New memes and video content are born every day, and with the new content comes new slang. These are some of the most popular phrases and expressions from memes that are being used in Korea these days.
1. “폼 미쳤다” (“pom michyeotda”) — “You’re on fire”
When someone is on fire or incredible, people say “pom-michyeotda,” which translates to “You’re on fire.” The Korean phrase literally translates to “Your form is incredible,” and it is used to describe someone (or something) who is incredible at something.
화음파트때 마크 얼굴 폼 미쳤다 ㄷㄷpic.twitter.com/1cGCVfLAYG
— 먛 #GoldenHour 🍳 (@Independentboy_) June 22, 2023
Mark’s face during the harmony is [pom michyeotda] on fire *shaking*
It was an existing phrase but became extremely popular after the comedy YouTube channel Psick University made a video called “Daily Korean,” explaining this phrase in a funny way.
“Pom-michyeotda” became so popular that even Bruno Mars yelled it at the end of his sold-out concert at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, making Korean audiences go wild.
2. “너 T야?” (“neo T ya?“) — “Are you a T?”
The question translates to “Are you a T?” The “T” refers to the T (Thinking) trait in the personality typology, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (also known as MBTI). There are 16 personality types made up of four letters, and the third letter can be either a T (Thinking) or an F (Feeling). Ts tend to use rationality and their heads when considering options, whereas Fs tend to use emotions and their hearts.
Because people who are Ts often use logic and facts, there is a stereotype that they are unempathetic and unemotional. Therefore, when a person doesn’t show empathy and is factual, people jokingly ask them, “Are you a T?” Often, the person asked the question jokingly answers that they are adjectives that end with a T instead, such as “pretty,” “cutie,” or “beauty.”
Various reels and short-form content made this trend even more popular.
A: ‘I was depressed so I got a perm.’
B: ‘Why would you get a perm for being depressed?’
A: ‘Are you a T? Are you a T? Are you a T?’
B: ‘No, I’m cutie! Pretty! And you? You’re E.T.!’
3. “연진아 나 지금 되게 신나” (“Yeonjina na jigeum doege sinna“) — “Yeon Jin, I’m so excited right now”
If you’ve watched Netflix’s popular K-Drama The Glory, you already know where this is from. In the show, Moon Dong Eun (played by Song Hye Kyo) gets revenge on her childhood bully Park Yeon Jin (played by Lim Ji Yeon). When Dong Eun is confronted by Yeon Jin, who is telling her to back off, she scares Yeon Jin by telling her the plans she has for her revenge.
So don’t test me to see how far I’m willing to go or how far I’ll push you. I want you to wilt away slowly, over a long period of time. Let’s slowly wilt and die together, Yeon Jin-ah. I’m so excited right now.
— Moon Dong Eun in The Glory
Although Song Hye Kyo said it in a dramatic way that captured the burning flame of revenge in her The Glory character, people use it in more of a comedic way in Korea. The phrase is used when one is excited about anything—whether it’s eating a delicious meal, buying new clothes, or going somewhere fun.
Even Song Hye Kyo herself hopped on the trend by saying this line as she accepted the Award for Best Actress in TV at the Baeksang Arts Awards.
나 상 받았어 연진아 , 나 지금 되게 신나 << 로 수상소감 시작하는 송혜교 웅니 .. pic.twitter.com/n7oKYySWoe
— 궐이 (@xxsep9) April 28, 2023
I got an award, Yeon Jin-ah. I’m so excited right now. I wanted to say it one last time.
— Song Hye Kyo
4. “너 혹시 뭐 돼?” (“Neo hoksi mwo dwae?”) — “Who do you think you are?”
This phrase instantly became a meme when Korean makeup artist LeoJ said it while vlogging with his friends. LeoJ was already a celebrity for his exceptional makeup skills, but his three close friends were ordinary people. When the friends started appearing more and more on LeoJ’s YouTube content, they became famous—and the fame got their heads. As the group of friends was planning to book a hotel for a trip, one of the friends—whom LeoJ said was slowly becoming a diva—said he couldn’t sleep anywhere that wasn’t a bed. At that moment, LeoJ asked him: “Neo hoksi mwo dwae?”
Now it is a question people use when someone is bragging or big-headed about themselves or their achievements. The direct translation is closer to “Are you even anything?” which is similar to the English phrases, “Who do you think you are?” or “Do you think you’re special?”
LeoJ said he never thought this would become a viral meme; however, even K-Pop stars use this phrase now, including IVE, who acted out this phrase in a game of charades.
Now, go out and use these phrases with your friends!