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How do Koreans greet each other?


Korean culture is known for its rich traditions and customs, and greeting is an essential part of it. In Korea, greetings are not just a formality, but they hold a deeper meaning. Koreans believe that greeting someone properly shows respect and honor towards them. Understanding how to greet someone in Korea is important for building relationships and showing cultural sensitivity.

History of Korean Greetings

The history of Korean greetings dates back to the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-A.D. 668). During this time, people used to bow as a sign of respect. Later, during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the bow was replaced with a handshake, which is still used today. However, depending on the situation, Koreans also use other forms of greeting such as bowing, nodding, and waving.

The Importance of Korean Greetings

Greeting in Korea holds great importance as it reflects one’s manners and social status. Koreans believe that proper greeting can enhance good relationships between people and create harmony in society. Therefore, people take great care to greet each other politely and respectfully.

Bowing in Korean Greetings

Bowing is one of the most common ways to greet someone in Korea. The depth of the bow depends on the age or social status of the person you are greeting. Younger people usually bow more deeply than older people or those with higher social status. A slight nod or a shallow bow is acceptable when greeting friends or peers.

Handshakes in Korean Greetings

Handshakes are also common in Korea, especially when meeting someone for the first time or in a formal setting. A firm handshake is preferred, but it should not be too strong or too weak. Koreans usually shake hands while maintaining eye contact and saying hello.

Bowing and Handshake Combination

In some situations, Koreans combine bowing and shaking hands. This is done by bowing first, then extending the hand for a handshake. This type of greeting is often used in business meetings or formal events.

Other Forms of Greetings in Korea

Besides bowing and shaking hands, Koreans also greet each other with a nod or a wave. A nod is usually used when greeting someone familiar or in a casual setting. A wave is commonly used to greet friends or family members from a distance.

Greetings Based on Age and Status

In Korea, age and social status play an important role in greetings. When greeting someone older or with higher status, one should bow deeper and show more respect. Younger people should initiate the greeting first, and it is considered polite to wait for the older person to initiate the end of the greeting.

Greetings in Different Settings

The type of greeting used also depends on the setting. In formal settings such as business meetings or ceremonies, a handshake or a bow is preferred. In informal settings such as social gatherings, a nod or a wave is acceptable.

Greetings in Korean Language

Learning how to greet someone in Korean language can make a great impression. The most common greeting in Korean language is “annyeonghaseyo,” which means “hello.” Other greetings include “annyong” (informal hello), “jal jinaess-eoyo?” (How are you?), and “ansimhae-yo” (goodbye).


In conclusion, understanding how to greet someone properly in Korea is essential for building relationships and showing cultural sensitivity. Koreans take great care to greet each other politely and respectfully, and different forms of greetings are used depending on the situation, age, and social status. Greeting in Korea is not just a formality, but it holds a deeper meaning that reflects one’s manners and social status.

How do you greet respect in Korean?

In Korean, the most common way to say hello is “Annyeong Haseyo.” This is a polite and familiar way to address someone. The word “haseyo” is used to show extra respect, and it comes from the verb “hada,” which means “to do.”

How do Koreans show respect to each other?

Showing respect through basic etiquette takes on different forms, including giving deference to elders by valuing their opinions and waiting for their input. Additionally, it is appropriate to lower one’s gaze when speaking with an elder and to use both hands when offering or receiving gifts, food or other objects.

How do Koreans address each other?

In Korean culture, it is not common to refer to others solely by their last names, such as “Mr./Ms. Kim,” “Mr./Ms. Lee,” or “Mr./Ms. Park.” Instead, it is acceptable to use their first names, like “Sung-soo” and “Soo-mi,” when addressing them.

What is Anyo in Korean?

The word “anyo” in Korean is a casual greeting similar to “hello” or “hi.” It is a shortened version of the more formal “anyoung haseyo,” which means “hello” or “greetings.” The latter is considered more polite and formal when greeting someone in Korean.

Is Annyeong hello or goodbye?

The term “annyeong” is informal and can be used to say hello or goodbye. However, it should be noted that it is not appropriate to use it with everyone, so it is important to be mindful of who you are speaking to.

Do Koreans hug as a greeting?

While handshakes and bows are considered appropriate ways to greet someone in Korea, it is considered impolite to use close physical contact, such as hugging or holding hands or arms, as a greeting.

It is important to note that non-verbal communication also plays a vital role in greetings in Korea. Maintaining eye contact, smiling, and having good posture are all important aspects of showing respect and sincerity during a greeting.

Additionally, it is common for Koreans to inquire about each other’s well-being during a greeting. Asking “eotteohke jinae?” (How have you been?) or “jal jinaesseoyo?” (Are you doing well?) shows that you care about the person’s well-being and can help to strengthen relationships.

While greeting customs may vary slightly depending on the region or situation, the overall importance of showing respect and honor through proper greetings remains consistent throughout Korea. By taking the time to understand and participate in these customs, visitors and foreigners can show their appreciation for Korean culture and build meaningful connections with locals.

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