열쇠

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Korean[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First attested in the Myobeopyeonhwagyeong eonhae (妙法蓮華經諺解 / 묘법연화경언해), 1463, as Middle Korean 엸〯쇠〮 (Yale: yěl-s-swóy). From 열— (yeol-, “to open”) + (soe, “metal”). The phonological resemblance to Chinese 鑰匙 (yàoshi, “key”) is coincidental.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (SK Standard/Seoul) IPA(key): [ˈjʌ̹(ː)ɭs͈we̞] ~ [ˈjʌ̹(ː)ɭs͈ø̞]
  • Phonetic hangul: [(ː)/(ː)]
    • Though still prescriptive in Standard Korean, the great majority of speakers (in both Koreas) no longer distinguish vowel length.
Romanizations
Revised Romanization?yeolsoe
Revised Romanization (translit.)?yeolsoe
McCune–Reischauer?yŏlssoe
Yale Romanization?yēlqsoy

Noun[edit]

열쇠 (yeolsoe)

  1. key
    열쇠 자물쇠 열다
    yeolsoero jamulsoereul yeolda
    open a lock with a key
  2. (figuratively) means
    행복 열쇠
    haengbogui yeolsoe
    the key to happiness