This site is 100% ad supported. Please add an exception to adblock for this site.

Useful Korean Expressions


copy deck
(lit.)Have you eaten yet?

Casual greeting--not an invitation to dinner
국수 언제 먹지?
(lit.) When will I have a chance to eat your noodles?

When are you getting married?
(lit.) I ate water!

Means to lose out on an opportunity
식은죽 먹기
(lit.) It's like slurping cold porridge.

It's a piece of cake.
금강산도 식후경
(lit.) You should eat even before sightseeing at Diamond Mountain.

Eat first, no matter what temptation or chore awaits.
먹고 죽은 귀신이 때깔이 좋다
(lit.) Not all corpses looke the same; the person who died eating looks healthier.

Whatever the situation, you've got to eat.
밥 먹여 주나!
(lit.) It won't fill me up with rice!

Let's be practical! (when something won't do you any good)
죽도 아니고 밥도 아니고
(lit.)It's neither rice nor porridge.

A gray area, somewhere in between
까마귀 고기 먹었나?
(lit.) Did you eat crow meat?

Can't you remember anything?
가차화통을 삶아 먹었나?
(lit.) Did you boil and eat the locomotive's smokestack?

You sound like a foghorn.
떡줄 사람은 생각도 않는데, 김칫국부터 마신다
(lit.) Don't drink kimchi soup before somebody offers you rice cake.

Don't jump the gun.
남의 떡이 커보인다
(lit.) the other man's rice cake always looks bigger.

The grass always looks greener on the other side.
보기좋은 떡이 먹기도 좋다
(lit.) A rice cake that looks good tastes good.

You can't judge a book by its cover.
그림의 떡
(lit.) Rice cake in the picture

You can see it, but you can't eat it.
나는 찬밥이다
(lit.) I am cold rice.

I get the cold shoulder from everybody.
쌀밥 보리밥 가를 수 있나?
(lit.) I'm not in a position to choose between rice and barley.

I'll take whatever is handy
미운 놈 떡 하나 더 준다
(lit.) Give one more rice cake to a person you don't like.

If treated well, a miscreant will shape up.
둘이 먹다가 하나 죽어도 모른다
(lit.) You wouldn't notice even if your friend at the same table dies.

Praise for a good meal.
송충이는 솔잎을 먹어야 한다
(lit.) Pine caterpillars must eat pine needles.

Accept who you are and what you have.
뱃속에 거지가 들어앉았나?
(lit.) Is a beggar squatting in your stomach?

You eat too much, too quickly.
죽 쒀서 개준다
(lit.) You made porridge but ended up giving it to the dog.

A waste of time and energy.
작은 고추가 맵다
(lit.) A small pepper is hotter.

You can judge based on the size of a person.
콩으로 메주 쑨다해도 안 믿는다
(lit.) I won't believe you even if you say the meju is made of soybeans.

I will never believe you. (Every Korean knows that meju is made of soybeans.)
구더기 무서워 장 못 담그나
(lit.) Just because you fear maggots doesn't mean you should give up making soybean sauce.

Don't let obstacles deter you.
손에 장을 지진다.
(lit.) I'll cook bean paste soup on my palm.

I'll eat my hat.
귀가 얇다
You're so gullible.
입맛이 없다.
I have no appetite.
더위를 타요.
I'm very sensitive to hot, humid weather.
Fight fire with fire.
나이를 한 살 더 먹다.
To turn a year older.
살을 빼고 싶어요.
I want to lose weight.
하늘의 별따기예요.
It's like reaching for the stars. (It's impossible)
발디딜틈이 없다
to be very crowded (there is no space to put your feet)
손꼽아 기다리다
to count one's fingers and wait, used when looking forward to something
We're in really big trouble!
쥐구명에라도 들어가고 싶다
I'm so ashamed that I feel like hiding in a mouse hole.
엎질러진 물이다
It's no use crying over spilt milk.
하늘의 별따기
It's beyond my ability.
아니 땐 굴뚝에 연기 나랴
Where there's smoke, there's fire.
젊어 고생은 돈 주고도 못 산다.
You must undergo hardships when you're young. (learning experience)
killing two birds with one stone
꿩 먹고 알 먹고
having your cake and eating it, too
서당 개 삼 년이면 풍월을 읊는다
you are influenced by your environment (like: a saint's maid quotes Latin)
주객이 전도되다
putting the cart before the horse
뒤로 다빠져도 코가 깨진다
to be extremely unlucky
가까운 이웃이 먼 친척보다 낫다
a good neighbor is better than a far off relative
뭐라고 감사의 말씀을 드려야 할 지 모르겠다.
I can never thank you enough
(very humble)
입이 열이라도 할 말이 없다
words cannot express how sorry I am
지푸라기라도 잡고 싶은 심정이다
I want to hang on to any ray of hope (even though situation is hopeless)
늦바람이 불다
(lit.) A late wind blows.
expression used when you start something new later in life, like starting college in your 40's.

Deck Info