In this Korean words tutorial, you will learn very core Korean words for sports. Don’t worry if you aren’t a sports fan because you will learn very useful words also such as ‘to win’, ‘to lose’ or ‘to be good at’.





Sport / Sports


스포츠 is a Korean word that came from English as you can easily tell. However, interestingly, Native Koreans never use the singular noun of sports. Even though 스포츠 is a plural noun in English, it means ‘sport’ and ‘sports’ at the same time in Korean language.


The pronunciation of 스포츠 is almost same to ‘sports’. Pronounce it without r.


저는 스포츠를 별로 안좋아해요
I’m not a sports fan





To be good at


잘하다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be good at something’ and also it’s mostly commonly used in almost conversations even if it’s supposed to be formal.


Except for the meaning ‘to be good at’, 잘하다 also has a lot of meanings for ‘to do the right thing’, ‘to behave well’, ‘to treat someone well’, ‘At best’ and most importantly native Koreans say it to praise or compliment like ‘you did well’ or ‘good job’.


저는 먹는 걸 잘해요
I’m good at eating





To be bad at


못하다 is an informal compound Korean word that means ‘to be bad at something’. It’s the exact opposite Korean word of ‘잘하다’.


However, unlike 잘하다, it doesn’t mean many things but ‘to be bad at something’.


저는 바쁘게 일하는 걸 잘못해요
I’m bad at working busy







야구 means ‘baseball’.


야구 is the most popular sport in Korea and also it’s the only sport that makes a profit by selling tickets (according to the record of 2019).


저는 야구를 좋아해요
I like baseball







축구 means ‘soccer’.


축구 is spelled as ‘chuk gu’ but native Koreans actually pronounce it as [chuggu] or [chukggu].


저는 축구를 좋아해요
I don’t like soccer







농구 means ‘basketball’.


저는 농구를 싫어해요
I don’t like basketball





수영 means ‘swim’ or ‘swimming’ as a noun. It’s not a verb that means ‘to swim’


수영은 재밌어요
Swimming is fun





(Sport) game / match


경기 is a formal Korean word that means a sport game or a sport match in Korean. You can use 경기 with any sports. Say (sport) + 경기 like 야구 경기, 축구 경기. However, native Koreans often use ‘게임 (game)’ or ‘매치 (matchi) instead of 경기.


There are same spelled Korean words with 경기. 1st, 경기 means a disease symptom ‘seizure’. 2nd, it means ‘economy state of a country’ and it also is the name of a province.


Be careful with the pronounciation. if you pronounce 기 in 경기 a bit stronger like 경끼, then the meaning becomes ‘seizure’ only.


경기가 언제에요?
When is the match?





To win


이기다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to win a fight / battle / game / competition’.


Native Koreans see negative urges (such as greed and impatience), pain (especially emotional), hardship and suffering as something they have to fight and win. So, 이기다 also means ‘to overcome’ very often. However, when this Korean word means ‘to overcome’, it often sounds poetic.


You can’t use 이기다 for obtaining something or winning a prize, a lottery, a medal or such things.


I woooooonnnnnnn





To lose / To defeated


지다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to lose a fight / battle / game / competition’. It’s the exact opposite Korean word to 이기다. It doesn’t mean ‘to lose an object’. 지다 only indicates ‘to be defeated’


Native Koreans use 지다 often when they don’t overcome the negative urges, hardship or suffering. Just like 이기다, 지다 sound a bit poetic when you use it to say ‘to not overcome’.


There are many same spelled Korean words with 지다. They have meanings for ‘to go down (with sun or moon)’, ‘fall (with leaves or flower)’, ‘to carry something on one’s back’, ‘to owe’, ‘to be in debt’, ‘to take (with  responsibility)’, ‘to be wrinkled’, ‘to shade’, ‘to get stained’ and ‘to become’ as a conjugation. Phew! Too many.


아 졌어… 나는 패배자야…
Oh I lose… I’m a loser




How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives

스포츠를 좋아해요
I like sports


저는 운동을 잘해요
I’m good at sports / exercise


저는 공부를 못해요
I’m bad at study


야구 좋아해요
Do you like baseball?


저는 모든 축구 경기를 봐요
I watch all soccer games


Do you want to play baseball?


저는 수영 할 줄 몰라요
I don’t know how to swim


이번 주말에 경기가 있어요?
Is there a match this weekend?


농구 경기 이겼어요
I won the baseball game


지는 거 싫어해요
I don’t like losing


References For Korean Words

Naver Dictionary


korean standard unabridged dictionary