First attested in the Yongbi eocheon'ga (龍飛御天歌 / 용비어천가), 1447, as Middle Korean 머리〮 (Yale: mèlí).
Also attested in the Worin cheon'gangjigok (月印千江之曲 / 월인천강지곡), 1449, as Middle Korean 마리〮 (Yale: màlí).
Originally identical to the modern animal classifier 마리 (mari).
Beyond Middle Korean, attested in the twelfth-century Jilin leishi word-list as 麻帝 (má dì) *mati, thus a case of intervocalic lenition. Perhaps cognate with Middle Korean ᄆᆞᆮ (mot, “eldest child”), modern 맞이 (maji), but the vocalism is different.
- (SK Standard/Seoul) IPA(key): [mʌ̹ɾi]
- Phonetic hangul: [머리]
|Revised Romanization (translit.)?||meoli|
South Gyeongsang (Busan) pitch accent: 머리의 / 머리에 / 머리까지
Syllables in red take high pitch. This word always takes high pitch only on the first syllable, and lowers the pitch of subsequent suffixes.
머리 • (meori)
- the leader of a group
- the radical at the top of a Chinese character
- the top or front of an object
- National Institute of the Korean Language (Naver.com mirror) (accessed 2006-12-31), “머리”, in 표준국어대사전
- Seo Jeong-beom (서정범) (2000), “머리”, in 國語語源辭典, Seoul: Bogosa Books, page 246