How to Say Cute in Korean: 7 Best Ways to Use This Word

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Despite not seeming like an important word that you would need to learn in another language, “cute” is actually used a lot in Korea. 

Therefore, when you want to learn to speak Korean, learning the Korean word for “cute” is certainly a useful thing to do. 

The word cute in Korean can be used to describe something you think is adorable like a puppy or toy doll, or simply just to pay someone or their clothes a compliment. 

There is in fact a whole culture around being “cute” in Korea called “애교 aegyo” and it is seen as a desirable way to be perceived. 

Because of this culture of cuteness, Korean people will love you if you call them cute, so learning this simple word is a great way to make friends! 

There are three ways to say cute in Korean and these vary depending on how formal you want to be in a given situation. 

This guide will break down the different ways to say cute in Korean so you can compliment someone or call something “cute” when you are traveling in Korea

How to Say Cute in Korean at a Glance

  • “Cute” (formal): 귀엽습니다 (gwiyeopseumnida)
  • “Cute” (standard):  귀여워요 (gwiyeowoyo)
  • “Cute” (informal): 귀여워 (gwiyeowo)
  • “It Is Cute”: 귀엽다 (gwiyeopda) 
  • “Cute puppy”: 귀여운 강아지 (gwiyeoun gangaji)
  • “Cute baby”: 귀여운 아기 (gwiyeoun agi)
  • “Cute woman”: 귀여운 여자 (gwiyeoun yeoja) 

How to Say “Cute” in Korean

The three different ways to say “cute” in Korean are “귀엽습니다 gwiyeopseumnida”, “귀여워요 gwiyeowoyo”, and “귀여워 gwiyeowo”. 

Each version varies in formality level and they are all broken down below along with example sentences. 

귀엽습니다 (Gwiyeopseumnida) – “Cute” in Korean (Formal)

If you ever need to say “cute” in a formal way you would use “귀엽습니다 gwiyeopseumnida”. 

“귀엽습니다 gwiyeopseumnida” uses the typical “니다 nida” ending which clearly signifies the formality of the word as “니다 nida” is a common conjugation found in formal words. 

Of course, “cute” isn’t usually a particularly formal word and so it is not used often in formal contexts as when speaking using a formal speech level you might not use “cute” anyway. 

Therefore, you will likely hear “귀엽습니다 gwiyeopseumnida” in presentations about the culture of cuteness, in an interview mentioning the word “cute” or even in an official announcement or broadcast if “cute” is a relevant topic.

See this example sentence below:

“이 가수가 귀엽습니다 i gasuga gwiyeopseumnida” = This singer is cute.

귀여워요 Gwiyeowoyo – “Cute” in Korean (Standard)

To say cute in the standard form is “귀여워요 gwiyeowoyo”. 

This version of cute is still polite but not too formal and you would use it when talking to people older than you or those with whom you are not close. 

As with most standard words, “귀여워요 gwiyeowoyo” is the most common version of “cute” since it is nice and polite so you can use it with almost anyone. 

Also, “귀여워요 gwiyeowoyo” is a great word to remember since it is spelt the same as it is spelt, so it is easy to get correct. 

Check out the standard version example:

“강아지가 너무 귀여워요 gangajiga neomu gwiyeowoyo” = The puppy is very cute.

귀여워 (Gwiyeowo) – “Cute” in Korean (Informal)

If you want to say “cute” in an informal or casual way, you would say “귀여워 gwiyeowo”.  

Obviously “cute” in its informal form is very useful since it can be used with people close to you, who you would likely use the word often with. 

If you are talking to a close friend, complimenting your girlfriend or flattering someone on a date, 

“귀여워 gwiyeowo” would be the word to use. 

Also, “귀여워 gwiyeowo” is another word that is pronounced in the same way it is spelt, making it a great word to know. 

See below for the informal “cute” example:

“너는 완전 귀여워! neoneun wanjeon gwiyeowo” = You are so cute! – or – you’re “totally” cute

귀엽다 (Gwiyeopda) – How to Say “It Is Cute” in Korean

If you want to say “it is cute” or “he/she is cute,” in Korean you would effectively use “to be cute” which in Korean is “귀엽다 gwiyeopda”.

If you are ever walking along a street on your own and see a cute cat or dog and want to say “it is cute” in Korean to yourself you would use “귀엽다 gwiyeopda”.

However, it’s of course important to remember that if you are with another person and want to express that something or someone is cute then you need to adjust your politeness level to how formal the situation needs to be.  

How to Say “The Cute Puppy” in Korean

When you want to say “cute” in a phrase that references a certain object, for example saying “the cute puppy”, you would use the word “귀여운 gwiyeoun”.

See below for a couple of examples with different “cute” things: 

“귀여운 강아지 gwiyeoun gangaji” = cute puppy

“귀여운 아기 gwiyeoun agi” = cute baby

“귀여운 여자 gwiyeoun yeoja” = cute woman

“공원 안에 귀여운 강아지가 많아요” (gongwon ane gwiyeoun gangajiga manayo) = There are lots of cute dogs at the park.

How to Write “Cute” in Korean

All the words in this guide are written using both Korean Hangul and a romanized version using the English alphabet. 

Romanization helps you to pronounce the words and understand them if you do not know how to read Korean Hangul yet. 

However, we always recommend learners who want to progress in their Korean learn to read Hangul as it will improve their pronunciation and speed up the speed at which they learn new words when they start noticing patterns. 

Get some practice below by practicing writing each form of “cute” in Hangul.

Familiarize yourself with the words so you notice when someone is writing cute” in Korean. 

Here’s how you write “Cute” in Korean:

“Cute” in Korean (formal) → 귀엽습니다 (gwiyeopseumnida)

“Cute” in Korean (standard) → 귀여워요 (gwiyeowoyo)

“Cute” in Korean (informal) → 귀여워 (gwiyeowo)

How to Say Cute in Korean – Video Guide

Cute in Korean – Final Thoughts

Knowing the word “cute” in all its different forms in Korean unlocks a whole new way of expressing yourself in Korean. 

Words such as “cute” may seem insignificant but since they hold a lot of meaning in Korea you will be able to connect to the “aegyo” culture and brighten up people’s day and even make new friends. 

Simply knowing the word is no use though, the best way to practice and solidify your Korean is to have conversations in Korean with people. 

So get out there and start using this powerful bit of vocabulary in conversations!

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