세계, 세상 – Korean Words vs. Words S2 #9

In today's Words vs. Words episode, we will learn the difference between 세계 and 세상. They are both world in English.

세계

세계 is used to call all nations, ethnic groups or geographical parts in the world.

세계 7대 불가사의
The world's 7 wonders.

세계 10대 문화유적
The world's 10 relics

세계 뉴스
The world news

1차 세계 대전
The world war I

세계 지도
The world map

세상

When you are talking about the world where people live, it is 세상. 세상 has nothing to do with geography or nations.

세상 살기 참 힘들다.
It's really hard to live.

그가 세상을 떠난 지 3년이 되었다.
It has been 3 years since he passed away.

모두가 즐겁게 일할 수 있는 세상을 만들자.
Let's make the world that everyone can work happily.

거울아, 거울아, 세상에서 제일 예쁜 사람이 누구니?
Mirror, Mirror. Who is the fairest of them all in the world?

In this sentence, the Evil Queen is not interested in nations or society or geography. She's only interested in who is the prettiest in the world where people live. So, it's 세상.

When you say 세계에서 제일 예쁜 사람, it means to be the person who is the fairest in the nations. We can call women who got Miss Universe title as 세계에서 제일 예쁜 사람.

Other uses of 세계.

Let's say one of your friend has really odd sense of value and way of thinking. In here, 세계 is used to describe their mental world or logic or way of thinking. It doesn't necessarily have to be odd. It can be normal like in the example of 아이들의 세계, the world of kids.

아이들의 세계를 이해하는 게 쉽지 않다.
It is hard to understand the world of kids.

In addition, when you are talking everything about some knowledge or study, it is called 세계 like 동물의 세계(the world of animals), 식물의 세계(the world of plants), etc.

Other uses of 세상.

Let's say the world became positive for the rich. In this case, we should use the word, 세상 to describe this world like 부자들의 세상. When the world is too supportive for someone or some group, 세상 is used.

이 동네는 힘 센 사람들의 세상이다.
This area is for the strong people.

Sometimes, 세상 is used as exclamation.

세상에! 이럴 수가!
Oh, no. (Direct translation is "How in the world could this happen?")

From this week, I am going to upload one podcast episode a week because I am preparing to update my system. Many of you might have wanted more contents. I am really sorry for that. I will add more after setting up the system. Thank you for listening to WiseInit Podcast. See you next week.