English, Korean

Korean Idioms: 닭살 커플


닭 (dag) as you may know means chicken, and 살 (sal) translates to flesh.

닭 + 살 = chicken flesh, but no, please do not order “닭살” at the restaurant and here’s why: 닭살 actually means goosebump.

On the other hand, we have 커플 (keo-peul) which is the Konglish word for couple. I’m sure you’ll be able to guess by now what 닭살 커플 means, right?

닭살 커플 is an idiomatic expression often used on couples who are not embarrassed or shy with publicly displaying their affection for one another, giving others around them goose bumps. I am sure many of you can relate as I am sure we all know of that one couple who are so happily in love that they cannot take their hands off each other.

Whilst one may usually go, “Ahh, you lovebirds! Go get a room!”.

Now you may try “Ahh, you 닭살 커플, please take your affection somewhere else!” or you can just walk away and pretend they aren’t your friends. 😉

여러분은 닭살 커플을 들어 봤어요? 닭살 커플은 사람들 앞에서 애정표현을 하는 것을 부끄러워하지 않는 커플에게 사용하는 말이에요. 닭살 커플이 여러분 앞에서 애정표현을 한다면 ~ 닭살 돋아!”라고 말하면 돼요. 여러분 친구들 중에도 닭살 커플이 있나요? 아니면 여러분이 닭살 커플인가요?

English, Korean

Korean Slang: 백수,백조

This week we’re sharing a slang expression. Just a heads up though, be sure to be careful with the use of these slang expressions with those around you as these expressions can sometimes be deemed as inappropriate as they are usually formed in what we call 반말 (ban-mal) or informal language that is used for casual speech only. 

Baeksu Baekjo

The slang 백수 refers to someone (of both genders) who is currently unemployed. The word 백수 is actually derived from 白手, a Chinese term which literally translates to “white hand” indicating that if you don’t do any work, your hands will be kept very clean, and thus white. There’s also the term 백조 which carries a similar meaning but applies specifically to females only. This is because 백조 means ‘swan’ and it goes to suggest that women are more graceful about her situation. Regardless of how graceful one can be about their unemployment, I am sure none of us want to be called a jobless bum. So, make sure you work hard so you don’t end up being labeled either a 백수 or a 백조. Fighting!

여러분은 ‘백수’라는 말을 알고 있나요? ‘백수’란, ‘아무 것도 하고 있지 않은 사람’, ‘직업이 없는 사람’이고 ‘백조’는 같은 뜻으로 여자를 칭하는 단어입니다. 내가 나를 소개할 때 ‘백수, 백조’라고 말하는 것은 상관 없지만 다른 사람에게 직접적으로 ‘백수, 백조’라는 말을 하는 것은 실례가 될 수 있으니 조심해야 합니다.

English, Korean

Korean Idioms: 딸바보

We’re introducing a new weekly series of Korean idiomatic and slang expressions. These phrases are commonly used in everyday conversation, so if you squeeze these into your conversations with your local Korean friends, you may surprise them with how much you sound like a native speaker.


딸 translates to daughter and 바보 means fool. Combining both words together literally translates to ‘daughter idiot’. This idiom however does not refer to the daughter, but the parent(s) instead. If the dad or mom (or maybe even both of them!) is being overprotective and constantly praising his/her daughter, he/she can be called a 딸바보. The next time you hear a parent shamelessly tell you how pretty, smart or capable his/her daughter is, you’ll know how to label them. 😉

여러분은 ‘딸바보’ 라는 말을 들어본 적이 있나요? ‘딸바보’ 란, ‘딸밖에 모르는 바보’ 라는 뜻으로 딸을 너무 사랑하는 엄마나 아빠를 칭하는 말입니다. 마찬가지로 ‘아들밖에 모르는 바보’ 라면 ‘아들바보’, 조카밖에 모른다면 ‘조카바보’ 라는 말도 사용할 수 있지요. 여러분 주위에는 ‘딸바보’ 나 ‘아들바보’ 가 있나요?