This is a word that you will come across often in real life and in dramas/kpop. Who doesn’t wanna say “cute!” when they see a baby, dog, or other furry little animal. For some reason, cute in Korean sounds cuter (not trying to make a joke) than its English counterpart. Maybe it’s the way Koreans say it as they have a tendency to really like cute things or make things as cute as possible.
Let’s start with the basics:
This is the basic dictionary form of cute. It literally means to be cute and you can often just say this as it is in most situations. However unless you’re pretty sure of how to use it, you will need to conjugate it.
Let’s take a look at the different forms you can use.
Formal Version: 귀엽슴니다 (gwi-yeop-seum-ni-da)
This is the formal version of saying cute. It’s not very likely that you will use cute in a formal situation though. For instance I highly doubt you would call your boss or teacher cute to their face. It really sounds kind of awkward even if you’re not using it towards someone older or higher in position than you.
Standard Version: 귀여워요 (gwi-yeo-weo-yo)
This is the standard version that you will want to use around people who you are not close to or people older than you. Notice the 요 ending.
Casual Version: 귀여워 (gwi-yeo-weo)
This is the one that you will probably hear most often and it is used around your close friends, family, and people younger than you.
Remember when in doubt, just use the standard version to be safe.
At the bottom of our infographic, you will see another word – 귀요미 (gwi-yo-mi)
This is a Korean slang word used to describe someone who is cute or acts cute. You could use this to describe a baby, child, pet, significant other etc. It’s a very versatile slang word.
Some people also use this to describe someone who uses a lot of aegyo (cute actions or noises). Hyo likes to use this for me when she jokes around.
Corny Joke for cute in Korean:
What do you call a cute person with no ears? 귀 없다!
귀 = ears
없다 = verb that means to be without
귀 없다 = to be without earsRemember that romanization is only a tool! Try not to depend on it too much and try learning the Korean alphabet and how to pronounce the letters properly and you will have a much easier time learning.
Some great books to get your started are Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language and Become a Hangeul Master: Learn to Read and Write Korean Characters
Check out our Dom & Hyo ebooks below.