The word "Hangul", written in the Korean alphabet
The Korean alphabet was originally called Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음), after the document that introduced the script to the Korean people in 1446.
North Koreans call the Korean alphabet Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) after Chosŏn, the North Korean name for Korea. The McCune–Reischauer system is used there.
Today, South Koreans call the Korean alphabet hangeul (한글), a name coined by Korean linguist Ju Si-gyeong in 1912. The name combines the ancient Korean word han (한), meaning "great", and geul (글), meaning "script". The word han is used to refer to Korea in general, so the name also means "Korean script". It has been romanized in multiple ways:
Until the early 20th century, the Korean elite preferred to write using Chinese characters called Hanja. They referred to Hanja as jinseo (진서) or "true letters". Some accounts say the elite referred to the Korean alphabet derisively as amkeul (암클) meaning "women's script", and ahaetgeul (아햇글) meaning "children's script", though there is no written evidence of this.
Supporters of the Korean alphabet referred to it as jeong-eum (정음) meaning "correct pronunciation", gungmun (국문) meaning "national script", and eonmun (언문) meaning "vernacular script".