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Hanja Lesson 41: 度, 等, 級, 階, 長

Yay! Unit 3! If you’ve gotten this far, you are probably seeing the effects of learning Hanja on your ability to pick up new Korean words. You could even say that… studying Hanja has taken your Korean vocabulary to another… level. Here are five Hanja characters related to levels, ranks and grades.

度 = 도 = Degree/System/Amount
(Korean name: 법도 도)

度 is often used after some indication of something that can vary by a certain degree. The use of 度 often indicates that the word refers to the degree of that particular thing. For example, 强 is a character that means “strong.” By putting 度 after it and making 强度, you are referring to the degree of how strong something is. In other words, strength. Another example is 高 which is a character that means “high.” By putting 度 after it and making 高度, you are referring to the degree of how high something is. In other words, altitude.

高度 = altitude
强度 = strength
속度 = speed
加속度 = acceleration
각度 = angle
과度 = excess
밀度  = density
온度 = temperature
정度 = degree
태度 = attitude

等 = 등 = Rank/Grade
(Korean name: 무리 등, 가지런할 등)

Most commonly used to indicate the “level” of school for elementary and high schools. Also used to indicate that something is even or equal.

高等學校 = high school
高等學生 = high school student
初等學校 = elementary school
初等學生 = elementary school student
同等 = equality
不平等  = inequality
平等 = equality
一等 = first place

級 = 급 = Level/Rank/Grade
(Korean name: 등급 급)

級 is often used on some sort of certification and used to indicate the level of achievement reaches. For example, when studying for the Korean Proficiency Test (TOPIK), you can reach different levels of achievement. They would never be written in Hanja, but let’s use Hanja:


Here are some words you will commonly find 級 in:

高級 = high ranking
進級 = promotion
特級 = special rank, special class
學級 = a class of students
계級 = rank

階 = 계 = Level
(Korean name: 섬돌 계)

Common Words using this Character

階級 = rank
階단 = stairs
단階 = step
多단階 = multi-step, multi-level
階층 = social rank

長 = 장 = Leader
(Korean name: 길 장)

Not so much referring to levels themselves, but usually the top level of some sort of organization. In other words, the leader of something

會長 = president, chairman
副會長 = vice-president, vice-chairman
校長 = principal
市長 = mayor
船長 = captain of a ship
部長 = boss, head of department
長男 = the oldest son in a family
生長 = growth

This is also used to refer to something long:

長期間  = a long time, a long period
연長 = extension
長수 = a long life

That’s it for this lesson!