55 Trendy Korean Slang Words You Need to Know in 2020
Here are the newest expressions guaranteed to impress your Korean friends.
Some of them are a little inside, so we made sure to explain them clearly.
I started with my favorites and the most common slang first.
Let’s check them out!
법블레스유 (beob-bless-you): Koreans deal with a lot of stress and even some suppressed rage. A compound word of “법 (law)” + “bless” + “you”. It means, “if it weren’t for the law, I would mess you up” as a warning that the law saved you.
셰어런츠 (share-rents): We all know one. A compound word of “share” + “parents”. Someone who posts a pic of their child every hour on social media like their life depends on it.
슬세권 (seul-se-gwon): A compound word of “slipper (슬리퍼)” + “area close to a station (역세권)”. It means “walking distance you can go in slippers”. Its variations include: 맥세권 (mac-se-gwon) near McDonald’s, 스세권 (seu-se-gwon) near Starbucks, 편세권 (pyeon-se-gwon) near convenience stores.
스몸비 (smombie): A compound word of “smartphone” + “zombie”. People who walk on the street staring at their smartphones. We’ve all been guilty of this at some point.
있어빌리티 (ee-sseo-bility): The ability to look rich or successful. This is usually done by taking a selfie with your friend’s luxury bag or in front of someone else’s sports car. Used especially for people who show off on social media.
자강두천 (ja-ghang-du-cheon): Literally a confrontation between two proud “geniuses” (but used in a sarcastic way for two dummies). Think every online argument you’ve seen.
Access the entire Netflix catalogue with VPN here and get 3 months free!
갑분싸 (gahb-bun-ssa): An abbreviation for “갑자기 분위기 싸해진다”. It means “sudden and awkward silence”. Great for many situations, like after you say something in an active group chat that kills the conversation.
고스팅 (ghosting): Same as in English. The traditional slang is “잠수타다”, meaning “submerging/going underwater”.
금수저/흙수저 (geum-soo-jeo/huk-soo-jeo): Gold spoon or dirt spoon, meaning born rich/poor. Koreans like to use opposites to play with the language. They also have one for super rich kids called “다이아 수저 (diamond spoon)”.
꾸안꾸 (kku-ahn-kku): An abbreviation for “꾸민 듯 안 꾸민듯”. This means “a natural, yet fashionable style”. Or putting a lot of effort into looking like you didn’t.
넘사벽 (neom-sa-byeok): An abbreviation for “넘지 못할 사차원의 벽”, meaning unclimbable wall of the fourth dimension. It means something impossible, like becoming/dating a celebrity. For example, “Hyun Bin is neom-sa-byeok”.
아싸 (ah-ssa): A Korean version of 아웃싸이더 (outsider). Someone who doesn’t like to hang out with people.
인싸 (in-ssa): An insider who is popular and gets along with people. The opposite of the previous one.
최애 (choi-ae): Favorite
핑프 (ping-peu): Finger prince/princess. A person who keeps asking questions they can easily find the answer to on their smartphones.
할많하않 (hal-mahn-ha-ahn): An abbreviation for “할 말은 많지만 하지 않겠다”. It means “I have a lot to say, but I won’t”. A passive aggressive way to deescalate an argument. Results may vary.
호캉스 (ho-kang-seu): A compound word of 호텔 (hotel) + 바캉스 (vacation). It means staycation in Korea. This is especially popular during the pandemic.
Latte Is Horse: 나 때는 말이야 (Na-tte-neun-mal-ee-ya). Na-tte sounds similar to latte, and mal is horse in Korean. It’s a sarcastic expression for 꼰대 (Kkondae, a condescending person who is usually older, like “boomer”) who always says “in my day”.
갑통알 (gahb-tong-al): An abbreviation for “갑자기 통장 보니 알바 해야 할 듯”. This means “suddenly, looking at my bank account, I should do an arbeit (part-time job)”. In other words, you’re shocked you’re broke and need to get a job.
갓수 (god-soo): 갓+백수 (god + jobless). It refers to a person who doesn’t work, but is comfortable spending money. Young Koreans often add “god” as a prefix for someone who’s the best, without meaning anything religious.
과즙상 (gwa-jeup-sang): Refreshing and youthful impression like fruit juice. Koreans have been using fruits like peach to describe different celebrity looks.
구레니얼 (goo-lennial): A person from an older generation who communicates with millennials. Think of a grandpa using new slang.
글설리 (geul-seol-li): An abbreviation for “글쓴이를 설레게 하는 리플”. It means a comment or reply that makes the author/writer happy.
나심비 (nah-shim-bee): An abbreviation for “나의 심리를 만족시키는 비용”, which means “an unnecessary expense that satisfies you”.
대유잼 (dae-yu-jam): A mixture of Hanja and Korean, meaning “great fun”. You can describe a person or TV show as 대유잼.
띵곡 (tting-gok): It means “명곡 or excellent piece of music”. Koreans simply changed 명 to 띵 due to its similar shape. Other variations include: 댕댕이 (from 멍멍이 meaning doggo), 댕청 (from 멍청 meaning dumb in a cute way).
라떼파파 (latte-papa): A babysitting dad who holds a cup of latte in one hand and a stroller in another. Most Koreans think these men exist only in Sweden as they view it as progressive. Women do most of the parenting in Korea.
롬곡 (lum-gok): It’s the upside down version of “눈물 (tear). Koreans use it online mostly.
마싸 (mah-ssa): A combination of “my + sider”. A person who focuses on him/herself. Someone who likes doing things “my way”.
만반잘부 (mahn-bahn-jal-bu): An abbreviation for “만나서 반가워 잘 부탁해”. It means “nice to meet you”.
멍청비용 (meong-cheong-bee-yong): Money that someone wastes out of stupidity. Can be used for lotto tickets or late fees.
무민세대 (moo-min-se-dae): A compound word of “nothing (無)” + “mean” + “generation”. It refers to people in their 20s to 30s who look for joy and happiness from what seems useless and meaningless. Think millennials who don’t want a hectic life for no reason.
별다줄 (byeol-dah-jool): An abbreviation for “별걸 다 줄이네”, which means “you abbreviate everything”.
복세편살 (bok-se-pyeon-sahl): An abbreviation for “복잡한 세상 편하게 살자”. It means “let’s live a comfortable life in a complex world”. Very useful with all the negative news recently.
비담 (bee-dahm): A “visual member” of an idol group, meaning the most attractive.
빼박캔트 (ppae-bak-can’t): An abbreviation for “빼도 박도 못한다”. You can’t take it back or you can’t back out now.
사바사 (sah-bah-sah): “사람 바이 사람”, meaning “person by person”. It’s a Korean version of “case-by-case” for people. BTW, we also abbreviate case-by-case to 케바케 (ke-bah-ke).
삼귀다 (sahm-gwi-dah): A romantic relationship in a stage before dating. In Korean, dating is 사귀다 (sah-gwi-da). 사 also means 4, and 삼 means 3, so 3 before 4.
설참 (seol-cham): An abbreviation for “설명참고”, meaning “refer to the description”. It’s commonly used by Korean YouTube channels.
실매 (shil-mae): An abbreviation for “실시간 매니저” meaning real-time manager.
싫존주의 (shil-jon-joo-eui): A principle where someone respects another’s dislike or dissatisfaction. It’s derived from 취존 (chwi-jon), which means “취향 존중 (respect my preferences)”.
알잘딱깔센 (ahl-jal-ttak-kkal-sen): An abbreviation for “알아서 잘 딱, 아주 깔끔하고 센스있게”, which is used in the office. It means “doing a job perfectly without explanation needed”.
얼리어먹터 (early-uh-meok-teo): It’s similar to “early adopter”, but for new 먹거리 (food).
오저치고 (oh-jeo-chi-go): An abbreviation for “오늘 저녁 치킨 고”, meaning “go out for chicken tonight”
우귀체 (woo-gwi-che): The cutest creature in the universe.
이생망 (ee-saeng-mahng): It’s short for “이번 생은 망했어”, meaning “this life is doomed”. Great for after you made a huge mistake.
일점호화 (il-jeom-ho-hwa): A phenomenon where a person usually saves money by reducing consumption, but spends a lot on ‘one luxurious thing’. People who eat cup noodles all year to afford a Michelin Star meal.
일코노미 (il-conomy): A compound word of single-person household + economy.
자만추 (ja-mahn-chu): A short way to say “자연스런 만남 추구”, meaning “pursuit of a natural encounter”. It’s for people who want to meet someone without being set up on a blind date or using an app.
좋못사 (joh-mot-sa): I love you beyond like. Very sweet.
차애 (cha-ae): Second favorite
프리터족 (freeter-jok): People who deliberately choose not to work full-time. Jok means “tribe” and is used often to describe groups of people humorously.
피코 (pee-co): A compound word of “피해자 (victim)” + “코스프레 (cosplay)”. A person who acts like a victim.
할류열풍 (hal-lyu-yeol-poong): It’s kind of like a 한류 (Korean Wave), but for grandparents who are crazy about giving expensive toys to their grandchildren.
현영 (hyun-yeong): A short way to say “현금 영수증” (cash receipt).
Guided conversation is the fastest way to get fluent in Korean. Pimsleur takes you from 0 to conversational in 90 days. You can try the full Pimsleur course free for 7-days here.
Did we miss anything?
Now I want to hear from you.
Let us know your favorite new Korean slang in the comments!
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this article that provide us a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only endorse the best language learning tools we use ourselves. Find out more about our code of ethics.