Hey there! Welcome to my hodge-podge glossary.
I don’t aim to cover everything, coz there’s SO MUCH, really, and I don’t actually know everything. But I realize that there are a whole bunch of terms being thrown about in the dramaverse, and it can be quite befuddling to a newbie.
So here’s my attempt at explaining some of the lingo you’d need to know in order to comfortably navigate the dramaverse. I’ve included a random collection of terms, from common Korean words to abbreviations that could cover anything from film-making terminology to actor’s names to drama titles. Hope this is helpful to some degree! ^^
PS: If I missed out something, leave me a comment below & I’ll look into adding it to this list!
Aegyo: the act of behaving in a cutesy manner. Often features an affected high-pitched voice, child-like phrasing and the oppa-pout-wiggle. *shudder*
Ahgasshi: a term to address a young unmarried lady. Also used by a woman to address her husband’s younger unmarried sister [Thanks to muchadoboutlove for the clarification!]
Ahjumma: a term to address a middle-aged lady. Sometimes mistranslated as “aunt.”
Ahjusshi: a term to address an older man. Sometimes mistranslated as “uncle.” “Mister” would be a closer translation.
Aigoo: An exclamation. Usually used to express surprise &/or disappointment.
Aja aja: A term of encouragement / support, roughly meaning “Go go.” Often used in conjunction with “hwaiting” or “fighting” eg, “Aja aja hwaiting!”
Annyeong (안녕): A greeting that can mean “hello” or “goodbye.” It literally means “Are you peaceful/well?” (for hello), or “be peaceful/be well” (for goodbye). The polite forms are as follows:
Hello: 안녕하세요 (annyeong haseyo)
Goodbye: 안녕히가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo): If the person you are talking to is leaving
Or, 안녕히계세요 (annyeonghi gyeseyo): If the person you are talking to is staying
[Thanks to Jaime for the suggestion, and dewaanifordrama for contributing to the definition!]
Anti: anti-fan. Person who expresses hate for a celebrity, ie, the opposite of a fan.
Assa: An exclamation. Akin to “Awesome!” or “Yesss!!” Eg, “You mean I got the free tickets to the Big Bang concert?! Assa!!” *fist pump*
Banchan: side dishes
Banmal: informal form of speech in the Korean language. Often used between close friends, and by more senior / older people when addressing more junior / younger people in an informal setting.
Bias: A term originally used to refer to one’s favorite member of a kpop group, which typically consists of many members. Therefore, while one might be a fan of Big Bang, one’s bias might be TOP, making him one’s favorite member of one’s favorite band. As the term suggests, all of one’s actions and reactions would be biased in TOP’s favor. More recently, the term “bias” has expanded to a looser, all-encompassing use that includes actors and other artists outside of kpop, ie, if one says, “Lee Min Ho is my ultimate bias” or even simply, “Lee Min Ho is my bias” it would mean that Lee Min Ho is one’s favorite celebrity, over every other celebrity in the entire k-universe. [thanks to blog reader So-Ra for the suggestion!]
Binnie: Hyun Bin
BOF: Boys Over Flowers
Bromance: a deep friendship between men that can rival a romance
BTS: Behind the scenes
Call: An affirmative response, akin to “cool!” Eg, “Shall we go to the noraebang?” “Call!” [thanks to Nelly for the suggestion!]
Candy: refers to cheerful, poor but hardworking young female character. Inspired by Candy Candy, a Japanese manga series.
CF: Commercial Film. Basically refers to a commercial or advertisement, not an actual film.
CGI: Computer Generated Imagery aka Computer Graphics
Chadonam (차도남): from chagaun dosi namja (차가운 도시 남자), meaning a “cold city guy”. [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Chadonyeo (차도녀): from chagaun dosi yeoja (차가운 도시 여자), meaning a “cold city girl”. [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Chaebol: Refers to a particular class in society that are owners of conglomerates. A chaebol does not simply own a company, but a group of companies. Eg, Gu Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers is a second-generation chaebol.
Chimaek: Chicken + maekju (beer). A combo meal consisting of fried chicken and beer. This is mentioned in Rooftop Prince a few times. [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Choco abs: abs so well-defined that they resemble squares of chocolate in a chocolate bar
Chuseok: a harvest festival celebration in Korea
Crack Drama: Also known as Drama Crack. A drama so addictive that it’s like a drug & keeps you coming back for moar, moar, moar!
Daebak: Absolutely, positively AWESOME.
DB OT: Dramabeans Open Thread, every Friday on Dramabeans.
Di-ka (디카): condensed form for digital camera (디지털 카메라). [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Doenjang girl: literally beanpaste girl. A satirical phrase describing young women willing to scrimp on essentials because they are addicted to luxury and brands. The phrase originates from the idea that they would eat a cheap meal of beanpaste stew in order to buy an expensive drink from Starbucks. [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Dong-gap: of the same age. People who are dong-gap are ideally better positioned to be friends, since one does not need to be more respectful than the other, and often drop the honorifics ie, use banmal, with one another. However, in a formal context, people who are dong-gap would most certainly still use jondaemal.
Dong saeng: Younger sibling, refers to siblings of both sexes.
Dongseo: A term used by a more senior daughter-in-law to address a more junior daughter-in-law.
Flower Boy: pretty boy [Edit: does not have a negative connotation as it might in western culture. Refers to a young man with well-manicured looks, often much more groomed and attractive than women. Thanks to dewaanifordrama for the clarification!]
FTW: For the win
Gomo: pronounced goh-moh, refers to paternal aunt
Gumiho: Nine tailed fox, often taking on the form of a young woman, according to folklore / legend.
GY: Gong Yoo
Haengsho (행쇼): a shortening of “haengbokhasyeoyo” (행복하셔요) which means “be happy”. Considered slang, this is a cheerful sort of greeting meaning “be well” or similar [thanks to dewaanifordrama for the suggestion and the explanation!]
Hallyu: Korean wave
Hanbok: traditional Korean clothes
Hangul: Korean writing script
Heodang: literally means “empty-head” and has the sense of someone who speaks without thinking, who might be smart but still says silly/funny/things that don’t make sense. Also described as innocent naïveté. Often used to describe Lee Seung Gi [thanks to dewaanifordrama for the suggestion and the explanation!]
Heol-a: An exclamation. Often used to express mild surprise or shock. Informal. [Thanks to blog reader steffie for the suggestion and explanation!]
Honorifics: parts of speech to indicate formality, used in jondaemal. Therefore, an invitation to drop the honorifics is an invitation to use banmal.
Hoobae: A junior with less experience than you. Often happens to be younger than you, but not necessarily the case.
Hwaiting: Aka Fighting. A term used in encouragement and support.
Hyung: Older brother. A term that is only used by males.
Hyung-nim: Respectful form of Hyung, OR, a term used by a more junior daughter-in-law to address a more senior daughter-in-law [Much thanks to muchadoboutlove for the clarification!]
Hyungsu-nim: Sister-in-law. Specifically a term of address used by men, for the wife of an older brother.
ICOMYM: Inappropriate crush on much younger man
Imo: pronounced i-moh, refers to maternal aunt. Sometimes used to address an unrelated older lady who is on close terms with you.
Jeongmal: Really, actually, truly. From the hanja 正 (jeong, “correct”, 정) and 말 (mal, “word”). Is often used as an exclamation of surprise, although not limited to this usage. Synonym: 진자 (jinjja).
Jesu-sshi: Sister-in-law. Specifically a term used by men to address the wife of a younger brother or the wife of a friend.
Jimjilbang: Korean bath house.
Jinjja: Really, actually, truly. From the hanja 眞 (jin, “true”, 진) and 字 (ja, “character”, 자). Is often used as an exclamation of surprise, although not limited to this usage. Synonym: 정말 (jeongmal). [Thanks to Kelly for the suggestion]
Jjang: the best. Eg, Unnie jjang! = Unnie, you’re the best! [Edit: Jjang can also take on more of a title feel when it comes to high school. The best fighter in a school is the jjang. Thanks to MadDino for the insight!]
Jondaemal: polite / formal Korean speech. A blanket term for polite speech, which has varying levels of formality. There are a total of 7 levels of formality in Korean speech, but only a few are common in modern usage.
Joseon: aka Chosun. Refers to the historical era of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, which lasted from 1393-1897.
JYP: Park Jin Young, founder of JYP Entertainment
Kamjagiya: An expression of surprise used when jolted by a sudden shock [thanks to Nelly for the suggestion!]
K-ent: Korean entertainment scene / industry
Kkadonam (까도남): from kkachilhan dosi namja (까칠한 도시 남자), meaning an “arrogant/prickly city guy” [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Kpop: Korean pop
LMH: Lee Min Ho. Also affectionately known as Lee Min Hot, for obvious reasons, heh.
Makjang: overly melodramatic stories, heavily laden with extreme, outrageous & unbelievable plot devices. Includes birth secrets, revenge, adultery, murder, incest, fauxcest, terminal illnesses, accidents, rape, etc. A melodrama may include a couple of these elements but that does not make it makjang.
Maknae: the youngest
Maldoandwae: That can’t be true / that doesn’t make sense [thanks to Nelly for the suggestion!]
Manhwa: Korean comic. Similar to Japanese manga
me2day: Korean social network
Menboong (멘붕): A compound word that joins 멘탈 [men-tal] (‘mental’) and 붕괴 [boong-gwi] (‘collapse’, ‘implosion’) referring to a psychological shock one experiences when encountering an unexpected and shocking event. Considered slang, it is sometimes written as 멘탈붕괴. Initially used by StarCraft viewers in 2011, this phrase was popular among drama watchers when Ji Hyun Woo made his public love confession to Yoo In Na. [many thanks to dewaanifordrama for the suggestion and the explanation!]
Melo: Melodrama. Not to be confused with makjang although they can be combined. Eg, a melo with a touch of makjang.
M3: Marry Me, Mary (aka Mary Stayed Out All Night)
MiSa: Mianhae, Saranghae aka I’m Sorry, I Love You. Classic melodrama
Moar: A combination cry of more and roar / rawr [thanks to shukmeister for the suggestion!]
MS: Military Service. It is mandatory for Korean males to serve 2 years of MS.
MV: Music Video
NG: No Good
-nim: a suffix added at the end of / after a term of address, to indicate respect. Eg, Hyung-nim, Noonim, Sunbae-nim.
Noble Idiocy: making self-sacrificing decisions for the perceived good of your loved one, Eg, leaving him/her, or disappearing to another country for his/her good.
Noona: Older sister. A term only used by males.
Noraebang: literally Singing Room. Popularly known as karaoke in other parts of the world.
Omo: An exclamation akin to “Oh my”
Oppa: Older brother. A term only used by females. Can also refer to older male cousin or friend, and most significantly, also refers to boyfriend.
OPW: Oppa-Pout-Wiggle. A three-for-one combination of using a cutesy voice to drawl, “oppaaa~~”, pouting, and wiggling one’s shoulders & perhaps behind. Apparently a magic formula for getting a guy to do what you want.
orz: Not an actual abbreviation, this is a graphic representation of a person bowing down on all fours. Usually used to express either remorse or deep respect. Similar to OTL.
OTL: Not an actual abbreviation, this is a graphic representation of a person bowing down on all fours. Usually used to express either remorse or deep respect. Similar to orz.
OTP: One True Pairing
OST: Original Soundtrack
PIE: Chung Jung Myung, because he’s so widely known as a cutie pie. (Personally, he does nothing for me, but facts are facts. He is known as PIE for this reason.)
PK: Playful Kiss
Pojangmacha: refers to small tented eateries on wheels, or street stalls in Korea. They offer a variety of popular street foods and often also serve soju.
Power Rangers: The 4 musketeers from Rooftop Prince. Aka the Joseon Power Rangers.
PPL: Product Placement. The not-so-innocuous featuring of products in dramas. Can be anything from cell phones to cars to clothing lines.
PSH: Park Shi Hoo, and also Park Shin Hye. Yes, it is confusing.
Pull a Park Shi Hoo: To swoop in from Second Lead territory to actually get the girl. Park Shi Hoo did this twice, once in How To Meet A Perfect Neighbor and once in Queen Of Reversals, therefore the phrase Pull a Park Shi Hoo. However, he is not the first second lead to successfully usurp the position of male lead. Bae Yong Jun did it in Hotelier and Lee Byung Hun did it in Beautiful Days.
QOR: Queen of Reversals
Raws: refers to videos as they are, without subtitles. Not to be confused with rawr
Rawr: A primitive sound used to represent a personal feeling. Often used in a sexually oriented fashion, eg, upon sighting choco abs. Step 1: Gaze at choco abs, & Step 2: rawr [Thanks to shukmeister for the suggestion!]
Recap: A detailed summary of an episode, complete with screencaps and often witty commentary by the recapper.
RL: Real Life
Rom-com: Romantic comedy
Sageuk: historical / period drama
Samchon: term used to address one’s father’s younger unmarried brother.
Sasaeng: an excessively obsessed fan. Often engages in aggressive activities eg, stalking his / her idol.
Screencap: screenshot. Shortened form of screen capture. Does not mean a recap done through screenshots.
Selca: self-taken photographs.
SeGa: Secret Garden
Seasons Dramas: Refers to the kdrama classics Autumn In My Heart, Winter Sonata, Summer Scent and Spring Waltz.
Ship: To “ship” a couple is to support / hope for the couple to actually get together. I believe it’s inspired by the word worship. [Edit: The term, “‘ship” comes from “relationship”. It’s from the X-Files days when fans who supported the idea of Mulder and Scully getting together were called “relationshippers” which quickly got shortened to “shippers” which then spread across the internet and took on a life of its own. Thanks to BetsyHp for the insight!] Often, ships are inspired by various permutations of the 4 leads in a kdrama. Eg, to ship Yoo Seung Ho & Yoon Eun Hye in I Miss You.
Skinship: physical touching between two people. Includes hugging, kissing, holding hands.
SKKS: Sungkyunkwan Scandal
S-line: refers to the sleek curves of the female form. Inspired (I believe) by the side profile of a slim woman posing with an arch in her back, causing her chest & butt to, er, stand out.
SLS: Second Lead Syndrome, where you root for the second lead to get the girl, but is often a fruitless endeavor. Unless the second lead pulls a Park Shi Hoo.
Soju: A (strong) alcoholic drink, traditionally made from rice.
Somaek: Soju + maekju (beer). A mix of soju and maekju. [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
Some (썸): Used to describe a situation where a man and woman like each other, but nothing has really happened and they’re not in a relationship but there is “something” romantic between them, for example, flirting and semi-dates. Therefore, “some-guy” (썸넘) would be a guy with whom you’ve got “some” going on, and “some-girl” (썸여) would be a girl with whom you’ve got “some” going on. [many thanks to dewaanifordrama for the suggestion and the explanation!]
Squee: The cry of an over-excited fangirl. Usually high-pitched and extended, to express fangirl excitement over something particularly squee-worthy. Eg, male lead in your crack drama finally plants a romantic kiss on the female lead [thanks to shukmeister for the suggestion!]
-ssi: A suffix attached to Korean names, either the full name or just the first name. Not attached to only the family name, as this is considered impolite.
Soft subs: subtitles that exist in a separate file distinct from the video file, allowing you to disable the subs if you wish, eg, to take screen caps without them showing
Hard subs: subtitles that are part of the video file and cannot be disabled or removed, ie, will always appear on your screen whenever you watch it
Thanks to Amanda for the suggestion to break this down!
Sunbae: senior, upperclassman
The Voice: Lee Sun Gyun, owner of the most gorgeous, deep, velvety, smooth-as-butter voice in dramaland.
THT: The Hand Towel aka Song Seung Hun. A nickname inspired by his shirtless scene in My Princess, in which he wore only a hand towel, to the delight of us all. [Edit: the origin of THT is actually from a DB podcast in which Javabeans called him sonsugeon (hand towel) – thanks to Jules for the correction!]
TPM: The Princess’ Man
Ttadonam (따도남): from ttatteuthan dosi namja (따뜻한 도시 남자), meaning a “warm city guy” [Many thanks to muchadoboutlove for the suggestion and explanation!]
UhmForce: Uhm Tae Woong. A nickname born of his very intense performance in Resurrection.
Unnie: Older sister. A term that is only used by females.
UST: Unresolved Sexual Tension for the characters in a drama. May also (unofficially) apply to the viewer *cough* [Thanks to Jules for the suggestion and the explanation!]
V-line: refers to the sleek jaw-line with a sharp chin that Koreans favor. Not to be confused with the western V-line which often refers to the preferred broad shoulder-slim waist male silhouette. Also not to be confused with VPL (Visible Panty Line)
Weh Samchon: Often shortened to Samchon. Refers to mother’s brother, regardless of whether he’s an older or younger brother, single or married.
White Day: March 14, celebrated in Japan and Korea. A month after Valentines day, this is when men give chocolates to women, whereas women give men chocolates on February 14, Valentines day. The following month, “Black Day” is celebrated by single people.
Woob: Kim Woo Bin! ♥ Well, in my world, anyway 😉
PS: For a fantastically comprehensive run-down and explanation of Korean family and kinship terms, visit my friend muchadoboutlove here!
>Hyung: Older brother. A term that is only used by males.
I’ve definitely heard women refer to another higher status woman as hyung, in a couple of dramas, now. But I can’t find anything about why, when, how, under what circumstances they would do this. Why would they do this?
Hi there, you’ll find the explanation listed in the glossary, under Hyung and Hyung-nim! 😊
Ah! That makes sense! That was exactly the context I’d heard it in! Thanks!
Wow, suffixes used simply to clarify social implications. i do get the phonetic idea that naming suffix sound is related to immediate consonant or vowel antecedent. But the incessant “nida” is simply to designate the social relationship of speaker to audience. From an English speaking gestalt it seems so redundant. My mind is melted. But this: watching IU in concert performance, I see her speak in the nida format and can hear in her vocal inflection when she transits to other modalities, but I also see the nida usage in many if not most one to one speaking situations, albeit this does help me understand the level of formality in its usage, something a little different than speaking formally to a group.
Yes, formality is a very important component of the Korean language (and I believe it’s similar in Japanese); this is why characters in dramas are often shown asking one another’s ages soon after meeting. It’s to facilitate the decision on how to address one another. If they’re the same age & not in a formal situation, they may decide to be “friends” which basically means that they can use banmal with each other. The choice of suffixes is related to the level of formality between the speakers. 🙂
A few questions:
One always hears a vowel suffix at the end of a name, usually an “i” sound, but sometimes “ah” and sometimes “io.” But it occurs almost all the time. Is there any explanation of that ubiquitous usage?
“Mida” (Mee-dah!) seems like some form of honorific, sometimes an indication of apology, sometimes mere humility, but after watching these dramas for a couple years, I still cannot figure out what class of words they are attached to or if there is any precise meaning or set of meanings they indicate.
Without vocabulary, I have a hard time understanding either the vocabulary or phrasing signifying honorofic from informal speaking, nor do, except in sageuks, quite get the nuances of when and with whom exactly such speaking goes on.
An aside on the last. Apparently Bae Doo Na was highly criticized for her use of informal, non sageuk conversational Korean in Kingdom. She tried to explain it as a choice she made to indicate not only a non noble status, but her status as an outsider. I wonder how language is being used in Chuno; another marker. A direct understanding of such might more easily explain Dae Ha’s particular brand of snobbery.
Here is a video about formal honorifics but this is different from what is tacked onto the end of names
This one explains honorific titles (for teachers, doctors, etc.)
Here are the suffixes attached to names
Hi there BE, the use of “-ah” or “-ya” after a name is typical of banmal, the casual form of the language adopted between friends, when people are addressing one another. When they are referring to the person in the third person, that’s when “-i” is used as a suffix. So if your name was “Jeong” then I’d call out to you “Jeong-ah!” if we were on casual speaking terms. If I were to tell someone else about what you’d said, I’d say, “Jeong-i said..” – I hope that helps! I don’t quite know what you mean when you refer to “io” though. Is this perhaps the “yo” that tends to end sentences? If so, then that is the common marker for jondaemal, but at a different, less formal level compared to when “mida” is used. So “thank you” can be said as “kamsahamnida” or “kamsa-eyo” and both would be correct. The choice between which to use, depends on the level of formality that the speaker deems is best. This also means that when it comes to discerning whether someone is using honorifics, it is a little bit complicated by the fact that there are different levels of formality. As a general rule, though, it’s safe to conclude that when you hear “-mida” or “-yo” or “-mika” as suffixes, the speaker is using honorifics. I’m not an expert, but I hope this helps a little bit! 🙂
In Mr. Sunshine when the lead played by Lee Byung Hun, Eugene Choi is explaining his name to the Lady Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri), he says, “Choi Yu Jin, Cho Yu Jin io.” I have heard it in other dialogues but that stood out to me because of the growing sexual tension between the characters, and it was expressed with some of the masculine flair and panache with which Lee Byung Hun enacted his character in many different ways (he reminded me a bit of the American actor Gregory Peck, wholesome, really handsome, and adept in every kind of tight situation, with a charming dash of boyish when expressing infatuation)..
Ah ok, I gotcha. That is not a suffix to his name; that is how he is ending the sentence in jondaemal, so he basically says his name and leads into a “-yo.” 🙂
@BE – There are seven levels of speech – here’s a short article on it https://gogohanguk.com/en/blog/korean-levels-of-speech/
Nice glossary! I’m finding your site to be a very fun rabbit hole!
I’m glad you enjoyed this glossary, Lois! Also, welcome to the site! I hope you’ll enjoy poking around! <3
Thank you for this, I learned a lot 😀 I came here for “OTP”, I knew it meant the lead couple but can’t figure out what it stands for :p
I’m getting old, rather I am old, so many acronyms haha! 😀
I’m glad you found it helpful, ayanosuke! 😀 I didn’t manage to cover everything (coz it’s endless, literally), but I hope Dramaland has been somewhat demystified for you now! 🙂
Lovely glossary, in my mother tongue only PK would mean something like fall flat on your face in da street hahah
And I have been watching all the korean videos on GY without understanding a single word here and there
Glad you find the glossary useful! It’s definitely not exhaustive, there are so many other words that could be included, but I don’t want this to become too huge and overwhelming as well. Lol at what PK means in your mother tongue! XD
Hi there, love your glossary and your reviews. I find myself reading your reviews before embraking on new dramas. I’m a newbie with K-dramas to be honest. I only started watching about 3 months ago. I was introduced to it through Netflix. I live in Canada and suprisingly Netflix carries a lot of Korean dramas. You just need to know how to search for it. Padam Padam was my first. After the first couple episodes, I was hooked! So far, I’ve watched a few, again only the ones on Netflix: My Beloved, Eundong, Descendants of the Sun, 12 Years Promise and currently watching Love Rain. I’m a man in my late 40’s and as much as I would like to admit it, I’m young at heart and I love dramas. So K-dramas were easy to like for me. Besides I grew up in Asia so K-dramas are my guilty pleasure, add to missing the Asian culture in general. I guess there’s no need to be ashame admitting that.
I need for you to shed some light on the Korean word for “Sorry” or “I’m sorry.” The word is used a lot in dramas and I would like to hear you expound on the different shades of this word or phrase. I’ve heard many different versions of it, “Bia-ne” the most used. I’m not Korean but I find the language very beautiful and easy to listen to. There is this sing-songy feel to the language. So, back to my question. Please eloborate on the different ways of saying “I’m sorry.” From “Sorry I stepped on your toes” to “Sorry, I can’t be with you” etc… Hoping to hear from you and more power!
Addendum: Currently watching AM1988 and gotta say this is the best one so far I’ve seen. Thanks to your review. Made me decide to want to watch it.
Hi Jun-Seong! I’m sorry to be replying your comments this late – October was a very hectic month for me and I’m only just now working to get back on top of things. 😝
First off, I’m super pleased to meet you! Woot for more male representation in the kdrama-watching community!! I do have other male readers too, so please feel at home here. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve discovered kdramas (yay Netflix!) – and now, there are so many wonderful shows for you to discover! I’m super pleased that you’re watching and loving AM1988. It’s one of my favorites, and deserves more love and attention. Once you’re done with that, might I recommend Healer? I loved that one very much as well, for very different reasons than I loved AM1988. Healer’s so well-written and well-executed, and has just the right mix of action, romance and friendship, with a touch of mystery to go with. I’ve had guy friends really enjoy the show as well, so I’m thinking there’s a good chance you’ll like it too. You can check out my review, which I posted a while ago. 🙂
Now, let me attempt to tackle your question about “sorry” 🙂 I’m not Korean either, so my grasp of the language isn’t the best. You’re very right to say that there are different ways to say “sorry” in Korean. I’m not sure if you’re already aware, but there are different levels of formality in the Korean language, so “bia-ne” or more accurately, “mianhae” can also be expressed in a more formal way, like Mianhaeyo or Mianhamnida. There is another phrase for “sorry” which is “Joesonghaeyo”. This is considered more polite than “Mianhaeyo” however it all depends on the form that the word takes, ie, “Mianhamnida” is considered more formal and polite than “Joesonghaeyo” because it uses a more formal honorific. You could take a quick read of this explanation, which you might find helpful.
At the same time, there is another phrase that tends to be translated as “sorry” and that is “jalmoshaess-eo” (which is pronounced more like “jal-moot-ae-so”). Although it is not incorrect to translate it as “sorry” it is more accurately translated as “I was wrong.” And that does add a shade of meaning to the communication between characters, which unfortunately often gets lost in translation.
I hope that helps! 🙂
Hi there chingu! I have a new pair of Konglish words to add to the glossary: they are, 썸넘 for a guy and 썸여 for a girl. They are Konglish words and mean some-guy (남 short for 남자 meaning ‘man’) or some-girl (여 short for 여자 meaning ‘woman’). Some of my Korean friends explained it’s for when there is a man and a woman who like each other, but nothing has really happened and they’re not in a relationship but there is “something” romantic between them. Hence the “some” part of the phrase.
Dang. I can’t believe I missed this comment, and am only seeing it SIX YEARS LATER. 😳😬 I’ve finally added your suggestion to the glossary, thanks so much! 😅
You can add “chinja” which means “really?!” and it’s used when you are surprised~ e.g. “I am now married to the Kim Soo Hyun” “Chinja!”
Your glossary is really helpful^^ I actually didn’t know PK is Playful Kiss because this can be a curse word in Cantonese.
Thanks for the suggestion, Kelly! I’ve added it as jinjja, since that’s the actual romanization from Hangul. 🙂 And yes, I can so imagine that abbreviations can have a ton of meanings, especially across languages. It’s a good thing that you now know people aren’t actually cursing at you in Cantonese when they say PK – at least in the k-blogosphere! ;D
Ok I have a super-newb question. What is Annyeong?
It means “Hi” it’s formal counterpart is “annyeong haseyeo” ^^~ (It can also be used to say goodbye. It literally means – be peaceful/be well).
You are a beautiful person, thank you! I had guessed that it was a greeting. Thank you for the description!
My pleasure. I am a linguistics nerd through and through ^^
I know where to go in the future if I have more questions! 🙂
Aw! Thanks dewaani, for coming to the rescue; I’m late to respond to Jaime’s comment, but you’ve made sure to take great care of her! 😀
Jaime, I’ve updated the glossary with Annyeong, and have provided a slightly longer explanation that you might find helpful ^^
My pleasure! This is seriously one of my favourite glossaries on the interwebs ^^
You are just the SWEETEST!! 😀 Thanks for contributing so much towards beefing it up and keeping it current, dewaani.. You rawk ❤
Haha, YOU rawk!!!! ❤❤❤
You both totally RAWK! dewaani for helping me out and kfangurl for adding it to the glossary!
Aw. We ALL rawk, hee. ❤❤❤ ^^v
Koreans really love their condensed words and the word ‘di-ka’ (디카) was mentioned so many times in the drama Two Weeks. I thought it’d be useful to be added to your glossary ^^ Ah, the word is the short form for digital camera (디지털 카메라).
Aw, THANKS 친구!! You are so sweet, so thoughtful and just plain AWESOME ❤ I’ve updated the glossary to include 디카 – I’m sure it’ll help lots of people.. These condensed words are hard to understand without an explanation! 고마워!! 😀
Could you add “Bias”? I’m not positive of what it means but I think it has something to do with one’s favorite band member………… thanks for the helpful post ^_~
Thanks for the suggestion, So-Ra! Bias has been duly added to the glossary! I’m glad you found this list useful! ^^
Awesome!! Thank you Kfangurl
Yay! Glad you found it useful, surusa! ^^
Awesome list!! suggested word: heol-a slang word to express mild surprise or shock
Thanks, steffie!! It’s been added! 😀 Thanks for helping to buff up this ever-growing glossary! <3
I don’t know why this came into my head right now and for what reason, but it just occurred to me that I am well past the acceptable OPW age and that I will never know the sheer unadulterated joy of pouting and wiggling for an oppa!! Or, I can just say screw it, give it a try and risk getting arrested for public indecency!! LOL!!!
Or you could simply practice the OPW during your Rain dreams.. Anything goes in the k-dreamscape, I say! 😉
I never did mention that this glossary has been extremely helpful to a newb like me! It is my hope that someday I become a wise enough and somewhat knowing K-drama aficionado to contribute!
YAY that you’ve found it helpful!! 😀 And yes, I’m sure that your k-knowledge and k-wisdom will grow very nicely as you explore the k-universe.. Plus, you’re a fast learner, so I’m sure you’ll be navigating your way around like a sunbae in no time! ^^
Hi! I have some suggestions after browsing through this glossary. The terms are mostly familiar but I like to read them over and over again 😀
Somaek: Soju + maekju (beer). A mix of soju and maekju.
Chimaek: Chicken + maekju (beer). A combo meal consisting of fried chicken and beer. This is mentioned in Rooftop Prince a few times.
Chadonam (차도남): from chagaun dosi namja (차가운 도시 남자), meaning a “cold city guy”.
Chadonyeo (차도녀): from chagaun dosi yeoja (차가운 도시 여자), meaning a “cold city girl”.
Kkkadonam (까도남) : from kkachilhan dosi namja (까칠한 도시 남자), meaning an “arrogant/prickly city guy”.
Ttadonam (따도남): from ttatteuthan dosi namja (따뜻한 도시 남자), meaning a “warm city guy”
Doenjang girl: a term used to describe women who are addicted to luxury and brands. There’s an article in wiki about this term!
Ooh! I like those! I think doenjang girl is translated as beanpaste girl, right? I hope kfangurl adds these – they’re great.
Yeah, you’re right! Forgot to add the translation ^^;
WOW. Thank you SO MUCH, 친구!! 😀 These are awesome! And I JUST realized that “dosi” is cousins with the Chinese 都市 [du-shi] which also means city! 😀
They’ve all been added to the glossary, which is feeling mighty robust right now, thanks to your kind additions. I feel like I need to announce this a little, on my side bar widget, to share the goodies ^^
고맙습니다, 친구!! <3 <3 <3
No worries 😉 It’s our duty to help each other to spread the love for Kdramaland. Glad to be able to contribute to this lovely glossary ^^v
Aw.. *tacklehug!* <3 <3
I found a new one, or rather a slang word that a Korean friend taught me. I believe GD coined/used it on Infinity Challenge and it is now used more. It is “haengsho” (행쇼) a shortening of “haengbokhasyeoyo”(행복하셔요) which means “be happy”. Sort of like a cheerful sort of phrase of “be well” or something like that.
Wow, thanks for this! I learned something new today, AND the glossary’s been beefed up with yet another new nugget of information! You’re too kind!! <3 Hugs, chingu!! <3
My pleasure chingu ^^ and hugs right back!
I just remembered another really important one: “멘붕” (menboong). This word was suuuper popular among drama watchers when Ji Hyun Woo made his public love confession to Yoo In Na…It is a Konglish word from the English “mental” and the Korean “붕괴” which means collapse or implosion. So it’s like – mental breakdown. According to KoreaBang’s glossary (http://www.koreabang.com/glossary#멘탈붕괴), it was first used by StarCraft viewers in 2011.
Chingu, you are DA BOMB. 😀 THANK YOU, for yet another valuable addition to the glossary!! And again, I’ve learned something new too! ^^
Interestingly, I understand 붕괴 [boong-gwi] coz I recognize in it, its Chinese cousin 崩溃 [beng-kui], which also means mental breakdown. It’s SO COOL to make these connections between the languages! This glossary is turning out to be wayyy more fascinating than I’d first imagined!! ;D
Hahaha – my pleasure! I remember using this word around a Korean, or they used it, and I laughed or something – and they were like “What?! You know this word?!” And I was like – “Yup, thank you Ji Hyun Woo and QIHM”. That is such an awesome connection between Chinese and Korean. As a linguist, words completely fascinate me. And I am glad to help out your awesome glossary. I can’t remember if I told you or not, but we linked this glossary from our page…(on our “Links We Like” widget).
HAHA! The things being drama fans teaches us! XD I bet your friend was surprised at how savvy you are! 😀
Also, thanks lots for the link love! I hadn’t noticed it till now, and I’m honored that you guys decided to give the glossary a spot on your list! <3 Kamsahamnida, chingu! <3
Or my obsession 😉 Of course we are happy to share the link love <3
Obsession.. is in the eyes of the beholder? And I don’t think we’re overly obsessed, ha! 😉
This glossary is so great! I think another word to add to the list would be “heodang” (허당) – often used to describe Lee Seung Gi ^^. From what I have been able to gather, it literally means “empty-head” and has the sense of someone who speaks without thinking, who might be smart but still says silly/funny/things that don’t make sense. I also saw someone say it was like innocent naïveté. I also saw it described as someone who does not understand something the first time round, or who is a little odd in their way of thinking. Anyway – maybe you can find a better translation/meaning than I did.
Thanks for the suggestion!! I tried to research the meaning of 허당 and I couldn’t come up with any better or clearer translation than the one you provided, so I’ve updated the glossary with a slightly condensed version of your explanation.. THANKS! <3
Actually, a blogger tried to explain it by providing some links to some of Seung Gi's scenes in 1N2D, and my own (possibly incorrect) conclusion is that it has shades of what we call "blur" in Singaporean slang. But, I didn't think that was going to be a helpful explanation to anyone else except the Singaporean minority, so I went with your explanation instead, heh ;D
Haha – now I know a Singaporean word too ^^ – 허당 is certainly an interesting word. I know that DB has been referencing Jo Jung Seok’s character in “You’re the Best Lee Soon Shin” as a 허당 hero…it’s what made me look up the word. I don’t really think there is a direct translation, so an approximation/mix of meanings might be best. I just think it’s awesome that we can learn so much about a culture and it’s vocabulary, which in turn enriches our own.
I completely agree! Watching kdrama has taught me so much that I never thought I’d know! And I can completely imagine JJS acting 허당! XD He’s got a knack for bringing out the little nuances that would be needed to flesh out a 허당 hero! I’m really looking forward to checking out LSS – when more eps and subs are out ^^
He is great! And you are so right about those nuances. He is just so good at getting inside the skin of his character and then making it just that extra little bit special. He is definitely one of my favourite rising K-drama stars.
I know, right?! He is SO. GOOD. He just BECOMES every character he plays, so much so that to call it acting seems like an insult, or detract from the magic. LOVE. HIM. <3
*sigh* and his voice is so dreamy as well!!! Have you seen “What’s Up?” in that scene where he thinks he’s singing without an audience, but his hyung is also listening? LOVE it!!! And of course, he is lovely in K2H…still don’t agree with what happened to his character.
Aw I LOVED that scene in What’s Up! Gave me chills, he was so good. And then I loved him even MORE in K2H, he was just heartwrenchingly amazing.
I hated what the writers did with his character in the end too, but I suppose it added to the wistfulness I felt for his character. I sometimes think that maybe all the audience grief for the character translated into more RL love for JJS the actor.. Tryin’ to look for a silver lining as hard as I can, obviously ;D
I am okay with the pulling of something like that…if it’s done well. And it was badly done – which means I have a really hard time with it. If a writer wants to do tragic things to a character…well, then there had better be a really good reason, and it needs to be executed well. *sigh* But yes, I think you are right, it makes us love him more ^^
Agreed. It was unnecessary and poorly executed. I shook my fist at the writers for pulling that on us! Still, I’m trying to focus on that (rather small) silver lining.. And on the upside, I am super sure the same thing won’t happen to his character in LSS..! XD
Jjang can also take on more of a title feel when it comes to high school. The best fighter in a school is the jjang. Just mentioning this because it’s often left untranslated in manwha. Gah! Why do I even know this? I love your list. It’s really thorough.
THANKS, sunbae!! 😀 I’ve added the extra bit on jjang in – I’m sure it’ll help clear up confusion for some of us, and educate lots of us! ^^
Great glossary! You know you’re a die hard fangirl when you knew about 99.9% of the definitions LOL
Thanks mawiie! And wow.. You mean there was 0.1% on this list that added to your fangirl knowledge? Lol! ;D Clearly, you’re in sunbae territory if you knew pretty much everything on this list ^^