What is the difference between 자리 and 좌석 ? They both mean seat in Korean dictionary. Are they used in different contexts?

  • They are usually interchangeable. 좌석 is a little bit more formal than 자리.
    – jungyh0218
    Jun 30, 2023 at 6:06
  • ‘자리’ has a broader meaning than a ‘좌석’: ‘좌석’ refers to something someone actually sit on, while a ‘자리‘ is the space or spot that a person or thing occupies. For example, ’주차장에 자리(좌석x) 있어?(Is there a spot in parking lot?) 우리 동아리에 아직 한 자리(좌석x) 남았어.(Our club still has one spot open)
    – user_A
    Jul 1, 2023 at 18:44
  • Is 자리 pure Korean and 좌석 Chinese based Korean?? When I write in Korean, I prefer to use pure Korean, as much as possible.
    – tashaq
    Jul 3, 2023 at 20:39
  • @tashaq Yes, 자리 is a native word while 좌석 is a hanja word. 자리 is also much more widely used (and easier to pronounce) than 좌석 which is limited to formal seating situations, so you can use it more freely. 자리 can mean a position (사장 자리 = president position, 일자리 = job) or location or spot (집이 있었던 자리 = where there used to be a house) in addition to a seat or seating arrangement. It is used in many set phrases involving a "place", like 있어야 할 자리 (where one should be), 잠자리 (bed), 자리를 잡다 (settle down in a place) and so on. – Tony
    – user17915
    Jul 5, 2023 at 1:14

1 Answer 1


좌석 is more used to represent the concept of a seat as a product or a service.

In a theater : 남은 좌석 있나요? or 남은 자리 있나요?
In an airport : 좌석 업그레이드 가능한가요?

In a classroom : 이 자리 누구 자리야?

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