Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another Korean words tutorial. In this tutorial, we are going to learn 10 core Korean words that you can use in a hospital or when you are sick or when your friends and family are sick.







의사 means ‘doctor’. However, 의사 doesn’t mean ‘PhD’ at all. This Korean word only means the medical doctors.


There are many Korean words that share the same spelling with 의사. Those Korean words have meanings for ‘mind or idea’, ‘intention’, ‘martyr’, ‘proceedings’.


Calling someone 의사 in Korean may not be polite. Add 선생님 at the end like 의사 선생님.


의사 선생님 좀 불러주세요
Please call a doctor







병원 means any kind of hospital. It doesn’t matter if the hospital is big or a small clinic.


Native Koreans never say ‘see a doctor’ or ‘go to a doctor’. They always say ‘병원에 가다 (go to a hospital)’


병원은 어디 있어요?
Where is the hospital?





To be hurt / To be sick / To feel pain


아프다 is an informal Korean word that describes sensing a pain or sickness. Korean language doesn’t distinguish between pain by injury and pain by sickness. So 아프다 is more similar ‘to feel pain’ than being hurt or being sick. It’s a general expression.


In Korean language, it’s not very common to say ‘I have (symptom)’ because we say it mostly in formal conversations.


머리가 아파요
I have a headache






약 means any words that describe the medicine for curing injury or sickness such as ‘drug’, ‘remedy’, ‘pill’, ‘cure’ ‘ointment’ and ‘salve’. 약 also can mean drug drug like marijuana or cocaine in informal Korean conversations as slang.


There are the same spelled Koreans word with 약 as an adverb which means ‘about, approximately, roughly’ and ‘tease (used with a verb 올리다)’.


Did you do a drug?
= Are you high?





To be recovered (one’s health) / To be better


낫다 is an informal Korean word that literally means ‘to be better’. Just like ‘to be better’ in English, you can use it for describing recovering one’s health.


Native Koreans often mis-spelled ‘낳다 (to birth)’ instead of ‘낫다’. Because they are pronounced the same often. It gives a cancer and a lot of stress to native Koreans. Spelling 낳다 instead of 낫다 is the best to fortune Koreans : 10/10.


When ㅇ (no consonant sound) follows 낫다. ㅅ is always dropped.


빨간색이 나아요
Red is better




Disease / Illness / Sickness / Disorder


병 means ‘illness’ or ‘disorder’. It doesn’t matter if it’s about physical diseases or mental diseases. You can use this Korean word for both.


Koreans don’t say 병 often in any conversations just like you don’t say ‘illness’ or ‘disease’ in your language often. However, you will see this 병 in a lot of Korean words. That’s why it’s essential.


Technically, it’s a Korean formal word but is used quite casually in any conversations. 병 also can be translated as ‘disease’ but may be not the best translation. Native Koreans also use it to mean ‘weakness’ or ‘fault’ sometimes like ‘it’s a 병 that you trust anyone’.


Maybe many students know this Korean word as the meaning ‘bottle’. Yes, it’s a homonym.


우리는 병에 걸린 사람들이에요
We are people who have diseases
(LOL sorry for a bad example, who would have a chance to say this? But I couldn’t make it better)





To be healthy


건강하다 means ‘to be healthy’. It describes ‘something or someone is mentally or physically strong / stable / good’.


What you have to remember is that 건강하다 also has a nuance for the mental health or the busy nice schedule like waking up early and studying every day. Maybe it’s a personal thing but when I hear 건강한 삶 which means ‘healthy life’, it doesn’t sound like ‘physically healthy’ only.


The pronunciation often becomes [geongang-ada] instead of [geongang-hada]


건강한 삶
Healthy life





A common cold


감기 means ‘a common cold’. However, it doesn’t have ‘cold’ in the word.


감기 걸렸어요
I caught a cold





To be hung


걸리다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be hung’. Yes, it has a passive nuance itself. But, why do we have to learn this Korean word in this tutorial? Because Koreans say ‘I’m hung at (disease)’ instead of ‘I caught a (disease)’.


This Korean word 걸리다 is very essential for other situations also. We say ‘we are hung’ when we did some suspicious things and get caught. Yes, we use ‘hang’ when English speakers use ‘catch’.


I got ya!





Emergency Room


응급실 is a Korean word that literally means ‘emergency room’. It’s perfectly the same to the emergency rooms that you can think of.


응급실에 갔다왔어요
I went to E.R.




How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives

의사 선생님이 곧 오실 거예요
The doctor will be here soon


병원 가야돼요
I have to see a doctor


저 너무 아파요
I’m so sick / hurt


약을 먹어야돼요
I have to take my medicine


어제보다 나아졌어요
I’m better than yesterday


병이 악화됐어요
The disease got worse


저는 엄청 건강해요
I’m super healthy


감기약 있어요
Do you have some medicine for a cold?


감기 걸렸어요
I have a cold


응급실이 어디에요?
Where is ER?


References For Korean Words

Naver Dictionary


korean standard unabridged dictionary