I was watching a drama today and heard the idiom '찰떡같이 말했는데 개떡같이 알아듣는다' being used. What is the meaning of this idiom and when can it be used? Also, what is the general meaning of 찰떡같이? Thanks :)

Many thanks in advance

3 Answers 3


"I told you about it very clearly, but it was misunderstood" is the meaning of that idiom.

The term derived from "개떡같이 말했는데 찰떡같이 알아듣는다." which means "It was explained in a weird way,but the listener understood perfectly.

The expression '찰떡같다' is used to describe a perfect match to one another, or someone who is deeply related to that person.

'개떡같다' means something that people don't usually like, or something that is very poorly made.

So we can interpret the term "찰떡같이 말했는데 개떡같이 알아듣는다" as "I told you something that is just perfect for this situation, but your understanding is very poor!"

Other examples of '찰떡같다' would be:

  1. 저 둘은 찰떡같은 커플이다. (Those two are a perfect couple.)

  2. 내 질문에 찰떡같은 답변이다. (That answer is perfect for my question.)

For further explanation, 찰떡 is actually a chewy rice cake which is made with glutinous rice. It is very sticky, which is where the term '찰떡같다' came from.

찰떡 is enjoyed by a lot of people unlike 개떡, which is made with leftovers of flour or buckwheat.

Since they are made with leftover, they weren't as pretty as 찰떡 nor delicious. Back in those days when people didn't have enough food, 개떡 was one of the cheap options for people to eat. That is the reason why 개떡 has such a negative meaning to it.

  • Thanks a lot for your thorough explanation! Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 0:52

찰떡같이 is things like something right or meaning sure

개떡같이 is something wrong or not sure or meaning bad

if someone say

'Do you have a ice dream(개떡같이)?'

and the answer

'Yes I have a ice cream(찰떡같이)'

in this conversation, asking was something weird but the answer was good.

this is the situation when you can say 개떡같이 말했는데 찰떡같이 알아듣는다.

so in opposite way 찰떡같이 말했는데 개떡같이 알아듣는다. can be like this

mom ask son to buy something

'You have to get one cookie and one chocolate'

and if son bought 3 ice creams then son understood very wrong.

this is the situation when you can say 찰떡같이 말했는데 개떡같이 알아듣는다

also when some one say something bad

'go get your fxxking dog'

then that person is doing 개떡같이 말한다. or 개같이 말한다.

찰떡같이 is 찰떡 + 같이,

찰떡 is sort of rice cake

개떡 is sort of rice cake

I am not sure why use 찰떡 as good meaning and 개떡 as bad meaning

but I guess 개떡 has sound '개'

and '개' is usually use in bad meaning(개자식, 개새끼)

and as a korean, it is not common usage in real talking

  • Thanks a lot for your analogies and examples! Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 0:52

wow I am very happy to watch the Korean!! I'm Korean student in high school. I introduce about 찰떡같이. 떡 is the rice cake. And Koreans use '찰-' = stinky. Like, 찰거머리, 찰싹, 찰지다. It is not bad feeling. so 찰떡같이 알아듣네! means 'your understanding is very good!!'

  • Thanks for your insight and examples. Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 0:53

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