If You Know These 20 Korean Words, You’re Probably A K-Pop Junkie

How long will fans love K-Pop? “Yeongwonhee”.

Most people don’t become fluent in Korean just by listening to K-Pop, but if you listen to enough of it you’re bound to pick up certain words and phrases. These are some of the most common words you’ll hear in K-Pop songs.

1. 사랑해/saranghae – “I love you”

This is a phrase you’re guaranteed to hear in every K-Pop love song, especially ballads. Although 2NE1 sings “I love you” mostly in English in “I Love You”, Minzy raps “saranghae” during her final verse.

2. 처음/cheoeum or  첫/cheot – “First”

Speaking of love, the Korean word for “first” is sure to pop up in songs about first love, like BTS Suga‘s solo, “First Love”. In it, Suga says “cheoeum” when describing his first meeting with his first musical love, the piano.

3. 괜찮아/gwenchanha – “It’s okay”

Out of all the common phrases on this list, this one is probably in the top 10 most common, if not in the top 5. It repeatedly shows up in DREAMCATCHER‘s “Trust Me (It’s Okay)”, which isn’t surprising, considering it’s part of its title.

4. 눈물/nun-mul – “Tears”

BTS fans became very familiar with this Korean word after listening to “Blood Sweat & Tears” a billion times. The word “tears” literally translates to “eye water” (nun/눈 + mul/물), and is also in the title of another BTS song, “School of Tears”.

5. 몰라/molla – “I don’t know”

If you want to add this phrase to your Korean vocabulary, just listen to BTOB‘s “I Don’t Know” and INFINITE‘s “I Don’t Know” on replay.

6. 추억/chueok – “Memory”

Many K-Pop songs reminisce about the good times and the bad ones, so the word “memory” can be found in an abundance of lyrics, such as iKON‘s “Love Scenario”.

7. 나쁜/nappeun – “Bad”

K-Pop has bad girls and bad boys, but never bad songs! The word “bad” can be heard in the intro of CL‘s “Baddest Female”, near the end of NCT 127‘s “Baby Don’t Like it”, and throughout Tablo‘s “Bad”.

8. 하루/haru – “One day”

BIGBANG fans have had this Korean word in their hearts since BIGBANG dropped “Haru Haru”. Using “haru” once indicates a single day, but using it twice, like in “Haru Haru”, means “day by day.”

9. 지금/jigeum – “Now”

“Now” is a very common word in both English and Korean, so it’s not surprising that it’s shown up many times in K-Pop songs like B.A.P‘s “Now” and IU‘s “Now”.

10. 다시/dashi – “Again”

“Dashi” is a Korean word K-Pop addicts will hear again, and again…and again. This word comes in handy for any repeat situation, whether it’s meeting a friend again, falling in love again, or starting over again. To hear “dashi” check out TWICE‘s “Do It Again”.

11. 오늘/oneul – “Today”

“Oneul” is sure to pop up in songs about time and living in the moment. It can be heard in both DAY6‘s “Lean on Me” and iKON’s “Today”.

12. 마음/maeum – “Heart, mind, feeling”

“Maeum” is often used to describe the feelings of the heart, so you’ll hear singers expressing their warm, fuzzy feelings by using “maeum” in their lyrics. You’ll hear it in “Dreams Come True” by Cosmic Girls and “White” by GFRIEND.

13. 처럼/choreom – “Like”

In this context ,”like” is used to compare two nouns in a simile, not to indicate affection.  It can be heard in “So Into U” by f(x).

14. 기다리다/gidarida – “To wait”

If you listen to a lot of K-Pop, chances are you’ve heard two different forms of this verb: gidarilgae/기다릴게 “I will wait” and gidaryeojwo/기다려줘 “please wait”. The first shows up in “Tired of Waiting” by 2PM and the second is in “Rush on You” by MXM.

15. 심장/simjang – “Heart”

There are two common versions of “heart” that you’ll hear in K-Pop. The first is “마음/maeum”, which refers to the heart as a place of emotion and feelings. The second is, “simjang”, which refers to the physical heart beating in your chest. It can be heard in BTOB’s “Heart Attack”.

16. 꿈/kkoom – “Dream”

Dreams, wishes, and wistfulness are all common themes in K-Pop, so “kkoom” is one of the easiest words to pick up just by listening to music. You’ll hear it in “She’s Dreaming” by EXO.

17. 예뻐/yeppeo – “Pretty”

How many K-Pop songs have been written about pretty girls and pretty boys? Hundreds (probably). The word “pretty” comes up in “Pretty” by NU’EST, “Replay” by SHINee, “Pretty” by B1A4, and of course “Pretty Pretty” by Ladies Code.

18. 그리워[해]/geuriweo(hae) – “I miss you”

BTS fans already know “bogo shipeo/보고싶어)”, thanks to “Spring Day”, but “geuriweo” is another way to express how much you’re missing someone. You’ll hear it a lot in BTOB’s “Missing You”.

19. 친구/chingu – “Friend”

Many K-Pop songs are about friendship, so it’s no wonder why “chingu” is such a commonly heard word. You’ll hear it in “Can You Feel It?”, a D&E song by Super Junior BFFs Donghae and Eunhyuk

20. 영원히/yeongwonhee – “Forever”

If you want to express your eternal love for K-Pop, use “yeonwonhee”, as heard in “Forever” by Girls’ Generation.