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Konglish 2 (Lexis)

©1997-present, by Leon of Leon's Planet

Legal Mumbo Jumbo:

This so-called "Konglish" list is of my own making, compiled by myself from my own study and observance of the Korean language from 1995 to the present.  I have not read any books about Konglish.  Any similarities to any published material is purely coincidental.  I cannot give credit to all the people who have helped me.  Most of the material came from hearing my students speak "Konglish".  Some native English teachers have offered minor contributions from listening to their students.  One such teacher is Professor David Shaffer, who contributed less than ten words to my list at a KoTESOL conference.  This is a work in progress.  Every time I hear or read a 'Konglish' word, I add it to the list.  I do not believe that any breach of propriety has been done here, because no one OWNS a language.  Konglish is part of the Korean language, and nobody owns it.  I publish this material (at my own cost and for NO remuneration) in order to elucidate the problems that some so-called 'Konglish' words might cause in ESL/EFL.  Since this material is NOT copyrighted, it may be freely used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.  However, I would appreciate being given credit for compiling this list.  Enjoy!

This whole website was made by me (Leon).
Permission to copy for educational purposes granted, but please give credit to me for compiling this list.
And, link back to my site.

And, please don't copy the entire page and put it on another website!  That's not cool! 


What is Konglish?

I divide Konglish into two parts:

  • Konglish 1 : Korean-English Interlanguage (mostly consisting of grammatical or usage errors), and...


  • Konglish 2 :  Korean lexical items, consisting of loan-words (from English) and nativized into the Korean language.

NOTICE:  When Koreans use the word "Konglish", they usually refer what I call "Konglish1".

Go to Konglish1  [(I also have a Konglish Pronunciation page)]



Konglish2 Taxonomy

I've identified and taxonimized five kinds of Konglish2.  They are:

  • 1.  Verbicide:  "killing" or "destroying" the meaning of a word.
  • 2.  Phonetically Different Words:  Sometimes the words come from other sources than English, which accounts for the pronunciation difference, but Koreans rarely know this and erroneously assume that the pronunciation is the same in English.  This list is not to say the Korean pronunciation is wrong, but rather that it is different.
  • 3.  Fabricated Phase:  English phrases that do not exist in native English-speakers' lexicons.
  • 4.  Abbreviated Expression:  ENGLISH words or expressions that have been abbreviated in colloquial Korean speech, BUT which are NOT abbreviated in native-English-speakers' speech.
  • 5.  O.K. Konglish:  Oll Korrect (O.K.) Anglico-Korean

콩글리쉬를 5 가지 종류로 구분하였습니다.  첫번 째는 제가 "verbicide"라고 부릅니다.     Verbicide는 "단어의 의미를 죽이다"라는 뜻입니다.  두번 째는 "phonetically different words" 라고 부릅니다세번 째는  "fabricated phrase"라고 부릅니다.  Fabricated Phrase는 "새로 만들어진 구"라는 의미입니다.  마지막으로 "abbreviated expression"  단축된 표현"을 말합니다.  (리스트를 보고 싶으면, 아래로 스크롤해 주십시오.  아니면 형광펜으로 착색한 단어에 클릭해 주십시오.)  마지막 것은 "O.K. Konglish" 입니다.  



Verbicide [verb (word) + cide (kill)] : "killing" or changing the meaning of a word.

( These are "loan words" or "borrowed words", with altered meanings ).


Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
accessory jewelry extra, secondary parts for anything, including jewelry, but not commonly used to mean jewelry
angle bracket
(used in construction)
The space between any two lines that intersect or come together end-to-end, relative to the 360° (degrees) of a circle.
i.e., an angle can be between 0° and 360°
bond super glue any binding substance
an emotional attachment
booking introduction request at a night club making a reservation
Burberry overcoat or trench coat Trademark of light, long, waterproof coat
can 맥주 canned beer
or can of beer)
can (n.) = metallic cylinder (not adjective)
cider sweetened soda water
like the brand: 7up)

[US] cider = apple juice, usually homemade
[UK] cider=alcoholic apple juice
[CAN] hard cider = alcoholic apple juice
soft cider = non-alcoholic apple juice

Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
Claxon horn French name brand of horns
So, it's not Konglish, but rather Korench
clover clubs (on playing cards) a plant that has 3 leaves per stalk
cologne after-bath splash
after-shower body perfume
men's perfume
combi (~nation) sports coat (and trousers) any mixture
computer game video game PC game
condo time-share resort owned apartment
consent electrical outlet permission
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
cunning cheating deception
dessert after-meal tea after-meal treat
diary day planner personal journal
engineer technician technical person (w/4yr.degree+license)
event promotional event any activity, or happening-
planned or unplanned,
fancy fancy stationery (n.) extravagant (a.)
feminism women's liberation
 women's lib
Women-No-Different-From-Men Movement
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
1. free-size
2. free ticket
3. free voltage
1) one size fits all (uni-size)
2) day pass (all rides)
3) multi-volt
Free1 = without restriction
Free2 = free of charge
fusion intercultural making two atoms become one atom
gargle mouth wash (n.) to wash one's mouth and throat (v.)
gay male homosexual orig.=> slang: male or female homosexual
sometimes=> male homosexual
glamour buxom woman fame and beauty
golden pants corduroy gold-colored pants
gown [US] robe
[UK] dressing gown
evening gown = woman's formal dress
hospital gown = vestment given at hospital for modesty
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
"gyps" (gypsum) [US] cast
[UK] plaster cast
white powder for making cast
hair pin hair clip a pin for one's hair
hammer sledge hammer small tool for pounding
(much smaller than a sledge hammer)
handle steering wheel part of bag or door for grabbing
hiking bicycling walking in the mountains
hip buttocks sides of one's pelvis
hit a popular product a popular song
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
Hotchkiss stapler trademark of staplers
hot dog corn-dog-style hot dog
(looks like a corn dog, but the batter has no corn in it)
a "frank" or "weiner"(sausage)
 on a bun
"hunting" "cruising for members of the opposite gender" searching for animal to kill
I.D. Username Identification
jelly gelatinous candy
(like a "gummy bear")
sweet food, made from fruit juice, sugar, and gelatin
differs from jam in that Jam has small pieces of fruit in it; while jelly has no pieces of fruit in it.)
(see also: Claxon)
horn "make", i.e., name brand of horns
line managerial staff "line" has many meanings:
see my polysemy page
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
manicure nail polish the service of having one's nails clipped, filed, and polished
mansion luxury apartment building luxury house
meeting blind date business gathering
melodrama romantic drama over-action drama
menu today's special menu = list of choices
missy miss-like Mrs.
(a married woman who dresses and acts like an unmarried woman)
a woman's name
short for "Melissa")
say /O-ba-it/
throw up; vomit eat too much
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
 Pension motel
(Usually small, clean and in the countryside)
This word actually comes from French, meaning: boarding house
Pierrot Clown This is NOT Konglish, it is KORENCH, I felt it worthwhile mentioning it here, because many Koreans think it is English.
In France, Pierrot was the NAME a kind of pantomime clown, and comic character.
Poklain [US] "make", i.e.,  (company name)
pop song English song popular song (any language)
jeon-ja range microwave oven a "range" is a stove for cooking
(a gas range or an electric range)
reception after party a party for receiving a VIP
a party for receiving gifts 
ribbon bow material to make bows
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
quiz riddle [US] a short test
[UK] a trivia game
sack back pack kind of bag
 (usually with open-top and usually without handles)
service free of charge / "on the house" 1. help (n.),  OR...  2. repair work
sexy slutty, loose, skanky
(note:  nowadays, some Koreans don't think this way)
attractive; having sex appeal
sharp mechanical pencil
(A Japanese Brand)
not dull (a.)
stand lamp box-like table
talent TV star 1.  skill
2.  person in front of the camera
Loan Word
한국 정의
(This is what Koreans mean when they use that word)
Real English Definition
옳은 영어 정의
(This is what native speakers mean when they use that word)
team division (in company) ONLY sports group
tie pin tie clip, tie pin pin for tie
toast grilled omelet sandwich roasted bread
training sweat suit coaching
trump playing cards / poker cards highest suit of playing cards 
for the game called, "Bridge.")
underground under-appreciated music any  illegal activity
villa mini condominium complex
(usually from 3-5 floors, two units per floor)
huge estate
literally means: small village in Spanish, but in English it a huge living space, owned by one person, with lots of land and buildings)
vinyl plastic kind of plastic (usually for imitation leather)
yogurt liquid yogurt (solid) yogurt
Yoplait solid yogurt name brand of yogurt
walker military boots a device to aid in walking


Keep going.  There's more.






The individual words (below) exist in English, but the phrases below do not exist in the English language.  To me, this category of Konglish2 is the most intriguing of all.


Fabricated Phrase
 아시아에서 만든
Correct Phrase
A/S (After Service) Warrantee Service (Free-of-charge service)
Service (Not free-of-charge service)
American-style Coffee Black Coffee
Auto-bi~(ke) Motorcycle
Back Mirror Rear-view Mirror
Back Number jersey number
cash corner ATM
(Automatic Teller Machine)
Dutch pay [US colloquialism] Dutch treat 
(Each person pays for themselves)
eye shopping window shopping
game room (video) arcade
golden ball sudden death (in game)
hair band head band
hand phone [US] cell phone
[UK] mobile phone
hard board poster board
hyper market grocery store
ice bar [US] Popsicle (lollypop + icicle)
[UK] Ice Lolly (ice + lollypop)
interphone intercom
kick board scooter
(non-motorized scooter)
king car'
(abbreviation of "king card")
"The pick of the litter"
"The cream of the crop"
light coke diet coke
live English real-life English
McGuyver Knife Swiss Army Knife
Member ID (online) Username (online)
morning call wake-up call
M.T. (Membership Training) club meeting or
club initiation = first club meeting for freshmen
name card business card
office-tel Office + Hotel
(Actually has businesses on lower levels and homes on upper levels)
(does not exist in America because of building codes)
one-piece dress / evening gown
open car convertible car
panty stockings panty hose
pocket ball pool [American game]
4-ball billiards [UK game]
self camera home video / amateur video
short pants (Konglish?) [US] shorts
Solo Christmas

[I saw this on a Korean website, and it might not be Konglish.  It could be a kind of 'code-mixing' (i.e., a mixture of Spanish (solo) and English (Christmas).]

Maybe... Solitaire Christmas

meaning: Alone during Christmas

sports dancing ballroom dancing
(for competition)
VTR VTR stands for "Video Tape Recorder"  but in North America, we say "VCR", which stands for "Video Cassette Recorder"
White Day (there is no White Day in the West)
Yang Seat
(pronunciation: jang it)
Sheep Skin Seat Cover
"Y" shirts dress shirt(s)


Keep going.  There's more.






I think that the words/phrases on this list mostly originate from "Jinglish" (Japanese-ized English), but I could be wrong about that.  I know that some do originate from the Jinglish, or Japlish such as "air con".


Abbreviated Expression
단축된 표현
Correct Expression
A/S After Service
(see also Fabricated Konglish list)
Air Con Air Conditioner
All ri~
(only said when guiding a backer-upper in a car)
All right
(said any time something is O.K.)
Apart Apartment Building
(There are many apartments in one apartment building)
back dancer "back-up" dancer?
back music background music
back singer backup singer
Ball Pen Ball Point Pen
Band Bandage (or Band Aid)
cassette cassette player
pronunciation:  sen -
C.F. commercial (film)
classic classical music
clip paper clip
coating plastic coating (lamination)
(meaning sports coat & trousers)
(see also verbicide list)
(this might be correct)
crayon + pastel
(I've never seen anything like it... it really is a hybrid of a crayon and a pastel stick)
cream sand cream sandwich
cubic cubic zirconium
(also: c.z., or zircon)
D/B Database
D/C discount
demo demonstration
docu documentary
double jacket double-breasted jacket
driver screw driver
ero (movie) erotic movie
flash flash light
fry pan frying pan
handi  handicap (for golf)
health health club
L.T. Leadership Training
Magic Magic Marker
(permanent marker)
~mission transmission
night night club
note notebook
O / D Owner-driver
O.H.P. Overhead Projector
O / A Office Automation (equipment)
O / T Orientation
omu-rice omelet + rice
punc puncture (flat tire)
remi-con ready-mix concrete truck
remote con remote control
rej- resort hotel
le-ports leisure sports
self self service
S.F. Science Fiction
"Sci. Fi."
spo-lex sports complex
stain(g) stainless steel wares
T.P. transparency (paper)
[for Overhead Projector]
televi television
~ting meeting (see verbicide)
trans transformer
trans transvestite / transgender
trot foxtrot
white white out (correction fluid)
wrap plastic wrap







This is the English-Korean (K2), which is exactly, or almost exactly the same as English-English.
It is by no means a comprehensive list.

Word or Phrase Notes:
bye bye Koreans use this parting indiscriminately, but in America, it is considered a child's parting or intimate couple parting. 
condition Koreans use this word to refer to their body's condition.  So, it's partially correct.
stamina Koreans use this word to refer to sexual stamina.  So, it's partially correct.
timing same as English
muffler This is UK English (in US, we say "scarf")
bonnet This is UK English (in US, we say "hood")
pants {BBans (Japanese pronunciation)} This is UK English (in US, we say "underpants")
family name This might be UK English (in US, we say "surname" or "last name")
check(s) This is UK English (in US, we say "checkered pattern")
sofa orig: Arab word: suffa, then French word: sofa
English "borrowed" the word from French
diet same as English (but only the kind of diet for losing weight) 
stove Koreans use the original meaning of the word, i.e., heater, but modern English has changed from the original meaning... nowadays there are two kinds of stoves for cooking:  a gas stove and an electric stove.
wine same as English
ice cream Koreans use this in a broader sense that we do in the US.  It includes Popsicles and "slushies".
computer same as English
monitor same as English
hard drive same as English
CD same as English
keyboard same as English
disk (floppy disk) same as English
bargain sale same as English, although in the US we would just say, "Sale".
video short for "video cassette"
motel same as English
hotel same as English
project same as English
DJ same as English
MC same as English
canvas same as English
paint The Korean definition generally refers to industrial type paint, not artist paint, nor make-up paint.
internet same as English
website same as English
homepage same as English
website I.D. This might be British.  In the U.S., we write "username", not "I.D."
and many many more. I can't remember all the loan words.  I read somewhere that there are around 10,000 English and European loan words in the Korean language (but they are only used in SOUTH Korea).


Back to top


These are my other Korean pages:

My Expat Blog
  (Re: My 10-yr Life in Korea)

Korean Food Translated
  (fairly comprehensive list)

Korean Origins
  (Where did they come from?)

Konglish 1
  (Konglish Interlanguage)

Konglish 2 (This Page)
  (Konglish Lexis)

Konglish 3
  (Konglish Pronunciation)

Korean Dictionary Errors
  (quite the list)

Korean Language Lessons
(by Leon)



Other "~lish" sites:

Chinese English/ Chinglish

Miscellaneous Japlish Sites


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