Slang is very informal language or spesific words used by a particular group of people. You’ll usually hear slang spoken more often than you’ll see it put in writing, though emails and texts often contain many conversational slang words.
Now, Korean culture works the same way. Koreans have slang to differentiate standard Korean, often found in written forms, from the Korean that’s used in daily conversations. In the case of more widespread slang, the in-group becomes most Korean natives engaged in conversation.
In this articles Channel Korea would explain more about Korean slang words, the meaning of the word Daebak, its uses in daily conversation, usage of Korean slang words in daily life, and a bit about other Korean slang.
What is Daebak’s Meaning?
대박 is a slang term in Korean, used among mostly youth or young adults to express when something happens that is good, cool, fun, etc.
It initially meant “jackpot” or “unexpected great thing”, so the meaning of the now-slang term is essentially a happy outcry for when you feel like you got lucky or something went your way.
It means jackpot or a big success, originally, but now people also use it when they are surprised/shocked as an exclamation. It can also be used in a sarcastic way.
Furthermore, if you’re with a close friend and they are telling you a story, and they say something which you think is really awesome, you might just say “Daebak!” to show your interest.
You can also use it about hot stuff. When you go shopping and find something you know is really good but so cheap, you might say “Daebak!”
It’s a word that’s used when something is very exciting. It’s used to say ‘대박’ and ‘대박이다’. Of course, it is also used when you are heavily urged by irony or when your work is greatly distorted.
Shortly, Daebak is used like an exclamation word expressing the speaker’s massive feeling, plus the speaker’s surprise, which infers that the speaker didn’t know about the content until (s)he is reported.
In conclusion, “daebak” is a slang term in the Korean language that is used when something good or cool happens.
Daebak’s Uses in Daily Conversation
The use of exclamations by young people is diverse. This is culture talk among young Korean speakers. Since it is a word that is used very often in modern Korean, especially among young people, it appears frequently in dramas and is generally described as the admiration used by high school girls.
origin from 흥부전Bg
Bigourd = 대 박
Heungbu heals the swallow’s legs and gets the seeds of a large gourd from the swallow.
A large gourd grows and many gold and silver treasures come out of it. The opposite is an impurity that means small gourds (e.g., 쪽박)
They use that word when get surprised, as well. That doesn’t only have a positive meaning, but you also could use it when expressing shock. So, you can just understand that’s a surprise expression.
1.A: 그 남자애가 나 좋아한데
(Geu namjaaega na joahande)
Apparently, he likes me.
B: 대박, 진짜?
( Daebak, jinjja?
No way, seriously?
2. A: 나 지갑 잃어 버렸어
(Na jigab iro boryeosseo)
I’ve lost my purse
B: 헐, 대박! 가방 다시 잘 찾아봐!
(Heol, daebak! Kabang dasi jal chajabwa!)
What the.. look into your bag again!
3. A: 이거 대박이다 완전 신기해.
(Igeo daebakida wanjeon singihae)
Wow this is so cool, It’s unbelievable.
I know, right?
Sometimes you will see words that you wouldn’t understand easily. That’s because of a cultural difference. Do not try to get it by force, but try to see as many examples as you can to know when you can use it.
Usage of Korean Slang Words in Daily Life
Millenial people, or popular with Generation Z, have some upgrade habits or their own fashion in style, foods, hobbies, and even in uses of the words in their conversations.
This phenomenon also happens among Korean young people. They use slang words so much beside formal language, to exclude older people. If they are making conversation, or talking with their friends or with others of same age or younger, they commonly use slang words in their daily conversation.
We can see it in Korean dramas or variety shows. Even idols use slang words a lot these days. This conversation can be positive, because they look more relaxed and easier to approach.
Other Korean Slang Words
These days, Korean young people use many slang words in their daily conversation. They express their feelings or their thoughts through slang words, and even shorten the words or use it’s initial. These are some of the Korean slang words that young people use so much:
1. 대박 (Daebak), meaning Jackpot, big hit, amazing, etc.
Ex: 이거 대박이다 완전 신기해.
(Igeo daebakida wanjeon singihae)
Wow is so cool, It’s unbelievable.
2. 훈남/훈녀(Hum nam/Hum neo) – This term refers to a person who is charming and gives off a soft/gentle aura. Usually, they look responsible.
Ex: 요즘은 미남보다는 훈남이 인기가 더많죠.
(Yojeumeun mi nam bo da neun hun man i in gi ga deo manh jyo).
Nowadays, charming guys are more popular than hot guys.
3. 엄친아 (Um-chin-ah)/ 엄친딸 (Um-chin-dtal) This is an abbreviated term from the phrase “엄마친구의 아들/딸”, which means my mom’s friend’s son. Um from Mom (Um-ma), Chi,n from friend (Chin-gu), and ah, from son (Ah-deul) or dtal, from the word daughter. It’s used to refer to guys/girls who are good at everything.
Ex: 걔 학벌도좋고, 착하고, 완전 잘생겼어.엄친아야.
(Gyae hakbeoldo joh go, chakha go, wan jeon jal saeng gyeoss eo. Eom chin a ya)
He has a great educational background, nice, and is super attractive. He’s an eom chin a.
4. 행쇼 (Haeng-syo) – This phrase, popularized by Korea’s music/fashion/trend icon G-dragon, is a shortened word for 행복하십쇼 [haeng bok ha sip syo] which means “Be happy” in honorifics. It’s used to say goodbye – English equivalent would be “Peace”- or literally “Be happy”.
Ex: 나먼저갈께, 행쇼.
(Na meon jeo gal kke, haeng syo)
I’m going to leave first, peace.
5. 얼추 (eol chu) – roughly, approximately.
(Da hae seo eol chu eol ma ya?)
How much is it approximately, in total?
6. 갑이다/을이다 (gab i da/ eur i da)– Gab/Eur are words used to express the power dynamic between two people or groups. Gab represents the person with more power, and eur is the subjugated. This usage was popularized by a segment of a comedy show called Gag Concert, called, “Gab/Eur company”, where the comedians used satire on Korea’s corporate culture.
Ex: 결혼전에는, 여자가 갑이지. 결혼후에는 남자가 갑이고.
(gyeol hon jeon e neun, yeo ja ga gab i ji. geyol hon hu e neun, nan ja ga gab i go.)
Before marriage, the woman is the gab. After marriage, the man is the gab.
7. 짱 (jjang)- ‘awesome’ or ‘the best’, and it can be used as an adjective or as an affix. As an adjective, you would use this slang to describe someone or something that is the best.
Ex: 넌 짱이다!
( neon jjangida)
You are awesome!
8. 헐 (heol)- No way, Oh my gosh, Wah
Ex: 헐? 및젔나봐
Oh my gosh? This is crazy.
That’s some examples of Korean slang words, and you can find more in another article.