How to Describe a Person in Korean: Vocabulary for Physical Characteristics and Personality

by Dee Fialho // March 28 // 0 Comments

An important part of learning how to communicate day to day in a new language is knowing how to describe people. Whether you want to say someone is tall or that they are kind, you need to have the vocabulary to express yourself. 

Describe a Person in Korean

If you already read our article on the 100 most common Korean adjectives you will be familiar with some of the words used to describe a person in Korean. Now you just have to learn how to use those adjectives in a sentence.

The simple sentence structure in Korean when using adjectives is:

Subject + Adjective

Let’s check a few examples using this structure!

  • 그는 크다 (geuneun keuda) = He is big.
  • 그녀는 작다 (geunyeo neun jagda) = She is small.
  • 미나는 예쁘다 (Mina neun yeppeuda) = Mina is pretty.

Make sure you understand this structure and then you are ready to continue to the next part—where you will be learning the vocabulary.

Physical features: how to describe someone’s appearance

One of the most useful ways of describing someone is by their physical appearance, especially when you need to describe a person that you don’t know the name of, or that you don’t know personally. 

Let’s say you need to ask a friend if they know the name of the “tall guy with blond hair in their class.” That description is probably enough for them to understand who you are talking about, but in order to say that in Korean you need some of the vocabulary we will see in the next few tables.

Following the example of someone with blond hair, here we have a few ways of describing a person’s hair:

우진이 머리는 짧다.ujin-i meolineun jjalbda.
Woojin has short hair.
해우 머리는 중간 길이다.haeu meolineun jung-gan gil-ida.Hea Woo has medium-length hair.
은선이 머리는 길다.eunseon-i meolineun gilda.Eun Sun’s hair is long.
성민이 머리는 금발이다.seongmin-i meolineun geumbal-ida.
Seungmin’s hair is blond.
미영이 머리는 갈색이다.miyeong-i meolineun galsaeg-ida.Miyoung’s hair is brown.
광선이 머리는 검은색이다.gwangseon-i meolineun geom-eunsaeg-ida.
Kwang-Sun has black hair.
재이 머리는 구불구불하다.jaei meolineun gubulgubulhada.Jae has curly hair.
진애 머리는 약간 구불거린다.jin-ae meolineun yaggan gubulgeolinda.
Jin Ae has wavy hair.
연희 머리는 빨간색이다.yeonhu-i meolineun ppalgansaeg-ida.
Yun Hee has red hair.
관이 머리는 부드럽다.gwan-i meolineun budeuleobda.
Kwan has soft hair.

Skin and eye color can also be very helpful, here we have a few useful examples:

그녀는 피부가 희다.Geunyeo neun piboo ga heuida.She has fair skin.
그는 피부가 검다.Geuneun piboo ga gumda.He has dark skin.
그는 파란눈이다.Geuneun paran noon ida.He has blue eyes.
그는 눈이 갈색이다.Geuneun noon ee galsaek ida.He has brown eyes.
그녀의 눈은 초록색이다.Geunyeo eui noon eun chorok saegida.She has green eyes.

Of course we cannot forget height and weight. Chances are that you will mention a person’s height when describing them to someone.

Let’s check a few examples.

그녀는 키가 작다.Geunyeo neun key ga jakda.She is short.
그는 키가 크다.Geuneun key ga keuda.He is tall.
그녀는 날씬하다.Geunyeo neun naltsinhada.She is thin.
그는 뚱뚱하다.Geuneun tdoong tdoong hada.He is fat.
그는 말랐다.Geuneun malatda.He is skinny.

How to describe a person’s abilities and features

Of course, not everything falls under the physical appearance category. Here we will learn how to describe a person’s abilities and their other features.

그녀는 빠르다.Geunyeo neun pbareuda.She is fast
그는 느리다.Geuneun neuridaHe is slow.
그녀는 강하다.Geunyeo neun ganghada.She is strong.
그녀는 약하다.Geunyeo neun yakhada.She is weak.
그녀는 예쁘다.Geunyeo neun yeppeuda.She is pretty.
그는 잘 생겼다.Geuneun jal saengyutda.He is handsome.
그는 미남이다.Geuneun minamida.He is good-looking.
그녀는 못 생겼다.Geunyeo neun mot saengutda.She is ugly.

A few of these look like they would be part of physical features, but you have to remember that adjectives like pretty or handsome are subjective; therefore, we do not consider them as physical characteristics.

What are they like? How to describe personality

Everything we have seen so far has not been very personal. We learned how to say that someone is tall or that they have blue eyes, but we have yet to learn how to express what we think of people’s personalities.

Here we have a list with some of the most useful ways of describing someone’s personality.Let’s check it out!
그녀는 친절하다.Geunyeoneun chinjeolhada.She is friendly.
그녀는 정직하다.Geunyeoneun jeongjighada.She is honest.
그는 웃긴다.Geuneun wootginda.He is funny.
그녀는 용감하다.Geunyeo neun yong-gamhada.She is brave.
그는 교양있는 사람이다.Geuneun gyoyang-issneun salam-ida.He is sophisticated.
그녀는 열심히 일하는 사람이다.Geunyeo neun yulshimhee ilhaneun saramida.She is hardworking.
그는 친절하다.Geuneun chinjulhada.He is kind.
그는 심각하다.Geuneun shimgakhada.He is serious.
그는 예의가 없다.Geuneun ye-euiga upda.He is bad-mannered.
그녀는 게으르다.Geunyeo neun ge-eureuda.She is lazy.
그는 잘 참는다.Geuneun jal chamneunda.He is patient.
그녀는 똑똑하다.Geunyeo neun tdok tdok hada.She is intelligent.
그는 재미있다.Geuneun jaemiitda.He is humorous.
그녀는 수줍다.Geunyeo neun soojoobda.She is shy.
그녀는 조용하다.Geunyeo neun joyonghada.She is quiet.
그는 좋은 사람이다.Geuneun joeun saramida.He is nice.
그녀는 이기적이다.Geunyeoneun igijeog-ida.She is selfish.


Hopefully, thanks to the simple structure these sentences follow you were able to notice the pattern in word repetition and improve your vocabulary.

With what you have learned in this lesson you should be able to describe people with ease and even form your own sentences based on the examples. 

Try creating a description of yourself and other people as a way of practicing. You can start combining the examples, and soon you will be able to create more complex descriptions.



About the Author Dee Fialho

Dee Fialho is a Software Engineer and language enthusiast. When not coding or studying a new language, she enjoys brewing some delicious coffee.