The Korean Days of the Week: Vocabulary, Pronunciation and Tips for Talking Time

At some point, the words “today,” “tomorrow” and “yesterday” won’t be enough.

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.


The Korean Days of the Week

First things first: 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 (wol-yo-il) – Monday

means “moon,” so Monday in Korean also means “moon day”! This makes it quite easy to remember the element in question.

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.”

Perhaps you can also imagine that the flow of hump day, unpredictably being either very stagnant or quite hectic, resembles the mercurial nature of water being either still and placid or quick and chaotic. Speaking of “mercurial,” did you know that Wednesday is in fact considered related to the Roman God (and planet) Mercury?

목요일 (mok-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 known as the very fitting “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 (il-yo-il) – Sunday

As luck would have it, the prefix 일 stands for “sun” or “day,” so Sunday is “sun day”! This makes it all the easier to remember, besides the fact that 일 is repeated twice.

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). 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

The Korean Date Format

Koreans write their dates in the YMD format: year, month, day.

All numbers involved in the date (save for the number used for the month) are written with Sino-Korean numbers. If you aren’t yet familiar with your Korean number systems, then it’s best you start learning them pronto!

In the following examples, the text in bold are the Sino-Korean numbers of the year, month and day, respectively.

Common Korean Phrases Related to Dates

Last, but not least, here are some of the most common phrases you’ll hear related to telling the date.


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!

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe