How To Say ‘Fish’ In Korean

Some of the most fun vocabulary to learn in languages is what animals, and the sounds they make, are called. Even more fun, or at least convenient and practical, is learning what to call the animals you are accustomed to seeing as food.

In today’s lesson, we’ll go over how to say ‘fish’ in Korean. Are you ready? Let’s get learning!


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‘Fish’ in Korean

fish in the sea

There are two basic words for how to say ‘fish’ in Korean. The first is 물고기 (mulgogi) and the other one is 어류 (eoryu). Both are equally correct when referring to fish, however you may hear the word 물고기 much more often since 어류 is used primarily in academic and scientific situations. Since the word 물고기 can be directly translated as water meat, you may also hear fish being referred to as 고기 alone, especially if the conversation is about fishing.

However, when you want to talk about ‘fish’ in the terms of food you’ve eaten, want to eat, or will eat, the more appropriate word to use is 생선 (saengseon). 물고기 is also OK to use but you’ll impress your friends more with the word 생선.

How about when you want to talk about fishing? There are a few simple conjugations of the same word that you can choose from, all of which essentially mean the same thing. The shortest one is by simply forming the sentence from the verb base 낚다 (nakkda). However, the more common one to use is 낚시하다 (nakkshihada). Both can be used interchangeably and the meaning is simply ‘to fish’.

Alternatively, you can also use the expression 낚시하러 가다 (nakkshihareo gada) when you want to tell someone that you are going fishing, as it translates to ‘to go fish’. Lastly, you can also use 낚시를 하다 (nakkshireul hada) when you wish to express that you are fishing, want to fish, or will be fishing in the near future.


Related Vocabulary

연어 (yeoneo) – salmon

참치 (chamchi) – tuna

고등어 (godeungeo) – mackerel

송어 (songeo) – trout

광어 (gwangeo) – flatfish


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences



이 호수에서 낚을 수 있으세요? (i hosueseoneun nakkeul su isseuseyo?)

Is it possible to fish on this lake?



세계에서는 어류 종 몇개 있어요? (segyeeseoneun eoryu jong myeotgae isseoyo?)

How many fish species are there in the world?


제 취미는 낚시를 하는것이에요. (je chwimineun nakkshireul haneungeosieyo.)

My hobby is fishing.


오늘 저녁으로 생선을 먹고 싶어요. (oneul jeonyeokeuro saengseoneul meoggo sipheoyo.)

I want to have fish for dinner today.



어제 물고기를 몇 마리 잡았어. (eoje mulgogireul myeot mari jabasseo.)

Yesterday I caught several fish.


낚시하고싶네. (nakkshihagosiphne).

I want to fish.


이번주말에 낚시하러 갈래? (ibeonjumare nakkshihareo gallae?)

Do you want to go fishing this weekend?


So now that you know how to say “fish” in Korean you won’t have to worry about being a ‘fish out of water‘. What word would you like to learn to say next? Let us know in the comments below!

*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto


The post How To Say ‘Fish’ In Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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