제일 – The Best

Perhaps because it is a small country with many people, it seems that Koreans are very competitive. The signs seem to confirm this, as it seems everywhere I look a certain business has named itself: ‘The Best _________’ (insert business type into blank). The word 제일 literally means first, but seen on a sign it indicates number one or the best. Below are some examples.

학원 means learning academy. This one is where the best students study.

주차장 means parking lot

파출부 means housecleaners, while 인력 means manpower.

모자 means cap or hat.

슈퍼 means supermarket, while 편리점 means convenient store.

공인중개사 means real estate office

Besides the places that name themselves 제일, there are also a great number of places that name themselves 베스트, transliterating the English word ‘best’ into Korean. Here are a few examples:

부동산 means real estate office.

의원 refers to a general practice doctor.