Korean Idiom: 입이 짧다

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입이 짧다 translates directly to “to have a short mouth”. It’s not possible for someone to have a short mouth, but can you take a quick guess as to what this idiom means? To say that someone has a short mouth means that person has a small appetite and often only eats a small amount of food each time. In English, 입이 짧다 is similar to the idiom “eat like a bird”. On the contrary, if you know of anyone who eats a lot, then you’d say ‘입이 길다’ [ib-i gil-da]. 입이 길다 translates directly to having a long mouth, but it figuratively means that person eats like a horse.

여러분은 무슨 음식이든 맛있게 잘 먹는 편인가요? 한국어에 ‘입이 짧다’는 표현이 있는데요, 안 먹는 음식이 많거나 먹는 양이 아주 적은 친구들에게 쓰는 관용어입니다. 여러분은 입이 짧은 편인가요? 음식을 가려 먹는 친구들이 주변에 있다면 이 표현을 적절하게 사용해 보세요. 하지만 반대 의미로 먹는 양이 많거나 아무 음식이든 가리지 않는 사람에게 ‘입이 길다’는 표현은 하지 않는다는 것 꼭 기억해 두세요.

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