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속담 및 관용표현 - proverbs, idiomatic expressions


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가는 날이 장날
used when you end up with something unexpected while you were doing something
가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다
you need to say good things in order to hear good things; what goes around comes around
갈수록 태산이다
used when you face work that becomes harder and harder as it proceeds
겉 다르고 속 다르다
external expression is different from what's in one's mind; what one thinks is different from how they behave
계란으로 바위 치기
used when you are too weak so you will never win no matter how hard you try; break a rock with an egg
공든 탑이 무너지랴
when you are afraid of messing something up since you put a lot of effort into it; working with great care will always create positive results
그림의 떡
describes something one desires, but that one will never get and is almost impossible to reach; achievable, pie in the sky
긁어 부스럼 만들기
used when someone is unnecessarily involved with the work and even makes it worse than before
꿩 대신 닭
used when something is needed but absent, so you use a different but similar thing that is less fitting as a replacement
남의 떡이 더 커 보인다
used when other's possessions look better than yours; another's rice-cake looks bigger
도토리 키 재기
comparing is meaningless since the things being compared are very similar
돌다리도 두둘겨 보고 건너라
used when people need to take care and be cautious in whatever they're doing
등잔 밑이 어둡다
means it's hard to know what happens close to you compared to things that happen further from you; when your unaware of things you should know about; a beacon does not shine on its own base
땅 짚고 헤엄치기
something that's very easy to do; swimming while touching the ground
말 속에 뼈가 있다
the true intention is hidden in words; many a true word is spoken in jest
모르는 게 약
it may be better for you to not know about something since it will only make your situation worse; ignorance is bliss
믿는 도끼에 발등 찍힌다
to be betrayed by someone you trust; bite the hand that feeds you
밑 빠진 독에 물 붓기
no matter how hard you try you cannot be successful; pouring water into a bottomless vase
배보다 배꼽이 크다
used when more time, money, energy, etc. is spent on periphery matters than on the actual main task itself
보기 좋은 떡이 먹기에도 좋다
means that there are times when appearance is also important
산 넘어 산
used when something continues to get more and more difficult the more you continue through; after overcoming one difficulty you face another difficulty
쇠귀에 경 읽기
used when the person you are teaching does not understand what you are saying no matter how many times you repeat yourself
수박 겉 핥기
used when someone does lazy, unimportant work and does not do the important thing that should be done
시간은 금
time is as valuable as gold
시간이 약
time is medicine; time heals all wounds
식은 죽 먹기
meaning that something is easy (as easy as eating cold rice porridge)
실패는 성공의 어머니
in order to succeed in the long run, you need to fail first; failure is the mother of success
싼 게 비지떡
a cheap product will be bad; you get what you payed for
아는 길도 물어서 가라
means you should be cautious even when doing something you are familiar with; even on a known road, ask and then go
아니 땐 굴뚝에 연기 날까
means when there's a result, there must be a cause that produced that result; where there's smoke there's fire
앓던 이가 빠진 것 같다
used when someone finally solved a big problem that has been bothering them greatly
어깨가 무겁다
used to describe someone who is stressed with heavy responsibility; shoulders are heavy
열번 찍어 안 넘어가는 나무 없다
means that even the most difficult thing can be accomplished if you constantly work at it; there are no trees that can't be brought down by 10 strokes of an ax
오르지 못할 나무는 쳐다 보지 마라
means you shouldn't try to do something that is beyond your ability; don't stare at a tree you won't be able to climb
윗물이 맑아야 아랫물이 맑다
means the elder should act well so that the young will learn to act well in turn; the higher water needs to be clear for the lower water to be clear
입에 쓴 약이 병에는 좋다
even though the route will be challenging, the result will be worth it; bitter medicine treats the disease best
자식 이기는 부모 없다
when a child seriously decides to do something, no parents can prevent them from doing it
천 리 길도 한 걸음부터
even a road of a 500 kilometers starts with one step
티끌 모아 태산
you can accomplish something large by small steps; you can get something large by gathering smaller things; gathering dust can create a great mountain
하늘의 별 따기
when the goal is beyond your ability so that success is impossible; plucking one of the sky's stars
원숭이도 나무에서 떨어진다
even an expert can sometimes make a mistake in their field of expertise; even monkeys can fall from trees
우물 안 개구리
someone who is unaware of the wider world around them; someone of limited experience, limited worldview; a frog in a well
꿀 먹은 벙어리
used when a person is at a loss for words; when a person can't open their heart to another; generally negative connotation
고생 끝에 낙이 온다
at the end of hardship comes pleasure; if you work hard at something for a long time, the end result will be good
누워서 떡 먹기
meaning that something is easy (lying down and eating rice cake)
세 살 버릇 여든까지 간다
it's hard to fix a habit formed when someone was young; a habit you have at 3 years old will go with you until you're 80
병 주고 약 준다
used when someone provides pain or trouble, but the same person then provides positive things; generally negative connotation
하나를 보면 열을 안다
when one look or experience lets you know all about a person; one can predict all about a person from knowing only one aspect
시작이 반이다
starting a task is the hardest part, but if you start then you're already halfway done; if you just start, the rest will be easy
백지장도 맞들면 낫다
Many hands make light work; It's even better to lift a blank paper together
사공이 많으면 배가 산으로 간다
Too many rowers take the boat up the mountain; Too many cooks spoil the broth
옥에 티
a flaw in an otherwise perfect masterpiece, a flaw in a gem
무소식이 희소식
no news is good news
금강산도 식후경
eat before doing anything; even at Geumgang eat before going sightseeing
새 발의 피
blood of a bird's foot, a drop in the bucket, a really small thing, insufficient