common Abbreviations and Shortened korean Words (한국어 줄임말)

common korean abbreviations list and meanings


Life in Korea is all about speed. Everything has to be done quickly (or 빨리 빨리) or you get left behind! Maybe that’s why Koreans love abbreviations so much.

Unfortunately, abbreviations are hard to understand if you don’t know the underlying meaning.

Today I’m going to introduce just a  small selection of abbreviations that are popular these days. They are by no means the only abbreviations you will encounter while learning Korean, but they should give you an idea of how they work.

턱스크 – 턱에다 마스크 쓰고 다니다

wearing a mask in  public is mandatory due to the Covid19 pandemic.  

However, some people are better at following this rule than others.  

턱스크 is a combination of the words 턱 – chin and 마스크 – mask and it’s used to describe masks which are worn on the chin,  not covering the mouth or nose.

점메추해 – 점심 메뉴 추천 해줘

In Korean, it’s quite common to abbreviate whole sentences by taking the first syllable of each word and combining them to form a new expression. 점메추해 is a good example of this.  

It combines the first syllables of

점심 – lunch

메뉴 – menu

추천 – recommendation

해줘 – please

so it’s a quick and easy way to ask a  friend to recommend something good to eat.

점메추해. 점메추해!

오바 / 오버 – Over (the top)

I think this one comes directly from the English expression “over the top” because it’s used in the same way. Of course, Koreans shorten it to just “over” which can be spelt either 오바 or 오버.

억텐 – 억지 텐션

The first thing to know about this one is that  “텐션” in Korean has a totally different meaning than “tension” does in English. When Koreans say 텐션 they mean something similar to “excitement”. 

억지 means forced or against one’s will. When 억지 and 텐션 are combined, and shortened to 억텐,  it means forced excitement.  

You can use this expression to describe situations when someone is faking enthusiasm about something.

 머선129 – 무슨일이고?

Sometimes numbers are included in abbreviations just as they are in English. In this case,  the numbers 일, 이, 구 sound similar to the last 3 syllables of 무슨일이고?  

(What’s going on?) 무슨일이고?. 무슨 is also deliberately misspelt as 머선,   to make it sound cute. #머선129 is a very common Instagram hashtag.

Abbreviations are a big part of the way that people talk. Unfortunately, some of them can be very difficult to understand unless you know the original



Do you know the Korean word for style? It’s 스타일!

It’s a Konglish word that is used a lot to talk about things that we really like.

He’s my style. 내 스타일이야.

완내스완전 내 스타일

It is a combination of 완전… totally,

perfectly, completely and 내 스타일… my style.

To make it quick and easy to say, we just take the first syllable of each word. 완내스.

오저치고 오늘 저녁 치킨 고?

You might already know that fried chicken and beer is Korean speciality.

오저치고 is a quick and easy way to ask someone if they want to go and have it for dinner.

It’s short for 오늘 저녁 치킨 고?

오늘…today 오 저녁…dinner 저

치킨… fried chicken 치 고… the English word go. 고

Bear in mind that the Konglish word 치킨 refers exclusively to fried chicken. For chicken meat in general we say 닭고기.

자만추자연스러운 만남을 추구

These days in Korea there are so many ways to meet someone special. Dating apps are as popular as they are in other countries, but 소개팅 (blind dates) and 미팅 (group dates) also remain popular.

The problem is that these can all be a bit awkward and lacking in spontaneity.

자만추 is an abbreviation used by people who want to meet someone naturally, in real life.

Once again, 자만추 is a combination of the first syllables of the three words.

자연스러운…natural, 만남… meeting someone, 

추구… seek

군싹 군침이 싹 돈다 

The first thing you need to know about Koreans is that we love food!

Did you know that instead of saying “how are you?” Koreans often greet friends by saying “did you eat?”. 밥먹었어?

It is a cool abbreviation that you can use when you see some delicious food.

It translates to something like “my mouth is watering”.

Let’s break it down.

군침이 돌다 – my mouth is watering (돌다 changes to 돈다 to indicate that it’s

happening right now) 싹 an onomatopoeic adjective which means completely or totally.

It means “sphere” or “radius”. Is commonly used as a suffix to show that something is near or close to something else. For example, 수도권 means the area surrounding the capital city (수도).

It’s really common to see words like this associated with the housing market.

역세권 – close to a subway station, 교세권 close to a school, 숲세권 close to a forest or other green area. 슬세권 is a play on 숲세권.

The 슬 is short for 슬리퍼 and it means a place that is close enough to easily go wearing slippers.