11 Wise Korean Proverbs
Korea has a strong culture of showing respect to elders. The old and experienced have learned much in life, and these wise Korean proverbs offer some insightful knowledge to live by.
고생 끝에 낙이 온다 -The end of hardship comes happiness
This proverb is used as encouragement during hard times, saying that hard work will eventually pay off.
원숭이도 나무에서 떨어진다 - Even monkeys fall from trees
People aren't perfect; even experts can make mistakes from time to time.
시작이 반이다 - Starting is half the task
This one is relatively self-explanatory. Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part off any task; just jumping in will move you forward.
가재는 게 편이라 - The crayfish sides with the crab
This proverb means that people with similar traits or backgrounds usually stick together and side with one another.
고양이에게 생선을 맡기다 - Don't entrust a cat with a fish
Just as you wouldn't give a fish to a cat and expect it not to be eaten, don't trust people in situations where they can take advantage of you!
옷이 날개다 - Clothes are wings
Much like the English saying "The clothes make the man", this proverb says that people will judge you by the way you dress.
등잔 밑이 어둡다 - It is dark under the lamp
This oxymoron tells us that sometimes the answer is right under our noses; we might be disregard something that seems obvious because it's 'in the light', even when the answer might be right there.
빈 수레가 요란하다 - An empty cart rattles loudly
This proverb essentially means that those who talk the loudest aren't necessarily the most successful. Just because someone is outspoken doesn't necessarily mean they're right!
아는 길도 물어가라 - Even if you know the way, ask again
Don't be overconfident or make assumptions. There are always unexpected results that will pop up.
누워서 떡 먹기 - Eating rice cakes while lying down
A very close proverb to the English counterpart of "a piece of cake". "Eating rice cakes while lying down" just means that something is very easy.
엎지러진 물이다 - It is spilled water
An English equivalent of this proverb would be "don't cry over spilt milk". Don't worry yourself with minor issues that don't matter in the long run.