5 Meanings of Maknae Explained by a Korean Girl

Being the maknae of a group can be a mixed bag. They’ll be babied, teased, adored, bossed around, and sometimes a little bit of everything.

Here’s the

  • meaning of Maknae in Korean
  • pros and cons of being one
  • affectionate ways of calling them
  • and list of K-pop maknae members
Lingua Asia Meaning of Maknae Explained by a Korean Girl

Quick Summary

  • Maknae in Korean means the youngest child in the family or the youngest person in a group.
  • People often find Maknae cute, adorable, and lovable.
  • You can simply say Woori Maknae to show affection.

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 important in Korean culture.

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’s it like to be Maknae?

Maknae in the family

As a maknae myself, I can speak from experience. There are advantages and disadvantages in this situation.

You’ll be definitely adored, but you’ll get less yong-don (pocket money) than your older siblings from relatives during holidays. Your opinions aren’t taken seriously either.

But, luckily my emos and samchon respect my life choices. This isn’t always a given!

Maknae at a company

I’d love to be positive, but I can’t recall anything good about being a maknae at work.

As soon as you start at a Korean company as a newbie, you’re automatically maknae.

You’re expected to run all the errands like going to the post office for your sunbae, making reservations at restaurants for hweshik, etc. You’re pretty much Cinderella before the prince shows up.

Maknae in the army

I didn’t serve in the army, so I don’t have first hand experience here.

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

It sounds like the company situation but you’re stuck there all day and night.

The good news is, there’s always a new maknae on the way. So you won’t be one for too long.

Maknae Survival Tips!

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!

That being said, don’t be afraid to dial up the cuteness factor a bit!

What are pros and cons of being Maknae?


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.)

How do you call Maknae in an affectionate way?

You can simply say “Woori Maknae” to show affection.

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

What are the types of Maknae in the K-pop scene?

Maknae take on many forms in K-pop including golden, royal, evil, giant, and fake.

Golden Maknae

The youngest in the group but also the most versatile. These maknae can do it all.

  • Jungkook of BTS

Royal Maknae

The youngest who happens to be super talented with stage presence.

  • Lisa of Blackpink

Evil Maknae

A practical joker and sometimes brat, these evil maknae get what they want. Their favorite thing to do is pull pranks on their hyungs.

  • Kyuhyun of Super Junior

Giant Maknae

The youngest of the group who towers over the older members. Giant maknae are the tallest in the group.

  • Wonyoung of IVE (5’8″)

Fake Maknae

Not the youngest but look so cute that you think they are. These imposters tend to fool even the other members.

  • Jin of BTS

Maknae On Top

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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