Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another Korean words tutorial! Today, in this tutorial, we are going to learn how to describe someone’s personality and ‘he’s selfish’, ‘he’s mean’ or ‘he’s lazy’. Oh, don’t worry we are going to learn positive Korean words too. This tutorial is not only helping you to describe personalities, also helping you to say something very essential like ‘she’s nice’, ‘be honest’. So, let’s start to learn another 10 core Korean words.






Personality / Character


성격 is a formal Korean word that means ‘personality’ or ‘character’. You can use 성격 to describes a person’s personality and an object’s characters or features (properties, nature). However, native Koreans mostly use it to describe a person’s or animal’s personality.


성격 is very commonly used in every kind of situation. Formal, informal both.


Even though it’s supposed to be pronounced as ‘seong-gyeok’, it’s pronounced as’ seong-ggyeok’ in real.


A: 차차씨 잘생겼어요?
Is Chacha handsome?
B: 차차씨는 성격이 좋아요
He is a nice person ;(






To be nice / Kind


착하다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be nice’, ‘to be kind’ or ‘to be sweet’. However, 착하다 actually means more than being nice. It’s like good in good and evil.


Before you actually use 착하다 in Korean conversations, you must know 착하다 is not appropriate to describe old people’s personality. It sounds like a compliment forwards to kids. If you want to say some grown person is nice, use ‘성격이 좋다’ instead. 성격이 좋다 means ‘one’s personality is good’. It sounds much more polite and yes, that’s how we Koreans say it.


차차씨는 진짜 착해요
Chacha is really nice






To be mean


못됐다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be mean’ or ‘to be bad’.


Don’t use it to older people than you. It’s more like a grown person talking to a kid. It isn’t a bad Korean word in general but can be highly insultive when you use it to a wrong person.


준씨 팝콘 절대 안나눠줘요. 못됐어요
Jun never share popcorn, so mean






To be positive / Optimistic


긍정적이다 is a formal Korean word that describes something is positive and optimistic. In ‘Half empty or half full of glass of water’, Halt full describes this Korean word perfectly. You can use it to say something is positive or someone’s personality is optimistic.


긍정적으로 생각하기로 했어요. 펩시도 나쁘지 않다…
I decided to think positive. Pepsi is not so bad…






To be negative / Pessimistic


부정적이다 is a formal Korean word that describes something is negative. It’s the exact opposite Korean word for 긍정적이다. The team of ‘half empty’. You can use it to describe something or someone’s personality.


부정적인 생각하지 마세요.
Don’t think about negative thoughts




Korean Words for Personality Featured






To be lazy


게으르다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be lazy’. However, ‘lazy’ doesn’t describe the Korean word 게으르다 perfectly. It doesn’t describe a status, you can not use 게으르다 to say ‘you are lazy at the moment’. It describes a person’s character or personality in general.


When native Koreans pronounce 게으르다 or write 게으르다, they often make mild ‘h’ sound with 으 in 게으르다. So, it becomes like ‘게흐르다’, ‘게흘러’. However, it’s the most common mistake for pronunciation and spelling.


저는 안게을러요 (라고 준이 침대에서 말했다)
I’m not lazy (Said Jun in bed)






To be kind


친절하다 is a formal Korean word that means ‘to be kind’, ‘to be nice’ or ‘to be well-mannered’. Yes, it’s formal so it does make you sound polite when you describe others.


You must know that native Koreans use it mostly when they describe a good service and employee’s attitude of a store or a restaurant. They never use 착하다 (to be nice) for it.


A: 저 직원분 진짜 친절하세요
That employee is really nice
B: 네? 저 사람 직원 아니에요
What? He’s not our employee






To be honest


솔직하다 is an informal Korean word that describes a personality that doesn’t hide anything. Yes, it’s a bit different than honest. It’s more like a straight talking personality. 솔직하다 is like saying anything without keeping things on mind even though it can hurt other people’s feelings. The key of this Korean word is ‘not hiding anything’.


Sometimes, it makes a bad nuance. But mostly when you describe someone, it’s very similar to ‘to honest’.


A: 솔직하게 말해봐요
Say it honestly
B: 맞아요. 저 대머리에요
You’re right. I’m bald.






To be timid / Introvert


소심하다 describes a person’s personality is not brave enough to do simple things or to make a decision, also gets easily scared. Native Koreans use it especially when someone hesitates to do something but you can just do it without any hesitation.


Native Koreans use 소심하다 when they want to describe an introvert personality also. However, 소심하다 doesn’t sound so bad somehow (of course, some Koreans would think it’s not nice to say).


저는 조금 소심한 편이에요
I’m a bit introvert






To be selfish / Egoistic


이기적이다 is a formal Korean word that means ‘to be selfish’ or ‘to be egoistic’. Since it’s a formal Korean word, it’s more similar to ‘to be egoistic’. But, native Koreans use it very casually and commonly to mean ‘to be selfish’.


저는 팝콘 먹을때 만큼은 이기적에요
I’m selfish at least when I’m eating popcorn

= and I mean it





How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives

차차씨는 성격이 좋아요
Chacha is a nice person


준씨는 정말 착해요
Jun is very sweet


차차씨는 못됐어요
Chacha is mean


긍정적으로 생각해요
Think about it positively


부정적인 생각 하지 말아요
Don’t think about bad things


저는 게으르지 않은 편이에요
I’m not lazy usually


직원들이 친절해서 기분이 좋았어요
Employees were nice so it was nice


솔직하게 말해봐요
Say honestly / Be honest


저는 소심하지 않아요
I’m not introvert


이기적으로 굴지 마세요
Don’t be selfish


References For Korean Words

Naver Dictionary


korean standard unabridged dictionary