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This expression appeared on my vocabulary textbook as a collocation of the word "joke" 농담(弄談). What I could not understand is the exact meaning of 심하다(甚하다) in this collocation. Does is it mean a "terrible joke", "great joke" or maybe "cruel joke" as in a joke that went too far? What is the exact connotation of 농담이 심하다? Could someone provide some usage examples?

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You can use 농담이 심하다 when you think that a joke has been carried too far. It does not matter whether it is really a joke. The adjective 심하다 has a negative connotation because it is used when something exceeds a reasonable/acceptable level. I will give you some dialogues below.

Dialogue 1 (ㄱ is telling the truth.)

ㄱ: 사실 네가 내 아들이야. (In fact, you are my son.)

ㄴ: 에이, 농담이 심하시네요.

ㄱ: 내가 지금 농담하는 줄 아나?

ㄴ: 농담이 아니에요?

ㄱ: 그래, 농담 아니야. 네가 내 아들이 아니라면 내가 왜 너 같은 애하고 대화하겠니?

Dialogue 2 (ㄷ is telling a sick joke.)

ㄷ: 나, 얼마 못 산대. (I was told that I am not going to live much longer.)

ㄹ: 뭐? 정말이야? 무슨 불치병이라도 걸렸어?

ㄷ: 응, 병 걸렸어. 너 없이는 못 사는 병. (Yes, I caught a disease. The "I can't live without you" disease.)

ㄹ: 야, 농담이 너무 심하잖아. 네가 얼마 못 산대서 내가 속으로 얼마나 놀란 줄 알아?

Dialogue 3 (ㅁ is telling a joke that could be taken as sexual harassment.)

ㅁ: 옆 부서 사람이랑 단둘이 출장 가니?

ㅂ: 어. 내일 하루 갔다 와.

ㅁ: 그렇구나. 잘 다녀와. 그 사람이랑 좋은 시간도 보내고. (Have a good time with her / him, too.)

ㅂ: 내가 너냐? 농담도 심하다.

There are several synonyms for 심하다: 과하다, 지나치다, 너무하다, etc. For 농담이 심하다, you can use 과하다 or 지나치다 instead of 심하다, but 농담이 너무하다 sounds too awkward.

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심하다 used mainly in negative situations. So 농담이 심하다 means that the joke is too harsh or excessive. It can also be used in the following sentences: 말이 심하다(speaking too harsh), 장난이 심하다(prank too much). 과하다, 과도하다, 지나치다 can be used as synonym.

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  • +1 for a simple explanation. – Klmo Jun 30 at 6:15

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