Last Names

90+ Korean Last Names That Are Full Of Seoul

Plus, what they mean.

by Laura Grainger
Originally Published: 
Korean baby laughing while wearing head phones on the dance floor with korean last names circling ar...

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.

Common Korean Last Names

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.


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: 패

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: 사

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

87. Jung

Hangul: 정

Meaning: Young.

88. Kong

Hangul: 콩

Meaning: Empty, hollow, or sky.

89. Ku

Hangul: 구

Meaning: Tool or utensil.

90. Kuk

Hangul: 국

Meaning: Country.

91. Dong-Geun

Hangul: 동근

Meaning: East root or foundation.

92. Kwak

Hangul: 곽

Meaning: Variation of the surname “Kwack” which means surrounding area.

93. Gan

Hangul: 簡

Meaning: To be near.

94. Gal

Hangul: 葛

Meaning: Ground

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