tae kwon do

or tae·kwon·do

[ tahy-kwon-doh ]
/ ˈtaɪ ˈkwɒn ˈdoʊ /
Save This Word!

a Korean martial art, a particularly aggressive form of karate, that utilizes punches, jabs, chops, blocking and choking moves, and especially powerful, leaping kicks.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of tae kwon do

1965–70; <Korean t’aekwŏndo, equivalent to t’ae- trample (<Middle Chinese, akin to Chinese tái) + kwŏn fist (<Middle Chinese, akin to Chinese quán) + -do, combining form of to way (<Middle Chinese, akin to Chinese dào)

Words nearby tae kwon do

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is tae kwon do?

Tae kwon do is a martial art and an unarmed combat and self-defense system that uses a variety of powerful, aggressive strikes and is especially known for jump kicks. It’s also commonly spelled as taekwondo.

Tae kwon do originated in Korea as a particularly aggressive form of karate.

Tae kwon do is also a sport and an event in the Summer Olympic Games. In the Olympics, competitors wear padding and compete in three-round matches in which points are awarded for landing strikes to the torso or head. This variety of tae kwon do is known as Olympic tae kwon do or World tae kwon do.

Other varieties of tae kwon do are practiced around the world.

A person who practices or competes in tae kwon do can be called a taekwondoin.

Example: I started learning tae kwon do for self-defense, but it’s also a great way to stay fit.

Where does tae kwon do come from?

The first records of the term tae kwon do in English come from the mid-1900s. It roughly translates to “punching and kicking method,” from the Korean t’ae-, meaning “trample” or “kick,” kwŏn, meaning “fist,” and -do meaning “way” or “method.” The ending do derives from Middle Chinese and is used in the same way in the name of the Japanese martial art judo.

Tae kwon do was developed in Korea and is thought to be based on karate and another Korean martial art called Taekkyeon, which employs fluid, dance-like movements. South Korean military officer Choi Hong Hi is credited with developing tae kwon do in its modern form.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to tae kwon do?

  • taekwondo (alternate spelling without spaces)
  • taekwondoin (noun)

What are some words that share a root or word element with tae kwon do

What are some words that often get used in discussing tae kwon do?

How is tae kwon do used in real life?

Tae kwon do is also commonly spelled as taekwondo. It is practiced as a martial art and as a sport.

Try using tae kwon do!

What does kwon mean in tae kwon do?

A. foot
B. fist
C. kick
D. way

How to use tae kwon do in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tae kwon do

tae kwon do
/ (ˈtaɪ ˈkwɒn ˈdəʊ, ˈteɪ) /

a Korean martial art that resembles karate

Word Origin for tae kwon do

C20: Korean tae kick + kwon fist + do way, method
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