Korean Proverbs, Idioms & Slang

Continuing with the Korean theme in preparation for our September trip to Seoul, we have compiled a list of endearing proverbs, popular words and idioms below. Which one is your favorite?

귀여운고양이 Cute   cute kitten

Korean Word: 귀여운 (guiyuhwoon)

Translation: Cute

Usage: The term “cute” is a very useful word to know when visiting South Korea, as you will find yourself using it a lot to describe the people, food preparation, and packaging of your favorite Korean goods.

Korean Word: 아싸 (ah-ssa)

Translation: Yesss!

Usage: A slang word, this one is used to express excitement over something.

Korean Word: 화이팅 Hwaiting (hwa-ee-ting)

Literal Translation: Fighting

Usage: This term has become popular with the rise of the K-pop genre of music in Korea, and is used frequently by K-pop stars to say “good luck” to themselves or others.

Korean Proverb: 가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다.

Literal Translation: If the outgoing words are beautiful, then the incoming words will be beautiful, too.

Usage: Used to encourage someone to be nice to others if they want the same treatment in return.


Korean Proverb: 김치국부터 마시지 말라.

Literal Translation: Do not drink your kimchi soup first.

Usage: Used to warn someone not to get ahead of oneself in planning for the future.