오 my goodness, what time is it?

안녕하세요…I admit that the title is cheesy. But the topic of 오 (o) and what it means is exciting! At least to a word nerd like myself.

 

Have you struggled with telling time in Korean? Is it 오전 (o-jeon) or 오후 (o-hu)? Do you always forget if it’s 후에 or 전에 when you’re talking about something that happened earlier?

Okay, honestly I don’t have a problem with morning or evening, but sometimes I mix up before and after in Korean. But today, as I was walking home AFTER a 20 minute chat sesh with my Korean tutor, it randomly popped into my head. 전 (jeon). 후 (hu). These two Korean words mean before and after. And what about getting AM and PM all up in heeeeaaaah, yo? 오means morning. 오후 means afternoon

 

 

Clearly there’s an 오 hanging out in both words and 전 indicates that morning is before this 오 and 후 indicates that afternoon is, well, after this 오. So what’s 오 mean?

Probably noon, right? Or sun, or zenith, or something super complex and mysterious. But if you check out Naver dictionary, it tells you 5.

 

Okay, fine. Let’s look at the hanja Naver includes for 오전 and 오후.

午前 is 오전 for example. 午 = 오 = o.

Ooooooooh.

What does that hanja (Korean word for a Chinese character) inherently mean?

Noon. Before noon, afternoon. IT ALL MAKES BEAUTIFUL SENSE.

 

 

I understand that you’re probably not as excited by this realization and discovery as I am, but it’s the little things in life that count, and I’m ridiculously excited by finding another awesome connection in Korean. Korean is so amazing! And Chinese characters are so cool! 여러분! 한국어를 잘 공부합시다!^^

감사합니다!

 

Can’t stop listening…

YG! Give us all the comebacks and albums already!

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