If you’ve been learning about terms for outer space in Korean you might have noticed 성 pop up multiple times, 성 has Sino-Korean origins and uses the hanja 星 which means a star or planet. You’ll especially see it for planets in our solar system which all, excluding earth, end with 성 and have their own meaning for their names!


Planets and Outer Space in Korean with Hanja

So lets get into all the 성 words and explore space in Korean!


견우성: Altair
천랑성: Sirius
항성: Star (별 is more common)
신성: Nova
유성: Shooting star/meteor (when crashed its 운석)
소행성: Asteroid
소행성대: Asteroid belt

북두칠성: Big Dipper
성운: Nebula
성좌: Constellation

위성: Satellite
점성술: Astrology
혜성: Comet
혹성: Planet

수성: Mercury
금성: Venus
화성: Mars
목성: Jupiter
토성: Saturn
천왕성: Uranus
해왕성: Neptune
명왕성: Pluto


Planets in Korean

Korean Planets Meaning

In both Korean and English planets are specifically named; for English most originate from roman gods, and for Korea a lot originate from elements! Its even similar that Earth or 지구 in Korean both don’t follow the naming system, probably because it was named much before we paid attention to the stars and identifying them haha.


Mercury 수성

Korean Meaning: Water Planet
English Meaning: Roman god of travel (because the planet moves fast)


Venus 금성

Korean Meaning: Gold Planet
English Meaning: Roman goddess of love (it was considered the brightest and most beautiful)


Mars 화성

Korean Meaning: Fire Planet
English Meaning: Roman god of war (based on its red blood-like color)


Jupiter 목성

Korean Meaning: Wood Planet
English Meaning: Roman king of the gods (because of its massive size)


Saturn 토성

Korean Meaning: Earth Planet
English Meaning: Roman god of farming (the most distant planet visible Romans could see, named after Jupiter’s father)


Uranus 천왕성

Korean Meaning: King of Heaven Planet
English Meaning: Greek god of the sky (named in 1850s after Romans, because Uranus was the father of Saturn).


Neptune 해왕성

Korean Meaning: King of the Sea Planet
English Meaning: Roman god of the sea (based on its blue color)


Pluto 명왕성

Korean Meaning: King of Darkness Planet
English Meaning: Roman god of the underworld (named in 1930’s by an 11 year old girl, probably because of Pluto’s ability to disappear)


Fun note: the days of the week in Korean also have a hanja basis with influence from the elements! 화요일 Tuesday is fire day and Mars is fire planet, same with 수요일 (Mercury – water), 목요일 (Jupiter – wood), 금요일 (Venus – gold), 토요일 (Saturn – earth).

월요일 is tied to 월 meaning moon. 월 comes from the Hanja 月, but people use 달 when talking about the moon which is the native Korean word. Similarly, 일요일 for 일 which means day/sun. 일 comes from hanja 日 which means day and sun.


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