Saturday, February 05, 2005

What does 좀처럼 mean?

좀처럼 is an adverb that can mean "rarely; seldom; least likely" or " (not) easily; (not) readily." Here is my dictionary's definition:

[여간해서는] seldom; rarely; hardly; scarcely; [쉽사리] (not) easily; (not) readily.

¶ 좀처럼 성내지 않다 be slow to take offense. 문이 좀처럼 안 열린다 The door will not open. 그는 좀처럼 그곳에 가지 않는다 He hardly[scarcely] ever goes there. 그는 일요일에 좀처럼 집에 없다 He is seldom at home on sunday. 그것은 좀처럼 얻기 어려운 기회다 It is a rare chance./(일생 단 한번의) It is the chance of a lifetime. 그런 사람은 좀처럼 없다 He is one in a thousand. 그는 좀처럼 승낙하지 않을 걸세 I don't think he will give a ready consent. 나는 좀처럼 남에게 속지 않는다 I am not easily fooled.

You may notice from the above example sentences that the adverb, 좀처럼, is used with negative sentences, not positive. For more examples, here is a link to the Naver dictionary.

I am writing about 좀처럼 because I do not use it in conversation, but think I should, even though it seems a little awkward to say. I am not sure why it seems awkward, but maybe it is because it has three syllables instead of two? Afterall, the English equivalents "rarely" and "seldom" have only two syllables. Or maybe it seems awkward because it sounds similar to 처음처럼, which means, "like the beginning"? At any rate, from now on, I will try to use 좀처럼 more often in conversation.

By the way, I wonder if 좀처럼 could have possibly come from 조금처럼, which would mean, "like a little"? Is such an expression even possible?


  1. Hello Gerry,
    I stumbled upon your blog page from an MSN link page...I was looking up "Thank You" in Korean... and I thought your posts were very interesting. April of last year, my husband and I had the opportunity to go to Seoul, Korea for two weeks. We fell in LOVE with the country, people and language. I would like to learn Korean. Anywho, just wanted to let you know I stumbled upon your blog. Hollie:)

  2. From what I understand, 좀 is a shortened version of 조금. It is kind of a softer version, or more conversational. Think of Do not and don't. When people say 좀 기다려주시겠어요? They are saying 조금 기다려주시겠어요? So I think your evaluation of 좀처럼 probably coming from 조금처럼 sounds reasonable.

  3. Has your blog officially come to the end of it's life? It's been more than 2 months since the last post?


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