83 Korean Last Names/Surnames With Meanings And Characters

85+ Korean Last Names That Are Full Of Seoul

December 29, 2019 Updated September 15, 2021

Korean last names
Vasily Gushcha/Getty

Surnames are a great way to get connected to the family that came before us. Korean last names provide a great insight into a family’s defining characteristics, the places they lived near, or their occupations. Like Japanese last names, these names stem from Chinese characters converted into a different script. Modern Korean names are now written in Hangul, which means ‘great script’ in Korean.

Part of what makes Korean names special is their unique naming structure. It’s different than other cultures because their names are typically three syllables long and the surname is written first. The reason the last name comes first is to emphasize the importance of family. It shows that they should always come before the individual. In Korean culture, relationships and loved ones are integral to their history and society, so much so that it’s represented in their naming structure. Personal names, which are also referred to as first names, follow after the surname. People are usually given two first names in South Korean culture, and middle names aren’t part of the naming culture. Korean culture is also rooted in other positive qualities like togetherness, harmony, tenacity, toughness, adaptability, nationalism, and education.

The most popular Korean last names are monosyllabic — like Kim, Lee, and Park — which together make up the names of about half the Korean ethnic population. And if you’re wondering what the top Korean last names are and their meanings, you’re not alone. According to the latest search information available, that query is searched for nearly 19,000 times a month. We’ve compiled a list of these and others, complete with their Hangul characters, (which is the Korean phonetic alphabet) so that you know the possible meaning behind them.

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, French, Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and African last names, among others.

  1. Kim
    Hangul: 김
    Meaning: Metal, gold, or iron.
  2. Lee
    Hangul: 이
    Meaning: Plum tree.
  3. Park/Bak
    Hangul: 박
    Meaning: Gourd.
  4. Gwan
    Hangul: 관
    Meaning: Tube or pipe.
  5. Man
    Hangul: 만
    Meaning: Just or only.
  6. Hak
    Hangul: 학
    Meaning: Crane or learning.
  7. Jeong
    Hangul: 정
    Meaning: Tablet, chisel, or quiet.
  8. Yang
    Hangul: 양
    Meaning: Amount, sheet, or positive.
  9. Bu
    Hangul: 부
    Meaning: Part, wealth, or fortune.
  10. An
    Hangul: 안
    Meaning: Within, interior or back.
  11. Jin
    Hangul: 진
    Meaning: Camp, true, lost, or a sign of the dragon.

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  12. Pan
    Hangul: 판
    Meaning: Plate, board, or edition.
  13. Dang
    Hangul: 당
    Meaning: Party, justice, or sugar.
  14. Seong
    Hangul: 성
    Meaning: Succeed or accomplish.
  15. Yoo
    Hangul: 요
    Meaning: Willow tree.
  16. Han
    Hangul: 한
    Meaning: One.
  17. Pung
    Hangul: 풍
    Meaning: Wind.
  18. Mok
    Hangul: 목
    Meaning: Neck.
  19. Jong
    Hangul: 종
    Meaning: Bell, species, or end.
  20. Nam
    Hangul: 남
    Meaning: Man or south.
  21. Cho
    Hangul: 초
    Meaning: Second, candle, or beginning.
  22. Mae
    Hangul: 매
    Meaning: Hawk or falcon.
  23. Wang
    Hangul: 왕
    Meaning: King.

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  24. Sun
    Hangul: 순
    Meaning: Net.
  25. Hwang
    Hangul: 황
    Meaning: Yellow or reed.
  26. Bin
    Hangul: 빈
    Meaning: Empty, void, or white.
  27. Yun
    Hangul: 윤
    Meaning: Cloud or luck.
  28. Gok
    Hangul: 곡
    Meaning: Country.
  29. Pae
    Hangul: 
    Meaning: The name of the Pae clan.
  30. Ma
    Hangul: 마
    Meaning: After the Mokch’ŏn Ma clan.
  31. Kwak
    Hangul: 곽
    Meaning: City walls.
  32. Ahn
    Hangul: 안
    Meaning: Tranquility.
  33. Bae/Bai
    Hangul: 배
    Meaning: A pear.
  34. Baek
    Hangul: 백
    Meaning: The color white.
  35. Cha
    Hangul: 차
    Meaning: Chariot.
  36. Chang
    Hangul: 창
    Meaning: Prosperous or flourishing.
  37. Chu
    Hangul: 추
    Meaning: Vermilion red, which is a bright red pigment made from mercury sulfide.
  38. Gim
    Hangul: 김
    Meaning: Gold.
  39. Goe
    Hangul: 좋은
    Meaning: High.
  40. Ho
    Hangul: 호
    Meaning: Brave or fierce.
  41. To
    Hangul: 에
    Meaning: Dipper or unit of measure. Derived from the Chinese word dou.
  42. Byun
    Hangul: 변
    Meaning: Excitable or impatient.
  43. Chai
    Hangul: 차이
    Meaning: Firewood.
  44. Chi
    Hangul: 치
    Meaning: Limb or Branch.
  45. Hahm
    Hangul: 흠
    Meaning: Weighing scales seller.
  46. Choi
    Hangul: 최
    Meaning: Mountain, pinnacle, or a governor who oversees the land or mountain.
  47. Shin
    Hangul: 신
    Meaning: Belief.
  48. Bang
    Hangul: 방
    Meaning: Room
  49. Cha
    Hangul: 차
    Meaning: Chariot.
  50. Sa
    Hangul:
    Meaning: The number four.
  51. Seo
    Hangul: 瑞
    Meaning: Felicitous omen or auspicious.
  52. Seo-Jun
    Hangul: 瑞
    Meaning: Felicitous omen, auspicious; open up, unfold, comfortable, or easy.
  53. Seok
    Hangul: 石
    Meaning: Stone or tin.
  54. Seong
    Hangul: 成
    Meaning: Completed, finished, or succeeded.
  55. Seong-Hun
    Hangul: 성훈
    Meaning: Meritorious deed or rank.
  56. Si-u
    Hangul: 시우,
    Meaning: Begin or start.
  57. Kangjeon
    Hangul: 강전
    Meaning: This surname is originally from Japan.
  58. Gae
    Hangul: 개
    Meaning: Dog.
  59. Gok
    Hangul: 곡
    Meaning: A common last name for people from the Tang Dynasty of China.
  60. Jang
    Hangul: 장
    Meaning: Archer or bowyer.
  61. Im/Lim
    Hangul: 임
    Meaning: Dependable.
  62. Chay
    Hangul: 어떤 것
    Meaning: Brushwood.
  63. Cheong
    Hangul: 청
    Meaning: Gentle or quiet.
  64. Ha
    Hangul: 하아
    Meaning: Summer.
  65. Keng
    Hangul: 넓은
    Meaning: Ginger.
  66. Ha
    Hangul: 하아
    Meaning: Summer or grand.
  67. Han
    Hangul: 한
    Meaning: Country or leader.
  68. Heo
    Hangul: 허
    Meaning: To permit or advocate.
  69. Ho
    Hangul: 호
    Meaning: Brave or fierce.
  70. Hong
    Hangul: 홍
    Meaning: Expand or great.
  71. Hyun
    Hangul: 현
    Meaning: Profound or mysterious.
  72. Im
    Hangul: 임
    Meaning: Forest.
  73. In
    Hangul: 에
    Meaning: Stamp or India.
  74. Jee
    Hangul: 지
    Meaning: Will or ambition.
  75. Jeon
    Hangul: 전
    Meaning: Field.
  76. Joh
    Hangul: 조
    Meaning: An ancient city in Shanxi province.
  77. Gyeon
    Hangul: 견
    Meaning: Capital city; scenery, view.
  78. Geun
    Hangul: 근
    Meaning: Axe.
  79. Nam
    Hangul: 남
    Meaning: South.
  80. Noe
    Hangul: 뇌
    Meaning: Thunder.
  81. Ryu
    Hangul: 유
    Meaning: Willow tree.
  82. Gang
    Hangul: 강
    Meaning: River.
  83. Gu
    Hangul: 구
    Meaning: Phrase.
  84. Kang
    Hangul: 강강
    Meaning: Ginger
  85. Ki
    Hangul: 기
    Meaning: Tree or wood
  86. Kil
    Hangul: 길
    Meaning: Cool