Swipe Right on Korean Slang: Learning Trendy Talks

Grover Laughton7 min
Created: Jul 1, 2024Last updated: Jul 3, 2024
Korean Slang

Have you ever caught yourself reading comments under a viral TikTok video and realized that you have no idea what some of those words mean? If so, don’t panic – you’re not alone. Korean slang, like any other one, is ever-evolving, so there is no wonder that you might miss some things despite your general fluency level. And today, we’ll do our best to help you fix it. This article is your ultimate cheat sheet to the quirkiest slang expressions used by locals in casual chats and conversations. 

How to Sound Cool in Korean: The Most Exciting Slang Expressions

Slang is the thing that changes constantly. In the nineties, we used expressions like “talk to the hand” or “da bomb,” which were cool at the time but might be considered cringy today. The same goes for most Korean slangs – if you don’t want to sound outdated, you need to keep in touch with what’s popular now. And we’re here for that! Check out our list of over a dozen popular expressions frequently used by natives.

  • 대박 (daebak) – [tɛ.bak] – Amazing, awesome.

Let’s start with the epitome of slang in Korean. It is very popular among native speakers, especially because you can use it to describe literally anything. You’ve seen a hot guy on the street? 대박! Barista has made you an amazing ice latte? 대박 again!

  • 감성있네 (gamsenginne) – [kam.sʌŋ.in.ne] – Emotional, sentimental.

When something or someone strikes a deep, emotional chord, it’s time to pull out this slang expression. Perfect for those late-night deep talks, moody playlists, or Instagram posts that just hit differently. It’s like saying, “This has all the feels,” but in a Korean way.

  • 횰로 (hyo-Lo) – [hjol.lo] – YOLO, enjoying single life.

This one is Korea’s spin on YOLO (you only live once) combined with the word 홀로 (hollo), which means “alone.” The term embraces the same carpe diem vibe but with a trendy twist. It’s used to justify living your solo life to the fullest, sometimes recklessly, whether it’s about taking spontaneous trips or splurging on something extravagant.

  • 구라치지마 (gurachijima) – [ku.ra.tɕʰi.dʑi.ma] – Don’t lie.

Calling out BS has never been more straightforward. This is a very popular Gen Z phrase for when someone’s story seems a bit too fishy. Yet, it’s quite harsh, so don’t overuse it; better keep it for the time it’s really appropriate.

  • 남사친 (namsachin) – [nam.sa.tɕʰin] – Guy friend.

Navigating the friend zone? Here is the term for a guy who’s strictly a friend with no romantic strings attached. Use it to clear up any confusion and keep things platonic. 

  • 모쏠 (mossol) – [mo.ssol] – Never had a boyfriend/girlfriend.

This popular Korean phrases slang expression describes someone who’s never been in a romantic relationship. It’s often used in a self-deprecating yet humorous way, perfect for those singles who are still waiting for their love story to begin.

  • 밀당 (mildang) – [mil.daŋ] – Push and pull.

Many of us had some stage in our life with a specific person where there were constant mood swings. This term describes exactly that, the strategic dance of showing interest and then pulling back, maintaining things exciting and unpredictable. Think of it as the rollercoaster ride of modern dating, keeping everyone on their toes.

  • 극혐 (geukyeom) – [kɯ.kʰjʌm] – Extreme disgust.

When something is so gross or annoying it makes you want to gag, that is exactly the word you’re looking for. It expresses almost the highest level of repulsion for nasty food, cringe-worthy moments, or anything that makes you go “ew.”

  • 심쿵 (simkung) – [ɕim.kʰuŋ] – Heart-throbbing.

Although this word generally captures the sensation of a heart skipping a beat, it is mostly used to describe the feeling you have when thinking about your biggest crush. Yeah, exactly that moment when your heart goes boom because of a thought or a glance.

  • 댓츠 노노 (daetcheu-nono) – [dɛ.tɕʰɯ.no.no] – That’s a no-no.

Borrowing from English, this slang term is a fun way to disagree with something (or someone). It is not only popular slang for Korean learners but also a great example of Konglish – Korean-style English.

  • 클래스 (keullaeseu) – [kʰɯ.lːɛ.sɯ] – World class.

When you need to describe something top-notch, one-of-a-kind, or simply exquisite, look no further than this expression. The closest English equivalent to it would probably be one of our favorite slang terms – GOAT (yeah, the one that Meryl Streep herself didn’t know the meaning of). 

  • 헐 (heol) – [hʌl] – OMG, wow.

And here is another amazing word, even an exclamation, used to express surprise, disbelief, or shock. Whether something is incredibly cool or utterly shocking, heol in Korean fits the moment perfectly.

  • 멘붕 (menbung) – [mɛn.buŋ] – Mental breakdown.

And here’s a not-so-funny expression used to describe the feeling of being completely overwhelmed or stressed out. It might not be humorous, but it perfectly describes epic fails, massive disappointments, or literally any other situation that leaves you mentally wrecked.

  • 웃프다 (utpeuda) – [ut.pʰɯ.da] – Laughing and crying.

Have you ever seen a video where something not-so-good happens in a hilarious way? Like when you see someone falling, and you know they might’ve been hurt, but you can’t help it – it looks too funny. Well, now you have a great Korean slang word to describe it!

  • 불금 (bulgeum) – [pul.gɯm] – TGIF.

The last one in this list is the slang for Korean version of the famous phrase thank God, it’s Friday! That’s how natives describe the time to party, relax, or just enjoy the start of the weekend. Although in Korean, it sounds a bit simpler (literally, Fire Friday), it still conveys the exact meaning.


Korean Text Slang Phrases Worthy of Your Attention

Texting slang is another thing that is very popular among Koreans. Emoticons, numbers, loaned words – here, you’ll find them all. And obviously, we can’t leave you without knowing the most trendy expressions! So here’s our comprehensive cheat sheet on Korean texting slang.

  • ㅋㅋ – LOL.
  • ㄴㄴ – No-no.
  • ㅇㅇ – Yes.
  • ㅁㄹ – IDK (I don’t know).
  • ㅇㄷ – Where are you?
  • ㅎㅈㅇㅇ – TL;DR (too long; didn't read).
  • 감4 – Thank you. 

Here you go! These are some of the most commonly used text slang phrases in Korean, which are basically simplified forms of actual words with the same meaning. Knowing them might be specifically helpful if you often chat with Koreans, whether they’re your online or offline buddies you’re texting.

Nail Korean Slang Words with Promova

Knowing slang is great, no doubt. Yet, we’d lie if we’d say that it’s the only thing you need to become fluent in Korean. Of course, it is an amazing addition to your general knowledge, but you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of other skills, like speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Lucky for you, we are happy to introduce you to an amazing resource that will help you nail them all. And we are talking about the Promova application.

Our app is your one-stop solution when it comes to learning foreign languages. In addition to Korean, you can start studying German, French, English, ASL, Arabic, and many other beautiful tongues. Moreover, within the application, you can learn a few simultaneously! Just choose the language you want to master and your current fluency level, and access a specified course based on the provided data.

Within the application, you’ll find tons of engaging interactive lessons created by language professionals. All of them focus on essential skills so you can learn everything you need. But the best part is that we always choose a bite-sized approach. With Promova, you’ll only learn essential information without feeling overwhelmed by tons of tedious materials.

The application is available for both iOS and Android devices, making it very convenient. You can not only access it whenever and where you want but also reach your language-learning goals, spending only a couple of minutes a day. So what are you waiting for? Install the application right away and enjoy your journey to success!


We believe that when it comes to modern conversations, whether we’re talking about Korean slang text or real-life form, it is always important to be prepared. Of course, you don’t have to memorize every word. Yet, knowing at least a few expressions can significantly impact the quality of your communication. We hope that with the help of this article, you’ll be able to memorize the most common Korean slang terms and easily implement them into your daily conversations.


Why should I learn Korean slang phrases?

There are plenty of reasons! For starters, it is an excellent way to expand your vocabulary and make you more prepared for casual interactions with native speakers. Also, it allows you to peek into the daily lives, humor, and social dynamics of Korean people. Such simple things can actually reflect current trends, social issues, and generational differences. And finally, it’s just fun! So, why not give it a try?

How to say yay in Korean?

Depending on the circumstances, there are several options to choose from. The safest one is the word 아싸 (ah-ssa), which you can use in any situation where you’re excited about something.

Do all native speakers use slang?

Well, there is no definite answer to that because we can’t speak for all natives. However, we can say that the majority of locals do use slang expressions to some extent. Of course, in most cases, it’s Zoomers. Yet, we are almost sure that older generations also use slang.

What common mistakes to avoid when using Korean phrases slang in daily conversations?

The most widespread one is clearly overuse. Always keep in mind that dropping too much slang can make conversations hard to follow and might come off as trying too hard. Balance is key – mix slang with standard language. Another common issue is the inability to read the room; hence, using slang when it’s inappropriate. So, another piece of advice is to know your surroundings and implement these phrases only when you’re a hundred percent positive that it’s appropriate.