Out of the blue.
A white lie.
Colors are everywhere, cropping up in quirky idioms and everyday descriptions.
When you’re speaking Korean, you’ll have to use color words more than once in a blue moon.
We’ve created this article to offer you a golden opportunity to improve your Korean by using all the colors of the rainbow in your speech.
Color words are used a little differently in Korean than they are in English. However, by the time you reach the end of this article, you should have a clear understanding of these differences.
Keep reading to improve your vocabulary and master colors in Korean!
Colors in Korean: The Basics
The Word “Color” in Korean
If you want to learn how to talk about colors in Korean, the first word that you’ll need to learn is the word for “color.” There are a couple of ways you can say “color” in Korean.
If you’re referring to color in general, such as in the sentence “The sky is a dark color,” you can use the word 색깔.
Here are a few examples of how you would use 색깔 in a sentence:
이 립스틱은 색깔이 좋아요. — This lipstick is a good color.
8가지 다른 색깔이 있어요. — There are eight different colors.
The word 색 also means color. If you’re referring to a specific color, such as blue or green, the word 색 is added to the end of the specific color. For example, the color green is 초록색. This is the form of the word you’ll see in a Korean dictionary.
Before we teach you the specific word for each color, let’s first look at how to grammatically use color words in Korean sentences.
Using Korean Colors to Describe Objects
As we previously mentioned, the way you use colors in Korean is slightly different than the way you use them in English.
The colors red, blue, yellow, black and white follow a different pattern than the other colors. When you’re using these colors to describe an object, you can drop the ending 색.
For example, the Korean word for yellow is 노란색. However, if you want to say “a yellow car,” you can drop 색 and simply say 노란 차.
On the other hand, if you wanted to describe an orange car, you’d have to keep the 색 ending and say 주황색 차.
Using Korean Colors at the End of a Sentence
The colors red, blue, yellow, black and white can also be used at the end of a sentence. You can use this sentence structure to say that an object is a certain color. Let’s look at some examples.
The first example for each is in the Korean plain form, and the second example is conjugated in the polite informal conjugation.
책이 노랗다. — The book is yellow. (plain form)
책이 노래요. — The book is yellow. (polite informal conjugation)
새가 빨갛다. — The bird is red. (plain form)
새가 빨개요. — The bird is red. (polite informal conjugation)
차가 파랗다. — The car is blue. (plain form)
차가 파래요. — The car is blue. (polite informal conjugation)
책이 까맣다. — The book is black. (plain form)
책이 까매요. — The book is black. (polite informal conjugation)
개가 하얗다. — The dog is white. (plain form)
개가 하얘요. — The dog is white. (polite informal conjugation)
If you want to talk about the color of an object and need to use a different color than the five above (red, blue, yellow, black and white), you can simply add the verb “to be” to the end of the color name.
For example, the word for pink is 분홍색. If you want to say “The pen is pink,” you can say it the following way:
펜이 분홍색이다. — The pen is pink. (plain form)
펜이 분홍색이에요. — The pen is pink. (polite informal conjugation)
Resources for Practicing Colors in Korean
Before we break down the individual colors, here are some resources you can use to help with your learning. Now that you know how to use color words, learning the name for each color is a simple matter of memorization.
- NativeKoreanSpeak. This YouTube channel has a great video that can help you practice saying Korean colors. You can print a PDF with the information (available in the video description) to follow along with the video. Saying the colors aloud as you watch the video is also a great way to improve your pronunciation.
- FluentU. FluentU makes language learning fun and easy with authentic content. Instead of trying to memorize a long list of color words, you can see the vocabulary used in real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news, inspiring talks and K-dramas. FluentU’s videos are accompanied by interactive subtitles so you can click on any word or phrase to find out more about it and see it used in additional videos. You can also add Korean colors and other vocabulary to customized vocab lists and flashcard sets and test your knowledge with fun quizzes!
- Quizlet. Studying with flashcards is a simple way to improve your vocabulary. This set from Quizlet covers 11 of the most common colors in Korean. You can use several different study modes, such as playing games or taking a written test, to assess your mastery of the vocabulary.
- Sporcle. If you want to test your knowledge of Korean colors, this quiz includes 12 of the most common colors in Korean. See how many you can name before time runs out!
- How to Study Korean. If you want to dive deeper into how to use Korean color words grammatically, this explanation from How to Study Korean offers a great breakdown of the different ways in which colors can fit into sentences.
Embrace the Rainbow: 20 Colors in Korean for a Vibrant Vocabulary
Basic Colors in Korean
Let’s take a look at the 12 most basic colors in Korean. Remember, when using the colors yellow, red, blue, black or white, you can drop 색 from the end of the color.
You can click on the name of each color to hear how it’s pronounced.
노란색 — Yellow
노란 오리예요. — It’s a yellow duck.
저는 노란색을 좋아해요. — I like the color yellow.
빨간색 — Red
빨간 트럭이에요. — It’s a red truck.
저는 빨간색 안 좋아해요. — I don’t like the color red.
파란색 — Blue
파란 침대예요. — It’s a blue bed.
저는 파란색 정말 좋아해요. — I really like the color blue.
검은색 / 까만색 — Black
까만 곰이에요. — It’s a black bear.
그는 검은색을 좋아해요. — He likes the color black.
하얀색 — White
하얀 눈이에요. — It’s white snow.
그는 하얀색을 안 좋아해요. — He dislikes the color white.
주황색 — Orange
주황색 당근이에요. — It’s an orange carrot.
그는 주황색을 정말 좋아해요. — He really likes the color orange.
초록색 — Green
초록색 잎이에요. — It’s a green leaf.
그녀는 초록색을 좋아해요. — She likes the color green.
보라색 — Purple
보라색 공룡이에요. — It’s a purple dinosaur.
그녀는 보라색을 싫어해요. — She dislikes the color purple.
갈색 — Brown
갈색 토끼예요. — It’s a brown rabbit.
우리 엄마는 갈색을 좋아해요. — My mom likes the color brown.
분홍색 — Pink
분홍색 자전거예요 — It’s a pink bike.
우리 아빠는 분홍색을 좋아해요. — My dad likes the color pink.
회색 — Gray
회색 눈이에요. — He has gray eyes.
우리 엄마는 회색 안 좋아해요. — My mom dislikes the color gray.
남색 — Indigo
남색 책이에요. — It’s an indigo book.
우리 아빠는 남색 안 좋아해요. — My dad dislikes the color indigo.
Advanced Colors in Korean
If you think you already have all of the basic colors memorized, you might be ready to move on to more advanced colors. Here are eight more colors to really make your vocabulary shine.
금색 — Gold
금색 트로피예요. — It’s a gold trophy.
저는 금색을 좋아해요. — I love the color gold.
은색 — Silver
은색 책이에요. — It’s a silver moon.
그는 은색을 좋아해요. — He loves the color silver.
적갈색 — Maroon
적갈색 스웨터예요. — It’s a maroon sweater.
우리 할아버지는 적갈색을 좋아하세요. — My grandfather likes the color maroon.
연두색 — Light green
연두색 문이에요. — It’s a light green door.
우리 할머니는 연두색을 좋아하세요. — My grandmother likes the color light green.
하늘색 — Sky blue
하늘색 계란이에요. — It’s a sky blue egg.
우리 할아버지는 하늘색을 싫어하세요. — My grandfather dislikes the color sky blue.
연보라색 — Light purple
연보라색 드레스예요. — It’s a light purple dress.
우리 엄마는 연보라색을 좋아해요. — My mom loves the color light purple.
청록색 — Turquoise
청록색 목걸이예요. — It’s a turquoise necklace.
제 친구는 청록색을 좋아해요. — My friend likes the color turquoise.
카키색 — Khaki
카키색 셔츠예요. — It’s a khaki shirt.
제 친구는 카키색을 싫어해요. — My friend dislikes the color khaki.
What color is your favorite food? What color is your shirt? What color is your phone? If you want to become fluent in Korean, you’ll need to practice saying your colors every day. As you’re going through your daily routine, try naming the colors of things you see around you for additional practice.
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