days-of-the-week-in-korean

Days of the Week in Korean: How to Pronounce Them and Their Meanings

To confidently speak about events and time in Korean, you’ll have to learn the Korean days of the week!

Here’s a simple guide about the week-related vocabulary you should master ASAP. 

We’ll go over the days of the week in Korean, their meanings and even share a catchy song at the end to help you remember everything.

Contents

The Days of the Week in Korean

days-of-the-week-in-korean

EnglishKoreanRomanization
Monday 월요일 wuh-ryo-il
Tuesday 화요일 hwa-yo-il
Wednesday 수요일 soo-yo-il
Thursday 목요일 mog-yo-il
Friday 금요일 geum-yo-il
Saturday 토요일 toh-yo-il
Sunday 일요일 i-ryo-il

Meanings of the Korean Days of the Week

The word for “day of the week” is 요일 (yo-il). A prefix is then attached to it, depending on the day in question.

In Korean, the names of the days of the week are based on natural elements. They were derived from Chinese characters. In fact, Korea’s traditional lunisolar calendar (now typically substituted with the Gregorian calendar) is essentially the same as the original Chinese calendar.

Interestingly, the use of elements in the naming of weekdays is something seen throughout cultures and languages—for example, the English “Monday,” Spanish lunes and German Montag all were originally named after each respective language’s word for moon.

월요일 (wuh-ryo-il) – Monday

means “moon,” so Monday in Korean also means “moon day.”

Remember to pronounce 월 carefully. Since a double vowel Hangul character is involved, it may be a bit difficult to articulate if you’re not so used to Korean pronunciation yet. Luckily, the way you vocalize it can help you out—your mouth will take on an “O” shape, much like a moon itself!

화요일 (hwa-yo-il) – Tuesday

화 means “fire,” so Tuesday is “fire day.”

While there’s nothing intrinsically fiery about it, you can remember the word for Tuesday with a little visual mnemonic: a bright orange fire can “consume” or dispel the darkness of a moonlit night.

수요일 (soo-yo-il) – Wednesday

수 stands for “water,” making Wednesday “water day.”

There are a number of ways you can remember this. Following my little mnemonic tip for 화요일 (Tuesday), you can also think: water can “consume” (overwhelm) fire. Another easy recall tip is that both water and Wednesday start with the letter “W.”

목요일 (mog-yo-il) – Thursday

is “wood,” so Thursday is “wood day.”

We can continue my elemental mnemonic to say that wood can “consume” (absorb) water. So, the order from Monday to Thursday goes: moon, fire, water, wood.

금요일 (geum-yo-il) – Friday

means “gold,” making Friday “gold day.”

You probably don’t need any help remembering this one! It seems like we can all agree across cultures that Friday is truly the most treasured of the week.

토요일 (toh-yo-il) – Saturday

stands for “earth” or “soil,” so Saturday is “earth day.”

A trick that might help you remember the prefix is by mangling the pronunciation of Saturday a bit to Sat-earth-day. Another pronunciation trick is that 토요일 sounds a bit like “toil,” as in “toil in the soil”!

일요일 (i-ryo-il) – Sunday

일 stands for “sun” or “day,” so Sunday is “sun day”!

We can bring back the elemental mnemonic, to remember that the day’s sun (of 일요일) will eventually be “consumed” or followed by the night’s moon (of 월요일, Monday). 일 is also repeated twice. So now we can use the mnemonic to remember Sunday to Thursday!

Korean Vocabulary Related to the Days of the Week

Alongside the days of the week, you should also know other basic vocabulary related to time-telling:

  • (nyun) – year

Phrases to Talk About the Days of the Week in Korean

Here are some of the most common Korean phrases you’ll hear related to talking about the days of the week.

Ways to Remember the Korean Days of the Week

Along with the mnemonics we share above, if you need some extra help remembering the Korean days of the week, why not use a catchy song? Here’s one that might help you do just that.

Another thing you can do is listen to the words in context as used by native speakers. You can do this with an immersive language program such as FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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That’s the quick breakdown of what you need to know about the Korean day-to-day (literally).

Now you should be much more fluent in tracking down the week and talking dates in Korean!

And One More Thing...

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Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.

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Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.

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