Slangin’ and Bangin’: The Wild World of Korean Text Talk

Grover Laughton9 min
Created: Jan 9, 2024Last updated: Jan 9, 2024
Korean Text Slang

Despite the modest and respectful culture of Korea, people there still know how to have fun. And one of the most exciting features of the language, especially popular among youngsters, is the Korean text slang. There are tons of expressions, words, abbreviations, emoticons, and other interesting things native speakers use when communicating online. Today, we are going to explore the most common ones and provide you with this ultimate guide.

Korean Internet Slang: Deep Dive Into the Most Common Phrases

Korean slang is somewhat similar to English, consisting of numerous abbreviations, contractions, and transliterations. However, there are many significant differences and unique expressions. Let’s explore some exciting Korean text slang options to spice up your online conversations.

  • ㅋㅋ – LOL.

This abbreviation represents laughter, similar to LOL in English. It can be used as many times as you want, depending on the ridiculousness level of the joke. For example:

그 짤 너무 웃겨 ㅋㅋ. (That line is so funny, LOL.)

  • ㅎㅎㅎ – Hahaha.

This slang expression denotes a chuckle or light laughter. It is not as strong as the previous one but can still be used to express a laugh. For example:

너무 귀여워 ㅎㅎㅎ. (So cute, hahaha.)

  • ㅇㅋ – Okay.

It is a Korean slang text version of saying “okay” or “ok,” typically used when agreeing with someone. For example:

오늘 만나서 놀아요! ㅇㅋ? (Let’s hang out today! Ok?)

  • ㄴㄴ – No-no.

This phrase is a transliteration of the English “no-no,” and it means exactly what you think it is – strong disagreement. For example:

ㄴㄴ, 내일은 못 놀아요. (No-no, I can’t hang out tomorrow.)

  • ㅇㅇ – Yes.

This is a shortened version of saying “yes,” suitable only for casual and relaxed online conversations. For example:

ㅇㅇㅋㅋ. (Yes, LOL.)

  • ㄱㄱ – Let’s go.

This is another transliteration from English; verbatim, it means “go-go.” For example:

출발할 준비 됐어? ㄱㄱ! (Ready to hit the road? Let’s go.)

  • ㄱㅅ – Thanks.

This is a slang casual way to express gratitude in Korean, used in informal conversations. For example:

선물 ㄱㅅ (Thanks for the gift.)

  • ㅉㅉ – Tsk-tsk.

You can use this slang to show frustration or annoyance. It expresses the sound of disappointment, like the one your teacher made when you were late for class. For example:

 왜 항상 늦어? ㅉㅉ. (Why are you always late? Tsk-tsk.)

  • ㅁㄹ – IDK.

In English, IDK stands for “I don’t know.” In Korean, this slang phrase means the same thing, except they use slightly different symbols. For example:

ㅁㄹ 무슨 말씀이세요. (IDK what you are talking about.)

  • ㅇㅈ? – Right? 

You can use this phrase in Korean text messages when seeking approval or agreement from someone. For example:

저 드레스 잘 어울려요. ㅇㅈ? (I look good in that dress. Right?)

  • ㅈㅅ – Sorry.

This expression is used as an informal way to apologize in Korean text messages. For example:

늦었어, ㅈㅅ. (I’m late, sorry.)

  • ㅇㄷ – Where are you?

This slang term is used to either ask where the receiver of the message is or to find out where something is in general. For example:

ㅇㄷ? 거의 도착했어요. (Where are you? I’m almost there.)

  • ㅇㅋㄷㅋ – Okey-dokey.

You already know ㅋ meaning in Korean. However, in this slang phrase, alongside other symbols, it is used to agree to something. It is another transliteration of the English expression. For example:

ㅇㅋㄷㅋ, 모르겠어요. (Okey-dokey, I’ll see you there.)

  • ㅊㅋ – Congrats. 

This expression is a shortened form of 축하해요 [tɕʰukɑhɛjo], used to congratulate someone informally. For example:

시험 잘 봤어요. ㅊㅋ! (Good job on the exam. Congrats!)

  • ㅎㅈㅇㅇ – TL;DR.

In English, we use the slang phrase TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) to respond to a long, annoying message. ㅎㅈㅇㅇ is a Korean equivalent of this expression, serving the same purpose. For example:

ㅎㅈㅇㅇㅈㅅ. (TL;DR, sorry.)

  • ㄹㄷ – Are you ready?

This is yet another transliteration in our list. In this case, it is used to ask whether your interlocutor is ready to do something. For example:

차가 아래층에서 기다리고 있습니다. ㄹㄷ? (The car is waiting downstairs. Are you ready?)

  • ㅅㅇㅊㅋ – Happy Birthday.

The last expression in this compilation is a very short and informal way to greet someone on their birthday. For example:

ㅅㅇㅊㅋ! 널 사랑해. (Happy birthday! I love you.)


Explaining Korean Emoticons

In addition to using slang phrases when texting, Koreans also like emoticons – faces showcasing various emotions created by different keyboard symbols. These are the so-called ancestors of modern emojis, still very popular in Korea. Let’s explore the list of exciting emoticons to use in your text messages.

  • ^o^, ^_^, ^-^ – similar to ^^ meaning in text Korean, these emoticons represent smiling faces;
  • ㅜㅜ, ㅠㅠ, T.T, ㅠ.ㅠ – these are different variations of sad/crying faces;
  • ^.~, ^3^, ♡.♡, *^.^* – those are flirty faces;
  • ㅇㅅㅇ – this is a sweet, cute face;
  • ㅇㅁㅇ – this is a shocked/surprised face;
  • ;ㅅ; – this one, similar to ㅠ meaning, is also a crying face;
  • OTL/ㅇㅈㄴ – this one represents the person kneeling, typically showcasing disappointment or misery.

But of course, the list doesn’t end here; a day won’t be enough to mention all existing Korean emoticons, as there are thousands of them. And it is actually great because you can find numerous cute faces to express your emotions when texting as clearly as possible. 

Exciting Korean Texting Slang with Numbers

Another thing Korean and English slang have in common is the usage of numbers. However, there is a difference at the same time. In English, we often use numbers with letters to shorten words (like 4ever, w8, lu2, etc.). Koreans do it, too, but in some cases, they take this concept to a whole new level, replacing words and even phrases with numbers. Here is the list of the most common examples.

  • 8282 – Hurry up. 

The first term represents 빠빠롭게 [p*ɑp*ɑɾopk*ɛ], which means “quickly” or “hurry up” in Korean. Basically, those numbers read aloud sound almost identical to this phrase.

  • 091012 – Study hard.

This Korean abbreviation is used when you need to tell someone to study hard. The concept here is the same as in the previous example; the pronunciation of the numbers is similar to that of the original phrase.

  • 1004 – Angel.

This phrase is pronounced as 천사 [tɕʰʌnsɑ], which means “angel” in Korean when read phonetically. It is often used to compliment someone, indicating they are like an angel.

  • 감4 – Thank you. 

This is an informal and shortened way of expressing gratitude, similar to “thanks.”

  • 하2루 – Hi.

You can send this phrase in a text message to greet someone, as this expression simply means “hi.” It combines transliteration of an English word and abbreviation with numbers similar in pronunciation to its meaning.

  • 700 – Cute.

The last number on this list is used as a slang term to describe someone adorable. Those numbers represent ㄱㅇㅇ – an abbreviation for 귀여워 [kwijʌwʌ], which also means cute. 

  • 바2 – Bye.

This expression is a perfect example of the transliteration. When you read it aloud, you’ll hear “baee,” which is similar to the most typical English farewell. As a result, you receive a perfect way to say goodbye to someone.

Easy Tips for Mastering Korean Texting Slang

Learning slang in every language is an exciting way to immerse yourself in the intricacies of the tongue and reach fluency while having fun. However, conquering these nuances might be quite a challenging task. To better understand and master this topic, keep in mind these simple yet helpful tips.

  1. Learn the basics. Before mastering more difficult expressions, memorize the most widespread words and phrases, like the ones representing laughter or used for showcasing other emotions. It is an excellent start to learning slang. 
  2. Stay updated with trends. Follow Korean social media influencers, read blogs, and watch popular videos. The more you immerse yourself in modern culture, the easier it will become to understand what’s trendy and what slang expressions are the most used in this period of time.
  3. Find a texting buddy. Having a language-learning friend is a great way to master the tongue from the point of view of a native speaker. And if you communicate online using text messages, it is a great opportunity to see what slang expressions the person uses in everyday conversations. 

And keep in mind the main tip – always stay open to learning. Every language is ever-evolving, and new phrases, expressions, and slang terms appear almost every week. Therefore, keep an open mind and be curious about the novelties, as it is a great way to expand your vocabulary in the most natural and pleasant way. 

Exploring Korean Slang and Beyond with Promova

Learning Korean texting slang is impossible without having a good understanding of grammar and rules. It is vital to learn all the basics before moving to more unique studies. And mastering all these skills will be much easier with Promova – your one-stop solution for fluency. The installation of the Promova app on your iOS or Android device is very beneficial, allowing you to:

  • learn Korean, German, Spanish, English, French, and other languages;
  • practice anywhere and anytime, seamlessly integrating your learning into your busy schedule;
  • enjoy engaging and captivating interactive lessons created by language professionals;
  • practice bite-sized learning, focusing only on those things that are important.

The Promova application is a perfect way to master a language, spending only a few minutes a day. However, keep in mind that the final results solely depend on yourself. Remember to practice and improve your speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills; with a bit of our help, you’ll reach your language goals.


All in all, Korean texting slang is an exciting feature of the language for many reasons. Learning it allows you to communicate in Korean more effectively and easily understand modern terms and expressions. However, it’s vital to keep in mind that using slang might not always be appropriate. Avoid overusing it and/or utilizing it in formal situations.


How frequently do Koreans use those abbreviations and slang in everyday conversations?

Koreans often use such expressions and slang terms in their daily conversations. In the modern age of messengers and social media, abbreviations, emoticons, and other features have become a natural part of communication. Of course, the frequency can change depending on personal preferences, but overall, it is quite a common experience.

What does 486 mean in Korean text messages?

Surprisingly, it is a playful and rather affectionate way to say, “I love you.” It comes from years ago, when people were using pagers and push-button cell phones. Back then, you needed to push particular numbers to type messages, and in the case of saying three main words, the code was 486. Today, it is not as popular as other slang messages, but many people still remember this cute abbreviation.

What’s the significance of learning Korean texting slang?

There are so many benefits! Firstly, it allows you to easily integrate into Korean digital culture, fostering more engaging and efficient interactions with Koreans. Also, it is a very fun and exciting way to expand your vocabulary and memorize not only common words but also unique slang expressions to become more fluent and use more vivid and lively language.

Are there any etiquette or norms to follow while using Korean texting slang in conversations?

Sure, although slang is quite popular in Korea, there are some things to keep in mind. You need to use it appropriately based on the context and your relationship with the recipient. Some expressions might be too casual for formal or professional conversations. Furthermore, it is essential to avoid using offensive slang, as some phrases and terms might be considered rude or inappropriate in certain settings. Always be mindful of the situation and the person you’re communicating with. Not everyone might be familiar with all slang terms, so clarity is vital.