The Meaning of Maknae Explained by a Korean Girl

You probably know that Jungkook is called the Golden Maknae (Hwang-geum Maknae nicknamed by RM).

Whether you’re a K-pop fan or not, this title is an important concept in Korean culture (minus the golden part).

Here’s the

  • meaning of Maknae in Korean
  • pros and cons of being one
  • affectionate ways of calling them
  • and a list of K-pop maknae members

Let’s check it out!

Lingua Asia Meaning of Maknae Explained by a Korean Girl

What does Maknae mean?

Maknae means the youngest child in the family, or the youngest person in a group.

The opposite is mad-i (맏이, pronounced as maji), which means the oldest or firstborn.

What are pros and cons of being Maknae?

There’s even a song called “Maknae” by Baek Yerin with the English title, “The loved one”.


Maknae in a big family usually grow up being pampered and loved by everyone from a young age, so maknae tend to be positive, bright and cheerful.

Being Maknae in a family or group can be endearing. (They might get spoiled!)

People often find Maknae cute, adorable and lovable.


Being Maknae also means being the lowest in a hierarchy where maknae might need to do all the chores and run errands. Think Cinderella doing all the work for her evil stepsisters.

Maknae is the last one to pick up chopsticks at a meal, after dad, mom, oppa/hyung/unnie/noona. (But they’ll often get the last piece of delicious banchan or meat.)

Maknae in the army or workplace

Society is changing fairly quickly in Korea. But, some people in the army or workplace might ask Maknae to do stuff by saying “Hey Maknae, fetch me a coffee!”, “Maknae, bring me a glass of water!”.

Being younger in Korea means being expected to have noonchi. But, some real advice? The ones with the highest level of noonchi pretend to have none. So, be yourself!

How do you call Maknae in an affectionate way?

Makdoongie (막둥이) is a cuter way of saying Maknae (the youngest) in Korean.

An example of its usage is “woori makdoongie (우리 막둥이)” as a noun that means “our youngest“.

Makdoongah (막둥아) is used to refer to the least-aged person in an affectionate way.

Who are the Maknae in K-pop?

Names are sorted alphabetically.

  • Chanmi of AOA
  • Chanwoo of iKON
  • Hyein of NewJeans
  • Hyeri of Girl’s Day
  • I.M of MONSTA X
  • I.N of Stray Kids
  • Jeon Somi of I.O.I
  • Jisung of NCT DREAM
  • Jungkook of BTS
  • Ningning of Aespa
  • Rosé and Lisa of BLACKPINK
  • Sehun of EXO
  • Seohyun of Girls’ Generation (SNSD)
  • Shuhua of (G)I-DLE
  • Taemin of SHINee
  • Tzuyu of TWICE
  • Yein of Lovelyz
  • Yeonjung of WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
  • Yeri of Red Velvet
  • Yoon and J of STAYC
  • Yugyeom of GOT7

Maknae On Top

Here’s a song called, Maknae On Top by Stray Kids!

Maknae On Top” is a new slang for situations where the most junior member of a K-pop idol group is comfortable playing pranks on the older ones or even teasing them.

When the rest of a group openly adores Maknae, it’s also considered Maknae On Top.

It shows that the vibe of the group is chill and the members are nice/close to each other.

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