Home 40 Korean Words, Phrases K-Drama Fans Should Know

40 Korean Words, Phrases K-Drama Fans Should Know


If you’re a K-drama fan, then I’m sure you’re pretty interested in learning the Korean language. So, today, we will be discussing some of the most commonly used words, phrases, and expressions in your favorite Korean dramas.

Let’s begin!

Annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요)

This is the most common way to greet someone in Korean. It simply means “Hello!” I bet you’re not yet a full-fledged K-drama fan yet if you’re not familiar with this word. The casual way of saying this would be “annyeong,” which you can also use when saying goodbye.

Appa (아빠) and Eomma (엄마)

Respectively, these are how you say “dad” and “mom” in Korean. Take note that these are the informal ways of talking to your father and mother. The standard and more formal Korean ways to address your dad and mom are “abeoji,” which means “father,” and “eomeoni,” which means “mother.”

Oppa (오빠) and Hyeong/Hyung (형)

The word “oppa” is the traditional way women address their older brothers. However, because of the Korean wave culture (Hallyu), it is now used to pertain to one’s close male friend, boyfriend, or husband, given that he is older than the female speaker. Subsequently, “hyeong” or “hyung” is how younger men address their older brothers, relatives, and close friends.

Eonni/Unni (언니) and Noona (누나)

The term “eonni” or “unni” is used by women to address their older sisters, female relatives, and close female friends. Similarly, young men would use the word “noona,” which also means “older sister,” to address older sisters, female relatives, and close female friends.

Harabeoji (할아버지) and Halmeoni (할머니)

Now, in Korea, they address their grandfather as “harabeoji” and their grandmother as “halmeoni.” You can also use these terms to address older men and older women, respectively.

Dongsaeng (동생)

In conversation, if you want to refer to a younger sibling, you can call them “dongsaeng,” no matter their gender.

Ahjussi (아저씨) and Ahjumma (아줌마)

When you refer to or address a middle-aged or married man, you may call him “ahjussi.” On the other hand, if you are talking to or pertaining to a middle-aged or married woman, you may call her “ahjumma.”

Chingu (친구)

This word means “friend” in Korea.

Namja chingu (남자친구) and Yeoja chingu (여자친구)

For those in a relationship, if you have a boyfriend, you can refer to him as your “namja chingu.” Meanwhile, for those who have a girlfriend, you can refer to her as your “yeoja chingu.”

Sunbae (선배) and Hoobae (후배)

Now, when you are in school or your workplace, you should address or refer to your seniors as “sunbae.” When addressing or referring to your juniors, you can use the term “hoobae.”

Yeoboseyo (여보세요)

Now, when answering a phone call, you don’t say “annyeonghaseyo” or “annyeong” to greet the other person on the other line. You say “yeoboseyo” instead, especially if you do not know whom you are talking to.

Saranghae (사랑해) or Saranghaeyo (사랑해요)

Of course, we shouldn’t forget this phrase. I think every K-drama fan knows this one. “Saranghae” or its formal and more polite version, “saranghaeyo” is a phrase that means “I love you.”

Bogo sipeo (보고 싶어) or Bogo sipeoyo (보고 싶어요)

So, you miss someone, and you want to tell that person. Then, “bogo sipeo,” which translates to “I miss you” or “I want to see you,” would be the perfect word to say it. You can also say “bogo sipeoyo,” which is its more polite version.

Yeppeuda (예쁘다) and Yeppeuyo (예쁘요)

Do you have a crush? Or do you want to tell someone that they are pretty? If so, then you should say “yeppeuda,” which means “you’re pretty” or “you look pretty.” To sound more polite, you can say “yeppeuyo” instead.

Juseyo (주세요) and Jebal (제발)

The words “juseyo” and “jebal” are similar in meaning – they both translate to “please.” However, take note that you should use them depending on the level of relationship you have with the person you are talking to and the kind of request you ask of them. For instance, if you are ordering something at a restaurant, you should use the former. You only use the latter version if you are begging or desperate for something.

Gamsahamnida (감사합니다) and Gomawo (고마워)

In Korea, you use the word “gamsahamnida” or “kamsahamnida” to say “thank you.” However, when you are close to the person already, you may say its less formal version “gomawo” or “gomawoyo.”

Joesonghaeyo (죄송해요) and Joesonghamnida (죄송합니다)

If you have committed some mistake, you should apologize for it and promise you will do better. In Korea, to express that they are sorry formally and politely, they either say “joesonghaeyo” or “jeosonghamnida.”

Mianhae (미안해)

The word “mianhae” is the less formal way of saying “I’m sorry” in Korean. To sound polite, you can say “mianhaeyo.”

Wae (왜)

The word “wae” in Korean means and is used in the same way as the word “why” in English.

Mwo (뭐)

Similarly, the word “mwo” in Korean means “what” in English. You can hear this word a lot when you watch K-dramas.

Omo (오모)

The word “omo” is a common expression in Korea used when they are surprised, excited, or any other emotion involving happiness.In a way, it is the Korean way of saying, “Oh my gosh.”

Jeogiyo (저기요)

If you want to get someone’s attention or, in general, want to butt into a conversation, you can say “jeogiyo,” which means “excuse me.”

Jinjja (진짜)

In Korea, the word “jinjja” means “really” or “seriously.” You can use this when you are talking to a close friend or someone close to your age. You can use its formal version, “jinjjayo,” when talking to an older person or stranger. Moreover, you can use the term as a question or an expression of disbelief.

Aigo (아이구)

If you are reading this article, I bet you are already quite familiar with this Korean expression. The word “aigoo” is another Korean expression that means “oh my gosh” or “oh dear.” You can use this expression when you are surprised, shocked, confused, or disappointed. You can also use this when you want to express pity or frustration and pair it with a deep sigh for more effect.

Aja (아자)

Another popular Korean expression that you may have already learned before reading this article is “aja.” In English, it translates to “Fighting!” – an expression that Koreans use to cheer up or lift other people’s spirits. So, you’re halfway through this article. Aja! Fighting!

Kamjagiya (깜짝이야)

“You scared me!” or “You surprised me!” These are what the Korean term “kamjagiya” means. You use this when you want to express shock or surprise in response to anything unexpected.

Daebak (대박)

We can’t talk about famous Korean words and phrases without including “daebak” in our list! Depending on the user’s tone, “daebak” is a common Korean slang used to express surprise, astonishment, or sarcasm. It can mean “wow,” “jackpot,” “great,” or “cool.” You can also use the word “daebak” to express awe or happiness.

Geurae (그래)

In Korean, you can use the term “gurae” if you want to agree on something. It means “sure,” “alright,” or “okay.”

Aniyo (아니요)

If you want to disagree or say “no” in Korean, you can say “ani.” To be more polite, you can say “aniyo.”

Andwae (안돼)

Similarly, you use the word “andwae” to say “no way.” It is a term used if you want to defy or disagree on something. Aside from that, you can also use it to express disbelief or shock.

Gwaenchanha (괜찮아)

One other popular Korean expression you commonly hear in K-dramas is “gwaenchanha.” It is the Korean way of saying “I’m okay” or “I’m fine.” Much like the other expressions, you can also use this term in a question form to ask if someone is okay. To be more polite, you can say “gwaenchanhayo” instead.

Eotteokhae (어떻해)

You may have noticed that when a character in a K-drama is panicking or stuck in a situation where they have to figure out what to do, they say “eotteokhae”? That is because “eotteokhae” is an expression that means “what should I do?” You can also use it in the same way as you say “oh no” or “no way” in English. Again, to be more polite, they use “yo” and say “eotteokhaeyo” instead.

Arasseo (알았어)

Another word that we commonly hear in K-dramas is “arasseo.” It means “got it” or “understood.” You can also use this as a question if you want to ask someone if they understood what you said.

Jamkkanman (잠깐만)

If you need a moment or you want someone to wait for you for a bit, then you can say “jamkkanman.” Depending on the situation, You can also use it in a similar way when we say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention.

Gajima (가지마)

Then, when you want someone to stay, you say “gajima.” It means “don’t go” in Korean.

Joahae (좋아해)

Now, if you are a K-drama fan, then you may already know what this word means. In Korea, “joahae” means “I like you.” Next to “saranghae,” it is one of the most anticipated words that fans cannot wait to hear from their leading “oppa” or “unnie.” You can say “joahaeyo” if you are addressing someone older to sound polite.

Kol (콜)

Another Korean slang that you may have heard on K-drama is the word “kol.” This particular Korean term came from the English word “call.” Thus, “kol” means “deal” and is used when you agree to a bet or a challenge.

Baegopa (배고파)

You’re almost done reading this article, and we guess you’re already hungry. In Korean, if you want to say that you are hungry, you can say “baegopa.” Again, to sound more polite, you can say “baegopayo” instead.

Micheosseo (미쳤어)

If you are shocked or angry about someone’s words or actions, you can say “micheosseo.” This Korean expression translates to “are you crazy?” in English. Of course, saying such to anyone would be very informal and impolite, but what can you do if you’re angry, shocked, or concerned, right?

Jugeullae (죽을래)

You’ve finally reached the last word, which is more of a curse word that you would usually hear from thugs and gangsters in K-dramas. The term “jugeullae” translates to “do you want to die?” which you can use when you are angry at someone and want to make a threat. Nevertheless, close friends also use the term as a light-hearted joke among them. So, if a friend is planning on doing something crazy, you can say, “Micheosseo? Jugeullae?”

Have we missed any other words, phrases, or expressions from the Korean language commonly used in K-dramas? Let us know in the comments section below!

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