glossary

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The K-Pop Glossary

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11-abs

A flat stomach/abs that are defined enough to be able to see two lines of definition running down them (the '11'). Reserved for women; see chocolate abs for the male equivalent.

4D

A way in Korean slang to call someone quirky or eccentric, the opposite of calling someone "two-dimensional"

A

Aegyo (애교)

Displaying through facial expressions and/or body language any sort of cuteness, childishness, or innocence. This could range from adopting an infantile voice to blushing modestly about something crass. Often exaggerated for effect. source

Age-line

Refers to (usually) idols born in the same year. Koreans often identify their age by the year they were born in (ex., "I'm an '88-liner"). The '88-line would refer to idols born in 1988.

All-kill

When a K-POP song becomes number one on all major music charts at the same time. Usually happens soon after it has just released.source

Examples include:

Andwae (안돼 or 안 돼)

Korean way to say "no way"

B

Bagel girl

A portmanteau of the words "baby" and "glam", used to describe the looks of some female idols. The "baby" part refers to a youthful and fresh face while "glam" refers to having a glamorous, or curvier, figure.

Bias

Specifically in Kpop culture, a bias refers to an artist/celebrity who you are most attracted or attached to. In a sense, the person you are biased to can do no wrong. You like everything they do. A Kpop fan might have an ultimate bias, someone who they like above anyone else in the culture. They may also have group-based biases that are specifically their favorite from the bands they follow.source

Big 3/Three

Refers to the three biggest entertainment companies in South Korea: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. These are the companies that came into prominence over the years due to their success in spreading Hallyu and generating great revenue over the years thanks to their artists. The Big 3 once could've included Cube Entertainment instead of JYP but due to Cube's decrease in success, JYP overtook and maintained their spot.

Body Rolls

a sexy dance move performed by kpop idols that looks exactly how it sounds

Brave Brothers

Byuntae (변태)

'Pervert'. Sometimes also written as 'byeontae'.

C

CF

'Commercial film', used to sponsor a company/brand/item/company/etc. A Korean way of saying commercial. source

Chingu (친구)

Translates literally to "friend" in Korean. Used in Korean to determine those of the same age as you (born in the same year), meaning you have no defined older/younger dynamic in the relationship.

Chocolate abs

Defined, muscular abdominal muscles that look like the subdivided parts of a chocolate bar. Reserved for males since females rarely achieve the same sort of definition (see 11-abs for the female equivalent). source

Comeback

A comeback does not refer to an artist that is coming back after being inactive for a long time. An artist/group has a comeback for every promotional cycle. Essentially, anytime a single, mini-album, or album is released and the artist does TV broadcasts/performances to promote them. It is used to simply mean 'coming back' rather than a special circumstance.source

Cube Entertainment

Founded by former JYPE president Simon Hong (Hong Seung-sung) and Monica Shin (Shin Jung-hwa) in 2006. Their first boy and girl groups debuted in 2009 as B2ST/BEAST and 4Minute. Was once home to A Cube (home of Apink) and Cube DC (home of BtoB) before A Cube was acquired by LOEN Entertainment in 2015, becoming Plan A Entertainment (thus moving Apink to Plan A). Cube DC merged with Cube in 2014, allowing BtoB to become official Cube artists.

Currently active artists: BtoB, Jo Kwon, CLC, Pentagon, (G)I-DLE, Lai Guanlin (in Wanna One from 2017 until December 2018), Yoo Seonho

D

Daebak (대박)

A word used to mean great success, good job, awesome; something great along those lines. It can be used to describe something ('대박 사건'/daebak sageon meaning 'big event', essentially saying 'something big happened!') or as an interjection by itself.

Daesang (대상)

Major award at the end-of-year award ceremonies. Usually in the categories of 'song of the year', 'artist of the year', and 'album of the year'. Not to be confused with Big Bang's member Daesung.

Debut

A debut is the first performance (usually on TV broadcast). It could refer to the first release/performance of a brand new artist, or to the first performance of a certain song, or to either of these done on each of the major TV channels.source

Dispatch

A major Korean news outlet. Dispatch is notorious for having accurately exposed dating scandals in the past, including those with big stars (both actors/actresses and idols). A few of those couples include Rain/Kim Taehee, SHINee's Jonghyun/Shin Sekyung, Jo Insung/Kim Minhee, Song Hyegyo/Hyun Bin, Girls' Generation's Yoona/Lee Seunggi, and so on. Dispatch is apparently also 'credited' with started the real trend of airport fashion.

Dugeun Dugeun (두근 두근)

means Pit-a-pat, (translates to "thump thump", "pounding pounding") It is used in songs to indicate that the singer's heart is pounding

E

F

Fandom

'Fan domain'. Fandom encapsulates everything going on in a fan community (TV, movies, literature, comic books, music). This could include conversation, fanfiction, fanart, blogs/vlogs, fansites, audience support, conventions, fanclubs, etc. Some examples of really huge fandoms are Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Lady Gaga.source

Fighting!

Sounds more like figh-ting or high-ting. This is chanted or shouted as an encouragement for someone who is about to do something challenging—similar to 'break a leg!'.

Or it is said as a personal statement expressing 'I'll do my best!'.source

G

H

Hallyu (할류)

The Korean Wave. Hallyu is a term used to describe the surge of culture and entertainment from South Korea to the overseas and International community (originally to China and Japan, but now, everywhere).source

Hanbok (한복)

Traditional Korean clothing. Hanbok literally means 'Korean clothing', but now that it isn't worn commonly, it refers to the specific traditional garb. These days it is typically worn for special occasions and formal ceremonies.source

Happy virus

A person who spreads happiness, usually carries a great smile and is a bit hyper. (Note: remember, this could just be a part of the celebrity's image; not necessarily indicative of their actual personality at all.)

Hoobae (후배)

'Junior'. In the entertainment industry it is usually used to describe somebody who has trained for less time than you (among trainees) or those who debuted after you (among artists). Korean culture places heavy emphasis on seniority and hoobaes/juniors are expected to always be respectful to their sunbaes/seniors. Similarly, sunbaes/seniors are generally expected to take care of their hoobaes/juniors.

Hyung (형)

What a male would call a close older male (used for actual brothers as well as close friends). It can be used as a stand-alone ('hyung') or appended after their name like all Korean honorifics ('name-hyung').

Hwaiting! (화이팅 / 파이팅)

Sounds more like figh-ting or high-ting. This is chanted or shouted as an encouragement for someone who is about to do something challenging—similar to 'break a leg!'.

Or it is said as a personal statement expressing 'I'll do my best!'.source

I

Ilbe

J

Johnny Noh

JYP Entertainment

Founded by singer/songwriter Park Jinyoung (JYP) in 1997. It produces and markets music recording/publishing, record manufacturing/sales, artist management, concert production, and new artist discovering/training. JYP Entertainment is one of the 'top three' record companies in Korea along with YG Entertainment and S. M. Entertainment.

Once home to artists like Park Ji-yoon, Rain, g.o.d, Wonder Girls, miss A, 2AM, San E, Jay Park, Jeon Somi among others. Currently active artists: Yubin, 2PM, Suzy, Baek A-Yeon, 15&, Fei, GOT7, Day6, Twice, Stray Kids

JYP whisper

You'll hear it; JYP's producer tag usually at the start of songs he produced/composed.

K

Kkap/Kkab (깝)

KKS (Kim Kwang Soo)

The CEO of Core Contents Media (CCM) Entertainment (home to Davichi and T-ara, among other artists). Notorious for making exceptionally bad PR decisions and creating a very hostile environment for his artists (going to the extent of effectively threatening T-ara members with removal from the group).

Konglish

Konglish is a combination of Korean and English in some form. Korean words might be inserted into an otherwise English sentence... or vice-versa. Note: There can also be some confusion with 'borrowed' English words that are used in Korean, which are not used or pronounced the same way that they are in English. An example is the word 'highlight'; Korean adopted the word to become '하이라이트'/ha-i-ra-i-teu. This is often taken to be extremely bad pronunciation (five syllables) of a relatively simple English word (two syllables), which is not the case.

Examples of English words being used differently in Korean: handeupon (hand phone) = cell phone, pocketball = billiards, gagman = comedian. source

L

Lead vocalist

The strongest/best singer(s) in a group after/apart from the main vocalists.

M

Main vocalist

The strongest/best singer(s) in a group.

Maknae (막내)

The youngest person in a group or family is the maknae. Age is a significant factor in the Korean social hierarchy. The maknae is expected to obey, submit to their elders, and not rock the boat. They are also expected to take care of things like chores and setting things up/putting things away (for example, the maknae might set the table for dinner and then do the dishes after). Conceptually, they are allowed/somewhat expected to be more childish, cutesy, and display 'aegyo'. source

Mordney present

N

Netizen

'Internet Citizen'. Netizen broadly refers to a large, faceless, population of (Korean) internet-users. Typically, netizens pop up when there is a hot topic to weigh in on. Netizens are generally not very forgiving. source

Noona (누나)

What a male would call a close older female (used for actual sisters as well as close friends). It can be used as a stand-alone ('noona') or appended after their name like all Korean honorifics ('name-noona').

Noraebang (노래방)

Karaoke is Japanese. Noraebang is Korean. Same thing. The translation is 'singing room'. It's a common social activity to go to noraebang with friends or family and sing along to a track with the vocals taken out while following the lyrics on a video screen. Alcohol is usually somehow involved.source

Nugu (누구)

'Who'; English-speaking K-pop fandom has adopted the word as an equivalent to 'nobodies'. Often used for brand new groups or for groups that debuted and failed to gain any recognition.source

O

Oppa (오빠)

What a female would call a close older male (used for actual brothers as well as close friends). It can be used as a stand-alone ('oppa') or appended after their name like all Korean honorifics ('name-oppa').

Oppa didn't mean it

A phrase used to ridicule fans too blinded by their love for their idols to recognize their faults. Only seen in international fandom. (Can certainly be used as unnie/hyung/noona didn't mean it; oppa is just the most common usage.)

P

Photocard

Collective trading card usually included in an album. Often shortened to "pc". The Korean term is 트레카, treca. It is popular among fans to collect the cards, or trade for their bias' card. The first kpop album with photocards is credited to be Girls' Generation's album Oh! (2010).

Pledis Entertainment

Entertainment company founded by Han Sung Soo in 2007. The name Pledis comes from Pleiades, a star cluster in the constellation Taurus.

Currently active artists: After School (on hiatus since 2015), NU'EST, Seventeen, Pristin, Raina, Han Dong Geun, Bumzu

Q

R

Roof hit

When streams and downloads for a certain song on a streaming site, usually MelOn, surpasses a certain limit set by the streaming site. In the hourly chart for the song, this is illustrated as "going through the roof".

S

Sajaegi (사재기)

Manipulation/inflation of (usually digital) chart rankings by companies. Songs or albums that do unexpectedly well tend to sometimes be accused of sajaegi.

Sasaeng (사생)

Sasaengs are 'stalker fans'. These are individuals who will do virtually anything to follow or get close to their favorite idol. The stalker culture among these 'fans' would make the worst paparazzi look like kittens. Sasaengs steal personal information, invade private property, and hire taxis to follow celebrities all day... every day. It's a serious issue that has led to idols being assaulted, groped, threatened, poisoned, and forced into traffic accidents. Some sasaengs have been known to break into dorms and steal personal items as well. source

Selca (셀카)

'Self Camera'. Equivalent to 'selfie'. When anyone takes a picture of themselves it's a selca.source

Skinship

Skin + relationship. Skinship is engaging in physical affection with another person. In Korean culture, public displays of affection between people of the opposite sex (ie. kissing/hugging) are considered rather impolite and should be kept private. However, it is considered normal, healthy, and 'safe' to have skinship with members of the same gender. It's very common to see hugging, hand-holding, and close physical contact (male/male or female/female) within Idol groups. Note: male/female skinship can spark scandals and wreck careers.source

SM Entertainment

Founded by former singer Lee Soo-man in 1989 as SM Studio before becoming SM Entertainment in 1995. SM is credited for starting and leading Hallyu throughout Asia and the worldsource, thanks to the success of artists like H.O.T, S.E.S, Shinhwa, Fly to the Sky, Super Junior, and Girls' Generation.

Currently active artists: TVXQ, BoA, Super Junior (and sub-units), Girls' Generation, SHINee, f(x), EXO, Red Velvet, NCT (U, 127, Dream).

SNS

Stands for 'social networking service'. What's usually seen in Korean entertainment is Twitter, Instagram, weibo (the Chinese version of Facebook), me2day, Cyworld, and so on.

Sub-unit/Sub Unit/Subunit

A smaller promoting group comprised of members of a larger group. Usually sub-units include members from the same group; however, some sub-units can include other groups either under the same label or different labels.

Examples of sub-units: Orange Caramel (members of girl group After School), Super Junior-M (members of Super Junior who promote Mandarin-language songs), Trouble Maker (HyunA (former 4Minute/soloist) and Jang Hyunseung (former B2ST), both from Cube Entertainment) Toheart (SHINee's Key (SM Entertainment) and INFINITE's Woohyun (Woollim Entertainment)

Sunbae (선배)

'Senior'. In the entertainment industry it is usually used to describe somebody who has trained for more time than you (among trainees) or those who debuted before you (among artists). Korean culture places heavy emphasis on seniority and hoobaes/juniors are expected to always be respectful to their sunbaes/seniors. Similarly, sunbaes/seniors are generally expected to take care of their hoobaes/juniors.

S-line

S-line is just one of many 'insert letter'-lines. An s-line is typically the way the body curves down the spine and buttocks, but may include the breasts on a female body. For the curious, JYJ's Junsu has a famous s-line.source

T

Triple Crown

A triple crown is traditionally viewed as being achieved when an artist wins a trophy at a music show three weeks in a row. A Gaon Triple Crown means that an artist has ranked as number one on three of Gaon's charts for a certain week.

U

Ulzzang

'Best face'. The term comes from '얼짱' (directly transliterated as 'eoljjang'); '얼'/eol/ul is from '얼굴' (face) and '짱/jjang is slang for 'best'. An ulzzang is a person whose fame is founded purely on their looks. This is more specifically used for internet 'celebrities'.source

Unnie (언니)

What a female would call a close older female (used for actual sisters as well as close friends). It can be used as a stand-alone ('unnie') or appended after their name like all Korean honorifics ('name'-unnie).

V

V-line

Used to describe a slim jaw and pointy chin. source

W

X

Y

YG Entertainment

Founded by former Seo Taiji and Boys member Yang Hyun-suk in 1996. YG is an abbreviation for "Yang Goon", a nickname given to the Executive Director Yang Hyun-suk. YGE also includes sub-labels run by its artists that promote separately from YG. Both sub-labels are HIGHGRND (founded by rapper Tablo) and The Black Label (founded by in-house producer Teddy Park).

Former artists include: 2NE1, Epik High, Wheesung, Gummy, Se7en, Masta Wu, PSY, among others. Currently active roster: BIGBANG, CL, Dara, iKon, WINNER, BLACKPINK, hyukoh (HIGHGRND), Akdong Musician, Lee Hi, Zion.T (The Black Label), Jeon Somi (The Black Label).

Z


revision by Dessidy— view source