Aegyo Explained by a Korean

Aegyo is a powerful double-edged sword.

You can instantly win hearts or make enemies using it.

Here’s everything you need to know about the meaning of Aegyo and how to wield that power!

Linguasia Aegyo Explained

What does Aegyo mean?

Irene Aegyo
Red Velvet Irene’s Aegyo

Aegyo is a term originating from Korean culture that refers to cute, charming, and childlike behavior or mannerisms often displayed to elicit affection.

Aegyo manifests in various forms, such as sweet vocal tones, cute facial expressions, gestures, and aegyo sal.

It’s commonly used in interpersonal relationships. People use Aegyo to look cute or to express affection towards friends, family, or romantic interests.

In the context of Korean pop culture, Aegyo is often portrayed in entertainment, music, and social media.

Who Does Aegyo?

Korean aegyo is typically associated with young women who engage in cute gestures, although men use it too.

More exaggerated examples of aegyo are frequently featured in Korean dramas or comedy shows. Most Koreans won’t use aegyo to that extreme though. There’s also diminishing returns on it as you age and people tend to use it less as they get older. For example, a woman over 30 using aegyo all the time can be a bit much.

Aegyo is widespread in the Korean entertainment industry, including among K-pop idols and celebrities.

How to do Aegyo?

RM Aegyo
RM’s Aegyo

Here are some tips on how to do Aegyo.

  1. Sweet Tone of Voice
    • Speak in a soft voice.
    • Use a higher pitch than your usual tone.
    • Prolong the final vowel of a word, especially when the word ends with a vowel sound.
  2. Cute Facial Expressions
    • Smile often.
    • Smile with your eyes by slightly squinting your eyes.
    • Raise your eyebrows a little to show you’re listening in a friendly way.
  3. Playful Gestures
    • Play with your hair or twirl a strand between your fingers.
    • Use hand gestures like the finger heart or Korean “V” sign.
    • Use hands to accentuate facial cuteness by poking finger in cheeks to simulate dimples or forming a “V” shaped chin.
  4. Aegyo Sal (Eye Smiles)
    • Smile and create a subtle puffiness under the eyes.
    • Apply a highlighter or glitter under the eyes to create Aegyo Sal.
  5. Cute Nicknames
    • Use endearing and cute nicknames for friends, family, or your significant other.
  6. Innocent Poses
    • Adopt innocent and cute poses, such as placing your hands near your face or giving a small, shy smile.
  7. Cute Outfits and Accessories
    • Wear something with cute patterns, pastel colors, or styles that exude a youthful charm.
    • Add accessories like bows, ribbons, or other cute elements to your outfit.
  8. Texting
    • Add flair to text messages and emails with additional letters like “m” ㅁ or “ng” ㅇ.
    • Extra consonants and wavy line symbols can be added at the end of words with vowels.
    • Replace the common sentence-ending 요 (yo) with 용 (yong), such as 뭐해요 (mwohaeyo) becoming 뭐해용 (mwohaeyong).

What to be careful of when using Aegyo?

Some people may feel more comfortable incorporating Aegyo into their interactions, while others may prefer different ways of expressing themselves.

Aegyo can lighten the mood and ease the situation when done right, but the key is not to overdo it.

It’s important to note that Aegyo is a cultural concept, and its appropriateness may vary in different social settings and among different individuals.

  • Avoid using Aegyo in any professional setting, because it’ll make you look unprofessional and not serious.
  • Minimize Aegyo in front of a group of mixed genders as it may turn other women against you. They might say you’re foxy or pretending to be cute.
  • Be authentic and not force Aegyo.


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