Korean Words for Feelings & Emotions 1
Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another Koraen words tutorial. Before I start it, I should tell you something very important about describing feelings and emotions in Korean. Very oddly, it’s really hard to define Korean words if they are formal or informal for feelings and emotions. Some are used in formal situations more but that doesn’t make those Korean words really formal. But you can define them if they are poetic or casual. If you ignore these, your Korean speech would be very unnatural. Always keep it in your mind.
Feeling / Mood
기분 means ‘mood’ or ‘feeling’ what you feel as your emotion. Sometimes, it’s natural to translate 기분 as ‘emotion’. Since 기분 is a noun, if ‘I feel great’ becomes becomes ‘my feeling is great’ when you translate English to Korean.
Native Kroeans don’t use a first person possessive ‘my’ when they use 기분.
This Korean word is very essential because ‘나는 행복해요 (I’m happy)’ is a very uncommon phrase. Native Koreans say ‘기분이 좋다 (feeling is good)’ instead.
강아지가 제 이마에 똥을 쌌어요. 기분이 나빠요.
My puppy pooped on my forehead. It feels bad
To be glad / Happy / Excited
기쁘다 is a Korean word that you can translate it as ‘glad’, ‘happy’, ‘excited’, or ‘pleased’. It’s really hard to define the Korean word as a single meaning. It’s more like a combination of all those meanings like ‘excited and happy’. However, it’s natural only with few words such as ‘마음 (heart, mind)’, 소식 (news)’
기쁘다 is mostly used in formal speeches than informal speeches. Native Koreans prefer to say ‘기분이 좋다 (I feel good)’ instead of saying ‘저는 기뻐요’ in casual conversations.
When you use 기쁘다 to describe a noun like ‘기쁜 소식 (exciting news)’, it becomes ‘exciting’, not ‘excited’.
기쁜 소식이 있어요
I have delightful news
To be happy
행복하다 is ‘happy in Korean. This one is very important. Because is it essential? Nope, it’s because native Koreans barely use it in conversations. Yes, we barely say 행복하다.
행복하다 is a very serious and poetic word. If someone asks if you are happy in Korean, then it sounds like ‘are you happy and satisfied with your life?’. It’s never used with small things like ‘I’m happy for you’. Even though 행복하다 has the same meaning to ‘happy’. The usage is completely different.
Also, if you simply want to say ‘I’m happy today’ then say ‘기분이 좋아요 (I feel good)’ instead. Yes, I know, I told you about this 3 times already but that’s how we say.
행복한 모기, 제 피를 빨아요.
Happy mosquito, it sucks my blood.
To be fun
재미있다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to be fun’. Native Koreans often use it as ‘to be funny’ also. It’s the most common Korean word that describes something or someone is fun or funny. Even though it’s an informal Korean word, it’s not so weird to use in formal conversations also.
To say ‘I had a great day’ or ‘I spent a great day’ in Korean, using 재미있다 is most natural like ‘‘오늘 재밌었어요 (it was fun today)’ especially in casual conversations.
If you pronounce 재미있다 fast, then it sounds ‘재밌다’. And 재밌다 is an abbreviation of 재미있다.
I had a great time today
To be sad
슬프다 means ‘to be sad’ in Korean. 슬프다 describes an extremely sad mood like you are going to cry right away. So, native Koreans avoid using 슬프다 when they talk about their emotions in conversations. Instead, You can use ‘기분이 안좋다 (I feel not good)’ or ‘우울하다 (to be depressed)’.
But, it’s perfectly okay to describe something else like a movie or a story like ‘이 영화 진짜 슬퍼요 (this movie is really sad’.
고기를 못먹어서 슬퍼요
I’m sad because I can’t eat meat
To be depressed / Blue / Down
우울하다 is a formal Korean word that means ‘to be depressed’. It’s a formal Korean word but it’s used mostly in casual conversations.
우울하다 is the most common expression for ‘being blue’, ‘being down’ or ‘being depressed’ or ‘being sad’. You can also say ‘기분이 안좋다 (I don’t feel good)’ for ‘being down’.
우울할 때는 술을 마셔요. 근데 저는 항상 우울해요 ㅋㅋㅋ
I drink alcohol when I’m blue. But, I’m always blue lol
To be angry / Upset / Mad
화나다 is ‘to be angry’ in English. Funny thing is 화나다 is not an adjective. It’s an action that describes that you become angry. It makes a big difference between English and Korean when you say it. Since it’s an action, even if you write it in the past tense, it only means ‘you are angry’ (right now), not ‘I was angry’.
화날 때는 심호흡을 3번 해보세요. 여전히 화나요.
Try to take a deep breath 3 times when you get mad. Still mad.
To be annoyed / Irritated / Frustrated
짜증나다 is a unique Korean word that English doesn’t have. The translation can change based on a context everytime, but it mostly means ‘to be annoyed’, ‘to be irritated’, ‘to be frustrated’. 짜증나다 describes ‘something keeps bothering you so you are upset’. Koreans use it often as an exclamation such as ‘oh come on!’, ‘for god sake!’.
짜증나다 is also an action just like 화나다, so the past tense form 짜증났다 describes the present status.
When you say ‘something or someone is 짜증나다’. The meaning becomes ‘to be annoying’, ‘to be frustrating’.
자꾸 여기서 죽네… 아 짜증나!
I keep dying at this part, so frustrated!
To be nervous / To be tensed
It’s an easy one. 긴장하다 means ‘to be nervous’ in Koraen and it’s very similar to ‘to be nervous’ or ‘to be tensed’ in English!
저는 너무 긴장하면 기절해요
I faint when I get too nervous
To be bored
심심하다 is an informal Korean word that describes a state for ‘being bored’. Yes, not like other Korean words for mood, it’s natural to use only in casual conversations.
There are 2 things you have to remember to use 심심하다 correctly. 1st, unlike ‘bore’ in English, it’s not a verb, so you can’t use it to say ‘something bores someone’.
2nd, you can’t use it when something is boring like a movie or a game is boring. 심심하다 is only natural when you describe your feeling like you are bored. Sometimes native Koreans use it to describe some food taste too plain.
I’m dead because I was bored.
How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives
I’m in a good mood / I’m happy
기쁜 소식이 있어요
I have delightful news
Are you happy?
이 영상 재미있어요
This video is funny
이 영화는 진짜 슬퍼요
This movie is really sad
I’m so blue
저 진짜 화났어요
I’m really mad
Don’t annoy me (bother me)
내일 면접이 있어서 긴장돼요
I have a job interview tomorrow so I’m nervous
심심해요. 재밌는 거 하고 싶어요
I’m bored. I want to do something fun
References For Korean Words
korean standard unabridged dictionary
- Emily M
- Chris M
- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan