If you are a new K-Pop fan, there is no doubt that some of you are confused about all this Korean terminology casually thrown around regarding your favorite stars. If you are a seasoned K-Pop fan, you probably already know most of these terms and teach them to your friends who are new to K-pop! Regardless, a little terminology 411 can't hurt so here are some of the most commonly used Korean words below.
Possibly synonymous with Sunny, the Queen of Aegyo! "Aegyo" means super cuteness, like when someone does a very adorable act ranging from giving simple puppy eyes to clinging to another's arm and whining in a lovable fashion. Aegyo seems to be a huge part of the Korean culture and people love it a lot! I, personally, find it to be a bit too much at times and I definitely don't have any in my inventory. One thing many stars have done is the 'Cutie/Gwiyomi Player' in which they count upwards while using that same number of fingers to cutely frame their face somehow. Check out examples below!
Yeah... this word is usually followed by fan as in "sasaeng fan," or super obsessed fans who go a little bit over the top in expressing their love for their favorite idols. The things they do range from acts like following an idol around in a taxi all day to even more socially unacceptable acts like stalking an idol into the bathroom to snap pictures. On occasion, they supposedly sneak into dorms... maybe steal underwear here and there... poor D.O...
This pretty much means, "Wow." Like, "Wow! He donated so much money!" can be changed to, "He donated so much money! Daebak..." Just like the word "Wow," it can be used sarcastically, too. For example, "Wow...she really said that to you?" could be changed to "She really said that to you? Daebak..." The placement of "daebak" in a sentence is not important, by the way. If they say "This is daebak," that means, "This is the best." Did you get all that?? You did? Daebak...
This is a sound Koreans make a lot these days and you probably heard it already. It may seem kind of awkward, but it properly portrays being speechless about something because it's ridiculous, embarrassing, or anything else negative.
So you may see these words coming after names sometimes or you may just hear your idols calling other people these words. Simple! A girl calls an older man "oppa" and an older woman "unnie." A guy calls an older man "hyung" and older woman "noona." Of course, this is assuming they are on close enough terms and the age difference isn't too big (unless you're actually siblings, then age doesn't matter). Join the sister and brotherhood of Korea!
This is similar to the previous one. Basically "sunbae" is a senior, so you would use this for people who are in higher grades than you at school or people who have more experience than you at work. "Hoobae" is the opposite, meant for juniors. Sunbae-hoobae relationship, therefore, is the same as senior-junior relationship.
All groups have a maknae, meaning the youngest member. Kyuhyun is the "evil maknae" of Super Junior as he was born the latest and is known for being a bit mischievous. This applies to really any situation. If you're the youngest in your family, you're the maknae!
This is short for "omona" and means "oh, my." So when you're surprised, you can go "omomomomo" endlessly if you want. If you hear something shocking, do a Sohee! Omo mixed with some aegyo ;)
"Ulzzang" is a combination of the words "face (ul gool)" and "zzang," which means "best." As a result, it means best face and is used to describe people who are particularly attractive. A lot of idols are initially known around the internet as ulzzangs before getting picked up by an agency. "Momzzang" is similar except "mom" (pronounced mome) means body--this is used for people with great bodies. You can use "zzang" by itself if you want to tell people they are all around the best! Zzang zzang! (If you're watching 'Let's Eat,' the cute girl says some variation of this like all the time.)
(Guess which idol is in that second picture!)
If you watch Korean dramas, you have to know this word because it comes up in every single one of them. A "chaebol" is someone who is filthy rich and super influential in Korea. In business terms it can mean a huge conglomerate company (ie Samsung or LG). In dramas, the "chaebol" is usually the main male protagonist, who is basically a baller and owns either like fifty factories or hotels or whatever. He's the Prince Charming, who will woo the poor main lead.
(About half of the people in this poster! Do you know which ones?)
This means "bare face." A lot of celebrities try to show off their bare faces, although they are usually wearing very minimal or natural-looking make-up. Don't be fooled! It's hard to prove, but Jun Ji Hyun even parodies this in 'You Who Came From The Stars' as her character Chun Song Yi is a celebrity.
(They all still look gorgeous, but can you tell who they are?)
"Dongan" means "baby face" and describes people who look younger than their real age. Some examples include Jang Na Ra, who believe it or not is turning 33 but looks like she's still in her early 20s, and Dara, who is now 29. "No-an" is the opposite, although not used as often. Poor Choi Jin Hyuk recently revealed that his complex in the past was being a "no-an."
(Psst, Jang Na Ra's almost 33!)
(And Dara is 29!)
(Goo Hye Sun is actually only 3 days older than Dara!)
Now you can amaze all other K-Pop fans and outsiders with your multi-lingual skills. For those particularly expert K-Pop fans, what other common Korean terms do you like to use?
Stay tuned for next week when we cover the English words you should know as K-Pop fans!