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10 votes

Where does "약방의 감초" originate and what does it mean exactly?

It's not bad! Traditional Korean medicines were really bitter, so people often put 감초 which made the medicines sweeter. So in every pharmacy(약방), there were a lot of licorice(감초). Gradually 약방의 감초 ...
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8 votes
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Why is 'long time no see' expressed as 오랜만이에요?

오랜 means 'a long time' and 이에요 is the present tense form of the verb 이다. So far so good. So far not so good, 오랜 does not mean "a long time". It's an attributive, not a noun. It can only be ...
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5 votes

It takes two to tango

손뼉도 마주쳐야 소리가 난다 one hand can't clap alone I'd say it's pretty common, no native won't recognize it.
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5 votes

Are there many (or any) sports idioms in Korean?

There are not any 'idioms' regarding modern sports but there are some idioms regarding Korean traditional sports, such as 택견(also spelled 태껸) and 태권도. Here's an example: 딴죽을(딴지를) 걸다. To object; to ...
4 votes

Why is 'long time no see' expressed as 오랜만이에요?

-만 can be a suffix meaning "only", but it can also be a dependent noun (의존명사) meaning "after a period of time". The 표준국어사전 defines it this way: 동안이나 얼마간 계속되었음을 나타내는 말. 예) 심 년 만의 귀국 The example ...
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4 votes
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Which one is correct: ‘갈 데까지 가다’ or ‘갈 때까지 가다’?

It's an idiomatic expression and the correct one is ‘갈 데까지 가다’. The other one does not make any sense. Their pronunciation is similar, though. Their meanings 갈 데까지 가다 [갈떼까지가다] (갈(one goes) 데(where) -...
4 votes
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What is the origin of 바가지를 쓰다?

The most popular theory is that it orginated from gambling. As you can see here, 이에 대해서는 대체로 개화기에 중국에서 들어온 ‘십인계(十人稧)’라는 도박과 관련하여 설명한다. ‘십인계’는 1에서 10까지의 숫자가 적힌 바가지를 이리저리 섞어서 엎어 놓고 물주(物主)가 어느 숫자를 대면 ...
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4 votes
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"To give someone space"

Right, “공간을 주다” wouldn't work, as the “space” you mean is a bit of a metaphor Korean doesn't have. Korean might use the word “time” instead (interesting, don't you think?). There are several I can ...
3 votes

Meaning of 걸래는 빨아도 걸래다

It literally means "A rag is still a rag, even if you wash it". 빨다 here means "to wash (clothes)". Figuratively, it means "No matter how hard you try to improve a thing in a certain way, its innate ...
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3 votes

How well-known is the term 리즈 시절 ("Leeds season")?

A criterion for that is Naver News or other Internet news sites. 리즈 시절 was mentioned as a newly-coined word in an 2010 news article and is still used. Its relevant term, 리즈 갱신, seems to have been used ...
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3 votes
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What's the nuance of meaning of 마음을 먹다 (literally, 'to eat one's mind'), and how does the metaphor work?

As regards metaphor, you can see how little of it remains in 마음을 먹다 (if metaphor it ever was) by noting the unavailability of the following expressions: 마음을 들다. 마음을 잡수다. Compare 나이를 먹다, ...
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3 votes
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"Save the day" (like Superman)

I don't think there is a natural way of translating this and would be one of those phrases that needs to be translated on a case by case basis. For example You really saved the day (because you ...
3 votes

How to say "Why not?" in Korean?

For Case 1, I believe "그럼 안돼(요)?" would work. Literally, "Is it not allowed?" Just as you mentioned at the end of the question, this phrase can also indicate annoyance; it could also mean a genuine ...
  • 7,102
3 votes

How to say "Why not?" in Korean?

Well I don't think there would be an exact match; the closest could be "그렇지 않을/못할 이유라도 (있나)?" This might be used fairly well in situation 1, but in situation 2 it wouldn't be used often. B would end ...
2 votes

할 말을 잃다 vs 할 말을 잊다

From Naver's online dictionary: 잃다: (물건·집·자리 등을) lose; (빼앗기다) be deprived of 잊다 (기억하지 못하다) forget 잃다 is used when you forget or lose material possession. It is also used when you are unable ...
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2 votes

What's the nuance of meaning of 마음을 먹다 (literally, 'to eat one's mind'), and how does the metaphor work?

I wanted to ignore this question because there were two answers. However, I don't understand what they are talking about... '마음을 먹다' is not metaphor. 먹다 has a lot of meaning. In dictionary, There ...
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2 votes

What does 도토리 키재기긴 한데 mean?

Literally, 도토리 키재기 means to measure/compare heights of an acorn/acorns. Standard Korean Language Dictionary lists 도토리 키재기 as an idiom/proverb: link 속담 정도가 고만고만한 사람끼리 서로 다툼을 이르는 말. 비슷비슷하여 견주어 볼 필요가 ...
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2 votes

"To give someone space"

A : 주가가 내려가고 있어. 팔까 ? Stock price is lowering. How about selling ? B : 생각좀 하께. I need some time of thinking about it. Alternatives for B : 가만히 있어봐 Stay without any move 잠깐만 Just a moment 기다려 봐 ...
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2 votes
Accepted

봉인해제 meaning/usage

That's a term borrowed from pop culture cliché, most prominently 소년만화 (boy's comics, or shonen manga as they call it in Japanese) - if your Korean is good you may find more information on this article ...
  • 7,102
2 votes

What does 시원치 않다 mean?

시원치 않다 is an idiom, meaning "not satisfactory" or "lukewarm" (as in attitude, reception, appearance, etc.). (시원하다 means "cool/refreshing", so you can kind of see why 시원치 ...
  • 7,102
2 votes
Accepted

Meaning/usage of 찰떡같이?

"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 ...
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2 votes
Accepted

Meaning of '계산이 떨어진다'

That 떨어지다 sounds like an abbreviation of 맞아떨어지다. Its literal meaning is math (or size/number) is correct. It can also mean to add up, figure out, make clear or make sense. So in your given context 계산이 ...
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2 votes
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Don't Spicy Finger Me!

What your friend most likely said is "손이 맵다" which means spicy hands, but obviously here '맵다' means more than just spicy. "Brings the fire" or "heavy hitter," "...
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2 votes
Accepted

What does 방구 in 말이야 방구야 mean?

방구 is supposedly dialect of 방귀 (fart) which might be the reason you couldn't find its meaning. I think it actually used a lot more frequently than the correct 방귀 (because it is easier to pronounce). ...
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2 votes

How is the word '등' used in this sentence?

This is your mistranslation. You need to interpret the two clauses separately. 등 a bound noun used to indicate that there are other things of the same kind as the thing that was just mentioned. “등” ...
1 vote
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What does 시원치 않다 mean?

It means 시원하지 않다. 시원치 is just a contraction for 시원하지. I would encourage you to skim 한글 맞춤법 when you have time. 한글 맞춤법 제40항 해설 explains the contraction rules regarding the last syllable 하 of the stem: ...
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