tae kwon do

or tae·kwon·do

[ tahy-kwon-doh ]
/ ˈtaɪ ˈkwɒn ˈdoʊ /
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a Korean martial art, a particularly aggressive form of karate, that utilizes punches, jabs, chops, blocking and choking moves, and especially powerful, leaping kicks.
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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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is taekwondo?

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

Taekwondo originated in Korea as a particularly aggressive form of karate.

Taekwondo 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 taekwondo is known as Olympic taekwondo or World taekwondo.

Other varieties of taekwondo are practiced around the world.

A person who practices or competes in taekwondo can be called a taekwondoin.

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

Where does taekwondo come from?

The first records of the term taekwondo 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.

Taekwondo 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 taekwondo in its modern form.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to taekwondo?

  • tae kwon do (alternate spelling)
  • taekwondoin (noun)

What are some words that share a root or word element with taekwondo

What are some words that often get used in discussing taekwondo?

How is taekwondo used in real life?

Taekwondo is also commonly spelled as tae kwon do. It is practiced as a martial art and as a sport.

Try using taekwondo!

What does kwon mean in taekwondo?

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