Pronunciation: oot-neun eol-gooleh chim bae-teu-rya
Literal meaning: How can you spit on a smiling face?
Situation: When dealing with customer service for example your tone of voice will determine how the customer feels. A soft and calm voice will never cause anger, whereas if you raise your voice it may stir up angry emotions which may lead to a heated argument of vicious words. I guess the saying “say it, don’t spray it” comes in handy here.
Pronunciation: Soh-ilgo-weyang-gan gochi-gi
Literal meaning: Losing a cow, and then fixing the stable.
Situation: Used to scold someone for example, when a student prepares for a Biology exam after he got a big fat ‘F’. Too late boy~ it would’ve been more helpful if you prepared beforehand!
Pronunciation: Gae-goo-ri ol-chaengi jeok saeng-gak-do mot-handa
Literal meaning: The frog cannot think of the tadpole as an enemy.
Situation: You can’t hate people who aren’t as old or as experienced as you, because you were once just like them.
Pronunciation: Deung-jan miti eodoop-da
Literal meaning: It is dark under the lamp
Situation: Generally, people do not realize what is right under their noses. Like, people pay more attention to things that happen far away from their house than they do right on their own doorstep. Appreciate what you have close by!
Pronunciation: Horangi-egeh mool-ryeo-gado jeong-shin-man chari-myeon sanda
Literal meaning: Even if you are cornered by a tiger, if you keep your cool you can survive.
Situation: If you are in a tight situation, keep calm and you’ll be able to get through it.
Pronunciation: Haneuli moo-neo-jyeodo so-sa-nal goo-myeongi it-da
Literal meaning: Even if the sky collapses, there will be a hole gushing out.
Situation: Used to comfort those in a bad situation. There is a way out to any bad situation. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
Pronunciation: Nan-joong nan bbooli oo-ddook-hada
Literal meaning: Later the horns are incredibly special
Situation: It is a sad reality that usually the younger generation does better at anything and everything you do when you were their age :’-( So what it is really trying to say is the younger generation is much better prepared.
Pronunciation: Hwa-yakeul ji-go bool sok-euro deoreo-kanda
Literal meaning: An insect falling into gunpowder and entering the fire
Situation: Said to those just asking for trouble or inviting themselves into danger! You wouldn’t walk into a radioactive room without any protective clothing now would you? The Korean equivalent of challenging an ahjumma to a heated argument…oh no…
Pronunciation: Paek-ji-jangdo maj-deul-myeon nat-da
Literal meaning: It is better if the papers can be lifted together.
Situation: Two people working on a project can generally achieve better results than the person working alone. Two heads are better than one after all!
Pronunciation: Jang-gu-reul chyeo-ya choom-eul chuji
Literal meaning: One can only begin dancing when the Korean drum is tapped.
Situation: Sometimes things don’t take off as planned and sometimes we need that extra help from someone in order to achieve something. In other words, help is needed at times.
Pronunciation: go-yangi-ege saeng-seoneul mati-da
Literal meaning: Entrust a cat with a fish
Situation: Ever met a person who is a bad egg? Well this expression is to express your doubts to someone like when you give that person your diamond watch, he/she might abuse that trust.
Pronunciation: Goo-reuneun doole-neun iggiga ggi-ji an-neunda
Literal meaning: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Situation: Rather than rotting in the comfort of your very own home, get out and experience the world! It is to suggest that an active person will have a more fulfilling life.
Pronunciation: O-neul keod-ji aneu-myeon nae-ileun ddui-eoya han-da
Literal meaning: If you don’t walk today, you will have to run tomorrow.
Situation: Leaving things to the last minute? If you don’t do enough today you will have to work even harder tomorrow. However if you work hard today, you can have a rest tomorrow.
Which Korean proverb is most relevant to your life right now? Let us know in the comments section below!