First attested in the Jīlín lèishì (鷄林類事 / 계림유사), 1103, as Late Old Korean  (Yale: wo-), perhaps from earlier <*wòn->.

In the Hangul script, first attested in the Yongbi eocheon'ga (龍飛御天歌 / 용비어천가), 1447, as Middle Korean 오다〮 (Yale: wò-tá).

Etymological details

There is strong evidence that at some ancient stage, the root of the verb was <*wòn-> with a final nasal (cf. Vovin 2007, pp. 27—28). Consider:

  • The irregular Middle Korean imperative 오〮나라〮 (Yale: wónàlá, “come!”) is traditionally analyzed as involving a suffix 나〮 (Yale: -ná-) which appears solely with this verb. But this conjugation would be regular if <*wòn-> was the root, with the conjugation simply involving the suffix 아〮 (Yale: -á-) attested for other verbs.
  • The possibly dialectal Middle Korean form 오〮나도〮 (Yale: wónàtwó, “even if he comes”) is attested once, instead of expected 오〮아도〮 (Yale: wóàtwó, “even if he comes”). This is again regular if <*wòn-> was the original root.
  • In western Chungcheong dialect, the infinitive form of 오다 (oda) is 오느 (oneu), 오노 (ono), 오누 (onu), or 오나 (ona), instead of expected (wa).[1]
  • In Jeju, the traditional infinitive form of 오다 (oda) is 오란 (oran) instead of expected *완 (*wan), which may involve conflation of final *-n with *-l.


  • (SK Standard/Seoul) IPA(key): [o̞da̠]
    • (file)
  • Phonetic hangul: []
Revised Romanization?oda
Revised Romanization (translit.)?oda
Yale Romanization?ota


오다 (oda) (infinitive , sequential 오니)

  1. to come (to move towards the speaker)
    Antonym: 가다 (gada, to go)
    파티 줘서 고마워.Pati-e wa-jwoseo gomawo.Thanks for coming to the party.
    어떻게 오셨어?Eotteoke osyeosseo-yo?What brings you here?
    여기 오는 사람yeogi-ro oneun saram-deulthe people coming here
    오기 잘했다ogi-reul jalhaetdamade the right choice in coming; glad that one came
  2. (of rain, snow, etc.) to fall
    Synonym: 내리다 (naerida)
    온다.Bi-ga onda.It's raining. (literally, “Rain comes.”)
  3. (auxiliary, with ) Marks a continuous action that stretches from the past into the present.
    Antonym: 가다 (gada)
    오랫동안 인도 살아왔다.Oraetdong'an Indo-e sara-watda.He has lived in India for a long time.

Usage notesEdit

  • Korean equivalents of English expressions that use the verb “to come” in the present tense from the perspective of the listener, not the speaker, usually use the verb 가다 (gada, to go); that is, “to come” is inherently perceived as moving towards the speaker’s current position. For example, “I’m coming right now” in Korean is 지금 가고 있어 (na jigeum gago isseo, literally I’m going right now).
  • 오다 (oda) has two forms for the 해라체 (haerache) imperative. The blunt form is regular: 와라 (wara, come!). The less blunt form is irregular: 오너라 (oneora, (please) come!). Other verbs with the irregular non-blunt form are 일어나다 (ireonada, to get up), 자라다 (jarada, to grow), 자다 (jada, to sleep), 가다 (gada, to go), and compound verbs ending in 가다 (-gada).



  1. ^ 이기갑 (2003) 국어 방언 문법 [Korean Dialectal Grammar], Seoul, Republic of Korea: Taehaksa, →ISBN, pages 368—370