How to Say ‘Wife’ in Korean – Many Ways

How to say 'wife' in Korean


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Hey all. Today, we’re going to teach you how to say ‘wife’ in the Korean language. We’ll go over the official terms that Koreans use the most, and then some cute ways that close couples use for wife.

Let’s start with the ‘official’ word that most of you will find translated for wife.

 아내 (a-nae)

Not to be confused with ‘안내’ which means guidance. This is actually not commonly used by many people even though it’s the official word for wife. It also sounds a bit too formal and someone would never call their own wife ‘아내’. It’s used to refer to someone else’s wife. Here are a few example sentences.

그는 아내를 너무 사랑해요. (geu-neun a-nae-reul neo-mu sa-rang-hae-yo) = He really loves his wife.

그는 아내와 이혼했다. (geu-neun a-nae-wa i-hon-haet-tta) = Hed divorced his wife.

Next up…

부인 (bu-in)

This word has the same nuance as 아내. Again, this is a respectful and formal term to refer to someone else’s wife.

마누라/집사람 (ma-nu-ra/jib-sa-ram)

These are quite old-fashioned and only used by ajeosshis who are probably over 50 years old. The second one is especially old-fashioned. Its literal meaning is “home person” or “person who stays at home”, so you can see how it lines up with outdated gender roles. Using this could be seen as offensive these days.

Now let’s move on to the most common way to refer to you or someone else’s wife.

와이프 (wa-i-peu)

This is literally just ‘wife’ sounded out using Hangul. Over the years, this word has been used more and more. Due to its nature as a loan word, it sounds less neutral than the other terms for wife in Korean. It also probably exploded in usage due to the increase in foreign movies and TV shows from the West. You can feel totally comfortable using this word when speaking with anyone. Here are some example sentences.

우리 와이프는 임신 6개월 이에요. (u-ri wa-i-peu-neun im-sin yuk-gae-wol i-e-yo) = My wife is 6 months pregnant.

그녀는 나에게 좋은 와이프였다. (geu-nyeo-neun na-e-ge jo-eun wa-i-peu-yeot-tta) = She was a good wife to me.

So as you can see, there are several words that mean ‘wife’, but you can’t go wrong with using the loan word ‘와이프’. If you’re curious about some other words for couples, check out our Korean terms of endearment page.

 



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.