Learning a new language can be tough and aiming to sound like a native speaker is much more difficult. K-drama fans trying to learn the Korean language must find it hard to understand some dialogues in their favorite series as most characters, particularly those intended for a younger audience, use words that have a different meaning in the dictionary. Those words are probably pop culture expressions that only locals could understand.

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So, I’d put my Millenial hat on and searched for Korean slang words that I think are “essential” to K-drama fans. Kaja!

Common Expression
You probably encountered these expressions and if you’re a veteran K-Drama fan, these words are probably in your vocabulary already. Here is a refresher of phrases commonly used in K-dramaland:

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어머 / 어머나 (Omo/Omona) –  “Oh my!” or “Oh no!”
Ex: Omo, my OTP kissed already!

아싸! (Assa!) – “Yes!” “Oh Yeah!” “Yass!”
Ex: Assa! I passed the exam.

아이구 (Aigoo) – It could mean “Geez” when frustrated or “aw” when referring to something cute.
Ex: (1) Aigoo, this villain is annoying. (2) Aigoo, the song triplets are so kwiwoyo.

대박 (Daebak) – Awesome
Ex: This drama’s plot is daebak!

헐 (Hul) – A vernacular expression used when in disbelief or surprised.
Ex: Hul, I didn’t know they’re dating.

콜! (Call!) –  “Let’s do it!” or “I’m in!” or “Sure!”
Ex: Call! Let’s drink soju tonight.

화이팅 (Hwaiting) – or Fighting. It is used to show encouragement or support.
Ex: You’ll surely pass that interview. Hwaiting! 

어떡해?! (Ottoke?!) – “What should I do?!” “How?!”
Ex: My crush looked at me, ottoke??

미쳤어?! (Michyeosso?!) – “Are you crazy?!”
Ex: Why did you do that? Michyeosso?!

짱! (Jjang) – Great or amazing
Ex: Lovelyz’s new song is jjang!

셀카 (Selca) – The Korean word for selfie.
Ex: My ultimate goal is to take a selca with my bias.

Slang encountered in K-drama
These are idiolects I remember because of Korean shows.

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알바 (Alba) – A part-time job
Ex: I’ll ask the store’s alba if they have a triangle gimbap. (Sorry for this poor The Best Hit reference. I still have sepanx from that Yoon Si-yoon series)

소맥 (Sumek) – Soju + beer
Ex: Choi Ae-ra is good at drinking sumek.

건배 (Geonbae) – Cheers.

치맥 (Chimek) –  fried chicken + beer
Ex: Cheon Song-yi’s comfort food is chimek.

멘붕 (Menbong) – is a combo of  멘탈 (mental) + 붕괴 (deconstruction or collapse). It is usually used when someone loses their mind because of a joke or a peculiar situation.
Ex: Infinite members went menbong in Weekly Idol.

Superlatives
These are terms used in their superlative form. I usually encounter this when reading comments on Korean sites.

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불금 (Bulgeum) – A Korean expression similar to English speakers’ TGIF. It literally means burning Friday.

역대급 (Yeokdaegueb)– Legendary level / The best ever
Ex: Lee Young-ae is a yeokdaegueb actress.

쩐다 (Jeonda)– Very cool or great in scale.
Ex: EXO’s comeback stage is joenda!

Adjectives and Relationships
Aside from 사랑해 (saranghae), I listed some words Koreans used relating to dating or relationship as well as terms they use as an adjective.

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썸 (Some) – Popularized by Soyu and Jungingo’s hit song with the same title, this word means a relationship between two people that is still unsure or doesn’t have a label.
Ex: I think my OTP is in a some relationship.

케미 (Kemi) – An abbreviation for the word chemistry. Different from the school subject we secretly loathe, 케미 pertains to the feeling of love that is made between male and female
Ex: My OTP’s kemi is making my heart explode.

금사빠 (Geumsabba)– A person who falls in love easily.
Ex: Most K-drama characters are geumsabba.

선수 (Seonsu) – It literally means player as in an athlete but it is also used to describe someone who dates around.
Ex: That handsome idol is definitely a seonsu.

훈남 (Hunnam) – A handsome and well-mannered guy
Ex: Gong Yoo is a hunnam in real life.

뇌섹남/뇌섹녀 (Nuesaeknam/Nuesaeknyeo) – It literally means a man or a woman has sexy brain.
Ex: Kim Tae-hee and Roy Kim are known as nuesaeknyeo and nuesaeknam.

얼빠 (Eolppa) – Someone who is drawn to good-looking people.
Ex: I’m quiet annoyed with eolppa fans.

얼짱 (Eoljjang/Ulzzang) – A good-looking person
Ex: Jung Joon-young is a famous ulzzang before he officially debuted.

몸짱 (Momjjang) – A hot body
Ex: Seolhyun is famous for her momjjang.

These are only a few Korean slang words that I find interesting. You can check my references for more. Also, follow our blog for updates on this K-Culture: Korean Language series.

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References
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