On Twitter, #돈먹는하마 is trending. I know they are talking about post-olympic stadiums costing a lot of money. What is this use of "hippo/하마" in this phrase?

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What is this use of "hippo/하마" in this phrase?

1 Answer 1


It's a word play on 물먹는 하마, a very famous brand of moisture absorber (see picture).

[So the word play is that like this "water eating hippo" product absorbs water, the olympic stadiums in a post-olympic country absorb monetary resources.]


  • Can you use this in any other context? Is this a common phrase, or something this one person just made up to make a point?
    – Hani Honey
    Dec 27, 2017 at 20:52
  • 1
    The expression is relatively common in news. google.com/… : I can see "돈먹는 하마", "세금 먹는 하마", "전기 먹는 하마", "혈세를 잡아먹는 하마", and so on.
    – jick
    Dec 27, 2017 at 22:06
  • Thank you! That is very helpful. __먹는 하마 seems to be the pattern.
    – Hani Honey
    Dec 27, 2017 at 22:30

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