Are there any well-known Korean terms or phrases to talk about (foreign) fans of Korea/Korean things?

The great 한류 "Korean Wave" of this age has certainly stirred up attitudes of both admiration ("Wow! You study Korean?") and disdain ("Please... do not say you are a K-pop fan"). Some quick Google searching and reading mostly brought me to rather formal/dry descriptions of the 한류. I'm interested in how this is talked about in more casual contexts.

The word "Koreaboo" in the title of this post comes from the (often derogatory) term for fans of Japanese things, "weaboo" (often shortened to "weeb"), which is an example of an English language word for describing those swept up in the Korean Wave. Surely though, people are talking in Korean about their international fans (Chinese, American, ...)?

  • I've searched a bit, there's news and articles with words 한류팬 / 해외팬. 팬 means fan.
    – Chase Choi
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 5:26

2 Answers 2


Koreaboo means people who are great fans of Korean pop culture, almost maniacal. But unlike 'K-pop fan', Koreaboo has a little bit of a disparaging nuance.

In Korean, 팬 just means a fan. When degrading crazy fans, (e.g. 14-year-old Justin Bieber fans) -빠 is used. 축(구)빠 means football(축구) fan, 야(구)빠 means baseball(야구) fan and 엑소빠 means fans of Exo, a K-pop boy band. The word originated from the word 빠순이, which means groupies.

Thus, the word Koreaboo can be translated into 한류빠 or 한국빠. But you have to be careful when using this word; it is informal and can be thought rude in some situations.

  • 1
    For another example, 문빠 is used to describe the most radical supporters of President 문재인.
    – Taladris
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 10:08

Considering the context given, the word 덕후 may be what we’re looking for. Although it doesn’t have something to do with ‘international fans’ or a country in particular, this vocabulary originated from 오타쿠(otaku) which often meant weaboo (Japan-fan-boys) in Korea. So 덕후 best corresponds to the meaning of weeb imo. Used as a suffix, it can be abbreviated to ‘-덕’. It also provides a verb 덕질하다 - which roughly means ‘to dig into’ (dig into what 덕후 would look for). 덕후 is spoken in a very casual sense and it’s definitely the most trendy vocabulary currently because in these days, like a lot of time, I see young K-Pop fans in Korea call themselves 덕/덕후 or they do 덕질. The word applies that way to other subjects as well.


  • 밀덕

  • 축덕 (One who’s really into soccer.)

  • 씹덕사 / 씹덕사하다 (xD)

  • 덕질하는 블로그

  • 해리포터 덕후

  • 에반게리온 덕후

  • 덕후 새끼

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