Sound Cooler in Any Situation with Korean Slang
If you truly want to sound like a local, you need to add some Korean slang to your vocabulary. Use these words and phrases to show that you keep up with modern Korean culture. And shock your Korean friends when you drop one or two of these hip words in a casual conversation.
This comprehensive list of slang contains popular Korean idioms, words, and phrases. It also includes the Hangul spelling, Romanization, and meaning. There’s a bit of background knowledge there to help you better understand the terms so you can use them properly.
18 Must-Use Korean Slang
Are you ready to impress your friends and sound cool? Here’s a compilation of Korean slang words and phrases you can use during casual conversations with friends (친구/chingu). Get talking!
1. Daebak (대박) – Awesome
You may already have encountered this word many times before. It’s a still popular and highly used word in the Korean language. Daebak (대박 ) is an exclamation or emotional outburst, and it came from the phrase daebangnada (대박나다), which means to be successful. Using this Korean slang will definitely make you sound like a local.
2. Matjeom (맛점) – Delicious lunch
Matjeom (맛점) comes from the word “masinneun jeomsim (맛있는 점심).” This word describes a “delicious lunch.” Do you want to express a delicious dinner? You can use matjeo (맛저), which is short for masinneun jeonyeok (맛있는 저녁) Shortening things is easy, isn’t it?
3. Mossol (모쏠) – Someone who has never had a boyfriend or girlfriend
Mossol (모쏠) is the shortened version of the word (motae sollo) (모태솔로). The first word 모태 (motae) means “maternal womb.” The second word 솔로 sollo (솔로) sounds like “solo,” which describes a person who has never been in a relationship.
Let’s put them together, and we’ve got “someone who has been alone since birth.” If you happen to be mossol (모쏠) and want to fight with fire, you can use sollocheonguk keopeuljiok (솔로천국 커플지옥). It’s for couples and means “Solo Heaven. Couple Hell.”
4. Namsachin (남사친) – A guy who is “just a friend”
Nam (남) came from the word namja (남자), meaning “man.” sa (사) originated from the term saram (사람), meaning “person,” and chin (친) is the shortened of chingu (친구), meaning friend.
Combine them all, and you get a male friend. You may use the term for a friend of yours who isn’t your boyfriend. If you change the nam (남) to yeo (여) which stands for yeoja (여자), then you’ll get a new term yeosachin (여사친) which means female friend.
5. Mildang (밀당) – Push and pull
Mildang (밀당) is a combination of the verbs mildang ( 밀다 | to push) and danggida (당기다 | to pull). However, the phrase doesn’t mean to push and pull like a tug of war or a trap.
Instead, it refers to the shaky acts that people take in intimate relationships, “playing games” with each other, where sometimes they feel hot and the next they feel cold. You can also use this as a verb in the form of mildangada (밀당하다).
6. Namchin (남친) | 여친 (yeochin) – Boyfriend or girlfriend
Like many Korean phrases and terms, these words come from taking the first two sentences. Could you guess what words they make up? The name namchin (남친) comes from namja chingu (남자 친구) and yeochin (여친) comes from yeoja chingu (여자 친구). That should save some time typing on Kakao Talk if you want to ask someone if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend…
7. Daetcheunono (댓츠노노) – That’s no
Daetcheunono (댓츠노노 | that’s no) is a Konglish (a mixture of Korean and English) phrase that emerged in a popular TV program and will make your Korean friends laugh. You can use it whenever you don’t approve of someone or something, or if you want to say “no.”
8. Kkuljaem (꿀잼 ) – Fun, funny, or interesting
Kkul (꿀) means “honey”. ‘Jaem (잼) is short for jaemiisseoyo (재미있어요), which means “fun”. Once you add them together, you’ll get kkuljaem (꿀잼). Use this Korean phrase to describe something that’s fun or exciting.
9. Nojaem (노잼 ) – Not fun, funny, or uninteresting
The opposite of kkuljaem (꿀잼) is Nojaem (노잼). No (노) means “no.” jaem 잼 is the first part of jaemiisseoyo (재미있어요), meaning interesting. So, if someone makes a lame joke, you can say nojaem ( 노잼).
10. Solkkamal (솔까말) – To speak openly and honestly
Sol (솔) means for soljiki (솔직히) which means “honestly”. The kka (까) and mal (말) parts come from kkanoko malhada (까놓고 말하다), meaning “speak your mind.”
The full term is soljiki kkanoko malhada (솔직히 까놓고 말하다). But, you could keep it short and sweet. You can also use this version of the word to sell someone you believe them honestly, without any doubt: solkkamal (솔까말).
11. Deoreopge (더럽게) – Badly
This slang word means “filthy” (from 더럽다 | deoreopda). It often uses to indicate “badly”. For instance, deoreopge motsaenggida (더럽게 못생기다) would refer to “unsightly”, and deoreopge neurida (더럽게 느리다) would apply to something “slow” (referring to a slow device, such as computers, perhaps).
12. Pumjeollam | pumjeollyeo doeda (품절남 | 품절녀 되다) – Recently married man or woman
Pumjeol (품절) is another Korean expression for sold out maejin (매진). It derived from the hanja character for product pum (품) and gone (절 | jeol). The words pumjeollam (품절남) and pumjeollyeo (품절녀) mean ‘sold-out man’ and ‘sold-out woman.
This term addresses someone who recently got married and they’re not in the market for dating. These terms can be used with the verb doeda (되다) which means “to become”. For example, pumjeollyeoga dwaesseoyo (품절녀가 됐어요) means “she got engaged or married”.
If you say “she is married”, then you can use the word sijipgasseoyo (시집갔어요) which means “she went to the in-law’s house”. For guys, you can use janggagasseoyo (장가갔어요) instead.
13. Geukyeom (극혐 ) – Extreme disgust
Geukyeom (극혐) is a brief or shortened for geukanui hyeomo (극한의 혐오). Geukan (극한 refers to “severe or limit,” and hyeomo (혐오) means “vengeance and hatred.” If we combine all of them and get a short term, it means severe or extreme disgust!
You can use this with your Korean friends any time you want to blurt out that something is disgusting or sickening. You’ll know the moment when it comes…
14. Mallep (만렙) – Level 10,000
This abbreviate slang phrase, mallep (만렙) is a combination of man (만 | 10, 000) and rebel (레벨 | level). Have you ever played a strategy game like the League of Legends? The kind where your character improves in level after you’ve made numerous achievements?
This phrase refers to someone who is a master of something, and their level is so high that they have reached the highest level in a game. But don’t worry, you can use this phrase for almost anything. Whether you want to describe someone who’s good at bodybuilding, creating things, or studying, it’s pretty versatile.
15. Jjorep) (쪼렙) – Beginner level
This word is the opposite of the previous one! There are the masters, and then there are the beginners. It is a slightly altered version of jjogeumanhan rebel ( 쪼그만한 레벨), meaning a small or low level. If you are not good at tennis, then let your friend know you’re jjorep (쪼렙). You’ll definitely get a laugh.
16. Simkung (심쿵) – Heartthrob (huge crush)
Simkung (심쿵) is like a kind of sentimental heart attack that you experience when you see or think about your crush or someone you find incredibly beautiful. Remember this by understanding that simjang (심장) implies “heart” and that kungkung (쿵쿵) is the “thud” or the “booming” sound of your pounding!
17. Chadonam (차도남) – A cold city-man
This Korean slang term is short for 차가운 (chagauen | cold) dosi (도시 | city) and namja (남자 | man). This word is used to characterize a specific type of man who is typically chic, picky, and urban. When you’re referring a woman, you can use chadonyeo (차도녀) – 차가운 (chagauen | cold) dosi (도시 | city) and yeoja (여자 | woman).
18. Jonmattaeng (존맛탱)” – Yummy
You say this as an exclamation when the food is really tasty. “JMT” is a romanized acronym for this word, and is often used in texts. It’s perhaps the easiest term to learn and maybe even the best one on this list (because it involves food). Yum.
Learn More Korean Slang with OptiLingo
OptiLingo is a convenient app that shows you the most common words and expressions. It’s a neat collection of the best vocabulary, that you can practice with. It also gives you pronunciation advice, so you can start speaking Korean instantly. And that includes plenty of Korean slang words. Learn Korean confidently with OptiLingo. Download the app today to start your journey!