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Why Prep?
Bilingual Dictionary Errors
English-Korean & Korean-English


© 1997-present, by Leon of Leon's Planet

Permission to copy for educational purposes granted, but please give me credit for compiling the list.


In the pursuit of


 in applied linguistics...


Note:  I do not suppose that this is a comprehensive, although it is a pretty long and good list.  It is the result of 10 years of living in Korea, learning the Korean language.  This list will remain on this website 'till the cows come home (whenever that might be).  Please, if you have any power to do so, please do what you can to stop the falsehoods!!!!!


My other Korean-related Pages:

My Expat Blog
  (Re: My 10-yr Life in Korea)

Korean Food Translated
  (fairly comprehensive list)

Korean Origins
  (Where did they come from?)

Konglish 1
  (Konglish Interlanguage)

Konglish 2
  (Konglish Lexis)

Konglish 3
  (Konglish Pronunciation)

Korean Dictionary Errors
  (This page)

Korean Language Lessons
(by Leon)



English-Korean Errors / Erratum

for Korean to English Errors,  scroll down


(잘 못)
(정정 영-한)
(정정 한-영)
family : 가족
family : 핵가족
가족 : household
Linguistic Notes:  haek-ga-jok literally means "nuclear-house-clan".  In English, the term "nuclear family" is only used by sociologists, to define the modern trends in family-making.  In the past, the term "family" had the same meaning as "household", but not any more.  In fact, although many current English-English lexicons still list that meaning first, it should be known that definitions are listed in chronological order, and the first definition is often obsolete.
square : 네모 (ne-mo) square : 정사각형
네모 : quadrilateral; tetragon
Etymology Notes:  "Quadrilateral" is from Latin.  "Quadri" means four; "lateral" means side(s).
"Tetragon" is from Greek, but the word is NOT commonly used in English.  "Tetra" means four; "Gon" means side(s).
It is interesting to me that we use the Latin word for a four-sided figure, but any figure with more than four sides, is labeled with the Greek word; like Pentagon (five sides).
 tree : 나무 (namu) tree : 밑동 있는 나무 나무 : shrub/tree/etc
나무 also means: wood
Linguistic Notes:  this is a classic case where the Korean word is a hypernym of the English word(s).  In Korean, the word "namu" means any wood (alive or dead), or any bush or shrub with a hard, wood-like stem.  English does not have a word to match the Korean word exactly, but "wood" would be a close approximation.
flower : 꽃 (ggot) flower : 꽃부리
(ggot bu-ri)
꽃 : flowering plant
fruit : 과일 (gwa-il) fruit : 열매 (yeol-mae) 과일 : ?
maybe: "common table fruits"
Linguistic Notes:  in the botanical sense of the word "fruit", "yeol-mae" matches perfectly.  In the colloquial sense of the word "fruit", "gwa-il" matches perfectly.
pumpkin : 호박 (ho-bak) pumpkin : 늙은 호박
(neulgeun hobak)
호박 : edible gourd; squash
Linguistic Notes:  The term hobak seems to denote any edible gourd, which is NOT sweet.  There are two common hobaks in Korea:  neulgeun hobak (old hobak) and ae hobak (baby hobak).  The old hobak is a pumpkin, and the baby hobak is a zucchini.
dove : 비둘기 (bi-dul-gi) dove : 하얀 비둘기
(ha-yan bi-dul-gi)
비둘기 : pigeon
worm : 벌레 (beolle) worm : 다리 없는 벌레;
(dari eopneun beolle)
지렁이 같은 벌레
(jireongi gateun beolle)
벌레 : bug
Linguistic Notes:  I don't know if there is a scientific (biological) term for worm in Korean.  There must be, but even if there is, lay people wouldn't know it when they heard it (or saw it).  And there evidently is not word in the vernacular to match "worm".  So, I've used the translation: dari eopneun beolle, which literally means legless bug.  Jireongi means earthworm.  So, I've used Jireongi gateun beolle, which means earthworm-like bug. 
hip : 엉덩이
hip : 골반 (gol-bal) 엉덩이 : buttocks
favorite : 마음에 드는
(ma-eum-e deu-neun)
favorite : 가장 좋은
(ga-jang joh-eun)
마음에 드는 : liked
charming : 매력 있는
(mae-ryeok itneun)
charming : 기쁘게 하는
(gi-bbeu-ge ha-neun)
매력 있는 :  enchanting
frustrated : 실망한
frustrated : 좌절된
실망한 : disappointed
professional : 전문가
professional : 직업인
(jig-eob-in) say /jigeobin/
NOTE:  professionals are paid for their skill(s)
전문가 : specialist, expert
Linguistic Notes:  jeon-mun-ga literally means "specialist" or "expert".  Unfortunately, some professionals are NOT experts.  I'd like to make this point very clear.  A first-year teacher is a professional, because she/he receives a salary, but he/she is most-likely lacking in skills, which come with time and experience.
amateur : 비전문가
amateur : 실업자
NOTE: amateur may or may not have great skill, but is NOT paid for his/her skill
비전문가 : novice
Linguistic Notes:  shil-eop-ja literally means: "unemployed person".  So, it is NOT a good match for "amateur", but I cannot find a good match in the Korean language.  However, I would like emphasize that an amateur DOES NOT RECEIVE payment for her/his skill (good or bad skill, doesn't matter).  But, in the vernacular, we generally think of an "amateur" as one who lacks skill.
ago : 전에 (jeon-e) ago : 지금 전에
(je-geum jeon-e)
전에 : before
calm : 고요한
calm : 상냥한 (sang-nyang-han)
부드러운 (bu-deu-reo-un)
calmly : 살살 (sal-sal) or...
고요한 : quiet
Linguistic Notes:  "calm" means not moving or moving very little, which I thing is close to sang-nyang-han, but bu-deu-reo-un means "soft", which has both the concrete and abstract meanings, just like English does.  In this case, we are talking about the abstract meaning of "soft", as in: soft/calm music, or soft/calm gestures.
still : 조용한, 고요한 still : 가만이 있는 조용한 : quiet
Linguistic Notes:  "still" means not moving at all.
shrew : 잔소리 하는 여자
(jan-sori ha-neun yeo-ja)
shrew : 두더지 (du-deo-ji) 잔소리 하는 : nagging
Linguistic Notes:  jan-sori ha-neun yeo-ja literally means: "nagging woman", obviously taken from the Shakespearean play: "The Taming of the Shrew", "shrew" being an obsolete metaphor for a nagging woman.

My late wife defined jan-sori as any noise which irritates or annoys.  So, it has a much broader meaning than "nagging".

urchin : 장난꾸러기
urchin : 성게 (seong-ge) 장난꾸러기 : prankster
Linguistic Notes:  "urchin" can be used as a metaphor for a troublesome child.
Seong-ge literally means: "star crab".
school : 학교
school : 가르치는 곳
(ga-reu-chi-neun got)
학교 : public school
Linguistic Notes:  "school" is a hypernym of all learning institutions.  To differentiate, one must use any of a number of modifiers, thusly:  1. primary/elementary school; 2. secondary school; 3. middle school; 4. jr. high school; 5. sr. high school; 6. school of higher learning (e.g., college or university); 7. school of English (i.e., and English Academy); 7. Sunday school; 8. home school (home schooling), etc. 
teacher : 선생, 교사
(seon-seng, gyo-sa)
teacher : 가르치는 사람
(ga-reu-chi-neun sa-ram)

NOTE:  any person who teaches, is a teacher.

선생 : Firstborn, One's Elder

교사 : Public School Teacher

Lingusitic Notes:  Seon-seng is word is a Sino-Korean word composed of two morphemes: seon (first) & seng (birth)... but usage is of paramount importance:

usage1:  title of respect to any older person [Note:  In China, only this usage is appropriate]

usage2:  title of respect to a mentor or teacher, who is "Older" in the sense that he/she has more experience/knowledge/training in a particular field

except : 제하고 (je-ha-go);
        외에는 (oe-e-neun)
except : 제하고 (je-ha-go) 외에는 : outside of, in addition to
efficient : 능률적인,
효과 있는,유효한
(hyo-gwa itneun, yu-hyo-han) 
efficient : 아끼는;  없애는
(a-ggi-neun: eops-ae-neun}
효과 있는 : effective

Linguistic Notes:  The bilingual lexicons in Korea translate the words "effective" and "efficient" identically.  Yet, the smarter students perceive that there is some difference in usage, which is true, but differences in usage is not due to the whim of native speakers, but rather due to completely different meanings.  Look at the table below.

Effective Efficient
An effective car, performs as I would have it perform, generally with regard to speed, power and toque. An efficient car conserves gas, and thus conserves money.
An effective learning method produces desired results with regard to memory and ability to "regurgitate" learned material. An efficient learning method conserves time and energy (and the implication is that it produces desired results with less time and energy).   The problem is that the "effects" may be ephemeral.

It helps to look at the meaning of the root words, and the root meanings are completely opposite!
The root of effective is effect.
  "Effect" (v.t.) means to cause or to produce (생기게 하다).

The root of efficient is efface.
"Efface" (v.t.) means to eliminate, to eradicate (없애다)

Right Meaning Awkward Meaning
time-efficient thing time-eliminating thing time-effective thing time-producing thing
cost-efficient thing cost-eliminating thing cost-effective thing cost-producing thing
fuel-efficient thing fuel-eliminating thing fuel-effective thing fuel-producing thing
resource-efficient thing resource-eliminating thing resource-effective thing resource-producing thing
profit-effective thing profit-producing thing profit-efficient thing profit-eliminating thing
learning-effective thing learning-causing thing learning-efficient thing learning-eradicating thing

NOTE:  apparently, even native speakers get confused, because I've commonly heard people say, "cost-effective", when they mean "cost-efficient".

2nd NOTE:   Also, when we say/write "fuel-efficient", we don't mean it uses a lot of fuel; we mean it eliminates the need for a lot of fuel.  Same thing with "time-efficient".


conserve : 보존하다,
유지하다 (yu-ji-ha-da),
보호하다 (bo-ho-ha-da)
conserve : 아끼다
보존하다 : keep; protect

유지하다 : maintain

보호하다 : protect; preserve

local : 지방의 (ji-bang-eui) local : 가까운 (ga-gga-un) 지방의 : country (a.)
(in the countryside)
Linguistic Notes:  ji-bang means countryside and ji-bang-eui means of the countryside.  "Local" means near a given place.  So, when the doctor gives a "local anesthetic", it is near (and only has affect near) the place of surgery.  When the doctor gives a "general anesthetic", it has affect on the whole body.  When talking about geography, "local" means near a given place (if specified), or near the speaker (if the place is not specified).
find out : 발견하다;
생각해 내다
(saeng-gak-hae nae-da)
find out : 알아내다
발견하다 : discover, find
생각해 내다 : figure out
BONUS: 알아보다 : try to find out
protocol : 의전
protocol : 전 (jeon) 의 (eui) = ceremony
전 (jeon) = law, rule, protocol


의전 = ceremonial protocol

purpose : 목적
purpose : 이유
목적 : objective, aim, goal

이유 : reason, purpose

Linguistic Notes:  While the meanings of reason and purpose are quite similar, the grammar and usage are a bit different.
Usage of "reason" Usage of "purpose"
What is the reason for working? What is the purpose of working?
What is the reason for a toy's existence? What is the purpose of a toy?
The reason for working is to make money. The purpose of working is to make money.
The reason for a toy's existence is to be played with. The purpose of a toy is to be played with. 
edit : 편집하다
edit : 수정하다
편집하다 : do layout work
should : ~하여야 하다 should : ~하면 더 좋다 ~하여야 하다 : have to/must
had better : ~하면 더 좋다 had better : ??? ~하면 더 좋다 : should
Linguistic Notes:  I don't know that there is a suitable translation of "had better" in Korean.  Honestly, I think that the translation given could be the nearest thing the Korean language has, but the function is VERY different from "should".  This should be explicated by reference materials that disseminate information about the English language, but it isn't.  Thus, most Koreans, grossly and erroneously use "had better" to their "betters", when they had better not.  [I'm specifically referring to how Koreans use it to their foreign teachers/professors, saying things like, "You had better teach us well."  At such times, I feel like saying, (and sometimes do): "You had better learn how to speak politely, or else you are going to make a lot of people angry."  That of course leads into my dissertation about the usage of "had better".

I am extremely irate with LONGMAN (never did like Longman), because the English text books in China are produced by Longman (in cooperation with the Chinese Education Press).  According to Longman's text book, had better, should and ought to are all the same.  This is HORRIBLE!  Longman's English reference materials are among the MOST popular in Asia.  This is really too bad.  Take for example Longman's learners dictionary of English.  It is liked by learners for the simple definitions therein.  I vehemently dislike many of the definitions, because they are often wrong (due to the simplicity and brevity thereof).  If learners of English want the best definitions with sample sentences, they should look into COBUILD's English-Learner's Dictionary, or Oxford's English-Learner's dictionary.  [But, I am NOT endorsing Oxford's bilingual dictionaries, because it is often just as wrong and any other bilingual dictionary].

For more information on the differences between:

had better / have to & must / ought to & should

please visit my SYNONYMS page. 


Korean-English Errors / Erratum


(잘 못)
(정정 한-영)
(정정 영-한)
힘내다 : Cheer up 힘내다 : put forth full might; put your shoulder to the wheel; be energetic Cheer up : 기분 풀다
정 : Affection; Love 정 : Platonic love or philanthropic love Affection : 감정, 특히 좋은 감정들
한 : grudge; regret 한 : melancholy grudge : 원한
regret : 후회 ; 미련
상식 : common sense 상식 : common knowledge common sense : ???
장난꾼 : urchin 장난꾼 : prankster; mischievous child urchin : 성게
솔직한 : frank, candid, honest 솔직한 : honest (+,-)
candid (+)
frank (-)
바보 : a fool; a stupid person 바보 : an idiot; a moron; a dummy fool : 현명하지 못하는 사람
비둘기 : dove; pigeon 비둘기 : pigeon dove : 하얀 비둘기
빵 : bread 빵 : baked, leavened ware(s) bread : 식빵
호박 : pumpkin; a squash 호박 : an edible gourd; [미] squash pumpkin : 늙은 호박
억울하다 : mortify 억울하다 : feel unjustly accused mortify : 당황하게 하다
속상하다 : feel sore, be vexed 속상하다 : feel torn up inside;
feel "hurt" (emotionally)
feel sore : 쑤시다;
[은유법으로] 화나다
be vexed : 짜증 나다
부끄럽다 : 1. be shy (bashful)
2. be ashamed
부끄럽다 : 1. act shy
2. be/act ashamed
be shy (bashful, timid) :
답답하다 : 1. be stuffy (cramped)
2.  be inadaptable; be narrow-minded
3.  be impatient; be irritable
답답하다 : 1. ((a room can)) be stuffy or cramped
2.  ((a person can)) be narrow-minded
3.  [metaphorically] feel blocked, frustrated, trapped
be impatient : 참을성 없다
be irritable : 짜증날 수 있다
아주머니 : aunt; auntie 아주머니 : Mrs; Ma'am aunt:  고모, 이모, 숙모...

auntie : "이모" (친척은 아님)

아저씨 : uncle 아저씨 : Mister; Sir uncle1:  삼촌, 고모부, 숙부, 이모부

uncle2 : "삼촌" (친척은 아님)

유자 : citron (citrus medica) 유자 : citrus junos citron : ???
NOTE:  The citron (citrus medica) and the citrus junos are very similar, but different in size; the citrus junos is much bigger.
모과 : quince 모과 : oriental quince quince : 양모과
매실 : ume; plum 매실 : oriental apricot
 (Also Known As: "Japanese Apricot")
Maeshil is to the apricot as the lime is to the lemon.  It's scientific classification is:  prunus mume
ume : ???

plum : 자두

참외 : musk melon 참외 : a kind of musk melon:  Scientific name: cucumis melo,
(which I believe to be a kind of chate melon)
musk melon : ???
NOTE:  There are many kinds of musk melons; chate melons are a kind of musk melon, and I firmly believe Chamoe to be a chate melon.
멜론 : melon 멜론 : cantaloupe melon :  수박, 참외, 멜론, 등...
아끼다 : grudge; spare 아끼다 : conserve; save grudge : 인색히 하다

spare : (1) 파괴하지 않다, 해치지 않다 (2) 벌 주지 않다 (3) 고생을 시키지 않다 (4) 피하다 (5) 절약하다 (6) 남에게 시간, 돈, 등을 할애하다

재직하다 : hold office; be in office 재 : exist, have
직 : duty, job

재직하다 : to be employed; to have a job

재직 기간 : period of employment

"hold office" or "be in office" is ONLY used for public officials
몸살 : fatigue 몸살 : involves much much more than just fatigue, according the the Korean-Korean lexicon, 몸살 consists of the following:


esp., arms and legs

i.e., high fever

[I've had it... it is like a mild form of meningitis & a severe case of influenza combined]

fatigue : 피로

I recommend only the best:

Dong-A Prime Dictionaries

My other Korean-related Pages:

My Expat Blog
  (Re: My 10-yr Life in Korea)

Korean Food Translated
  (fairly comprehensive list)

Korean Origins
  (Where did they come from?)

Konglish 1
  (Konglish Interlanguage)

Konglish 2
  (Konglish Lexis)

Konglish 3
  (Konglish Pronunciation)

Korean Dictionary Errors
  (This page)

Korean Language Lessons
(by Leon)









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