The Hanja 女 [녀] is a rather useful character that is still often used in Korea as part of simple signage in everyday life. It represents one of the two sexes. The Hanja 男 [남] is its counterpart. Knowing these two characters will prevent you from making some silly mistakes in Korea.
The Hanja 女 [녀] represents ‘woman’ and as such, it is often used to indicate specifically something as a woman. In Korean, words are generally genderneutral, but with this Hanja and 男 [남], you can explicitly indicate them as male or female.
Also, The character 女 has not one, but two possible sounds attached to it. First, you have its standard sound [녀]. However, the sound can also be [여]. Generally, the sound [여] is used when the Hanja 女 is the first character of the Sino-Korean word. However, if it is not the sound will be [녀]. The Hanja 女 [녀] is not the only character who has this characteristic. Many characters have multiple possible sounds, like 年 [년].
女 [녀] Vocabulary
As mentioned, this character is used in signage. This is especially true in traditional and old places, where instead of icons, they rely on these well-known Hanja to indicate a room or place is reserved for women only. Therefore, knowing this character and its male counterpart can prevent you from making a few silly mistakes when visiting Korea.
|Hanja / 한자||Hangeul / 한글||English / 영어|
|女學生||여학생||Female student, girl student|
|孝女||효녀||Devoted daughter, filial daughter|
|老處女||노처녀||Old maid, spinster|
|童貞女||동정녀||Virgin; The Virgin Mary, the Blessed Virgin|