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These Korean Words Made It to the English Dictionary, How Many Do You Know?

Fighting, samgyeopsal, oppa, and more made the list.
by Clara Rosales
Oct 7, 2021
Photo/s: Unsplash

More Korean words were officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary on Wednesday, underscoring K-Entertainment's influence on global pop culture and language.

Familiar terms like K-Drama and samgyeopsal, which Filipinos enjoy in unlimited servings, were included. Adding K- before words like pop and indie are also now official in combination form.

Korean food features prominently in this year's update, with six more entries alongside samgyeopsal; bulgogi, thin slices of marinated beef; galbi, beef short ribs; banchan, Korean side dishes; and japchae, clear noodles made from sweet potato starch, were added.

Dongchimi, a particular type of kimchi made from napa cabbage, radish, and chili swimming in a sweet-salty brine, earned its own entry. Kimbap, an assortment of vegetables and meat wrapped in a rice and seaweed combo, also made the list.

Honorifics for older family members or individuals like noona, oppa, and unni were added. Even K-Drama favorite "fighting!" is now officially a word in the English word.

Continue reading below ↓

Some more words used colloquially in Korean content and in K-fandoms were also included. How many can you recognize?


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Here's the full list of Korean words added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2021:

  • aegyo, n. and adj.
  • banchan, n.
  • bulgogi, n.
  • chimaek, n.
  • daebak, n., int., and adj.
  • dongchimi, n.
  • fighting, int.
  • galbi, n.
  • hallyu, n.
  • hanbok, n.
  • japchae, n.
  • K-, comb. form
  • K-drama, n.
  • kimbap, n.
  • Konglish, n. and adj.
  • Korean wave, n. in Korean, adj. and n.
  • manhwa, n.
  • mukbang, n.
  • noona, n.
  • oppa, n.
  • PC bang, n.
  • samgyeopsal, n.
  • skinship, n.
  • tang soo do, n.
  • trot, n.
  • unni, n.

These words were revised in the September 2021 update:

  • gisaeng, n.
  • Hangul, n.
  • Juche, n.
  • kimchi, n.
  • Kono, n.
  • Korean, adj. and n.
  • K-pop, n.
  • sijo, n.
  • taekwondo, n.
  • won, n.
  • yangban, n.
Continue reading below ↓
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