25 – Ain’t Nothin’ But A Thing 物

(Originally published April 2015)

The character 物 in Korean is pronounced 물 (“Mul”- Rhymes with “pool”) and means ‘thing’ or ‘object’.

thing01

For example, the word 생물 (生物) means ‘living thing’, or ‘organism’. It is a compound word made up of  생 (生 – “Seng”) meaning ‘life’, and 물 (物 – “Mul”) which means ‘thing’. So the Korean word 생물 (“Seng-Mul”) literally means ‘Life-Thing’.

The Korean word for ‘plants’ is 식물 (植物 – “Shik-Mul”). The first character in this word, 식(植 – “Skik”) means ‘plant’. The second character 물 (物 – “Mul”) means “thing”, so the Korean word for plant means “Plant-thing”.

The word 유물 (遺物 – “Yu-Mul”) means ‘relic’, or ‘artifact’. The first part, 유 (遺- “Yu”) means ‘lost’, and when combined with 물 (物 – “Mul”) it means “Lost-Thing”.

The Korean word 준비 (準備 – “Chun-Bi”) means ‘prepare’. When 물 (物 – “Mul’) is added you get 준비물 (準備物) which is the Korean word for ‘preparations’.

Our final word is 건물 (建物 – “Geon-Mul”) which is the word for a building. The first syllable means ‘build’ or ‘construct’, so when it is combined with 물 (物 – “Mul’) it becomes “construct-thing”

Here are some more common Korean words with the character 물 (物 – “Mul”):

건물 (建物 – “Geon-Mul”): Building

동물 (動物 – “Dong-Mul”): Animal

물건 (物件 – “Mul-Geon”) Thing, object

물리학 (物理學 – “Mul-Li-Hak”): Physics

물체 (物體 – “Mul-Choe”): Object

박물관 (博物館 – “Bak-Mul-Gwan”): Museum

사물 (事物 – “Sa-Mul”): thing, object

선물 (膳物 – “Seon-Mul”): Gift

해물 (海物 – “Heu-Mul”): Seafood

I hope that knowing what 물 (“Mul”) means makes learning these vocabulary words easier. Have a word or character that you would like to know more about? Send your questions to newhanja@gmail.com

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