How to say ‘Wait’ in Korean – Just a Minute!

How to say wait in Korean


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Wait to tell someone to wait a minute? There are lots of ways to express this in Korean with different words and phrases. These are good to know if you want to show politeness at the same time. So let’s teach you some of these today!

기다리다 (gi-da-ri-da)

You may have seen or heard this verb before. This is a common verb and it means ‘to wait’. It’s one of the most basic verbs you can learn and can be used in lots of situations. Like other Korean verbs, it’s pretty easy to conjugate. Here are some basic conjugations for this verb (all standard polite):

기다려요 (gi-da-ryeo-yo) = present tense (decalarative)

기다렸어요 (gi-da-ryeo-sseo-yo) = past tense (declarative)

기다릴 거예요 (gi-da-ril geo-ye-yo) = future tense (declarative)

It’s a little difficult for some beginners to pronounce, but once you listen over and over along with some practice, you can get it down. Here are some example sentences:

조금만 기다려요. (jo-geum-man gi-da-ryeo-yo) = Just wait a little longer.

오래는 못 기다려요. (o-rae-neun mot gi-da-ryeo-yo) = I can’t wait too long.

나 기다렸어요? (na gi-da-ryeo-sseo-yo) = Were you waiting for me?

많이 기다렸어요? (ma-ni gi-da-ryeo-sseo-yo) = Have you been waiting long?

그럼 나는 여기서 너을 기다릴게요. (geu-reom na-neun yeo-gi-seo neo-reul kki-da-ril-ge-yo) = Then I’ll wait for you here.

나 기다릴거야? (na kki-da-ril-geo-ya) = Will you wait for me?

기다려 주세요. (gi-da-ryeo ju-se-yo) = Please wait for me.

Now let’s move on to some other ways you can say ‘wait’ in Korean.

 잠시만요/잠깐만요 (jam-si-man-yo/jam-kkan-man-yo)

These two words basically mean the same thing – to wait a bit, wait a moment, or wait a little while. 잠시만요 is considered a bit more formal and while 잠깐만요 was used more often, that has changed recently (people think that 잠시만요 flows better off the tongue and sounds ‘softer’). You can drop the ‘요’ from both of these to sound more casual, and you can also combine these with the verb you learned above ‘기다리다’.

If you read our post on ‘Excuse me in Korean’, you’ll also see that these can be used as a way to say excuse me.

Here are some examples:

잠시만요. 전화 연결해 드릴게요. (jam-si-ma-nyo. jeon-hwa yeon-gyeol-hae deu-ril-ge-yo) = Hold on, I’ll put you through.

아 네 잠시만요. (a ne jam-si-ma-nyo) = Ah, wait just a moment.

잠시만요. 거의 다 됐어요. (jam-si-ma-nyo. geo-ui da dwae-sseo-yo) = Just a moment. I’m almost done.

잠깐만요. 이것좀 봐주세요. (jam-kkan-ma-nyo. i-geot-jjom bwa-ju-se-yo) = Wait a minute. Come look at this.

잠깐 얘기 좀 할까요? (jam-kkan yae-gi jom hal-kka-yo) = Can I talk to you for a moment?

잠시만 기다려주세요. (jam-si-man gi-da-ryeo-ju-se-yo) = Please give me a moment./Please wait a moment.



Whether you want to understand basic words in K-pop or K-dramas, impress your Korean friends, or simply deepen your connection to the Korean culture, the Korean Language Starter Pack ensures that you quickly learn and retain the most commonly used Korean words and phrases today. Click here to learn more.