June 11

Terms used in Korean pop culture

Written by
Annyeong India

Korean pop also known as K-pop is now the world's most grossed pop industry and has a global fandom. K-pop has lots of terms you would not be knowing like idol, bias, hyung line, aegyo etc.

Many of you would be confused by the K-pop community. K-pop is a big industry and is full of amazing stuff and many things that fans have created to represent K-pop.

How the Fandom of K-pop has made different terms in K-pop culture let's find out today. 


Kpop Idol

IU (Left), Jungkook(Centre) and Solar (Right)

An Idol refers to a K-pop star. Idols are those who might be in a group or be a solo artist. Overall it refers to a K-pop artist who has debuted and is no longer a trainee in a K-pop entertainment industry. Idols are the ones who make K-pop and Hallyu a great wave and a great industry and Idols mostly have busy schedules as they practise, produce and write songs too. PSY and BTS are known to ‘pave the way’ for coming Idol groups or solo Idols.


Kpop Trainees

Kpop Trainees

The meaning of the word is the same as the word it is. Trainee is used for those who are being trained to become an Idol. Before debuting they are known as trainees. K-pop agencies scout many students from High Schools or even Middle school and they are trained for several years and might be taught many languages like English, Japanese etc. They train in singing and dancing and as they perform they join a group or remain solo. 


Kpop Debut

Debut is a word referred to a trainee who has become a K-pop idol and debuted by releasing their first single or album. Debut is the most dreamful and ‘The Day’ for any K-pop trainee. 


‘KIM NAMJOON – KIM SEOKJIN – MIN YOONGI – JUNG HOSEOK – PARK JIMIN – KIM TAEHYUNG – JUNG JUNGKOOK – BTS!!!. Here’s an example, yeah basically it's a chant fans do during performances. Fan chants could be anything related to the artist or a part of their songs or their name also. 


RM (Centre) the leader of BTS

RM (Centre) the leader of BTS

Leader is a leader. Every K-pop group has a leader. Leader is not the one who enjoys the most fame and services, it is the most responsible person of the group who can take decisions and lead a group and he/she is the one who is the talk person to a group to its agency and they are the first one to respond in interviews and award shows. Leaders are not always the oldest member of the group; they may vary. 


Jin (Left) Hyung of BTS

Jin (Left) Hyung of BTS

 Hyung(형) means the eldest in Korean. So it is the term referred to the eldest of the group. They are also responsible as they are the eldest in the group and are mostly teased by the Maknae (youngest member) or younger member as being the oldest in the group because of their age. 


 Maknae (막내) 

Jungkok (Left) Maknae of BTS

Jungkok (Left) Maknae of BTS

"Maknae (막내)" is the youngest and is believed to be the cutest in the group and is the one who receives love from all his elder members and fans. "Golden Maknae" refers to the youngest who is multi-talented and can do really extraordinary things. BTS Jungkook is called "Golden Maknae" as he is multi-talented and fans agree without a doubt. Maknae is usually the cutest but it is now changing. 


Bias is a term referred to the most favourite member from a K-pop group and one a fan likes the most. When you meet a K-pop fan they will ask about the group you like and your bias.. So it is what you like the most. Ultimate Bias means your all time favourite and Bias Group refers to your favourite group of all time. 

 Bias Wrecker 

Bias wrecker means the second favourite or one who is having a high chance of overtaking and becoming the favourite. Bias wrecker is someone fans get most confused while choosing their bias because it's not easy to choose a favourite when every member is good. 


Comeback is a term used when a K-pop group or Idol releases a single or album. When an Idol or group comeback they do a lot of promotion in different ways especially appearing on a Korean Variety Show, every comeback has a different theme and different concept of promotion. Comeback period is the most important period for K-pop idols as they promote, practice and have a lot of music shows. The schedule is most hectic during comeback time.


Ningning Visual of Aespa

Ningning Visual of Aespa

You can get the meaning from the word. Yeah visual means the most handsome or attractive member from a group although they all are attractive. This where fans debate a lot about and its choosing who is the visual according to their choices. The visual is the one most fans fall for. Example The main Visual of Astro is Cha Eun Woo. 


One of the main vocalist of MAMAMOO group

One of the main vocalist of MAMAMOO group

Main refers to the main dancer, rapper, visual, vocal, of the group. The mains are the one who are the leader in whichever field they are best at, the main is the one with the best in vocal and techniques in dance. Main visual is when most of the members are visual but the one who is main is the most attractive or handsome. Usually most of the members in a K-pop group consider themselves as the main visual. 

The Big Three 

Top Kpop Labels

Top Kpop Labels

The Big Three is neither a solo Kpop group nor a Kpop solo artist. The Big Three refers to main leasing K-pop companies from the early 90s when K-pop was born. The Big Three companies are SM, JYP, and YG. They were the three competitors of the K-pop industry and somehow now too.

SM launched big K-pop groups like Super Junior, Girls Generation, Shinee, EXO and Shinhwa. JYP launched groups like G.O.D, Wonder Girls, Twice, Goat7  and Wonder Girls were the first K-pop groups to perform on an American TV show.

YG launched huge succes like Blackpink, Big Bang, Winner, Sechskies. Many argue that Big Hit or Hybe should also be considered as the fourth big company and be as ‘The Big Four’ as it launched BTS, TXT and Enphpen but is as it was not from an early time and is a newer company so it's not added in it.

With BTS’ major success in foreign market unarguably the top 3 companies are definitely HYBE, SM and JYP.

 Aegyo (애교) 

BTS Member doing Aegyo

BTS Member doing Aegyo

Aegyo is referred to when K-pop Idols show their cuteness and is done regardless of their gender. Just like the main dancer, vocal or visual there is the title the main Aegyo, it is the member who acts the cutest of the group and is the cutest. Many fans love when their favourite K-pop Idol shows Aegyo. 

These were some of the main terms used in K-pop culture. Hope now you can remember these and be a more knowledgeable and true K-pop fan. 

Author : Saurabh Thapa


Aegyo, Bias, Hyung, kpop

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