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나쁜 기집애 meaning

Ever since the release of CL’s 나쁜 기집애 MV, many have been curious on the meaning of the title and it’s ranking high on the search words leading to my blog. I guessed I have touched on the word super briefly before, but here’s a more comprehensive answer 😀

나쁜 기집애 can be roughly translated as “bad girl” or even “bad bitch” but the nuance and meaning changes slightly accordingly to how you use it: the context, tone, who uses it, to who you are using it etc

Firstly, 기집애 is actually a non-standard colloquial form of 계집애. 계집 is the ancient way (Chosun Dynasty kind of ancient) of referring to females and it is degradetory in nature, alluding to the lower status of women in the ancient times. In modern days, 여자 is used instead.

기집애 is commonly used either on its own or 나쁜 기집애 / 여우 같은 기집애 (wily / scheming girl) / 독한 기집애. It has generally a negative meaning, so one generally won’t use it with positive words such as “좋은 기집애”, “똑똑한 기집애 .”

기집애 is in the strictest term a “욕” (vulgarity), but just like how you can argue that “bitch” has acquired such a common and sometimes even friendly/familiar use, 기집애 may not necessary be a “bad term”.

Close girlfriends sometimes call each other bitch, and it’s the same with 기집애. Moms can use it to their daughters if they are slightly annoyed with them, like a “friendly scolding”.

In dramas, you can sometimes hear the male lead referring to the female lead as 나쁜 기집애 when the girl is breaking his heart / not understanding his intentions etc. If I remember correctly, CEO Shin used it to Soon Shin in You’re the Best. ㅋㅋㅋ

Those are the more friendly uses.

기집애 can have the connotation of bitch, so you can scold a girl who’s seducing your boyfriend as 여우 같은 기집애. lol

On a side note, 년 has a much stronger connotation of bitch (the bad sense) and if you say “야! 이년아!”, 99% of the time it’s a vulgarity.

I’m not a native speaker and this is written to the best of my knowledge. If you find something wrong, let me know! 😀

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Clayton Wong
    29 May, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Thanks again for another good post! When I looked it up in the dictionary, it said something like 기집아이 was a standard language use. Is 기집에 a slang term? It seems interesting how modern English vernacular seems to be slipping into other language, like the use of the word “bitch”. Thanks again 🙂

    • Reply
      Janne
      29 May, 2013 at 11:20 PM

      Technically, it’s a really old word (originally in the form of 계집아이, I should think), but now it is used as slang/profanity, shortened to 기집애 and whatnot. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kevin
    29 May, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Good post! have always wondered when i can use this with my friends (note: with my friends not on my friends) haha i think you should write a post on “friendly” vulgarities for korean! Like words that are frequently used between friends that are not too strong and offending. I think it will really help with bonding between friends, especially male friends haha

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 May, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      hehe will have to do my research. I haven’t actually dared to cross into that “friendly vulgarities” line ㅋㅋㅋ Even so, I wonder if the same rules apply to us (as foreigners). Close guy friends may use the term 자식 to each other but I wonder what happens if a foreigner tries it.. hahahaha. Sometimes I feel that no matter how friendly we are, there is still a line we can’t cross. mmm not sure about that xD

      • Reply
        Kevin
        30 May, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        Maybe the line you are talking about is this line! Lol I think once we know how to safely use them , the friendship would instantly level up haha!

  • Reply
    Um
    30 May, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    I think comparing to “bitch” is too much. It’s not a swear word at all. It is often used by older people to refer to young girls, not meaning “bitch” at all, but only to imply the “youthfulness (thus knows nothing about the worldliness)” of the girl. It is often used to young girls (who are not adults yet). You can find this term very often in classic novels too.
    Even when girls – in this case, including adult females – call each other “계집애,” it never connotes “bitch” at all. But yes, as you said, it has a friendly connotation. Overall It is not a swear word at all. I think this post is misleading its meaning.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 May, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Hi! Mmm I’m not trying to be misleading. Like what you said, it’s true that people use this term with friendly connotations and I’ve already mentioned it in the article. If you look at it, the term “bitch” may not be considered as a vulgarity too. I’ve seen people use it with close friends and go “hey bitch!” and for them it’s an endearing term. Personally, I still see bitch as an offensive term but there are others who don’t.

      Similarly for 기집애. They are people who still find its use offensive while others find it absolutely fine. I still see some offensive / less friendly uses in dramas etc.

      Perhaps it’s becoming more neutralized as a swear word over the years. After all, language is always changing and evolving ^^

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