Want to express your feelings using Korean swear words? There are a lot of ways other than 씨발 (Ssi-Bal). Today, we will learn some basic bad words in Korean.
Who would’ve forgotten the scene where Deok-sun teaches Taek to swear words in the K-drama, Reply 1988? Aside from unforgettable scenes and crave-worthy Korean food, we’ve also learned a lot about South Korean culture, including some common Korean curse words. With this, it’s no surprise if K-drama fans already know at least one Korean swear word by now.
In this blog, we will learn different swear words in the Korean language. Even if you’re not used to speaking swear words, make yourself familiar just in case someone says these words to you.
Common Korean Curse Words Or Swear Words
Swearing or 욕/辱 (yok, insults or swearing) in Korean has always been a common thing whenever we watch their dramas. It often has a negative meaning because of the following reasons:
- They are stated when a speaker is angry, frustrated, under pressure, in abrupt discomfort, or confronted by something unexpected and usually undesired.
- Using disparaging or contemptuous language to purposely insult, offend, or harm another person is another way that malediction can “add insult to injury.”
- According to a study, the most common variety is swearing to show in-group solidarity (mainly when directed at outsiders) as part of verbal cuddling or simply casual banter.
- Swearing’s function can also be expressed. Speakers may pick a banned term (over a benign counterpart) to convey frustration, displeasure, astonishment, etc.
Although it has mostly associated with negative meanings and is used in ridiculous situations, swearing can also have hidden benefits. According to Burridge, “…swearing relieves pain and makes you stronger; abusive profanity is a substitute for physical violence…”
In language learning, profanity is also one of the essential things to learn to have a deeper understanding of the language and culture.
So, what Korean curse word do you usually hear? Here are some Korean swear words that you can learn but remember, you cannot use these Korean curse words in a polite conversation.
English Translation: Bullshit!
Remember the scene in the 6th episode of Reply 1988 when Deok-sun found out that Sun-woo is in love with Bo-ra, not her? This is precisely the Korean swear word that she said. The actual meaning of this is “epilepsy,” but it is used in calling someone on some bullshit. To make it worse, 좆지랄 (jot ji-ral) is used.
English Translation: Mi-chin-nom means crazy bastard while mi-chi-nyeon means crazy bitch
This is another Korean swear word that Deok-sun said to Sun-woo in the episode mentioned above. When she asked Sun-woo what he liked about Bo-ra, one of Sun-woo’s answers was “She is smart” then, she uttered the word 미친놈 Mi-Chin-Nom. Mi-Chin-Nom and Mi-Chin-Nyeon have almost the same meaning.
English Translation: Crazy SOB or Crazy son of a bitch
When Taek lent his upperclassman ten million won again, Deok-sun was mad, so she taught Taek to some curse words, and 미친 새끼 (Mi-Chin-Sae-Ggi) is one of them. You can hear this a lot when you watch Korean dramas.
English Translation: Fuck!
This Korean curse word is one of the most extensively used Korean swear words. It is used so frequently and extensively that the original meaning has been lost. Its original definition is prostitute or incest. Some also do it with their middle fingers sticking out. Watching the Korean zombie apocalypse horror television series, All of us are Dead, you’ll hear this a lot. Well, anyone who is in their situation will really say this word.
English Translation: F*cking son of a b*tch
If you want to make the previous swear word extra heavier, you can use this phrase. This is mostly used in an intense situation, especially when people are outraged.
So, what does saekki mean? If you look for 새끼 (saekki) in a dictionary, you may find that it means ‘a baby animal’ or ‘young,’ referring to a child or animal who was just born. However, when you use this word to swear at someone, during a fight, its meaning changes completely to a derogatory noun. You may often hear this word used by itself as a swear, or together with 씨발 (ssibal – f*ck) or 개 (gae – dog)
English Translation: Shut up’ or ‘Shut it
This curse word is not as heavy as the others, but it is still offensive. There’s a scene in the K-drama Goblin where Kim Shin says this to the Grim Reaper while trying to give Kim Shin the paper bag.
English Translation: Stupid
Babo is not a bad word, but since it means stupid or dumb, it is usually a swear word among close friends. Se-ri accidentally landed in North Korea and was stuck in Captain Ri’s house. There’s a scene where Captain Ri ordered his comrades to do construction on the underground water. When Se-ri asked what the soldiers doing are, a funny argument escalated between Se-ri and Chi-su, and Se-ri had said this word which made Ju-Meok laugh.
English Translation: Moron or retard/ Used to describe someone who has previously had a sickness
Another funny scene in Reply 1988 is when Deok-sun and Jung-hwan ran to each other while heading out to school. They began to exchange curse words like 병신 (Byung-Shi). The funniest thing about this scene is that Deok-sun had a grain of rice near her mouth throughout their argument, which made her somehow embarrassed, but, of course, Jung-hwan finds it cute (secretly).
English Translation: Bastard son/ bastard offspring
This is another common Korean swear word that you’ll often hear. The meaning of it is not really a bad word, but it is used as a swear word, especially when you add “crazy” in the beginning.
English Translation: Son of a bitch/ Asshole
This is another Korean swear word that you’ll usually hear from Koreans. One of the most unforgettable scenes where a K-drama character used this swear word is in Itaewon Class when Park Sae-ro-yi beat up Jang Geun-won for killing his father.
English Translation: Get the fuck out of here; Go to hell
When you want to make a person leave, or you don’t want to see them, you can say 꺼져 (Ggeo-jyeo). In Korean dramas, you’ll usually see bosses say this to their people when they are mad. But, you can also hear this being used among close friends.
English Translation: Do you want to die?
Who in the Korean drama world hasn’t heard this swear word? You can listen to this in almost all modern K-dramas nowadays. One of the most iconic K-drama scenes where you can listen to this swear word is when Sun-woo tried to hold Bo-ra’s hand when they were inside his room.
English Translation: I am f*cked/it’s f*cked
One of the funniest scenes in K-dramas is when the characters are in a difficult situation or, let’s just say; they are screwed. This is the phrase that they usually say. This isn’t a term you would use to curse at people; instead, it’s just an expression that implies “I’m f*cked.”
English Translation: What’s wrong with you?/ Wtf is wrong?
This is a rude phrase used when you can’t understand why the person behaves weirdly. In K-dramas, the statement is sometimes used to initiate a conversation with a friend, even though it is sometimes deemed offensive. The curse word 왜 이래 wae irae also has a similar meaning. It means, “What’s wrong with you?”
English Translation: Are you nuts?/Are you insane?
Remember when Chan-sung cut out all the unnecessary expenses of Man-wol and told her that he would sell her cars because of her debts? This is exactly the Korean swear word that she said. You’ll hear this a lot, not just in K-dramas. You can use this when you think the idea is insanely ridiculous.
English Translation: Have you lost your mind?
This term is typically linked with inebriated behavior. The typical expression for “Have you lost your mind?” is the term “Micheoseo?”. However, if you want to increase the level of rudeness, you may hear this phrase instead.
English Translation: Nutjob/Freak/Crazy
Many would agree that one of the best K-drama characters who have said this swear word is Choi Ae-ra in Fight For My Way. With the swear word, plus the facial expression, and tone, you wouldn’t want her character saying this to you.
English Translation: Cut it out!/Enough!
If someone is doing something that annoys you or makes you upset, this is the phrase you can use. One perfect example is the scene in Itaewon Class where Geun-Won and Geun-Soo had a heated fight in front of their dad, Jang Dae-Hee.
English Translation: You suck!
To express your extreme disappointment to someone, you can use 재수 없어 (Jaesu Eobs-eo). One of the iconic characters who said this is Oh Soo-A in Itaewon Class. It can be used when you’re extremely angry or just annoyed.
Other Korean Swear Words
There’s More Than Just Swear Words In The Korean Language!
Did you enjoy learning Korean swear words? There are many Korean words that you should learn aside from swear words. You can’t get by just with this bit of knowledge. In fact, you can’t use these words if you have no deeper understanding of the language and you have no friends to talk to at all. So, expand your Korean vocabulary and improve your Korean language skills.
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