머리 vs 머리카락 vs 털
머리가 아파요. My head hurts. / I have a headache.
헬멧으로 머리를 보호하세요. Please protect your head with a helmet.
제 머리는 길어요. My hair is long.
오늘 머리를 잘랐어요. I cut my hair today. I had a haircut today.
- 머리카락: another word that means “hair”
머리 and 머리카락 are interchangeable (both mean hair in dictionaries,) but usually among native speakers, they are used a bit differently. 머리 is used in the context where you mean hair in general (like your hairstyle, your whole hair) whereas 머리카락 is used when you mean “strands(pieces) of hair.”
머리가 예쁘네요. Your hair is pretty. You have pretty hair.
바닥에 머리카락이 많아요. There are many (pieces of ) hair on the floor.
머리 + 가락 = 머리카락
가락 is often used in words that are “long and thin,” such as 젓가락 (chopsticks) 손가락 (fingers) 발가락 (toes). Since a piece of hair is also long and thin, it is used with 가락. 가락 changes to 카락 when combined with 머리. It’s just for the sake of comfort in pronunciation.
흰 머리: grey hair (흰 comes from 희다, which means to be white.)
In Korean, we call grey hair “white hair.” 흰 머리 뽑아줄게. Let me pluck out your grey hair.
1) hair (on other parts of the body than head) 다리 털 (hair on your leg) 코 털 (hair inside your nose) 겨드랑이 털 (armpit hair)
2) animal’s hair/fur
강아지 털이 부드러워요. The dog’s fur is soft.
쥐는 털이 짧아요. A mouse has short hair.
악어는 털이 없어요. An alligator doesn’t have fur.
저는 다리에 털이 많아요. I have a lot of hair on my leg.