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Korean Slang Terms to Sound Like a Native

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Korean pop culture has taken the world by storm, and it’s not just K-dramas and K-pop that are captivating global audiences. The Korean language, known for its distinct structure and expressions, also has a rich repository of slang words that can make anyone sound like a native. As with any language, Korean slang is used widely among friends and on social media, adding an extra layer of challenge for non-native speakers. Here’s a list of some popular Korean slang terms that will help you understand and engage in everyday conversations like a local.

대박 (daebak)
Meaning: This term is used to describe something that’s awesome or amazing. It can be used in various situations to express surprise or admiration for something extraordinary.

우와, 이 영화 진짜 대박이야!

헐 (heol)
Meaning: ‘헐’ is an expression of disbelief or shock. Think of it as the Korean equivalent of “OMG” or “No way!”

헐, 그가 정말 그랬어?

불금 (bulgeum)
Meaning: A combination of the words ‘불’ which means fire, and ‘금요일’ meaning Friday. This refers to the concept of “Fire Friday,” a day to relax, party, or go out after a week of hard work.

오늘은 불금이니까 모두 놀러 가자!

굿 (gut)
Meaning: This term is directly borrowed from the English word “good,” but in Korean slang, it often conveys the sense that something is cool or nice.

너의 새 자전거 진짜 굿이다!

쩔어 (jjeoreo)
Meaning: Similar to ‘대박’, ‘쩔어’ is a way to say that something is extremely good or impressive.

이 노래 쩔어!

인싸 (insa)
Meaning: Short for ‘insider’, it’s used to describe someone who is trendy, popular, and gets along well with everyone.

넌 정말 인싸 같아, 모든 사람들이 널 좋아해.

삼귀다 (samgyida)
Meaning: Contracted from ‘삼겹살’ meaning pork belly, and ‘귀하다’ meaning precious, this slang term is humorously used when referring to pork belly as something precious or treasured.

오늘 저녁은 우리에게 삼귀다야!

꿀잼 (kkuljaem)
Meaning: Made up of ‘꿀’ which means honey (indicating something is sweet), and ‘잼’ from 재미 which means fun. It’s a playful expression that means something is really enjoyable or fun.

이 게임 꿀잼이야, 한번 해봐!

스압 (seuap)
Meaning: An abbreviation of ‘스크롤 압박’, which roughly translates to “scroll pressure.” It’s used when a post or message is so long it requires a lot of scrolling.

미안, 이 이야기 좀 스압이 되겠지만 다 읽어줘.

노잼 (nojaem)
Meaning: The opposite of ‘꿀잼’. ‘노’ from the English “no” and ‘잼’ from 재미. It’s used to describe something that is not fun or boring.

이 영화 노잼이야, 다른 거 볼래?

With these Korean slang terms in your linguistic toolkit, you’ll be well on your way to sounding like a native. While slang can help you fit in and understand day-to-day communication, always remember that context is key when using them. Some of these terms might not be appropriate in formal or business settings. Embracing slang is a sign that you’re getting more proficient with the Korean language, so don’t shy away from using them in your conversations with Korean friends or when engaging with Korean media. Happy learning, and as you would say in Korean, 화이팅 (hwaiting) – or fighting, which means “good luck!”

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