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10 must-know K-pop terminologies and what they mean

10 K-pop terminologies that are useful for beginner fans! (Image via YG Entertainment)
10 K-pop terminologies that are useful for beginner fans! (Image via YG Entertainment)
Vibha Hegde

Have you ever heard words like "maknae" and "99-liner" being thrown around without ever finding out what they mean? As time passes, the terminologies used in the K-pop fandom are continuously expanding and growing in number.

Below are a few basic words to get you started on your K-pop journey!


What are 10 K-pop-related words that you must know?

1) Stan

"Stan" was initially coined by Eminem in a song he released in 2000. At the time, it was used in reference to obsessive stalker fans. However, much like many other words, the meaning of "stan" has evolved.

In present-day K-pop communities, it refers to fans of a group or an idol they really like.


2) Nugu (λˆ„κ΅¬)

Nugu is simply a Korean word that means "Who."

When used in the phrase "Nugu group," it refers to a K-pop group or K-pop idol unknown or not famous or who hasn't had their first win on music shows yet.


3) Sasaeng (사생)

Sasaeng fans or Sasaengs are extremely obsessive and stalker-like followers who go above and beyond to be close to their favorite K-pop idol.

This includes invading their privacy, finding out their work schedules, attempting to follow them in real life, calling them incessantly, etc. It has a negative connotation, as implied by the explanation above.


4) Aegyo (애ꡐ)

Aegyo is acting and/or generally being cute through the way you behave or your mannerisms. It is used for female and male idols.

K-pop idols on shows may be asked to "show their aegyo," in which case they may attempt to heighten their voice pitch and make "cute" gestures.


5) PAK/All-Kill (νΌνŽ™νŠΈ μ˜¬ν‚¬)

PAK stands for "Perfect All-Kill," or simply known as All-Kill. In South Korea, there are multiple music service providers. A website known as Instiz iChart is a collaborative chart that aggregates all the major music service providers' rankings about a particular song or album.

A K-pop song or an album achieves a PAK when it ranks #1 on iChart, implying its hit #1 on iChart's real-time, daily, and weekly charts. Hourly PAKs are also tracked.


6) Maknae (막내)

Maknae is a Korean word that simply means "youngest person."

It is used by K-pop groups to refer to the youngest member in their group, but it is also used by the public to refer to the youngest person in any general group.


7) X-liner

When K-pop idols are referred to by the year they were born in, they are called "x-liners," with the "x" being replaced by the last two digits of the year they were born in.

For example, solo artist Psy is a 77-liner, i.e., he was born in 1977.


8) Fanchant

Fanchants are a series of words that fans chant out in unison when a K-pop idol or K-pop group is performing. Fanchants differ from group to group and song to song.

Typically, fanchants will have the fans chant out the names of all the group members and then the group's name at the beginning of the song.


9) Bias/Bias-Wrecker

In the K-pop community, fans refer to their favorite idol from a group as their "Bias."

A "Bias wrecker," as the name states, is another idol that catches their eye, tempting them to switch their bias.


10) Sunbae (μ„ λ°°) and Hoobae (ν›„λ°°)

Sunbae is a Korean word used to refer to a senior in a professional environment or someone with more experience than you. For example, a high school freshman would refer to their high school senior as their sunbae.

Hoobae is a Korean word used to refer to someone with less experience than you or who has been working at the same place as you for a lesser time. For example, a high school senior would refer to the freshman of the place as their hoobaes.

Also read: 5 of the biggest K-pop groups in the world in 2021


Edited by Ravi Iyer

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