How to Say Good Night in Korean: 8 Ways to End Your Day Graciously
Your evening routine may be busy, but it’s not complete without a nighttime salutation to mark the end of your day!
And if you’ve started learning Korean greetings, then you probably know that they’re more than just mundane conversation pieces.
Etiquette is a big deal in Korean culture, and greetings are just one aspect of it. So even a simple nightly farewell can carry a lot of magnitude.
So here are some ways you can give someone a proper Korean nighttime send-off!
- 1. 안녕히 주무세요 – Sleep well (formal)
- 2. 잘 자요 – Sleep well (formal)
- 3. 잘 자 – Sleep well (informal)
- 4. 좋은 꿈 꿔요 – Dream good dreams (formal)
- 5. 편안한 밤 되세요 – Have a comfortable night (formal)
- 6. 굿밤 – Good night (slang)
- 7. 굿나잇 – Good night (slang)
- 8. 꿀잠 – Sweet dreams (slang)
1. 안녕히 주무세요 – Sleep well (formal)
Pronunciation: ahn-nyung-hee ju-mu-se-yo
You might recognize the 안녕 at the beginning of this phrase as the standard way to say “Hello” in Korean. When translated literally, 안녕 means “peace” or “to be at peace.” So 안녕히 주무세요 can mean that you’re wishing someone a peaceful snooze.
This phrase is formal in nature, so you should use it for your parents, elders and other social superiors (such as your boss). It’s very frequently used and it’s my personal go-to for anyone who’s my senior.
The inclusion of 세요 (more specifically, the 요) is what makes this phrase respectful. This small addition to phrases automatically boosts their formality.
If you want to be even more courteous, you can switch out 주무세요 with 주무십시오 (ju-mu-ship-shi-o), to say 안녕히 주무십시오. This is reserved for those who really deserve that extra respect, although you probably won’t find many instances in which it’s needed.
2. 잘 자요 – Sleep well (formal)
Pronunciation: jal ja-yo
While shorter than the first phrase on the list, 잘 자요 still gets the job done!
The phrase is relatively formal (again, the 요 at the end will tell you!) so you can use it for elder family members as well as your seniors.
However, from my observations, I’ve found 잘 자요 to be used a bit more casually than 안녕히 주무세요. It’s pretty common to hear it among more familiar acquaintances, such as between co-workers that are close in age.
3. 잘 자 – Sleep well (informal)
Pronunciation: jal ja
This is the informal form of 잘 자요, made possible by simply removing the 요. It’s short and sweet and rolls nicely off the tongue since both words start with the same consonant.
This phrase is very common among friends, family members, and when speaking to someone around your age or younger. In my personal friend group, it’s the greeting we use most often before we split up and head off to bed.
4. 좋은 꿈 꿔요 – Dream good dreams (formal)
Pronunciation: joh-eun kkum kkwo-yo
You can remove the 요 to say 좋은 꿈 꿔, which is appropriate for use among your buddies.
While it can be used among adults that are around your age or status, I’ve heard this phrase spoken often to youngsters and children before they head off to bed.
For couples, there’s sometimes a cute alteration to this expression. One may playfully implore their sweetheart 내 꿈 꿔 (nae kkum-kkwo), which means “Dream of me.”
5. 편안한 밤 되세요 – Have a comfortable night (formal)
Pronunciation: pyu-nahn-han bahm dwae-se-yo
This formal statement wishes the person a relaxing rest of the night, quite similar to the English expression “Have a pleasant night.” (밤 is the Korean word for “night”).
This is a polite phrase commonly used among adults. It’s a bit of a mouthful, especially since the first three syllables end in the same consonant (try saying it three times fast!). So if you’re having trouble, take your time enunciating.
6. 굿밤 – Good night (slang)
This is a Konglish (Korean-English) phrase. It’s a combo of 굿, transliteration of the English word “good,” and 밤, the Korean word for night.
This is a Korean slang term commonly seen in text, so it’s something you’d see more often in online spaces and social media. It’s most commonly used by youths in digital platforms such as Kakaotalk, Korea’s number one social messaging app.
While it’s not a phrase you’d normally use in-person, it’s definitely a funny and modern send-off that you can use with your pals online!
By the way, Korean slang lessons can be a nifty addition to your Korean studies. After all, the country boasts a very active social media scene, and most natives are connected to the net and embracing the fun and convenience of slang in their interactions.
7. 굿나잇 – Good night (slang)
Similar to 굿밤, this is also a slang term.
One difference between the two is that 굿나잇 is entirely an English transliteration of “Good night.” 나잇 is just a Korean phonetic spelling of the English “night.” So none of the words actually have a standard Korean definition.
Again, you probably wouldn’t say this out loud to someone, especially if they’re senior to you in any way. But you can find it being used casually by social media users.
8. 꿀잠 – Sweet dreams (slang)
The phrase 꿀잠 is equivalent to the English expression “Sweet dreams.”
꿀 means “honey” and 잠 means “sleep.” So, when you use this phrase, you’re wishing someone honey-sweet dreams!
This is a cute modern slang that would primarily be found online, although it can slip into some casual conversations as an affectionate way to bid your pals goodnight.
Before you hit the hay, make sure you know what to say!
Using the proper nighttime salutation is a good opportunity to practice your knowledge of both the Korean language and etiquette.