5 Commonly Used Korean Phrases: 5가지 속담

2015 October 30
by juyeon

During a conversation in Korean, you may often hear phrases or sentences that do not make sense or sound relevant to the topic, but participants in conversation seemingly understand the message better with those weird-sounding clauses. That is because the speaker quoted Korean proverbs. In the Korean dictionary, a proverb or adage is defined as a short sentence or phrase that ancestors formed based on their life experiences. Korea has a strong culture of respecting elders, and words from them are believed to reflect priceless wisdom and valuable insights for younger generations. There are more than a thousand Korean adages recorded in the Korean dictionary, but in this article let me introduce 5 commonly used ones:


untitled-1-1사공이 많으면 배가 으로 간다

Direct Translation: If a boat has too many conductors, the boat will climb up the mountain instead of moving in the ocean.

Meaning: If there are too many different ideas for a project, it is difficult to complete successfully.




1소 잃고 외양간 고친다

Direct Translation: Fixing a stable after losing a horse.

Meaning: It is useless to regret after you failed or think about what you should have done.




3발 없는 말이 천 리 간다

Direct Translation: Words do not have feet but can go a thousand miles.

Meaning: Be careful with what you say.






s시작이 반이다

Direct Translation: Starting is half the task.

Meaning: Getting started is often the hardest step. But, once begun, it will move you forward easily.




ddd빈 수레가 요란하다

Direct Translation: An empty cart rattles loudly.

Meaning: It means that just because someone is outspoken does not necessarily mean he/she is successful or right.



Koreans use the above examples on a daily basis to make his or her points, and mixing one of the mentioned phrases during your conversation will be helpful to deliver your message clearly. You can also listen to the Korean pronunciation of each phrase via flashcards below (Note: press “click to flip.”) I hope this article helps your studies. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any further questions. Also check out our Twitter for the latest news on Korea. Thank you!


*Note: pictures were collected from google image.com
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