[kuh-ree-uh, kaw-, koh-]


a former country in E Asia, on a peninsula SE of Manchuria and between the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea: a kingdom prior to 1910; under Japanese rule 1910–45; now divided at 38° N into North Korea and South Korea.Compare Korean War.
Democratic People's Republic of, official name of North Korea.
Republic of, official name of South Korea.

Can be confusedchorea Korea
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for korea

Contemporary Examples of korea

Historical Examples of korea

  • I find that the Japanese have great faith in the future of the industry in Korea.

  • Korea has 13 million inhabitants, and in area is just about as large as Great Britain.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

  • Could she allow the "peaceful" absorption of Korea, as that of Manchuria had been accomplished?

    The Story of Russia

    R. Van Bergen, M.A.

  • He took his turn guarding the still disputed borders of Korea.

    The Green Beret

    Thomas Edward Purdom

  • The steamer Korea, of the Pacific Line, was to be our home for sixteen days.

    Travels in the Far East

    Ellen Mary Hayes Peck

British Dictionary definitions for korea



a former country in E Asia, now divided into two separate countries, North Korea and South Korea. Korea occupied the peninsula between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea: an isolated vassal of Manchu China for three centuries until the opening of ports to Japanese trade in 1876; gained independence in 1895; annexed to Japan in 1910 and divided in 1945 into two occupation zones (Russian in the north, American in the south), which became North Korea and South Korea in 1948Japanese name (1910–45): Chosen See North Korea, South Korea
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for korea


from Chinese Gao li, name of a dynasty founded 918, literally "high serenity." Japanese Chosen is from Korean Choson, literally "land of morning calm," from cho "morning" + son "calm." Related: Korean (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

korea in Culture


Historic region consisting of North Korea and South Korea; peninsula off northeastern China separating the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan, two arms of the Pacific Ocean.


Korea was under Japanese rule in the early twentieth century. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the thirty-eighth parallel of north latitude into two zones, with troops of the Soviet Union in the north and troops of the United States in the south. By 1948, two separate governments had emerged, the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north and the noncommunist Republic of Korea in the south. American and Soviet troops were withdrawn by 1949. The Korean War (1950–1953) began when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Forces of the United Nations under General Douglas MacArthur aided South Korea, whereas Chinese forces aided North Korea.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.