First attested in the Hunmin jeongeum haerye (訓民正音解例 / 훈민정음해례), 1446, as Middle Korean 사〯ᄅᆞᆷ (Yale: sǎlòm).

In Middle Korean, 사〯ᄅᆞᆷ was a derived substantive of 살〯다〮 (Yale: sǎltá) "to live" with nominalizer ᄋᆞᆷ (Yale: -om) (> modern (eum)), and thus literally meant "one who is alive".[1] It is no longer perceived as a derived noun by modern speakers.

Doublet of (sam, life) and 살음 (sareum, having lived).


Revised Romanization? saram
Revised Romanization (translit.)? salam
McCune–Reischauer? saram
Yale Romanization? sālam

South Gyeongsang (Busan) pitch accent: / 사 / 사

Syllables in red take high pitch. This word always takes high pitch only on the second syllable, and also heightens the subsequent suffixed syllable.


사람 (saram)

  1. human; person; people
    영국 사람Yeongguk saramthe British
    미국 사람Miguk saramAmerican person
    그러면 어떤 사람 되는 겠어?
    Geureomyeon naega eotteon sarami doeneun geogesseo?
    What kind of person would I be then?

Usage notesEdit

Although Korean grammar does not generally distinguish between singular and plural, the plural marker (deul) is often appended to 사람 (saram) when it is necessary to specify the plural, yielding 사람들 (saramdeul, people).


사람 (saram)

  1. counter for people
    학생 사람
    haksaeng se saram
    three students


  1. ^ Lee, Ki-Moon; Ramsey, S. Robert (2011) A History of the Korean Language, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 176