Today we already covered the hanja for Korea, 韓 [한]. While I could’ve done the logical thing and do the 국 character now, I am decided to do another one. 北 [북/배], which represents a third cardinal point, “North”. As you can guess this hanja is also attached to a rather infamous hermit kingdom. So let’s talk about this Hanja.
Hanja #16: 北 – 북녘 북, 달아날 배
The hanja 北 [북/배] represents one of the four cardinal points, “North”. But due to a very infamous hermit kingdom this character less often associated with that, but more with North Korea. Because of that you will often see it being used as a shorthand during news broadcasts or in newspapers for this rogue state.
However, let’s also talk about the elephant in the room. You can clearly see that the hanja 北 [북/배] has not one, but two 음훈. While many hanja only have one meaning and one pronunciation, some do have more and this hanja is the first we encounter. When you pronounce 北 as [배], it has the meaning of fleeing, escaping. This use is less common than its use as cardinal point and as short hand for North Korea.
Our 北 Vocabulary List
*Meanings written in italics are the meanings when you use the noun as a 하다 verb.
¹You can change the places of the syllables. The meaning remains the same. (e.g. 서북 = 북서).
|북쪽||Korea and Japan||北쪽|
|남북||North and South||南北|