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26 Korean words added to Oxford English dictionary! Know more

The influence of Korean culture all around the world is spreading day by day, mostly on the young generation. People are now showing more interest in K-pop and K-dramas. And it can be surely seen in the growth in the fame of K-pop groups and interesting K-dramas. From listening to BTS and other K-pop groups to watching K-dramas and series to following the Korean beauty and fashion trends, these all things show the impact of Korean culture in the lives of many people across the world. And noticing this great impact of Korean culture in our lives, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has finally incorporated 26 Korean origin words to its latest edition! 

According to the blog post made by OED, “We are all riding the crest of the Korean wave, and this can be felt not only in film, music, or fashion but also in our language, as evidenced by some of the words and phrases of Korean origin included in the latest update of the Oxford English Dictionary.” 

The oldest K-word in the Oxford English Dictionary update is of course the meaning of ‘K’, which means Korean. According to the statement made by Oxford English Dictionary, “First added to the OED in its 1933 supplement, the dictionary’s entry for both the nominal and adjectival uses of Korean has now been fully revised.” 

In the new update, Korean foods are featured prominently, and the new entries include:

  • banchan (first attested 1938) – a small side dish of vegetables, etc., served along with rice as part of a typical Korean meal.
  • bulgogi (1958) – a dish of thin slices of beef or pork which are marinated then grilled or stir-fried.
  • dongchimi (1962) – a type of kimchi made with radish and typically also containing napa cabbage.
  • galbi (1958) -a dish of beef short ribs, usually marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and sugar, and sometimes cooked on a grill at the table.
  • chimaek: n. In South Korea and Korean-style restaurants: fried chicken is served with beer.

Some other known Korean words, included in the dictionary:

  • fighting: int. Esp. in Korea and Korean contexts: expressing encouragement, incitement, or support: ‘Go on!’ ‘Go for it!’
  • hanbok: n. A traditional Korean costume consisting of a long-sleeved jacket or blouse and a long, high-waisted skirt for women or loose-fitting trousers for men, typically worn on formal or ceremonial occasions.
  • K-drama: n. A television series in the Korean language and produced in South Korea. Also: such series collectively.
  • japchae: n. A Korean dish consisting of cellophane noodles made from sweet potato starch, stir-fried with vegetables and other ingredients, and typically seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • daebak: n. Something lucrative or desirable, esp. when acquired or found by chance; a windfall, a jackpot.

int. Expressing enthusiastic approval: ‘fantastic!’, ‘amazing!’

adj. As a general term of approval: excellent, fantastic, great.

And the meaning of the most well-known word of all, Kimchi, is revised in this version. 

According to the Oxford English dictionary, “Amid the rising frenzy surrounding Korean pop culture, two words –“Korean wave” and “Hallyu” have also been added to the dictionary. “Hallyu, a borrowing from Korean, also means ‘Korean wave’ when literally translated, and it is now also being used in English to refer to South Korean pop culture and entertainment itself, not just its increasing popularity.” 

The Oxford dictionary further adds, “The adoption and development of these Korean words in English also demonstrate how lexical innovation is no longer confined to the traditional centers of English in the United Kingdom and the United States — they show how Asians in different parts of the continent invent and exchange words within their own local contexts, then introduce these words to the rest of the English-speaking world…”

Sneha Sivakumar
Sneha Sivakumar
I am Sneha Sivakumar, a writer who fell in love with Creative Writing, and loves to provide entertaining articles about famous personalities.


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