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Mon Oct 21, 2019, 12:31 PM

Ten Useful Korean Slang Terms X 2

by Sang Kim and Jenna Gibson

By Sang Kim and Jenna Gibson

These 신조어, or neologisms, allow people to squeeze a longer phrase into just a few syllables – perfect for texting or chatting online. Many of the phrases evolved from Korea’s gaming culture – try typing out full phrases to your opponent while simultaneously trying to direct a cyber army into battle.

Here is a list of 10 abbreviated words that Koreans use often...

Here's a good example that is culturally revealing:

혼밥/혼술 – honbap/honsool

혼자 밥을 먹는다/혼자 술을 마신다 (eating alone/drinking alone)

This word emerged from a new trend in Korea – eating and drinking alone culture. According to a recent KEI blog on the subject, “Korean media commonly attribute the increase in the ‘honbap’ trend to changes in the Korean society – including the fact that society is becoming more competitive as well as the growth of individualism and an increasing number of single-person households.” In addition, it’s becoming popular as a way to have some alone time to relax and recharge away from work outings and other social obligations.

I've seen this one in a lot of youtube comments and obviously couldn't figure it out till now. It's also part Konglish:

ㅇㄱㄹㅇ – igeoreal

“이거레알 (real)” This is real; it’s so true

Used a lot in online chatting/gaming, this is a quick way to acknowledge that something or someone is awesome or legit, or to agree with someone.

Link for the other eight phrases:


Two examples from another web page same site, Ten Useful Korean Dating Terms. They are coined in the same way as the ten above. There are a total of ten more here:

남사친/여사친 – nam sa chin/yeo sa chin

남자 사람 친구/ 여자 사람 친구 (“male/female person friend”)

Literally translated, these two words mean “male person friend” and “female person friend.” You can use this to emphasize that the person is just a friend who happens to be a man or a woman, as opposed to a boyfriend or girlfriend.

볼매 – bol mae

볼수록 매력있다 (the more you look, more charm)

This abbreviated word is used to describe when someone who has hidden charms. They might not be the most attractive person, but once you get to know them they are more attractive and charming.


There is another article, Ten Useful Korean Words for Winter:


Found this web site courtesy of AAK on twitter.

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Reply Ten Useful Korean Slang Terms X 2 (Original post)
soryang Oct 2019 OP
FM123 Oct 2019 #1
soryang Oct 2019 #2

Response to soryang (Original post)

Mon Oct 21, 2019, 01:24 PM

1. So interesting.

Many of the phrases evolved from Korea’s gaming culture

One of my sons is a big gamer, and he tells me that the Korean competitors are usually the toughest to beat....

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Response to FM123 (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 21, 2019, 03:10 PM

2. The Korean Americans I know are older so...

...usually middle aged or older, so they don't usually know these terms unless they still have young native speakers in their household. It's a eureka moment to find something like this even if it is limited.

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