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First attested in the Seokbo sangjeol (釋譜詳節 / 석보상절), 1447, as Middle Korean 보다 (Yale: pwota).

1447, 석보상절 3:11
ᄒᆞᆫ 玉女 ᄀᆞᄐᆞ시니ᄅᆞᆯ 보ᅀᆞᆸ고 와 ᄉᆞᆯᄫᅩᄃᆡ 執杖釋의 ᄯᆞ니미 겨시더 ᅌᅵ다

Also attested in the Worin seokbo (月印釋譜 / 월인석보), 1459, as Middle Korean 보다 (Yale: pwota).

1459, 월인석보 18:21
이 經을 보ᅀᆞᆸ건댄 智로 體ᄅᆞᆯ 셰시고


  • IPA(key)[po̞da̠]
  • Phonetic Hangul[]
Revised Romanization? boda
Revised Romanization (translit.)? boda
McCune–Reischauer? poda
Yale Romanization? pota


보다 (boda) (infinitive or 보아, sequential 보니)

  1. to see, look at
    그들은 여러가지 화초를 보고 있다.
    그들은 여러가지 화초를 보고 있다.
    Geudeureun yeoreogaji hwachoreul bogo itda.
    They are looking at various plants.
    서양인들은 보는 것을 매우 중요시해서 실명은 곧 죽음과 마찬가지인 것으로 생각했다고 한다.
    Seoyang-indeureun boneun geoseul mae-u jung-yosihaeseo silmyeong-eun got jugeumgwa machan-gajiin geoseuro saenggakhaetdago handa.
    Westerners are said to have placed great importance on seeing and thought that being blind was like death.
  2. to look after (a baby, child, house, etc.)
    아이를 보다
    aireul boda
    to look after a child
  3. to watch (a film, TV, etc.)
    영화를 보다
    yeonghwareul boda
    to watch a film
  4. to read (a book, newspaper, etc.)
  5. to examine (a document, patient, disorder, etc.)
  6. to take (an examination)
    시험을 잘 보면 좋겠습니다.
    Siheomeul jal bomyeon joketseumnida.
    I hope to do well on the test. (literally: It will be good if I take the test well.)
  7. to experience (a profit, loss, etc.)
  8. to relieve oneself
  9. to try something; requires a main verb with "-아/어" suffix or use attributively with "적".
    한번 생각해 볼게요.
    Hanbeon saenggakhae bolgeyo.
    I will consider it. (Literally, "I will try thinking about it.")
    한국에 가 적이 있어요?
    Han-guge ga bon jeogi isseoyo?
    Have you ever been to (South) Korea?

Usage notesEdit

This verb does not mean "to try hard" (e.g., "I tried to pass the exam."). Here, the phrases —려(고) 하다 (ryeo(go) hada) or —려고 노력하다 (ryeogo noryeokhada) are used instead. Compare Japanese  () (miru).


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


보다 (boda)

  1. more
    • 보다 열심히
      boda yeolsimhi
      more enthusiatically
  2. rather


보다 (boda)

  1. than, rather than
    • 내가 걔보다 키가 더 크다.
      Naega gyaeboda kiga deo keuda.
      I'm taller than him.
    • 사실상 어느 곳보다
      sasilsang eoneu gotboda deo
      than practically anywhere else
    • 지리산보다 한라산이 더 높다.
      Jirisanboda hallasani deo nopda.
      Mount Halla is taller than Mount Jiri.
    • 어제보다 오늘이 손님이 더 많다.
      Eojeboda oneuri sonnimi deo manta.
      There are more customers today than yesterday.