Cute hedgehog sitting on bark

How to Say “Cute” in Korean

The most common way to say “cute” in Korean is 귀엽다 (gwiyeopda), but this word can take on many different forms depending on the situation.

In this guide, I’ll show you different ways you can say the word “cute” in Korean, along with examples of how it can be used in context.


Informal Way to Say Cute in Korean: 귀여워 or 귀엽다

The infinitive form of “cute” in Korean is 귀엽다 (gwiyeopda). You can actually use this on its own to remark that something is cute in an informal way. So if you spot something you think is super cute you can respond like this, for example:

와! 이 고양이는 진짜 귀엽다! (Wow! This cat is really cute!)

You can also conjugate it using the informal level of politeness, which turns it into 귀여워 (gwiyeowo).

왜 이렇게 귀여워? (Why are you so cute?)

It’s important to make sure that you use the right politeness level depending on who you’re talking to. If you want to know more about when to use each politeness level, you can check out our handy guide here.

Polite Way to Say Cute in Korean: 귀여워요

If you are in a situation where you are using the polite form, sometimes known as the “-요 form,” you would say 귀여워요 (gwiyeowoyo).

This is better suited to when you are speaking to someone you want to show respect and politeness to. For example:

안경 쓴 거 귀여워요. (You look cute with glasses on.)

오늘 저 귀여워요? (Do I look cute today?)

If you’re going to call someone cute, make sure you’re doing so with the correct politeness level!

Formal Way to Say Cute in Korean: 귀엽습니다

To say “cute” in Korean in the formal way, you’ll need to use the -ㅂ니다/습니다 form. This would turn 귀엽다 into 귀엽습니다(gwiyeopseumnida). You won’t hear this as often, as this form is used in formal settings like in speeches, emails, or in professional environments like meetings.

Used in a sentence, it looks like this:

코알라는 매우 귀엽습니다. (Koalas are very cute.)

And if you want to describe someone as cute in a more respectful way, you may also want to use the honorific verb particle -(으)시. You can use this particle with different verb endings. For example:

두 분 너무 귀여우세요. (Both of you are cute.)

Using 귀엽다 to Modify Nouns

If you want to modify nouns with the word “cute” (e.g. “a cute kitten”) then you’ll need to use the noun modifier -은/는. Attaching this to a verb stem and then placing it before a noun will allow you to describe something as cute. For example:

귀여운 고양이 (Cute cat)

귀여운 표정 (Cute facial expression)

This means you can integrate the word “cute” into your sentences more seamlessly.

메이크업 완성 후에는 독특하고 귀여운 눈매가 될 거예요.

after finishing makeup, (they) will be unique and cute eye(s).


More Ways to Say Cute in Korean

귀엽다 is a word that can be used in a range of different contexts, but sometimes it might not quite be the word you’re looking for. So, here are some alternatives.

Another way of saying “cute” in Korean is 큐트하다 (kyuteuhada), which is derived from the English word “cute”.

You may also have heard of something called  애교 (aegyo) which is when people will act in an intentionally cute way, putting on specific voices and using different gestures.

If you still haven’t found a word that encompasses quite what you want to say, here are some other Korean words with similar meanings (note that these are not necessarily interchangeable with 귀엽다):

If you want to see how 귀엽다 and the other suggested terms above are used in context, you could check out language learning platform FluentU.

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Now you know the most common ways to say “cute” in Korean! This is a great word to have under your belt, as you’ll hear it everywhere in the Korean language.

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