The title seonsaengnim (선생님, teacher) means to someone who teaches, but in Korea it has a wide range of meanings.

You might have learned that “Mr.” or “Mrs.” in English is (씨,ssi) in Korean, but in fact it can be somehow rude to use it when speaking to someone far older than you.

In Korean seonsaengnim is sometimes used to mean the same thing as (씨,ssi), though it is used far more in reference to adult men than women.

Do not act surprised if you hear Koreans calling people seonsaengnim in places other than schools. For example, you’ll frequently hear store owners call male customers this.

Perhaps because people traditionally had a lot of respect for teachers and the elderly in Korea that this tradition began.

Others might include hospitals, where doctors might be called uisa seonsaengnim (Doctor Seonsaengnim), or even in beauty salons, where the person best at doing hair might be called seonsaengnim as well.

It would be safe to say that the word in used in a truly diverse range of ways in Korean.

Source From: Arirang