Why Do Koreans Shorten Words All The Time?

???? What’s your perspective about slangs?

Words like lol, tbh, bussin, low-key are all slangs. Many slangs have been created as the internet became a part of our lives. As you know, slangs are often created by younger generations and widely used on the interne

irl : in real life

Koreans also use slangs. In fact, Koreans are serious about creating and using slangs. They basically make as many slangs as possible.

There’s even a slang that makes fun of making too many slangs. Slangs are most widely used by teenagers, but people in 20s and 30s, and even 40s and 50s, use slangs (but slang words may differ depending on their age).

Opinions toward slangs vary. Some prefer using slangs as they are trendy and fun to write. Others think slangs are messing up the language as they are not “proper” words and thus breaking grammar and dictation rules.

Why do Koreans love slangs?

1️⃣ Korean (aka Hangul) is a phonetic alphabet that can express all sorts of pronunciations relatively accurately. In other words, the language itself has an outstanding ability of creating new words. It seems like Koreans love to play around with Hangul very much.

2️⃣ Korea’s pali-pali (hurry-hurry) culture can be another reason why Koreans love slangs: they can say the words quickly! Koreans are known to get things done fast. Koreans eat fast, walk fast, work fast, and SPEAK FAST. In order to speak fast, they need to shorten the words.

Do you know what else the pali-pali culture has influenced? TRENDS. Koreans are very sensitive to trends and this trait is also seen in the usage of slangs. When a new slang is created and gets somewhat famous, it’s just a matter of time before gaining nationwide popularity.

Nike Dunk Low became a thing in 2021 and everyone was wearing them.????

We’ve categorized slangs into three types.

1️⃣ Abbreviation (or acronym)

Shortened form of a word or phrase. Most of the slangs are included in this category. Words, brands, phrases, and even sentences can be abbreviated.


  • Iced Americano > 이스 메리카노 > 아아 (ah-ah)
  • Insider > 인싸이더 > 인싸 (in-ssah)
  • Outsider > 이더 > 아싸 (ah-ssah)
  • Mental breakdown > 괴 > 멘붕 (men-boong)
  • Bus station > 류장 > 버정 (buh-jeong)


  • Baskin Robbins > 스킨 빈슨 > 베라 (bae-rah)
  • McDonalds > 드 > 맥날 (mac-nal)
  • Instagram > 인스타그램 > 인스타 (insta)
  • Facebook > 이스 > 페북 (fae-book)


  • Ice Americano, even if I freeze to death > 어도 이스 아메리카노 > 얼죽아 (eol-juk-ah)
  • Work life balance > 이프 런스 > 워라밸 (wo-la-bel)
  • Romance if I do it, adultery if someone else does it > 가 하면 맨스, 이 하면 륜 > 내로남불 (nae-ro-nam-bul)
  • Small but sure happiness > 소하지만 실한 복 > 소확행 (so-hwak-haeng)


  • The mood suddenly gets cold > 자기 위기 해진다 > 갑분싸 (gab-bun-ssa)
  • I didn’t ask and I’m not curious > 안 물어봤고 안 궁금하다 > 안물안궁 (ahn-mul-ahn-geung)
  • You shorten everything > 다 줄인다 > 별다줄 (byul-da-jul)
  • I/he/she/we lost, but fought well >지만 잘 싸웠다 > 졌잘싸 (jut-jal-ssa)
  • Sorry I/he/she/we could not protect you > 켜주지 안해 > 지못미 (ji-mot-mi)

2️⃣ Consonants

These simple consonant words are for tex. Using only consonants can be quite rude if you are not close with a person you are talking to. So they are mainly used with close friends.

  • Hi > 하이 > ㅎㅇ
  • Thanks > 감사 > ㄱㅅ
  • Okay > 응응 > ㅇㅇ
  • Let’s go > 고고 > ㄱㄱ

Conversation can go like this :

????‍♂️ ㅎㅇ


????‍♂️ ㅎㅇ


????‍♂️ ㅇㄷ?

(Where are you?)

????‍♂️ 집


????‍♂️ ㄱㄱ

(Let’s go)

????‍♂️ ㅇㅇ


3️⃣ Words with similar shape

Koreans took a step further and created a word that has similar shape with the actual word.

멍멍이 (mung-mung-e) means “puppy” in Korean. It is a word.
댕댕이 (daeng-daeng-e) doesn’t mean anything. It is not a word.
But people often say 댕댕이 as referring to 멍멍이.

귀엽다 (gui-yeop-da) means “cute” in Korean. It is a word.
커엽다 (keo-yeop-da) doesn’t mean anything. It is not a word.
But people often say 커엽다 to refer 귀엽다.

멍멍이 댕댕이

귀엽다 커엽다

Look at the words closely.

Aren’t they similar? ????

There are so many other slangs that we cannot cover in this post! ????

???? Discussion for Today’s Topic :

Do you often use slangs in your country? What’s your perspective about slangs?

Feel free to share your opinion with us. ????

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Subscribe to the UoH Weekly Snippet

    The essential weekly round-up for news, analysis, and breaking news alerts in Korea.
    Receive news, offers and invites from UoH Our newsletters may include 3rd-party advertising, by subscribing you agree to the Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.
    Connecting people from around the world to South Korea. We believe that every country and culture matters.
    Our Products
    UoH ©2023 On Curiosities Co. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement