Korean Words for Rush Hour

Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another tutorial for Core Korean Words. In the previous tutorial, we’ve learn few essential Korean words for working. But, what do you have to do before and after the work? Yes, we go to work and come back home, the saddest and happiest moments for day. Today, we are going to learn very essential Korean words for those sad/happy moments!


Korean Words for Rush Hour Featured




시 is the Korean word that describes the time. To use it correctly, add 시 after a number (pure Korean number + 시). Unlike English, you must use 시 when you mention of time in Korean (e.g. 3시 (3 o’clock), If you don’t use 시, then Koreans wouldn’t think you are talking about time.


You can find 시 also means ‘city’ often such as ‘서울시’. It’s spelled same but actually a different Korean word. You can easily distinguish them because one uses ‘number’, another uses ‘noun’.


저는 매일 9시에 겨드랑이를 닦아요
I clean my armpit at 9 every day

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Hour / Hours / Time


시간 is also a Korean word that describes time. However, in this case, 시간 describes how long after a number (e.g. 8시간 : 8 hours).


It also literally means ‘time’ like ‘time’ in ‘time travel’.


시 means ‘time’. 간 means ‘between’. Understanding both affixes would help you a lot when you see some new words about time.


우리 걸어가요. 10시간 밖에 안걸려요
Let’s walk. It only takes 10 hours


To be late


늦다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to be late’.


In Korean language, 늦다 describes a relative speed also like something is late, so other things is early. That gives 늦다 another meaning, ‘behind (in time)’ or ‘slower’. For example, ‘박자가 늦다’ means ‘the rhythm is slower (than another)’.


늦은 사람은 사형이예요
Ones who are late will be sentenced death


To go to work


출근하다 is a formal Korean word that means ‘to go to work’. English doesn’t have this word. Even though 출근하다 is a formal Korean word, native Koreans very commonly use it in casual conversations.


You can also say ‘일하러 가다 (to go to work)’ just like the English expression.


출근 is a noun that means ‘report for work’ or ‘going to work’.


출근 지옥
Commuting of hell


Q. Is this word similar to ‘commute’?
A. No, the conception of 출근 is based on workplaces, Not on the way to a workplace. 출근하다 is more similar to ‘to be present at a workplace’. However, Korean language extends the meaning of 출근하다 to ‘go to work’. Are you familiar with punching a time at workplaces? Native Koreans use 출근 and 퇴근 for that. So, you can see 출근 and 퇴근 actually happens at your workplace. On the other hand, Korean language doesn’t have the exact same word for ‘commute’. It has ‘commute for work (통근하다)’ and ‘commute for school (통학하다)’ instead.


To get off work


퇴근하다 is the exact opposite Korean word of 출근하다. It’s leaving a workplace. However, you have to understand 퇴근하다 never means ‘to go home’. 퇴근하다 can imply you are going home from work but you know… You can go anywhere after work. 퇴근 is a noun that means ‘getting off work’.


퇴근 너무 좋아요
I love getting off work so much


Fast / Quickly / Hurry / Rush [adverb]


빨리 is the super essential Korean word that is very commonly. 빨리 is an adverb which is derived from ‘빠르다’ which means ‘to be fast’. So, basically, 빨리 means ‘fast’ or ‘quickly’. However, there is no perfectly matched English word with 빨리. So, when you translate 빨리 into English, it changes every time based on a context. It can be ‘hurry’, ‘rush’, ‘quickly’, ‘fast’, ‘now’, ‘come on’, ‘do it’, etc but none of them describes 빨리 perfectly.


Koreans use 빨리 really often to hurry someone to do something or hurry themselves, But it also can just mean ‘do something fast’. Native Koreans often describe that Korean culture is

the culture of 빨리 빨리 because we have to do everything so quick so fast.


빨리 해요
Do it now

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To be tired / To be exhausted


피곤하다 is a Korean word that describes tiredness. So, basically, it’s not much different than the English words such as ‘tired’ or ‘exhausted’. However, it’s still not perfectly same to those.


피곤하다 describes that you are out of stamina for a day. So, it often implies that you are tired and sleepy. It doesn’t sound natural to describe out of stamina after short exercises or actions like running.


너무 피곤해서 커피 10잔 마셨어요
I was too tired so I drank 10 cups of coffee


To come back


돌아오다 is an informal Korean word for ‘coming back’. It’s a compound Korean word that has 2 words in it, 돌아 and 오다. 돌다 means ‘turn around’ or ‘spin’, and 오다 means ‘come’. So, what it really means is ‘turn back and come’.


Unlike English, you can’t use 돌아오다 on the way coming back because Koreans decide to use ‘Come’ and ‘Go’ based on where you are, not based on a destination. (For example, Koreans don’t say ‘I’m coming’ because in your perfective, it’s going, not coming)


집으로 돌아왔어요
I came back home


to go to a place frequently


다니다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to go to some place frequently’ or ‘to use a path’ There is no way to express 다니다 in English. Why does this Korean word so important and essencial to learn? Because if you want to say ‘I go to school’ or ‘I go to work’, you have to use ‘다니다’.


다니다 is used especially with places such as a workplace, school, church or any places that you have to go regularly. If you say ‘학교에 가다(go to school)’ instead of ‘다니다’, then it doesn’t sound like you are a student. 가다 describes only a physical movement.


학교에 말 타고 다녀요
I go to school by horseback riding




일찍 is an informal Korean word that means ‘early’. You have to remember 일찍 is an adverb, not an adjective. It means you can’t use it to describe a noun like ‘early morning’ or ‘early 1990s’. You have to use 일찍 only with verbs like ‘wake up early’ or ‘go to work early’.


일찍 means ‘early moment in time’ but it also can mean ‘sooner’.


일찍 일어났어요
I woke up early

How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives

저는 여덟(8)시에 출근해요
I go to work at 8


시간 있어요?
Do you have some time?


늦어서 죄송해요
I’m sorry for late


출근하기 싫어요
I don’t want to go to work


오늘 언제 퇴근해요?
When do you finish your work today?


빨리 할게요
I’ll do it fast


일 때문에 피곤해요
I’m tired because of the work


언제 한국으로 돌아와요?
When will you come back to Korea?


저는 학교를 다녀요
I go to school


오늘 일이 일찍 끝났어요
I finished my work early

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References For Korean Words

Naver Dictionary


korean standard unabridged dictionary