Korean Proverbs – 20 Wise Words That Will Inspire You!

Korean Proverbs

Are you looking for a wise words to inspire you during your hardships and boredom in life? In this article, I will share the best korean proverbs that will makes you fall in love with life and also, Korea. 

Hopefully these wise words will be able to inspire you to be the best version of your life. Let’s dive right into these sayings.

Table of Contents

Korean Proverbs

According to Wikipedia, “proverb (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple and insightful, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience.”

I believe you might already heard some of these korean proverbs previously, whether from watching korean dramas, korean movies or korean tv shows. anyway, click here if you haven’t read my article about korean quotes.

Before I share about the best korean proverbs that will inspire you, it is necessary for you to know how to say the word ‘proverbs’ in Korean language. 

There are three words that can describe the word ‘proverbs’ in korean language, which is 금언 (geumeon), 속담 (sokdam) and 격언 (gyeogeon).

Alright, since you already learn how to say ‘proverbs’ in korean, let’s find out the best korean proverbs to inspire you today.

1. 공자 앞에서 문자 쓴다 (gong-ja ap-e-seo mun-ja sseun-da)

Meaning write a letter in front of Confucius. This proverb refer to arrogant people who think they knows everything when in fact they don’t know anything.

2. 매도 먼저 맞는 게 낫다 (mae-do meon-jeo maj-neun ge nat-da

Meaning it’s better to get beaten by the whip first. This proverb teaches us it’s better to face the difficulty as early as possible.

3. 가재는 게 편이라 (ga-jae-neun ge pyeon-i-ra).

Meaning the crayfish sides with the crab. This proverb teach us that people with common traits stick together.

4. 과부 설움은 홀아비가 안다 (gwa-bu seol-um-eun hol-a-bi-ga an-da)

Meaning a widower knows a widow’s sorrow. This proverb tells us that sorrowful people will project their sorrow to others, or simply mean ‘misery loves company‘. Most unhappy people will find comfort in seeing other unhappy people.

5. 김치국부터 마시지 말라 (kim-chi-gug-bu-teo ma-si-ji mal-la)

Meaning don’t drink the kimchi soup first. This korean proverb teaches us to not celebrate things too early, it is better to wait until something happen before celebrate it.

6. 시작이 반이다 (sa-ja-gi ban-i-da)

Meaning starting the task is half finishing it. This korean proverb tells us that the beginning of something is usually the hardest part to do.

7. 고양이에게 생선을 맡기다 (go-yang-i-e-ge saeng-seon-eul mal-gi-da)

Korean Proverbs

Credit to Felinest

Meaning don’t entrust a cat with a fish. This korean proverb tells us to not trust anyone who have the interest in what you are trusting them with or where they can take advantage about it.

8. 등잔 밑이 어둡다 (deung-jan mi-ti eo-dub-da)

Korean Proverbs

Credit to Leventali

Meaning it’s dark under the lamp. This korean proverb mean most of the times the answer is already there but we can’t see it.

9. 개천에서 용 난다 (gae-cheon-e-seo yong nan-da)

Meaning a dragon rises up from a small stream. This korean proverb tells us that even a great person start from a small beginning.

10. 고생 끝에 낙이 온다 (go-saeng kkeut-e na-gi on-da)

Meaning at the end of hardship comes pleasure. This korean proverb teaches us to keep going on as there is light at the end of the tunnel.

11. 제 눈에 안경이다 (je nun-e an-gyeong-i-da)

Meaning beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This proverb tells us that beauty is relative, depends on who sees it and so we can always see beauty in everythings.

12. 로마는 하루아침에 이루어진 것이 아니다 (Ro-ma-neun ha-ru-a-chim-e i-ru-eo-jin geos-i a-ni-da)

Meaning Rome wasn’t built in a day. This proverb simply tells us that great things takes time.

13. 낮말은 새가 듣고 밤말은 쥐가 듣는다 (naj-mal-eun sae-ga deud-go bam-mal-eun jwi-ga deud-neun-da)

Meaning birds hear the words spoken in the day, and the mice those at night. This korean proverb simply remind us to be careful of what we say to others.

14. 눈에서 멀어지면, 마음에서도 멀어진다 (nun-e-seo meor-eo-ji-myeon, ma-eum-e-seo-do meor-eo-jin-da)

Meaning out of sight, out of mind This proverb tells us that it is much easier to forget the someone or somethings we don’t see.

15. 말을 냇가에 끌고 갈 수는 있어도 억지로 물을 먹일 수는 없다 (mar-eul naet-ga-e kkeul-go gal su-neun iss-eo-do eok-ji-ro mur-eul meo-gil su-neun eobs-da)

Meaning you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. This korean proverb tells us that we can only help others so far, yet if he don’t want to do it then no matter how easy it is, he will not do it.

16. 백지장도 맞들면 낫다 (baek-ji-jang-do mat-deul-myeon nat-da)

Meaning it is easier to lift it together though it is a piece of paper. This mean two are better than one, because two people can stand more adversity and solve more problem.

17. 궁하면 통한다 (gung-ha-myeon tong-han-da)

Meaning if one is desperate, one will find a way. This korean proverb tells us that there’s a solution for every problem as long as we never give up.

18. 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다 (tteus-i iss-neun gos-e gir-i iss-da)

Meaning where there’s a will, there’s a way. This proverbs tells us that as long as you are commited to something, you will find a way to achieve it.

19. 엎질러진 물이다 (eop-jil-leo-jin mur-i-da)

Meaning there is no use in crying over spilled milk. This korean proverb teaches us to not make a big deal out of something that happened in the past.

20. 다 된 밥에 재 뿌리지 마라 (da doen bab-e jae ppu-ri-ji ma-la)

Meaning Don’t rain on someone’s parade. This proverb simply teaches us to not spoil other people’s plan.

Sum Up

Here are all the wise sayings and korean proverbs I can share to you. Hopefully these wise words will inspire you to be the best version of your life. Which one is your favourite korean proverb? Let me know in the comment sections below!

Korean Proverbs
Korean Proverbs

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