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Discussing Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang: Ep 2

August 18, 2013


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Have you had enough DICKS yet? I hope not, because we’re back with another video full of questionably useful phrases. This week, I started off by teaching Soo Zee super old-school slang that everyone should probably know, even if they never wind up using it.


“pwnd” is a relic from yesteryear’s hacker culture, where swapping out letters of words was cool. Hence “to own” became “to pwn,” which means to completely dominate a video game. To “get pwnd” is to have your backside handed to you by an opponent.

(if you’re the one kicking tail)
You just got pwnd, son!
I will pwn you so hard!

(if you just got obliterated)
How did you beat the Fire Temple? Shadow Link pwns me every time.
Dude, how did you pwn so hardcore at Scrabble? “Xi” can’t be a real word.

Anyone remember that so-bad-it’s-awesome Johnny Lee Miller movie Hackers? I’m pretty sure they drop “pwnd” a few times in there. Or more recently, when online gaming rose to fame, “pwnd” got re-appropriated by the World of Warcraft players to make n00bs feel bad about themselves. Ah yes, pwning n00bs, playing not pr0n, reading 2600. I’m getting all nostalgic. While “pwnd” may have been cool back in the l33t ’90s, now it’s super uncool to say in earnest. You can of course use it ironically, when you’re making fun of a geek on a rampage, but for the most part, I’d recommend you avoid saying it out loud.

Unlike “pwnd,” people actually use “까리하다” to say something is cool. It comes from Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, where all the guys have this macho, masculine attitude very different from Seoulites. The accent is pretty unique, and even though I’m a Seoulite (born and raised!) and not an expert on Korean dialects, I can still get away with using “까리하다.”

Originally, “까리하다” was used amongst teenagers, describing the vibe of a troubled kid. To teenagers, being a slight badass and bending school rules is cool. But “까라하다”‘s meaning has evolved from it’s origins and it’s lost the nuance of being the school troublemaker.

Leigh says it’s like the difference between “shit” and “the shit.” If someone says, “That shirt looks like shit,” you should probably burn it, but if someone says, “That shirt is the shit!” it means it looks damn good on you.


might not even be used in Busan anymore, but here in Seoul it’s widely used when:
A) something is unique and cool (as in 오 ~ 운동화 까리한데~)
B) someone is stylish and fashionable (such as 너 오늘 좀 까리하네!)
C) you are attracted to someone (for example 저 여자애 까리하게 생겼는데~~)

When in doubt:
Just using “까리한데~” is usually enough. Or, if you are not confident using the Busan accent you could use “간지나다.” “간지” is actually Japanese word for being stylish. And Korean people use it A LOT for the same situations.

Bonus Round: Shazaam?

I tried hard to think of a cool way to say Shazaaaaaam! but I only could think of “앗싸!” In the video I mentioned because of a TV ad, “olleh!” was used here and there, but PLEASE DON’T USE IT!! it’s so out of trend and actually not used at all. Saying “대박” is a much less awkward way to say something is more shazaaming than Simon’s shoes (which literally have Shazam written on them. Seriously, they do).

I told you not to use, 쩔어 쩔어! 대박~! TOO MUCH because you can look like a high school kid. Here is a real life example clip from ‘무한도전’ (Infinite Challenge). It made us giggle, you might funny as well.

Do you Nasties use these words? Are we already behind the times? Are you curious about Korea’s many dialects? Let us know in the comments below! And while you’re at it, click this shiny button right here to make sure you don’t miss another DICKS video. You never know, we could teach Soo Zee to twerk in the next one! The only way you can be sure for sure, though, is if you subscribe for more videos. The higher the subscriber count, the greater the chance Soo Zee will twerk!



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Korean Slang