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.
The most popular Korean last names are 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, 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.
Meaning: Metal, gold or iron.
Meaning: Plum tree.
Meaning: Tube or pipe.
Meaning: Just or only.
Meaning: Crane or learning.
Meaning: Tablet, chisel, or quiet.
Meaning: Amount, sheet, or positive.
Meaning: Part, wealth, or fortune.
Meaning: Within, interior or back.
Meaning: Camp, true, lost, or a sign of the dragon.
Meaning: Plate, board, or edition.
Meaning: Party, justice or sugar.
Meaning: Succeed or accomplish.
Meaning: Willow tree.
Meaning: Bell, species or end.
Meaning: Man or south.
Meaning: Second, candle, or beginning.
Meaning: Hawk or falcon.
Meaning: Yellow or reed.
Meaning: Empty, void or white.
Meaning: Cloud or luck.
Meaning: The name of the Pae clan.
Meaning: After the Mokch’ŏn Ma clan.
Meaning: A version of Myŏng, after Myŏn Ok-jin who established the Ha Kingdom.
Meaning: City walls