What do 미나리 먹다 and 도라지 먹다 mean?

I'm looking for their idiomatic meanings.



Given that 미나리 먹다 is used (even if not yet widely) as 미치다, Google should be up to date:

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  • A native Korean I asked couldn't think of any idiomatic meanings of these either - If you don't get any answer, it might be worth adding a bit more context as to where you saw these and why you think the meaning wasn't literal? Feb 9, 2017 at 22:12
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    thanks @topomorto i've added a video that shows the phrases in use Feb 10, 2017 at 0:44
  • i am beginning to think it is just a poem that they made up and it just sounds funny. Feb 10, 2017 at 0:49
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    @WEBjuju Good video you have introduced, though
    – user237
    Feb 10, 2017 at 8:45
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    What??? 미라미 먹었니?=are you crazy???? Never!!!! Don't use Google translate. That is not even slang. We don't use like that, Never!
    – Ting Choe
    Feb 11, 2017 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


Haha. This is just a comedy show. There is no idiomatic meanings here

The key word is 맛. 맛 means taste like spicy(매운맛), salty(짠맛), sweet(단맛) etc.

but, sometimes, 맛 is used for the other purpose. especially, about feeling.

쓴맛 : you may hear "인생의 쓴맛" which means "life is bitter." For example, Let say, you tried hard to enter the company or pass a exam but you failed. Think about your feeling. It will be 'bitter'. In the video 쓴맛 was used like "I will make you very sad or something bad feeling.)

매운맛 : When it comes to feeling, 매운맛 means something painful. For example, have you heard about '손이 맵다'. It means, when you are hit by someone's hand and if it's so painful, You can say '손이 맵다'. In the video, '맵다' was used like "I will torture you harshly".

단맛 : 달콤한 첫키스 meaning "First Kiss was very sweet".

This is comedy. 생강 is spicy, 미나리 is bitter. So the policeman is saying 매운맛, 쓴맛 as meaning of taste. but it should be used as meaning of feeling. That is the gag point come from two usage of 맛

Oh...... my big mistake, you were asking after this gag. Sorry.
I will add one more. After the gag he sung like this, "미나리먹고 미쳤냐? 도라지먹고 돌았냐? 생강 먹고 생각 좀 해!"

It's just a pronunciation comedy, not related to meanings.

미나리 먹고 미쳤냐? : '미' of 미나리, '미' of '미쳤냐'. the same pronunciation. There isn't any relation between '미나리' and '미쳤냐' in meaning but the words have same letter '미'. So the comedian just make any words starting with '미'.

도라지 먹고 돌았냐? : It's the same. '도라' of '도라지' and '돌았냐[도라냐?]' There isn't any relation in meaning. Just pronunciation.

생강 먹고 생각 좀 해 : 생각 is similar to 생강. Of course there is no meaning relation.

We call this kinds of gag 언어유희 or 말장난. If you study about this, you will understand more this kinds of problem.

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    i had not heard of 언어유희 - thanks! our family regularly uses 미나리먹었어? instead of the more dastardly sounding 미쳤냐? - i had thought that it must have roots somewhere, but i see now that the comedian coined the phrase. Feb 10, 2017 at 13:48
  • what do you mean? Do your family members use '미나리 먹었어?' instead of '미쳤냐?'?
    – Ting Choe
    Feb 11, 2017 at 9:34

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