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Korean Words Every Historical Drama Fan Should Know

안녕하세요!! I am Vaibhavi from India.I have a hunch you all are going to love today’s lesson so without any further ado let’s get started.




If you’re a fan of historical Korean dramas, then you know that the language used in these dramas is often very different from the language used in everyday life. Historical dramas often contain a lot of old or archaic Korean words that you won’t hear in modern-day conversations. If you want to better understand the dialogue in your favorite drama, here are some of the most common Korean words used in historical dramas.


사극 : is the common Korean term for their historical dramas.


궁녀 : This term refers to a royal concubine or a woman who holds a position of trust in the royal family.


저슨 : This term refers to a prince or a nobleman of high rank.


궁무 : This term refers to a royal court official or someone in a high position of authority.


순무반 : This term refers to a group of warriors who are loyal to the king and protect the royal court.


왕세자 : This term refers to a crown prince or the heir to the throne. This title is often shortened to just 세자 and coupled with 저하, which means ‘His Royal Highness’ to make the often-heard title 세자저하.


검궁 : This term refers to fencing or swordsmanship.


소병 : This term refers to a page or a young man who serves in the royal court.


상사 : This term refers to a teacher or a scholar in the royal court.


낭도 : This term refers to a royal guard or a bodyguard of the king.


병 : This term refers to a soldier in the royal army.


전하 : This is used by the people to address their king and the Queen as 대비마마. 폐하 is another common way of saying Your Majesty.


왕비 : This term denotes a current wife of the king, whereas 대비 is a Queen Dowager, the wife of a deceased king.


대군 :The king’s other sons (excluding the crown prince), whose mother is a Queen are called 대군 which means Grand Prince. They are often addressed with the term 대감, which means “His Excellency.”


누이 and 오라버니 : These are the old-fashioned term used to address older sister (누이 and older brother (오라버니) in 사극 (historical dramas).


만세! : This term is a triumphant exclamation that basically means “hurrah!” The literal meaning is ‘ten thousand years’ (만 means “ten thousand”), and was used to wish the King a long life.


난장형 : This is a common punishment given to criminals for crimes that don’t warrant an automatic death sentence. In this the criminal will be beaten with sticks, often wrapped in a straw mat.


왕명 / 고명 : The last proclamation that the king delivers before dying. It’s his will and succession edict where he will name the person to take his place on the throne.


황상 : This term literally means "Radiant Highness". It's a title used to address the current Emperor by more senior members of the Imperial Family.


황후 : Empress


폐하 : This term means Your Majesty . This is the term most used by the king's subjects to address him.


주상 : This is the king's official title. This is what someone of even higher social status, such as a Queen Dowager, would call the king.


왕세제 : Royal King Successor. The brother of the current King, who is the official heir to the throne in case the current King has no son of his own.


아기씨 : The style used to address a young prince or princess.


왕세손 : Royal Prince Successor Descendant. The firstborn son of the Crown Prince and the eldest grandson of the current King. The next in line to the throne after his father.


마님 : A term used by a servants to address the wife of his/her master.


삭탈 : To be stripped of authority and removed from office, such as with a minister, who has fallen out of favor or committed a crime.


위리안치 : Exile to house surrounded by a thorn hedge - a punishment for serious crimes, particularly of high-ranking officials.


사약 : A poison cocktail of arsenic-sulfur compounds used in capital punishment of high-profile political figures and members of the royal family.


If you are curious to know more vocab on this topic wait for part 2. Comment your favorite historical drama. I hope you enjoyed today's lesson till then visit our website for more fun and interesting Korean lessons.




1 Comment


A very cool excursion into the past, just incredibly shows everything that happened under the Lords Philotala, always impressed by the history that took place in these lands. And your modern culture, it's very impressive that every year the pop art vector is only going up, without any hints that there will be any drawdown in quality. To be honest, American shows still have a long way to go, so even in this component I want to applaud.

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