I heard this expression on a variety show, 동병상련.

The subtitles translated it as Misery loves company.

Would this be an accurate translation?

And even if it isn't, would this expression be along the lines of someone firsthand knowing another's situation, especially if it's an unfavorable situation?

1 Answer 1


동병 means the same disease and, by extension, sharing a disease. 상련 means to pity each other.

In my view, 동병상련 means that fellow sufferers (can) pity each other. Many dictionaries define the meaning of "Misery loves company" differently, but, at least, 동병상련 is irrelevant to wishing somebody else to be unhappy. 동병상련 relates to having sympathy or to one's ability to sympathize with others who are also suffering/unhappy.

We should be aware that bi- or multilingual dictionaries provide mistranslations as well.

  • Nice explanation. So what would be an equivalent to misery loves company?
    – mph85
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 5:08
  • 1
    @mph85 If it means "Unhappy people like other people to be unhappy too," there are some proverbs regarding anger. If one takes it out on irrelevant people because she/he feels angry, Koreans use 남에게 매 맞고 개 옆구리 찬다, 서울서 매 맞고 송도서 주먹질한다, 읍에서 매 맞고 장거리에서 눈 흘긴다, and other similar expressions. No proverbs seem to have other meanings of "misery loves company." I would not translate or use it in Korean.
    – Klmo
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 5:30

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