Are you fluent in K-pop? Do you ever find yourself trying to explain K-pop to a family member or friend and realize that it sounds like you are speaking an entirely different language? We've all been there! The K-pop world has it's own unique vocabulary with a strange hybrid of Korean, English, and internet slang words. The question remains, how fluent are you?
Check out these ten words that every K-pop fan MUST know in order to prove that they can speak K-pop.
Let's start out simple. Chances are this is one of the first K-pop words you learned. Bias is the member of a K-pop group that is your ULTIMATE favorite. This is the member that evokes all your feels, inspiring you to focus your love and attention on this particular person. If they are your bias, chances are that you are there to support them in all their endeavors 100% of the time.
It is important to note that the term bias has a pretty fluid definition and scope. To some fans, they commit themselves to only one true bias, remaining steadfast in their love for that one member. Other K-pop fans will each have their own particular bias in each group that they support, leaving this term more open-ended and flexible. At times, bias can even be extended to include an entire group.
Person: "Who is your bias in GOT7?"
Me: "My bias is Jinyoung!!! But JB, Mark, Jackson, Youngjae, BamBam, and Yugyeom are all bias wreckers for me... STAY IN YOUR LANE GUYS!!"
Related Terms: Bias wrecker, ultimate bias, bias group, girl crush
Stan refers to an avid, borderline obsessive fan of a particular group. Someone who says they stan a group will support them no matter what. This term can be used as both a noun and a verb such that both "I am a BTS Stan" and "I stan BTS" are proper uses of this term.
"Stop sleeping on talent. Stan Day6!!!"
"I am the ultimate EXO stan, but I also stan NCT, Red Velvet, Seventeen, and SHINee."
Related Terms: Trash
This Korean word means a cute, often over-exaggerated, display of affection, often expressed through adorable facial expressions, gestures, and cutesy voices.
K-pop idols, both girls and guys, are often expected to show off aegyo during variety show appearances and promotions. The youngest members are usually asked first to show off their cute moves and expressions. It is also common for fans to ask for the idols to compete to see who is the cutest member with the best aegyo.
"I don't do aegyo." - Suga (meanwhile... he does aegyo XD)
Related Terms: Gwiyomi, sha-sha-shy
This is the term for the youngest member of the group. In Korea, age plays an important role in relationships and how people interact with each other. Maknaes in K-pop groups often take on a cutesy role, playing up their status as the baby of the group. At the same time, being the maknae also often implies that they need to take care of and respect their hyungs/unnies, often doing the grunt work that the older members don't want to do.
"Zelo is B.A.P's giant maknae. When did he get so tall?!"
"Make the maknae do it! Our maknae is good at being cute!!"
Related Terms: maknae line, dongsaeng, golden maknae
All-Kill is when a song ranks #1 across all of Korea's major real-time music charts: Bugs, Cyworld, Daum, MelOn, Mnet, Monkey3, Naver Music, Olleh, and Soribada. In most cases, this happens as soon as the song is released. Achieving an All-Kill is a major certification of the song's popularity in Korea.
"BTS' 'Spring Day' got an instant all-kill upon release and crashed MelOn!"
Related Terms: sweep the charts
To ship is to support or root for a pairing between different idols. This pairing could be in romantic terms or even just as friends. It basically means to support a relationship (in whatever form) between two idols.
"Even though KARD said there was absolutely no chance they would date each other, I still ship BM and Jiwoo together. I ship them so hard!"
Related Terms: OTP
This term refers to the new K-pop groups that have not yet made a name for themselves. Nugu comes from the Korean term for "who" and is used when talking about groups that the general public doesn't know about. While the Nugu groups are usually very talented, they just have not been able to catch the attention of Korean and international fans, often because they do not come from one of the top Korean entertainment companies and lack strong promotions.
"Is this a nugu group? I don't recognize them... They're pretty good!! Nugus, fighting!"
Related Terms: Rookie
An obsessive fan of a Korean idol that often engages in questionable behavior, such as stalking, that acts as an invasion of privacy for the idols. Their over-obsession is highly looked down upon to the point where they are not considered real fans anymore. At times, idols have even been put in danger due to the actions of sasaeng fans, with a number of car crashes caused by their actions.
"Those sasaengs are not REAL fans! They endangered the health of our oppas and everyone around them!!"
Related Terms: Stalker
A Sunbae is a senior with more experience within the industry, having debuted before the Hoobae groups. Hoobae is the junior who has less experience within the industry. The Hoobae is expected to show respect to their Sunbaes, greeting them with a bow and a proper acknowledgment.
"UP10TION bowing to their sunbae group INFINITE even in the middle of their rehearsals was adorable!" (It really was endearing: CLICK HERE to watch!)
Related Terms: hyung/dongsaeng and unnie/dongsaeng
Originally meaning jackpot or huge success, daebak has now also taken on the more general meaning of "awesome" or "amazing". It's usually said when someone is shocked or surprised about a situation. This is a very common term to hear in the K-pop and K-drama worlds.
"Our new song is daebak! We can't wait for you guys to hear it!!"
Related Words: Jjang
Did you already know all of these words? What other words would you add to this list? Which is your favorite K-pop term? Share your thoughts below!
You are now one step closer to being fluent in K-pop!
Check out our list of awesome Korean music recommendations to spice up your playlist! From genres including indie, hip-hop, K-drama OSTs, and addicting ballads, we got you covered HERE!