Dongsaeng Meaning – Definition Of Dongsaeng 동생 In Korean!


Dongsaeng is used tons of times in Korean language to refer to younger siblings, friends, and family members. This word is a close family terms to express the bonds we have with our younger siblings. You might’ve already heard this word mentioned before in kdrama or movies! That’s why in this article I will share about dongsaeng meaning – the definition of dongsaeng in korean language!


If you are someone who has a korean couple, friends, or plan to have one, then just like me, you want to know more about korean culture and language. The last thing you want to happened is to have no idea how you can politely ask or talk about your couple younger siblings as you try to know more about his / her family.

After years of learning korean and live with korean, I knew some stuff that I believe will help you in your relationship or friendship with your korean friends. In general, there are five korean words we can use to call brothers / sisters in which we knew the words like Noona, Oppa, Unnie, Hyung, and Dongsaeng. Let’s take a look at Dongsaeng for now!

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Dongsaeng Meaning - What Does Dongsaeng Mean?

Dongsaeng literally translates to “younger sibling” in Korean and is used as a term of close bonds between younger siblings, friends, and family members. This word is genderless so whenever you hear word dongsaeng mentioned, it just mean ‘younger brother / sister’.

This words conveys a sense of closeness with the person being referred to. Dongsaeng has been an important words and part of Korean culture for centuries, signifying the strong connection between individuals of the same family or close bonds relationship.

If you want to specify whether it is a ‘male younger brother’ or ‘female younger brother’, all you need to do is just to add the word ‘남 nam’ for male and ‘여 yeo’ for female, which makes ‘Nam Dongsaeng‘ or ‘Yeo Dongsaeng’.

Dongsaeng Meaning

Note: You don’t call your younger brother or family members by calling them ‘Dongsaeng’, you just call them by name. This word ‘dongsaeng’ is used when we talk about them with other people.

1. Blood Younger Sibling

If you want to specify the word ‘dongsaeng’ you use is for your own ‘biological or bloodline’ brother / sister, then you can simply add the word ‘chin (친)’ or ‘nae (내)‘ which makes ‘chin dongsaeng’ or ‘nae dongsaeng’. This word literally means ‘my own blood brothers / sisters.’

2. Social Younger Friends

Just like Noona, Oppa, Hyung and others, you can also use the word dongsaeng to refer to your younger friends. This words used just to show your closeness with the person you are talking about.

You might heard the word ‘아는 동생 a neun dongsaeng’, which means acquaintance / social younger friends.

3. Juniors (School / Company)

In formal situations, junior is known as ‘hoobae 후배’ by korean people. However, this terms is very formal and neutral, which shows we have little to no relation with that person more than formal / institutional settings.

However, Hoobae 후배 can turn to Dongsaeng once you developed a close relationship with each other just like you can call them by ‘Noona’ or ‘Oppa’ once you become familiar to one another. While some of you might think it is unnecessary, it actually strengthens our relationship in terms of intimacy with each other.

4. Younger Relatives

You can call all of your younger female or male relatives with the word ‘dongsaeng’. If you prefer to specify the type of ‘dongsaeng’ is refered to cousin, you can add the word ‘사촌 sachon’ which makes ‘사촌동생 sachon dongsaeng’ that means younger cousin.

General Meaning of Dongsaeng

Dongsaeng is simply means younger siblings (genderless) in korean language. However, this word actually convey a sense of closeness, love, and connection with the person being referred to. In addition, dongsaeng carries with it traditional values that emphasize the importance of generational connection and mutual care between individuals.

Dongsaeng In Korean Language

Dongsaeng Meaning

The term dongsaeng is not only an expression of endearment, but is also a recognition of the hierarchical relationship between individuals in Korean society. Traditionally, older siblings have a responsibility to look out for their younger siblings, providing guidance and protection. 

According to this traditional value system, it’s important for individuals to recognize and appreciate the respect owed from younger generations to those from preceding them. Dongsaeng is an expression that encapsulates and conveys all these values within just one word.

Treat Your Dongsaeng Relationships

Showing love to your dongsaeng is essential in Korean culture. Compliments, encouraging words, and warm affirmations help build relationships and strengthen bonds. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of the interactions between your dongsaeng and their romantic partners.

In addition to that, speak kindly about them, express gratitude for any good deeds they might have done, be welcoming when they come over or when you go over to their place, and don’t forget to bring meaningful korean gifts as gestures of appreciation!

Notes: Korean culture really emphasize respect especially to our older family members (parents), that’s why there are many holidays in korea whereby koreans show respect to their family member by giving gifts or bowing down to their parents (Sebae).

Other Ways To Refer To a Dongsaeng ' Younger Person' In Korean

‘Hyung’ is a term for older brother and ‘nuna’ or ‘noona‘ for older sister. Both of these terms are also commonly used to convey respect for someone of similar age or the same age but we think highly of them. Additionally, ‘dongmu’ or ‘dongmoo’ can be used to refer to our peers in polite Korean speech, like when speaking with classmates, colleagues, or people from your own generation.

However, if we want to know other words we can use to refer to a younger person in korean language, here are some of korean words you can use below!

What is Younger Sister in Korean?

Dongsaeng Meaning

You can just add ‘여 yeo’ for female, which makes ‘Yeo Dongsaeng’ to refer to younger sister in korean language.

What is Younger Brother in Korean?

Dongsaeng Meaning

You can simply add the word ‘남 nam’ which makes ‘Nam Dongsaeng‘ to refer to younger brother in korean language.

What is Younger Acquaintance in Korean?

You can simply add the word ‘아는 a neunwhich makes ‘아는 동생 a neun dongsaeng’ to refer to younger acquaintance in korean language.

Additional Tips!

Korean emphasize respect and hierarchy structure, so you might often hear koreans ask the question like ‘how old are you‘. Don’t take this personally, this is a very common question koreans ask to know how they can talk to you. If you learnt korean, you know there’s a formal, informal and casual type korean languages. Most korean are polite and don’t want to be offensive as it will embarrassed themselves, so they will ask you beforehand to know whether or not they can talk casually to you.

Korean Age System

Here are some things you want to know and consider to know and understand the different measurement use in Global age system and Korean age system.

Omnicalculator Korean Age
  • In Korea, you are born one years of age.
    Many of us consider newborn babies to be ‘zero’ upon birth. However, koreans actually calculate the time babies spend in their mother’s womb as a ‘year’ (although, technically, it is 9 months, they round it up to one year), so when babies are born in Korea, they are considered to be 한 살(han sal)=”one year old”. This automatically adds one year to the age that you may be used to.
  • More over, in Korea, you increase your age count on January 1st of every year, not on your birthday. Koreans automatically gain a year on January 1st, regardless of whether or not their birthday has passed. In simple, International Age measures how long you have lived while Korean Age measures how many years you have experienced.

If you feel confuse in how you can know exactly your age in korean, you can just use korean age calculator and simply put your birthdate!

Sum Up

Korean language and culture is a very interesting topic to learnt especially if we plan to stay in south korea for a long period of time. These are all I can share to you about Dongsaeng meaning in korean! I wish it help you understand more about this korean word!

Have you learn something today? If you have any question, let me know in the comment sections below! Share this article with your friends to help share korean culture and language to the world!


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