Modern English is rich in idioms with their origins in sport - this Wikipedia page gives some examples. Many of these are so ingrained in modern English usage that some people may not be aware of their sporting origins.

I was wondering if there are many - or any - sport-related idioms in Korean - whether having their origin in traditional Korean sports, or relating to modern internationally popular sports.

  • It is interesting to see that a large number of these idioms in the Wikipedia article come from sports that were popular in the early 20th century: baseball, horse racing, and boxing (TONS of idioms from boxing in the article).
    – Vladhagen
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 22:08
  • @Vladhagen also interesting from my POV is how well-known many of the baseball-related ones are here in the UK, while there's a relative paucity (even here) of soccer- and cricket-related idioms. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 22:23
  • I have one modern example for you: '삼진아웃' meaning 'three strikes' from baseball.
    – Memming
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 13:08
  • I can think of only two (popular) traditional sports, 태권도(택견) and 씨름. You don't expect many idioms from only a handful of sports. However, if you count brain sports(??) like 'go', or some types of gambling, there are a lot more. Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


There are not any 'idioms' regarding modern sports but there are some idioms regarding Korean traditional sports, such as 택견(also spelled 태껸) and 태권도. Here's an example:

딴죽을(딴지를) 걸다. To object; to take back one's previous statement or promise.

왜 내가 하려는 일마다 딴죽을 거냐?

Why are you meddling with every single thing I do?

딴죽 originally meant a technique in 택견. (Tackling an opponent to make him/her lose balance.) The original meaning faded as time passed, and was left with the current meaning.


We have only learnt english sports idioms as far as I know. I didn't hear about a sports idiom(the modern ones you know of) in our language. Okay, idioms have to have conditions that it is a saying from a famous person, a famous and traditional culture, or it should be passed down generations and generations. However, before Modern Korea, which is at least after the 1900s, it was the Chosun dynasty, which had the most eastern and asiatic culture from the 1850s because there was almost no trade between American/European nations unlike Japan/China. As most sports were in their current forms in that period, you can say there are almost no original idioms. Since modern sports aren't related to confucianist cultures, professional leagues forming(and becoming famous) in the 1960s to the 1980s, there are no original sports(at least ones you are familiar with) idioms. link to sports sayings by foreign players like Maradona, Messi,... This is the best I have although it's not an idiom. There are only idioms by foreign people and the idioms you already know in English translated to Korean. By the way, up there, 삼진아웃(equals 三振out) means three strike out, literally(look at the corresponding hanja). Offside is 오프사이드, Freekick is 프리킥, Goal is 골.(I'll not mention about the strange North Korean expressions...) If you need any clarifications, feel free to comment me.

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