Sino-Korean word from 韓國.


Proper nounEdit

한국 (Han-guk)

  1. Korea
  2. South Korea


  • (Korea): 조선 (Joseon) (rare)


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Sino-Korean word from 韓國, originally short for 대한제국(大韓帝國) (Daehanjeguk, Korea's official name from 1897 to 1910, literally Empire of Great Han), but now short for 대한민국(大韓帝國) (Daehanmin-guk, South Korea's official name, literally Republic of Great Han).

(, Han) originally refers to the 삼한 (三韓, Samhan, “Three Han”), three ancient tribal confederations in the southern Korean Peninsula. The word was later conflated with the unrelated Three Kingdoms of Korea, which also became known as 삼한 (三韓, Samhan) and which united in the seventh century to form the united Korean nation. The reference in (, Han) is to the Three Kingdoms, not the original tribes.


  • (SK Standard/Seoul) IPA(key): [ˈha̠(ː)nɡuk̚]
    • (file)
  • Phonetic hangeul: [(ː)]
    • Though still prescriptive in Standard Korean, the great majority of speakers (in both Koreas) no longer distinguish vowel length.
Revised Romanization?Han-guk
Revised Romanization (translit.)?Hangug
Yale Romanization?Hānkwuk

Proper nounEdit

한국 (Han-guk) (hanja 韓國)

  1. (South Korea) Korea (a country in East Asia, now divided into North Korea and South Korea)
    Synonym: 조선(朝鮮) (Joseon)
  2. (South Korea, China) South Korea (a country in East Asia)
    Synonym: 남한(南韓) (Namhan)
    Coordinate term: 북한(北韓) (Bukhan)

Usage notesEdit

  • After Korea was divided in 1945, South Koreans have generally referred to Korea by the name 한국 (韓國, Han-guk), a shortening of South Korea's official name, 대한민국 (大韓民國, Daehanmin-guk), which is itself based on 대한제국 (大韓帝國, Daehanjeguk), briefly the official name between 1897 and 1910 when the Korean monarchy claimed imperial status.
  • The older name for Korea, used between 1394 and 1945, was 조선 (朝鮮, Joseon). North Korea continues to use this name, but it has been largely deprecated in South Korea.
  • In contexts where North Korea is not involved, 한국 (韓國, Han-guk, “Korea”) will usually refer to South Korea specifically. In contexts having to do with North Korea, 남한 (南韓, Namhan, “South Korea”) is preferred. Note that the logic to this is that South Korea claims to be the sole legitimate government of the Korean people and hence to be the sole "Korea", so there is no need to specify that it de facto controls only the southern half when North Korea is not part of the discussion. The same goes for North Korea, which will refer to itself as 조선 (朝鮮, Joseon, “Korea”) without specifying.
  • Koreans in China will refer to North Korea as 조선 (朝鮮, Joseon) and South Korea as 한국 (韓國, Han-guk, “Korea”), following Chinese norms.