently says 아우 refers to a man's younger brother, I don't see much of a difference in usage; there is some suggestion that it was originally a younger sibling of the same gender.
  • a sister, of either a man or a woman: 누이 in standard, from Middle Korean 누의, although this could refer to an older sister as well as a younger sister originally, it ended up being distinguished by custom from 누나 and 언니 to mean "younger sister".

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