56 Korean Drama Words & Phrases We Always Hear

The Korean drama experience would not be complete if you had not picked up a word or two. Every K-drama fan surely knows a few words or phrases, and it’s often fun to learn a new language.

We compiled a list of the most common words and phrases we always hear in K-dramas. Which of these do you know? Let us know in the comments below.

“Ahjussi/Ahjumma”

: 아저씨 (Ahjussi)/아줌마 (Ahjumma)
: Gender specific
: Ahjussi refers to middle-aged men/married men
: Ahjumma refers to middle-aged women/married women

“Aigoo”

: 아이구
: Used to express frustration, pity, or indicate a deep sigh; occasionally used to show surprise

“Aja!”

: 아자!
: Fighting!
: Used for cheering up and/or lifting spirits of other people

“Andwae”

: 안돼!
: No way!
: Used for expressing defiance, disagreement, disbelief, and/or shock

“Ani”

: 아니요
: No (informal)
: “Aniyo” (formal)

Annyeonghaseyo

: 안녕하세요
: Hello (formal)
: The most common Korean greeting
: Use “Annyeong” (안녕) for casual greeting and saying goodbye

“Appa/Eomma”

: 아빠 (Appa)/엄마 (Eomma)
: Gender specific
: Appa is used for addressing fathers; Abeoji (아버지) – formal form or to use for fathers-in-law
: Eomma is used for addressing mothers; Eomeoni (어머니) – formal form or to use for mothers-in-law

“Arasseo”

: 알았어
: Understood./Got it.
: Can be turned into a question, as delivered or written with a question mark (알았어?) to mean “Do you understand/Do you get it?”

“Baegopa”

: 배고파 
: I’m hungry. (informal)
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Bogoshipo”

: 보고 싶어
: Literally translates to I want to see you; I miss you (informal)
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Chingu”

: 친구
: Friend

“Daebak”

: 대박
: Wow/Great/Cool
: Street slang; commonly used to express astonishment, sarcasm, and/or surprise depending on the speaker’s tone

“Dongsaeng”

: 동생
: Not gender specific
: Used to refer to younger siblings

“Eotteokhae?”

: 어떻해?
: What to do?
: Also used as an expression when the speaker is in a complicated situation or in panic
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Gajima”

: 가지마
: Don’t go.

“Geojitmariya”

: 거짓말이야
: It’s a lie./Don’t lie.

“Geokjeonghajima”

: 걱정하지마
: Don’t worry.

“Geurae”

: 그래 
: Sure./Alright./Okay.
: Originally a verb (to do so; to do it; to say so), depending on the usage and the context of the sentence (it can mean different things)

“Geureom”

: 그럼
: Of course./If so, then…
: Also dependent on the usage and context; can mean differently in various scenarios
: Can also be used to end a discussion/conversation when the speaker is about to leave or is saying goodbye

“Gwaenchanha”

: 괜찮아
: I’m okay./It’s fine.
: Can be turned into a question, as delivered or written with a question mark (괜찮아?) to mean “Are you okay?”
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Haengbokhae”

: 행복해
: I’m happy.
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Hajima”

: 하지마
: Don’t do it./Stop it.

“Harabeoji/Halmeoni”

: 할아버지 (Harabeoji)/할머니 (Halmeoni)
: Gender specific
: Harabeoji means grandfather; can also be used to address elderly men
: Halmeoni means grandmother; can also be used to address elderly women

“Hokshi”

: 혹시
: By any chance…/Would it be possible if…/Could it be…

“Hyung/Oppa”

: 형 (Hyung/Hyeong)/오빠 (Oppa)
: Gender specific (for user)
: Hyung is used by males when referring to older male siblings/relatives/close friends
: Oppa is used by females when referring to older male siblings/relatives/close friends/boyfriends; occasionally, idols/celebrities

“Ireohke”

: 이렇게
: Like this.
: Can be turned into a question, as delivered or written with a question mark (이렇게?) to mean “Like this?”

“Jebal”

: 제발 
: Please.
: Often used in desperate and/or urgent attempts and situations

“Jalja”

: 잘자
: Good night./Sleep well. (informal)
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Jamkkanman”

: 잠깐만
: Wait a minute./Just a sec./Hold on.
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Jinjja”

: 진짜
: Really/Seriously/For real
: Can be used when speaker is trying to emphasize something
: Can also be used as a question (진짜?) (Really?) or as an expression of disbelief

“Jjak sarang”

: 짝싸랑
: Unrequited/One-sided love
: Can be used to refer to your crush

“Joahae”

: 좋아해
: I like you.
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Jeogiyo”

: 저기요
: Excuse me, but…
: Can be used when calling someone’s attention or butting in a conversation

“Joogeullae”

: 죽을래
: Do you want to die?
: Used when angry or making a threat

“Juseyo”

: 주세요
: (Please) Give me

“Joesonghaeyo/Joesonghamnida”

: 죄송해요 (joesonghaeyo)/죄송합니다 (joesonghamnida)
: I’m sorry.
: Polite and formal way of apologizing

“Kamjagiya”

: 깜짝이야
: You surprised me!/You scared me!
: Used when expressing shock/surprise or as a reaction to anything that is unexpected

“Kamsahamnida”

: 감사합니다
: Thank you.

“Kol”

: 콜 
: Call./Deal.
: Slang; Used when agreeing to a bet or challenge, or taking up an offer

“Mianhae”

: 미안해 
: I’m sorry. (casual)
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Micheosseo”

: 미쳤어
: You’re crazy./Are you crazy?

“Molla”

: 몰라 
: I don’t know.
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Museun soriya”

: 무슨 소리야?
: What do you mean?/What are you talking about?

“Na meonjeo galge”

: 나 먼저 갈게
: I am leaving./I’ll go first.

“Namja chingu/Yeoja chingu”

: 남자친구 (namja chingu)/여자친구 (yeoja chingu) 
: Gender specific
: Namja chingu means boyfriend
: Yeoja chingu means girlfriend

“Noona/Eonni”

: 누나 (Noona)/언니 (Eonni/Unni)
: Gender specific (to user)
: Noona is used by males when referring to older female siblings/relatives/close friends
: Eonni is used by females when referring to older female siblings/relatives/close friends

“Ojjeol geonde”

: 어쩔 건데?
: What are you going to do about it? (informal)

“Omo”

: 오모 
: Used when expressing surprise, excitement, and any emotion related to happiness
: Korean version for “Oh my gosh.”

Palli

: 빨리 
: Hurry/Faster

“Saranghae”

: 사랑해
: I love you.
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Sesange”

: 세상에 
: Literally translates to “In the world“; Korean version of “Oh my god!/My goodness!”

“Sunbae/Hoobae”

: 선배 (sunbae) / 후배 (hoobae)
: Commonly used in the school/workplace
: Sunbae is used to address seniors
: Hoobae is used to address juniors

Wae geurae?

: 왜 그래?
: What’s wrong?
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite

“Yaksokhae”

: 약속해
: I Promise/Promise me

“Yeoboseyo”

: 여보세요
: Used for answering a call (as to “Hello”) or when you’re not sure who you are calling

“Yeppeuda”

: 예쁘다 
: You’re pretty/You look pretty. (informal)
: Usually spoken with yo (요) to sound polite (yeppeuyo)

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Luna

It was Princess Lulu who first introduced her to Korean dramas but it was Yoon Ji-hoo from Boys Over Flowers who enticed her to stay in K-dramaland. She writes news and features for Kdramapal, which combines two of her most favorite things in the world—writing and K-dramas (look who's living the dream). The name Luna literally translates to "moon" and nothing special; she just likes writing at night.