두꺼비 (dukkeobi)



Usually believed to be equivalent to 두껍— (dukkeop-, to be thick) +‎ -이 (-i, noun suffix), referring to the toad's thick skin.[1]

First attested in the Hyang'yak gugeupbang (鄕藥救急方 / 향약구급방), 1236, as Late Old Korean 豆何非 (Yale: *twuhapi). In the hangul script, first attested in the Hunminjeong'eum haerye (訓民正音解例 / 훈민정음해례), 1446, as Middle Korean 두텁 (Yale: twùthèp), corresponding to Middle Korean 두텁〯다〮 (twuthěptá, to be thick). Also attested in the Saseong tonghae (四聲通解 / 사성통해), 1517, as Middle Korean 둗거비〮 (Yale: twùtkèpí), which is the first attestation of a form directly ancestral to the modern.

The ancestral form for the adjectival root “to be thick” *twut.hep ~ twut.kep shows the variation *h ~ k, as shown in many other words. The former gave rise to the Middle Korean words 두텁 (twùthèp), 두텁〯다〮 (twùthěptá), while the latter produced the modern standard form 두껍다 (dukkeopda) with loss of the initial consonant in the cluster t.k.

Alexander Vovin alternatively reconstructs original *kitpe on the strength of the twelfth-century Chinese-Korean wordlist Jilin leishi, which glosses a Korean word transcribed (*kʰit pʰuə̌) as (toad), and connects this to Tungusic. The *twu- would then be a prefix.[2] This etymology has issues with explaining the twutkep form, however, and Korean scholars have generally not accepted it.


Revised Romanization?dukkeobi
Revised Romanization (translit.)?du'kkeobi
Yale Romanization?twu.kkepi

South Gyeongsang (Busan) pitch accent: 비의 / 두비에 / 두비까지

Syllables in red take high pitch. This word always takes high pitch on the second syllable, and lowers the pitch of subsequent suffixes.



두꺼비 (dukkeobi)

  1. a toad or toads
  2. specifically the Asiatic toad, Bufo gargarizans

Usage notes

  • The vocative is 두껍-아 (dukkeob-a), similar to 개구리 (gaeguri, “frog”) (→ 개굴아 (gaegura)).


  1. ^ 김민수 [gimminsu], editor (1997), 우리말 어원사전 [urimal eowonsajeon], Taehaksa, →ISBN, page 276
  2. ^ Alexander Vovin (2000) “Pre-Hankul Materials, Koreo-Japonic, and Altaic”, in Korean Studies, volume 24, pages 142—155