Korean Quotes and Proverbs about Life the Universe and Everything

kenneth parnell ·

Proverbs can clue us in to a culture and give us clues about the language. Korean is rich in sayings quotes and proverbs, you can enjoy many of them here.

Also see Korean Radio, Korean Pimsleur, Korean Cartoons, Korean in a Flash


원숭이도 나무에서 떨어진다.   Weonsungido namueseo ddeoleojinda.

Even monkeys may fall from trees.  or ... A good marksman may miss.

Even experts make mistakes.    


 손바닥으로 하늘을 가리려한다  Sonbadageuro haneuleul gariryeohanda

Don't try to cover the whole sky with the palm of your hand.

One can only "cover" the sky if he covers his own eyes, but the sky is still there and can not be denied its existence. Therefore, this is a very foolish thing to do.




아는 길도 물어가라    Aneun gildo muleogara

Measure twice, cut once.

Do not be overconfident and assume that you know anything perfectly well. There are always unknown or unexpected details.


뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다)    Tteusi itneun kose kiri itda.

In a place where there is will, there is a road.

"If you are sufficiently determined to achieve something, then you will find a way of doing so."


낮말은 새가 듣고 밤말은 쥐가 듣는다. Natmaleun saega deudgo bammaleun juiga deudneunda.

Birds listen to day-words and rats listen to night-words.

or .. The walls have ears.

What you say may be overheard; used as a warning."


Ten Wise Korean Proverbs


엎질러진 물이다  eopjilleojin mul-ida

There is no point in crying over spilt milk 

Once it has happened there is no going back, so just do your best in this moment.


 가는 말이 고와야오는 말이 곱다   ganeun mal-i gowayaoneun mal-i gobda

One good turn deserves another!

or.... If going words are beautiful, coming words will also be beautiful



고생 끝에 낙이 온다 – Go-saeng kkeut-e nag-i on-da

At the end of hardship comes happiness.

.... This proverb is used during difficult times to encourage a person to keep working hard and not give up.


제 눈에 안경이다     je nun-e angyeong-ida

It's glasses in my eyes.
or Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder


늦더라도 안 하느니보다 낫다  --neujdeolado an haneuniboda nasda

literally.. It is better than not to be late.

Better late than never, sometimes it works out great!

better late than never


웃음은 최고의 명약이다 - us-eum-eun choegoui myeong-yag-ida

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Why cry when you can laugh?

Prescribe comedy it is healthy and wise. 

laughter is best medicine

Learn the Top 25 Must-Know Korean Phrases! [INFORMAL] | 한국언니 Korean Unnie