[Ask Hyojin] What does 천만에요 mean?

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Welcome to the first lesson in the series, “Hyojin, what does it mean?”

This question was asked by Mary.

Many Korean textbooks introduce 천만에요 [cheon-ma-nae-yo] as an expression that you can use when someone says “Thank you.” to you. So, it can be translated as “You are welcome.” or “Don’t mention it.” in English. Here, 천만 literally means ten million, which is basically a very large number. In the past, when people were talking about something unlikely to happen, they used this word “천만” and here, -에 means “in” or “at” referring to a location and “요” makes the sentence 존댓말, the polite form. So all toghether, it means “even in thousands or tens of thousands of situations like this, you don’t have to say “Thanks” to me.” In everyday conversations in modern-day Korean, however, the expression 아니에요 [a-ni-e-yo] is more commonly used than 천만에요. You can still hear 천만에요 being used in some TV dramas, movies or in books, but not many people actually “say” this in their daily conversations.

[Ask Hyojin] What does 천만에요 mean?
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  • Devan Patel

    whats does “별말씀을요” and “뭘요” mean? thank you!

    • it maybe”don’t mention it”, right ?

    • Yes, it also means it.

  • yumi

    thank you!! it was very useful!

  • thank you!

  • Thank you for this! =)


    hyojin what does this mean???
    i am watching dream high and Hye Sung kept calling Jin Guk oppa. what does oppa mean????

    • Hi Michelle I try to answer for you
      a woman call a man oppa when the man is older than the woman.
      Literally it mean Older Brother.
      but generally when a woman call her boyfriend also can be called oppa. 😀
      that interesting in Korean and Korean Man also find it quite cute when a girl calling his boyfriend oppa too 😀
      of course it is depends on who its from though 😀

    • oyi bebo ven

      “Oppa” means “OLDER BROTHER..”

    • There are two meanings of oppa
      1 younger sister uses to call her older brother
      2 girl friend uses to call her boy friend

    • appa???

  • kokoro Lee alma

    ahh I understand now

  • kk4everfighting

    Hello, would “nae cheonma” also mean the same thing?
    If not, what does it mean?

  • yukumi

    what the meaning of eonjenga?

  • Maymay

    When I watched the video of “How not to say thank you in Korean”, you said most people use “아니에요”. Even though this has the respective “요” at the end, would you still want to use this with an 아줌마, 아저씨, or even your boss?

    • Yes, you can use it to older people, too.

  • elham ( kara )

    I am 13 and I dont understand sorry what is the meaning of eonjenga ? thank you bye bye

    • monica


  • elham ( kara )

    hello hyojin ! am 13 and I am from iran thank you I love you bye

    • elham ( kara )

      hello hyojin I am 13 and I am from iran I love you

  • Cynthia

    This phrase 천만에요 is used at the end of my son’s taekwondo class, and I am trying to teach him the correct pronunciation, hangul spelling, and meaning of each term. (The teacher is not very good with his Korean.) So I finally found the meaning of this term! Thank you for explaining it!

    • I am so pleased to know that our lesson helped you! So, now can he pronounce it well?

      Thanks for your comment.

  • djamila

    hello hyojin ! when we say :
    ” don’t go ” i find that it’s “가지 마세요” but i don’t understand how this word is built .please can you exlainme that ”

    • Jenny Lim

      Verb + – 지 마세요
      가다 + 지 마세요 = 가지 마세요 or (가지 마/informal)
      하다 + 지 마세요 = 하지 마세요 or (하지 마/informal)

  • kat

    Thank you!

  • Nahed El baouchi

    thank you teachers it was really helpful <3

  • Gina

    very interesting .

  • Mini Konkhmer

    천만에요…You’re welcome.

  • 鈺珣 施


  • jr

    weird people of speaking chines or japanes

  • Raymond

    감사함니다 ! Gamsa-hamnida! ^_^

  • Ring

    Oh This site is GREAT!

    • Seokjin Jin

      Thanks so much! 감사합니다.

  • eun minnie

    I’m glad that I found this site!
    Anyway, sometimes I heard just 천만 instead of 천만에요..is it still right?

  • skogsharen

    Thanks for the lesson. Very helpful.

  • juramae incipido