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U+3141, ㅁ

Hangul Compatibility Jamo
U+1106, ᄆ

Hangul Jamo
U+11B7, ᆷ

Hangul Jamo
U+3204, ㈄

Enclosed CJK Letters and Months
U+3264, ㉤

Enclosed CJK Letters and Months
U+FFB1, ᄆ

Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms


Stroke order
ㅁ (mieum) stroke order.png

Etymology 1[edit]

The Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye, the treatise introducing the principles behind the Korean alphabet written by its inventor King Sejong in 1446, explains that this glyph was derived from the outline of the mouth because /m/ is a "labial sound" (). Note that it is nearly identical in shape to , the Chinese logogram for "mouth". According to Sejong, the letters (b) and (p) were created by adding strokes to , because all three are bilabial sounds.

Gari Ledyard proposes that Sejong derived from the lower part of , which he believes was itself inspired by the 'Phags-pa letter (p) turned around. Ledyard gives evidence that Sejong was inspired by 'Phags-pa for the basic glyph forms, although he changed the shapes of the letters drastically in order to enhance the simplicity and rationality of his script, and the ultimate shape of the letters may indeed have been influenced by that of the speech organs (Ledyard 1997).



  1. 미음 (mieum, “mieum”), the fifth jamo (letter) of the alphabet of the Korean writing system, hangeul; the bilabial nasal (/m/)

Derived terms[edit]

  • (b) (according to Sejong)

Etymology 2[edit]

Of native Korean origin, from Middle Korean (-m).

This suffix is the most common Middle Korean nominalizer in the consecutive gugyeol sources of the fourteenth century and in the Hangul sources of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but is very rarely attested in pre-fourteenth sources. Choe 2017 comments that no intermediary stage appears to exist, and that this sudden post-fourteenth-century dominance of a largely novel grammatical suffix is puzzling and difficult to explain.

The older nominalizers were realis (*-n) and irrealis (*-l), both of which are now adnominal suffixes.


—ㅁ (-m)

  1. -ness; -tion; -ment (noun-deriving suffix for verbs and adjectives)
    나누다 (nanuda, to divide) + ‎ (m) → ‎나눔 (nanum, division, charity)
    기쁘다 (gippeuda, happy) + ‎ (m) → ‎기쁨 (gippeum, happiness)
  2. (formal) the act of, the process of, -ing, being [] , to be [] (gerund- or noun clause-forming suffix for verbs and adjectives)
    우리 우연 아니다.
    Uriga mannameun uyeoni anida.
    Our meeting [each other] cannot be an accident.
    명백한 사실니다.
    Iga olchi aneumeun myeongbaekhan sasirimnida.
    This not being right is an evident fact.
    Synonym: (-gi, non-formal)
  3. (officialese or Internet) a formality-neutral sentence ender, used in formal or anonymous Internet contexts when one desires to avoid formality distinctions
    생물학 관심 가지고 .
    Saengmulhage keun gwansimeul gajigo isseum.
    [Student] has great interest in biology.
    (in a school report)
    2020 12 9
    icheonisimnyeon sibiwol guire sseum
    Written on 9 December, 2020.
    (in the preface of a book)
    거기 ?
    Nim geogi gabom?
    Have you been there?
    (in an Internet conversation)

Usage notes[edit]

The suffix (m) is appended to the sequential form. If the stem ends in the consonant (l), the (l) does not drop out.

  • 갚다 (갚으니) (gapda (gapeuni), “to repay”) + (m): 갚음 (gapeum, “repaying”)
  • 쉽다 (쉬우니) (swipda (swiuni), “to be easy”) + (m): 쉬움 (swium, “being easy”)
  • 살다 (사니/면) (salda (sani/salmyeon), “to live”) + (m): (sam, “life”)

In non-formal speech and writing, (gi) is almost always used instead.


  • 최성규 (Choe Seong-gyu) (2017) , “명사형 어미 ‘-ㅁ’의 형성 과정 탐색”, in Gugeohak, volume 83, DOI:10.15811/jkl.2017..83.006, pages 153—181