Sad Words in Korean – 12 Words to Learn

We’ve done a few posts on words and phrases related to emotion here on the blog. We’ll link those at the end of this post.

There are lots of words related to expressing sadness in Korean that will be useful for you to learn. Expressing your emotions is an important part of the human experience and relating to other people. If you can express yourself well, you can communicate more effectively.

For today, we’re going to teach you 12 words for expressing sadness and disappointment. Let’s get started!

슬프다 = To be sad

This is a common verb that you will come across. As a beginner, it may be one of the first words you learn.

This is its base verb form, and it can be conjugated many ways, and even change into its noun form which is 슬픔 (sadness). Let’s take a look at some example sentences with the word conjugated.

이 노래 슬퍼요. [i no-rae seul-peo-yo.] = This song is sad.

왜 슬퍼요? [wae seul-peo-yo?] = Why are you sad?

너 슬퍼 보인다. [neo seul-peo bo-in-da] = You look so sad.


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우울다 = To be depressed

Want to express something more serious than sadness? This is another common word you should know. It can be a little difficult to pronounce at first.

Once again, we’ve presented this verb in its base form, so here some example sentences:

난 오늘 좀 우울해. [nan o-neul jom u-ul-hae.] = I feel a bit down today.

아무 이유 없이 우울해요. [a-mu i-yu eop-si u-ul-hae-yo.] = I feel depressed for no reason.

난 날씨가 나쁘면 우울해. [nan nal-ssi-ga na-ppeu-myeon u-ul-hae.] = I feel depressed if the weather is bad.

낙담하다 = To be disappointed/discouraged

While this word is less common than the words we’ve covered so far, it’s used often enough that it will be useful to know.

Example sentences:

너무 낙담하지 마세요. [neo-mu nak-dam-ha-ji ma-se-yo.] = Don’t be so disappointed.

너무 낙담해 있어요. [neo-mu nak-dam-hae i-seo-yo.] = I’m so discouraged.

그 결과에 낙담하고 있어요. [geu gyeol-gwa-e nak-dam-ha-go i-seo-yo.] = I’m disappointed about the results.

아쉽다 = to be a pity

This is one of the more confusing words in Korean. Its meaning roughly translates to ‘what a pity’, ‘bummer’ or ‘what a shame’. Examples:

면접이 잘 안 돼서 아쉽네요. [myeon-jeo-bi jal an dwae-seo a-swim-ne-yo.] = It’s a shame the job interview didn’t work out.

일이 너무 나빠서 아쉽다. [i-ri neo-mu na-ppa-seo a-swip-da.] = It’s a shame your work isn’t going well.

끝나서 아쉽다. [kkeun-na-seo a-swip-da.] = It’s a shame that it’s over.

실망하다 = to be disappointed

Here is another word that means disappointment. The word ‘실망’ by itself means ‘disappointment’. Examples:

실망했어요. [sil-mang-hae-seo-yo.] = It was disappointing.

너한테 정말 실망했다. [neo-han-te jeong-mal sil-mang-haet-da.] = I’m really disappointed in you.

실망하기 싫어. [sil-mang-ha-gi si-reo.] = I don’t want to be disappointed.

불쌍하다 = to be pitiful, to feel sorry/bad for someone

This is another word that often confuses people on how to use it. This word is generally used to describe someone who looks pitiful or if something bad happened to someone, you feel bad for them.

이 여자가 너무 불쌍해. [i yeo-ja-ga neo-mu bul-ssang-hae.] = I feel so bad for this girl.

내가 그렇게 불쌍해 보여? [nae-ga geu-reo-ke bul-ssang-hae bo-yeo?] = Do I look that pitiful to you?

난 그 아이들이 불쌍하다. [nan geu a-i-deu-ri bul-ssang-ha-da.] = I feel sorry for those kids.

삐치다 = To pout, to sulk

If you want to express pouting or sulking, then you can use this word. In certain contexts, it can also mean upset or slightly angry. Examples:

안 삐쳤어요. [an ppi-chyeo-seo-yo.] = I’m not pouting.

삐치지 마. [ppi-chi-ji ma.] = Stop sulking.

삐칠 만한 일도 아니다. [ppi-chil man-han il-do a-ni-da.] = It’s nothing to sulk over.

불행하다 = To be unhappy

If you’re already familiar with the word for happy, here is its opposite. It can also have the connotation of ‘misfortune’. ‘불행’ by itself means unhappiness.

난 정말 불행하다. [nan jeong-mal bul-haeng-ha-da.] = I’m really unhappy.

너는 왜 그렇게 불행해? [neo-neun wae geu-reo-ke bul-haeng-hae?] = Why are you so unhappy?

우리 엄마는 너무 불행하다. [u-ri eom-ma-neun neo-mu bul-haeng-ha-da.] = My mother is so unhappy.

희망이 없다 = To be without hope

In a bad situation? This is the perfect phrase to describe what you’re going through. If we break it down, we have ‘희망’ which means ‘hope’.

Then we have the common verb ‘없다’ which means ‘to be without’. Examples:

나는 희망이 없다. [na-neun hui-mang-i eop-da.] = I have no hope for the future.

희망없는 전쟁이었다. [hui-mang-eom-neun jeon-jaeng-i-eot-da.] = It was a hopeless war.

여기 우리에게 희망이 없다. [yeo-gi u-ri-e-ge hui-mang-i eop-da.] = There is no hope for us here.

절망하다 = To despair

Despair is an extremely sad word that is used when the situation is so hopeless that you are desperate for anything to save you from it. ‘절망’ by itself means ‘despair’. Some examples:

절망하지 마세요. [jeol-mang-ha-ji ma-se-yo.] = Don’t despair.

아직 절망하기에는 너무 이르다. [a-jik jeol-mang-ha-gi-e-neun neo-mu i-reu-da.] = It’s too early to lose all hope.

절망하여 울었다. [jeol-mang-ha-yeo u-reot-da.] = I cried out of despair.

외롭다 = To be lonely

You will hear this word used often so make sure to commit it to memory. Examples:

외동 아이가 되면 외롭다. [oe-dong a-i-ga doe-myeon oe-rop-da.] = It’s lonely being an only child.

요즘 매우 외로워. [외동 아이가 되면 외롭다.] = I feel very lonely these days.

너무 외로워 죽겠어. [neo-mu oe-ro-wo juk-ge-seo.] = I’m desperately lonely.

포기하다 = To give up

Finally, we have a common word for giving up. It is sometimes just used as ‘포기’ to shorten it. Examples:

그냥 포기해. [geu-nyang po-gi-hae.] = Just give up.

절대 포기하지 않아! [jeol-dae po-gi-ha-ji a-na!] = I will never give up!

꿈을 포기하지 마세요. [kkum-eul po-gi-ha-ji ma-se-yo.] = Don’t give up on your dreams.

Enjoyed this post? Check out some of our infographics on other emotions here:

Emotions & Feelings in Korean Part 1

Emotions & Feelings in Korean Part 2



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.