Korean Girl Names: a comprehensive guide

Most Korean names consist of three syllables. Contrary to English names, the surname comes before the given name. Most surnames are one syllable, and the given names are usually composed of two syllables.

Therefore, if your Korean friend’s name is ‘Park Yu Min (박유민)’, the first letter, ‘Park (박)’, is the surname, and ‘Yu Min (유민)’ should be the given name.

Of course, there are names that do not follow the common structure: two-syllable surnames exist, as do given names with one or more-than-three syllables.

So, what names are popular in Korea? What names are regarded as unique and special? What kind of meaning do those names have? In this article, we will learn about them by focusing on girls’ names.

Popular Korean girl names

Like in all other cultures, there have been some changes in terms of popular names in Korea.

Here are examples of common Korean female names among each generation:

What are the popular names for girls who were recently born in Korea? The names in the table below are based on information from the official website of the Supreme Court of Korea.[1]

Table: Most popular Korean girl names in recent years
Rank Korean girl name Percentage
1 Seo A (서아) 8.81
2 Yi Seo (이서) 8.47
3 Ha Yun (하윤) 6.39
4 Ji A (지아) 6.34
5 Ji An (지안) 6.33
6 A Yun (아윤) 5.94
7 Shi A (시아) 5.72
8 A Rin (아린) 5.40
9 Seo Yun (서윤) 4.98
10 Ji Woo (지우) 4.50
11 Ha Rin (하린) 4.50
12 Ji Yu (지유) 4.28
13 Ha Eun (하은) 4.17
14 Yu Ju (유주) 3.59
15 Chae A (채아) 3.53
16 Na Eun (나은) 3.51
17 Yu Na (유나) 3.46
18 Tae Ri (태리) 3.42
19 Su A (수아) 3.37
20 Seo Yeon (서연) 3.29
Others Others 76.91

As you can see from the table, the top three popular names for girls born in 2022 are Seo A (서아), Yi Seo (이서), and Ha Yun (하윤).

In addition, we can easily notice that a lot of other popular names include letters such as Seo (서), A (아), Yun (윤), Rin (린), or Ha (하).

Below are some of the noteworthy features of recent girls’ names.

  1. Parents try to include a letter that has rarely been used for names before. They want to give uniqueness to their girl’s name.
  2. How a name sounds comes before its meaning. People prefer names that give a soft and lyrical impression when pronounced.

When it comes to the meaning of a name, parents consider the sound first, and then they pick appropriate Chinese characters to create a desired meaning.

There are a myriad of characters in Chinese, but just a few of them are designated especially for people’s names.

Different combinations can draw out a lot of other diverse meanings and listed below are the examples of the meanings of the top five popular girls’ names.

Table: Possible meanings of the top Korean girl names
Top 5 Korean girl names
(2022)
Chinese characters Meaning
Seo A (서아) 舒雅 To spread clarity
舒娥 To spread beauty
曙芽 Prospects for good
Yi Seo (이서) 梨瑞 Full of happiness
利舒 To spread good
怡舒 To spread happiness
Ha Yun (하윤) 賀允 Real blessings
河潤 Affluence throughout life
荷贇 Add beauty
Ji A (지아) 智娥 To be wise and beautiful
智雅 To be wise and pure
至峨 To be successful
Ji An (지안) 至安 Peaceful life
智案 To be wise and intelligent
沚安 Affluent and peaceful life

Unique Korean girl names

Another big trend of Korean girl names recently is that people use either English names or the ones that can sound like English names.

Most Korean given names are made up of two syllables, so people also look for English names that can be transliterated into two Korean syllables.

When naming like this, they also consider whether the English names can be written with Hangul characters that people can normally find in people’s names.

This way, they avoid giving too much of an exotic feeling to those who say or hear the name while they still use them as an English name.

Below you can find a variety of such names that are getting more and more popular in Korea.

Table: Korean girl names which are related to English girl names
Korean
girl names
Equivalent English names
제니 Jenny
제이 or 재이 Jay
리아 Leah
리안 Lianne
라엘 Rael
루아 Lua
루나 Luna
리나 Lina
제인 Jane
하니 Honey
조이 Joy
엘라 Ella

While more and more names are derived from the English language, there are also a growing number of names that are in pure Korean words.

Unlike other names that have equivalent Chinese characters or English words, the meanings are considered before thinking of how that might sound for the names in pure Korean words.

Some of the example names and their meanings are listed below.

One-syllable given names can also give a unique impression. As mentioned above, most Korean given names have two syllables, but some people use only one syllable for their given names.

One-syllable names can have a special feeling according to its sound as well as its meaning. Below you can find some popular Korean girl names with one syllable.

Table: One-syllable Korean girl names and their possible meanings
One-syllable girl names Chinese characters Meanings
Yul (율) A person who manages to accomplish what she wants. The literal meaning is ‘to ripen.’
A person with principles in life.
Sol (솔) To have control over whatever she does in life.
Seol (설) A girl with a pure mind like snow.
Byeol (별) - A girl that shines like a star.
Yun (윤) To become pretty and beautiful.
To have an affluent life.
To have a good relationship with others throughout life.
Som (솜) - A girl with a pure mind like cotton. The literal meaning is ‘cotton.’
Lin (린) A girl with a pure mind.
A pretty girl like jade.
Eun (은) A precious girl like silver.
To have an affluent life.
Jin (진) To become an honest person, always says what is true.
A precious girl like gems
Min (민) To be clever and wise
To become precious and pretty

Beautiful Korean girl names

The recent trend in naming Korean girls is to have a feminine and softer impression by way of the sound and its meaning.

The example names mentioned above are all such things. Below you can see some typical Hangul characters that are considered pretty for a girl’s name.

If you can make a combination that has at least one character below, the name would be regarded as a beautiful girl name.

Lin (린) Ye (예) A (아) Ha (하)
Na (나) Li (리) Yeon (연) Yul (율)
Bin (빈) Ji (지) Yu (유) Hye (혜)

Apart from the example characters above, lots of other Hangul letters with final consonants such as ㄴ, ㄹ, and ㅁ are used to make a beautiful girl name.

The vowels such as ㅏ, ㅣ, ㅠ, ㅕ, andㅖ are preferred. Some examples of the combinations are as below.

Table: Beautiful Korean girl names with their possible Chinese characters and meanings
Examples of beautiful Korean girl names Possible Chinese characters Possible meanings
Ha Rin (하린) 河潾 Pure like crystal clear water in the river
Li A (리아) 利芽 Full of potential for the future
Ye Na (예나) 藝娜 A talent with both beauty and intelligence
Ha Yul (하율) 河栗 Abundance in accomplishments and rewards
A Bin (아빈) 婀賓 A beautiful and precious person
Yeon A (연아) 娫娥 A girl with beauty and fame
A Rin (아린) 娥璘 A beautiful and precious girl
Na Yul (나율) 羅栗 A person that brings the good to many people
Na Yeon (나연) 羅軟 To spread the softness and beauty
Ye Rin (예린) 藝璘 A talent with both beauty and intelligence
Ji Yu (지유) 智柔 A person with wisdom and softness
Hye Ri (혜리) 惠利 A person with wisdom and goodness

Powerful Korean girl names

Although it is a big trend to give a feminine and soft-sounding name to a girl, it is also prevalent to give androgynous names to girls. Therefore, it is sometimes confusing to guess the gender after only listening to the name.

People followed the practice in the past, because of the idea that giving girls those sorts of names can bring a prosperous life to them.

However, modern people do not subscribe to this idea at all, and nearly all the androgynous names that are given are just according to the parents’ decisions.

Those kinds of names can give a sophisticated and intellectual impression. Some examples of powerful Korean girl names are provided in the table below:

Table: powerful Korean girl names with their possible Chinese characters and meanings
Examples of powerful Korean girl names Possible Chinese character Meanings
Seo Ha (서하) 舒河 Prosperous life like a wide river
Yeon Woo (연우) 娫優 A beautiful person with hospitality
Seo Woo (서우) 胥佑 A person that helps each other
Ji Min (지민) 智慜 A person with wisdom and intelligence
Yi Hyeon (이현) 利炫 Abundant and prestigious life
Ha On (하온) 賀溫 Life full of happiness
Min Ha (민하) 珉賀 A beautiful girl full of happiness
Han Gyeol (한결) - Constant happiness and joy throughout life
Ji Woo (지우) 智佑 A person who spread the wisdom for the benefit of others
Ji Yul (지율) 智律 A person with wisdom and self-control

Easy Korean girl names

A lot of young parents have recently been considering names that can be compatible with English names as well as written with easy Hangul characters.

For example, vowels like ㅓ, ㅕ, ㅚ, ㅢ, or ㅡ, and also double consonants such as ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, or ㅉ are among those that many English speakers find hard to pronounce, so Korean parents try to avoid including them.

You can see some examples of Easy Korean girl names in the table below:

Table: Easy Korean girl names with their possible Chinese characters and meanings
Examples of Easy Korean girl names Possible Chinese character Meanings
Ji A (지아) 智娥 To be wise and beautiful
A Yun (아윤) 雅潤 To live justly and with a pure mind
A Rin (아린) 娥璘 A beautiful and precious girl
Su A (수아) 秀芽 A girl with excellence and full of potential
Ye Rin (예린) 藝璘 A talent with both beauty and intelligence
Da In (다인) 多仁 A person with kindness and tolerance
So Yi (소이) 昭怡 Life full of happiness and joy
Ju A (주아) 珠娥 A beautiful girl like a pearl
Ha Na (하나) - One and only. Sounds like ‘Hannah’ in English.
Min A (민아) 珉娥 A beautiful girl like gems

Rare Korean girl names

There is an obvious tendency that parents try to give a special impression to their girls’ names in many ways.

One of them is by using the characters that were not usually used for a person’s name. Or some people make given names with more than three syllables for their daughters.

The list of the popular girls’ names is just the collection of different combinations of some beautifully-sounding letters, so no matter how unique you try to make a given name, it should sound like another version of similar names.

In order to avoid any confusion in terms of how a name can sound, people get creative as much as they can. The following names are some of the examples.

We have learned about what names are popular for girls recently, what their meaning could be, and what factors should be taken into account when naming girls, etc.

This article will hopefully be a good guide for you to get the hang of the recent girl names in Korea.

  1. [1] https://stfamily.scourt.go.kr/st/StFrrStatcsView.do?pgmId=090000000025