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[kuh-ree-uh, kaw-, koh-] /kəˈri ə, kɔ-, koʊ-/
a former country in E Asia, on a peninsula SE of Manchuria and between the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea: a kingdom prior to 1910; under Japanese rule 1910–45; now divided at 38° N into North Korea and South Korea.
Compare Korean War.
Democratic People's Republic of, official name of North Korea.
Republic of, official name of South Korea.
Can be confused
chorea, Korea.

North Korea

a country in E Asia: formed 1948 after the division of the former country of Korea at 38° N. 50,000 sq. mi. (129,500 sq. km).
Capital: Pyongyang.
Compare Korea.
Official name Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Related forms
North Korean, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for democratic-peoples-republic-of-korea


a former country in E Asia, now divided into two separate countries, North Korea and South Korea. Korea occupied the peninsula between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea: an isolated vassal of Manchu China for three centuries until the opening of ports to Japanese trade in 1876; gained independence in 1895; annexed to Japan in 1910 and divided in 1945 into two occupation zones (Russian in the north, American in the south), which became North Korea and South Korea in 1948 Japanese name (1910–45) Chosen See North Korea, South Korea

North Korea

a republic in NE Asia, on the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea: established in 1948 as a people's republic; mostly rugged and mountainous, with fertile lowlands in the west Language: Korean. Currency: won. Capital: Pyongyang. Pop: 24 720 407 (2013 est). Area: 122 313 sq km (47 225 sq miles) Official name Democratic People's Republic of Korea Korean name Chosŏn
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
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Word Origin and History for democratic-peoples-republic-of-korea


from Chinese Gao li, name of a dynasty founded 918, literally "high serenity." Japanese Chosen is from Korean Choson, literally "land of morning calm," from cho "morning" + son "calm." Related: Korean (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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democratic-peoples-republic-of-korea in Culture

Korea definition

Historic region consisting of North Korea and South Korea; peninsula off northeastern China separating the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan, two arms of the Pacific Ocean.

Note: Korea was under Japanese rule in the early twentieth century. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the thirty-eighth parallel of north latitude into two zones, with troops of the Soviet Union in the north and troops of the United States in the south. By 1948, two separate governments had emerged, the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north and the noncommunist Republic of Korea in the south. American and Soviet troops were withdrawn by 1949. The Korean War (1950–1953) began when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Forces of the United Nations under General Douglas MacArthur aided South Korea, whereas Chinese forces aided North Korea.

North Korea definition

Republic on northern Korean Peninsula on east coast of Asia, bounded on the north by China, on the northeast by Russian Siberia, on the east by the Sea of Japan, on the south by South Korea, and on the west by the Yellow Sea and Korea Bay. Its capital and largest city is P'yongyang.

Note: A communist country that used to have close ties with the Soviet Union, North Korea, continues to maintain a close relationship with China.
Note: It was established in 1948 after two occupation zones were set up in northern and southern Korea during World War II.
Note: The Korean War began in 1950, when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Supplied by the Soviets, and eventually joined by the Chinese, North Korea fought forces of South Korea and the United Nations.
Note: Run by one most closed and repressive regimes on Earth, North Korea has suffered from food shortages and a deteriorating economy.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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