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Korean Idioms: The Art of Expressions Using Body Parts (Part 2)

learning korean Dec 28, 2023
Korean idioms: The art of Expressions using body parts

- Author: Good Job Korean team 
- Editor: Good Job Korean team 

👍 Contents (Click to navigate instantly)

✅ 손발이 맞다
✅ 귀가 얇다 
 눈이 뒤집히다
 입맛에 맞다
 눈에 띄다
 눈이 멀다
 보는 눈 없다
 귀에 못이 박히도록 듣다
 간이 배 밖으로 나오다
 발 뻗고 잠을 자다
 입이 심심하다
 입이 가볍다
 입이 무겁다


 Previously, we have introduced some commonly used Korean idioms using body parts. You may read it here if you haven’t already! In this blog post, we will explore more Korean phrases using body parts that are part and parcel of the Korean language.

1. 손발이 맞다/손발이 잘 맞다/손발이 척척 맞다

*손: hand
*발: foot
*잘: well
*척척: sounds of hitting hand to hand
*맞다: to be correct, to be consistent (with), to be in harmony (with)

Literal meaning: Hands and feet are consistent or in harmony

Idiom meaning: To have good chemistry, to get along well with each other, good teamwork


Example sentence:

우리 손발이 잘 맞아서 이 프로젝트 성공적이었습니다.
This project was a success because we had good chemistry (good teamwork).

*우리: we, us
*~서 (contraction for 그래서): so
*이: this
*프로젝트: project
*성공적: successful


2. 귀가 얇다

*귀: ear
*얇다: to be thin

Literal meaning: To have thin ears

Idiom meaning: To be easily influenced by others’ words, to be gullible


Example sentence:

우리 동생은 귀가 얇아서 항상 걱정이 됩니다.
My younger sister is easily influenced by others. So I am always worried about her.

*우리: our (in the above sentence, my)
*너무: very
*동생: younger sibling
*항상: always
*걱정 되다: to be worried


3. 눈이 뒤집히다

*눈: eye
*뒤집히다: to turn inside out

Literal meaning: Eyes turn inside out

Idiom meaning: To be mad, to lose one’s reasoning or judgment


Example sentence:

저 아저씨는 눈이 뒤집혀서 도박을 하고 있어요.
He loses judgment and he is playing gambles. (He loses control and he gambles)

*아저씨: referring to middle-aged man
*도박 하다: to gamble


4. 입맛에 맞다

*입: mouth
*맛: taste, flavor
*맞다: to be correct, to be matched

Literal meaning: To match with one’s mouth flavor

Idiom meaning: To suit one’s taste


Example sentence:

A: 음식은 어때요?

B: 너무 맛있어요! 제 입맛에 맞아요!

A: How is the food?

B: The food is delicious! They suit my taste!

*음식: food
*어때: How is it? What do you think?
*맛있다: to be delicious


5. 눈에 띄다

*눈: eye
*에: to, in, for, at, by (location particle)
*띄다: to be seen, to be visible, to be spotted

Literal meaning: To be spotted by the eye

Idiom meaning: To catch someone’s eye, to stand out, to be noticeable


Example sentence:

A: 어느 드레스를 살까요?

B: 이 드레스가 특히 눈에 띄어요!

A: Which dress shall I buy?

B: This dress especially stands out!

*어느: which
*드레스: dress
*사다: to buy
*특히: especially


6. 눈이 멀다

*눈: eye
*멀다: to be far, to be distant

Literal meaning: Eyes are far, eyes are distant

Idiom meaning: To be blinded


Example sentence:

제 삼촌은 도박에 눈이 멀어서 사업이 망했어요.
My uncle was blinded by gambling so his business went bankrupt.

*제: my
*삼촌: uncle
*도박: gambling
*사업: business
*망하다: to fail, to go under, to go bankrupt


7. 보는 눈 없다

*보다: to see, to watch
*눈: eye
*없다: to not exist

Literal meaning: The eye that sees does not exist

Idiom meaning: To not have an eye for, to have terrible taste, to have a poor judge of character


Example sentence:

A: 남자친구가 바람을 폈어.

B: 또?! 너는 정말 좋은 남자를 보는 눈이 없다!

A: My boyfriend cheated on me!

B: Again?! You do not have an eye for good men!

*남자친구: boyfriend
*바람 피우다: to cheat
*또: again
*좋다: to be good


8. 귀에 못이 박히도록 듣다

*귀: ear
*못: nail
*박히다: to be embedded, to be stuck
*-도록: to the extent of
*듣다: to hear, to listen

Literal meaning: To have a nail hammered into the ear

Idiom meaning: To be tired of hearing something, to have heard something too many times, to feel of being nagged


Example sentence:

이 얘기는 귀에 못이 박히도록 들었어요!
I am tired of hearing this story!

*얘기: story


9. 간이 배 밖으로 나오다

*간: liver
*배: stomach
*밖: outside, exterior
*나오다: to come out

Literal meaning: To have a liver out of one’s stomach

Idiom meaning: To suggest someone as fearless or reckless


Example sentence:

그 폐가가 얼마나 위험한지 알아? 감히 혼자 거기에 가다니! 간이 배 밖으로 나왔네!
Do you know how dangerous is that abandoned house? How dare you go there alone? You’re so reckless!

*폐가: abandoned house
*얼마나: how (much)
*위험하다: to be dangerous
*알다: to know
*감히: how dare you
*혼자: alone
*거기: there
*가다:  to go


10. 발 뻗고 잠을 자다

*발: foot
*뻗다: to stretch (out), to extend
*잠: sleep (noun)
*자다: to sleep

Literal meaning: To sleep with the feet stretched out

Idiom meaning: To sleep well without worries


Example sentence:

드디어 전시회가 끝났어요. 이제 발 뻗고 잠을 잘 수 있을 것 같아요.
The exhibition is finally over. I think I can sleep well now.

*드디어: finally
*전시회: exhibition
*끝나다: to be over, to be done, to finish
*이제: now
*수 있다: can (the ability to do something)
*것 같다: it looks like, it seems to be, I think


11. 입이 심심하다

*입: mouth
*심심하다: to be bored

Literal meaning: The mouth is bored

Idiom meaning: To feel like eating something even though not hungry


Example sentence:

A: 저녁은 방금 먹었는데 입이 심심해요.

B: 라면 먹을래요?

A: I just had dinner, but I feel like eating something.

B: Do you want some ramyeon?

*저녁: dinner
*방금: just (now), a moment ago
*먹다: to eat
*라면: rayon


12. 입이 가볍다

*입: mouth
*가볍다: to be light

Literal meaning: To have a light mouth

Idiom meaning: Easily tell secrets, to not be able to keep a secret


Example sentence:

A: 엄마는 콘서트에 가는 것을 허락하지 않으시지만 어쨌든 저는 갈 거예요.

B: 언니한테 말하지 말아요. 언니는 입이 가벼워요!

A: Mom won’t allow me to go to the concert, but I am going anyway.

B: Don’t tell (our) older sister. She has a light mouth! (She cannot keep secrets!)

*엄마: mom
*콘서트: concert
*가다: to go
*허락하다: to allow, to permit
*어쨌든: anyway, anyhow
*언니: older sister (for female)
*한테: to
*말하다: to tell, to speak, to say


13. 입이 무겁다

*입: mouth
*무겁다: to be heavy

Literal meaning: To have a heavy mouth

Idiom meaning: To hold secrets well, to keep secrets well


Example sentence:

A: 나 좋아하는 사람 생겼어.

B: 누군데? 걱정 말고 말해봐. 나 입이 무겁잖아.

A: I have someone I like.

B: Who is it? Don’t worry and tell me (Try telling me). You know I have a heavy mouth (I keep secrets well).

*나: I, me (casual form)
*좋아하다: to like, to be fond of
*사람: person
*생기다: to form, to happen, to occur
*누구: who
*걱정 말다: don’t worry


 Now that we have covered more Korean idioms, don’t you think they are interesting? Other than the above and those we have covered in Part 1, many other phrases use human body parts. Hence, do not get confused if your Korean friend says something that may not make sense to you. We will soon explore more Korean idioms that use food, animals, places, and other objects! We hope you will look forward to learning more with us!

- Author: Good Job Korean team 
- Editor: Good Job Korean team