The Real Meaning of 여보세요 [yeoboseyo]

The Real Meaning of 여보세요 [yeoboseyo]


When the phone rings, Koreans say “여보세요. [yeoboseyo]” It is a Korean way of saying ‘Hello’ on the phone.

▶ The meaning of 여보세요 [yeoboseyo]

the meaning of 여보세요1

여보세요 is a short way to say “여기 보세요 [yeogi boseyo]”. It is like ‘Look over here!’ to others. (Actually, Koreans don’t really know about the meaning or why we began to use it.)


▶ The original usage of 여보세요

Technically, “여보세요” is used whenever you’re not sure who you’re talking to.

the meaning of 여보세요2

“여보세요” can be used in this situation because she is talking to an unspecified person. Actually, this was the “original” usage of “여보세요” before the telephone was invented. Naturally, Korean people started to say “여보세요” on the phone because when you first pick up the phone you don’t know who you’re talking to.


Reference :

  1. 서울신문. [우리말 여행] 여보. 2008:9면.
  2. 중부매일. 여보세요 어원. 2003.
  3. 아빠 어디가 5회. 아빠 어디가. 2013.