English-language institutions often like to collect candidates for 'Word of the year', listing (usually newly-made) words that refer to new events and ideas. For example, Collins dictionary came up with a list recently, including 'Gig economy', 'Fidget spinner', and 'Antifa'.

Are there any Korean words that have been coined recently and become popular over the last year?

  • 국립국어원(NIKL, National Institute of the Korean Language) makes annual reports regarding newly coined words. However, 2015 - 2017 ones are public only for researchers. 나무 위키(Namu wiki) is a Korean wiki and is similar to Urban Dictionary. It does cover those words, too. Nov 17, 2017 at 21:37
  • 2
    I added english translation for @Yoon-Geun Kwon's answer.
    – Stanley Ko
    Nov 19, 2017 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


There's famous book named "Trend Korea". Maybe you can reference about. From the news about trend korea 2018, 2017's words are like these.

  • 소확행 (小確幸) : 소소하지만 little, 확실한 certain 행복 happiness. Today, young koreans suffer for their living and do not have big dreams. They want little happiness, such as desserts like cakes that are expensive but are easy to buy. (still cheap to have one)

  • 플라시보 소비: placebo consumption. Well, unusual expression. To spend money to reduce anger and stress. For example, chicken and beer, taxi instead of public transportation.

  • 워라밸: 워크 work 라이프 life 밸런스 balance. The working time of Koreans is too long (and inefficient). So Koreans want a balanced life.

  • 언택트 기술: 언택트 Untact 기술 Technology. Two types: one is kiosk-like ordering machine, so you don’t need to talk to person. In korea, many McDonald have that system. The other is a marketing technic that leave shoppers alone. (OExcessive suggestions from sellers are annoying)

  • 케렌시아: 케렌시아 Querencia. Unusual expression. For one person, a place that heals the person's heart. For example, there is a sleeping cafe, an anonymous forum for certain companies (which can raise profanity)

  • 미닝 아웃: Meaning out. It is Unusual expression. Paying for his or her beliefs (political or social relations)

  • 대안 관계: 대안 Alternative 관계 Relationship. Unlike traditional relationship, they are about meet easy, and do not care much about each other as on the internet forum.

(I'm Korean, but heard only "워라밸". maybe I'm not trendy. )

ref : http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?artid=201710301624011&code=960205#csidxcc1c2dd14f2dad5b899aa91754bf04e

  • 1
    It seems they're completely newly coined words. I've never heard any of them. Nov 17, 2017 at 21:19
  • Reflecting back to the end of 2017, I think only "소확행" and "워라밸" were used widely enough.
    – Ignatius
    Apr 2, 2019 at 6:55
  • @КонстантинВан Hi, younger me. Can't believe that 4 years has passed since. 언택트, 소확행, 워라밸; now I know them, finding 언택트 the most absurd. Aug 20, 2021 at 19:34

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