5 In Korean learning journey (:

Let’s learn 욕! #2 씨발년

In an attempt to be more intellectual while writing about cuss words, I will also be touching on the etymology of the expressions, rather than simply introducing them and example sentences. Hopefully this will also be more interesting for everyone! ^^

씨발 is easily the most common swear word in Korean and also one of the most well known among foreigners(?). The word comes from the character 씹, which has 2 meanings:

  • a woman’s private parts
  • the act of having sex

As such, 씨발년 refers to a loose woman who goes around having sex with guys. 씨발 can be translated loosely as fuck and similar to the English word, it is now used so commonly that some people pepper their sentences with the word. In some sense, it has lost its original meaning and come to be something like an expletive to signal one’s annoyance, anger etc.

니미 씹빨고 있네. 니미 here is a contracted version of 네 어머니, and as all cuss words go, things that refer to the other party’s mother has an added level of offensiveness.

As you may have noticed, the word can come in different variations. 18, 십팔, 시발, 씨팔, 씨빨,씨팍, 쓰바 etc. Just like other Korean words, the use of reinforced consonants / aspirated consonants adds emphasis and a higher degree to the word and in this aspect, 시발 can be seen as the most neutral among the expressions.

Let’s end off with a song, shall we?

‘그래서 내 기분 지금 시발이오’

Adapted partially from source

p.s. I’m not sure if this series sits well with everyone. Let me know your feedback! ^^

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  • Reply
    2 April, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Yey! Part 2 is up! (looks around… I hope they don’t think I’m crazy!)
    As I’ve said before, I love this series! XD

    No, because it’s not easy to find discussions about 욕 from books or other English websites/blogs.

    I have a question. Is “이씨~” a ‘held’ 씨발… something like saying “son of a…” rather than the entire phrase? Or it’s a totally different expression?

    • Reply
      2 April, 2012 at 10:05 PM

      ㅋㅋㅋ that’s an interesting question. i’ll have to check on it xD but intuition is that it should be different but you never know. xD

  • Reply
    4 April, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    Wow I didn’t know you listen to rap!. And lol at the epic sudden ending X)

    Btw do you think that Korean is a polite-sounding language?. Bcoz I don’t find cursing in Korean as satisfying as say… Hokkien or somein more hardcore[?.] Just wondering 🙂

    • Reply
      4 April, 2012 at 7:20 AM

      wahaha!!! i definitely don’t think Korean is a polite sounding language. Actually scratch that. I think Korean can do well on a wide range of style. From the very polite and classy sounding to the ermm whole slew of cuss words ajumma style 😛

      But I do agree that Hokkien has quite a hardcore swear word vocabulary 😛

    • Reply
      4 April, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Korean and Japanese are funny because of the embedded politeness. They’ll be shouting at someone and if translated directly(at least in Japanese) “Hey YOU, wait a second please!”

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