How to Say “Lady” in Korean: Formal and Informal Ways

Gaining knowledge of various ways to express the word “lady” in Korean can be helpful, whether you wish to address someone politely or engage in casual conversation. In this guide, we will explore the formal and informal ways of saying “lady” in Korean. Regional variations will also be discussed where relevant. By the end, you’ll have a strong grasp of this term and be equipped with adequate tips and examples to use it appropriately.

1. Formal Ways to Say “Lady” in Korean

When addressing someone formally, you want to show respect and politeness. Here are the formal ways to say “lady” in Korean:

1. 여성 (yeoseong) – This is the standard and most formal term used to refer to a lady or a woman. It is appropriate to use in professional or formal settings.

2. 부인 (buin) – This term is commonly used to refer to a married lady. It is used as the formal way to address someone’s wife respectfully.

Keep in mind that these formal terms are widely understood and well-received in all regions of Korea.

2. Informal Ways to Say “Lady” in Korean

In casual settings or when interacting with friends, you can opt for informal terms to refer to a lady. Here are some commonly used ones:

1. 여자 (yeoja) – This is the most common and general term used to refer to a lady or a woman. It is appropriate to use in casual conversation or when addressing friends.

2. 녀 (nyeo) – This term, though informal, can also be used to refer to a lady. However, please note that it can sound somewhat derogatory or disrespectful, so use it with caution or only within close circles.

These informal terms are widely used across Korea and are generally well-received, as long as they are used in the appropriate context.

3. Regional Variations

In Korean, regional dialects or variations can exist. While the formal and informal terms mentioned earlier are universally understood, some regional variations for “lady” can also be encountered:

1. 소 (so) – This term is specific to the Jeolla region in Korea. It is equivalent to “lady” and is used in informal settings. However, if you are not from this region, it is advisable to stick to the commonly used terms to avoid confusion.

It’s important to note that most Koreans, regardless of their region, will understand and respond appropriately to the standard terms discussed above.

4. Tips and Examples

To ensure you effectively use the terms for “lady” in Korean, here are some tips and examples to guide you:

  • Use “여성” (yeoseong) when you want to be polite and formal, especially in professional or formal settings.
  • If you want to address a married lady respectfully, use “부인” (buin).
  • In casual conversations or when speaking with friends, “여자” (yeoja) is the most commonly used term.
  • Avoid using “녀” (nyeo) unless you are in a close circle, as it can sometimes be seen as disrespectful.
  • Remember that regional variations exist, but they are not commonly used outside the specific regions. Stick to the standard terms for broader understanding.


  • Formal: 이 회의에서 여성분들의 의견을 듣고 싶습니다. (I would like to hear the opinions of the ladies in this meeting.)
  • Formal (referring to a married lady): 사장님의 부인이 회사를 방문하셨습니다. (The president’s wife visited the company.)
  • Informal: 저녁에 친구들과 여자끼리 만날 거예요. (I’m going to meet friends, just us girls, in the evening.)

Remember to use the appropriate term based on the level of formality and the context of the conversation.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have a strong understanding of how to say “lady” in Korean. Whether you need to address someone formally or engage in casual conversation, you now possess a range of vocabulary options. Remember to be mindful of regional variations and always choose the appropriate term based on formality and context. Practice using these terms, and you’ll soon sound like a fluent Korean speaker!

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Written by Mia Amy

안녕하세요! I’m Mia, your friendly guide to all things Korean language. As a true K-Drama fan and a hardcore member of the BTS Army, I've made it my mission to help you navigate the beautiful, yet complicated world of Korean expressions, both formal and informal. In my spare time, I enjoy exploring 홍대 (Hongdae) for latest trends and savoring 매운 라면 (Spicy Ramen) at my favorite 노래방 (Karaoke). 한국어 배우기 좋아하세요 (Do you like learning Korean)? So do I! Come, let's explore together!

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