S1 Ep16: Native Koreans use a metaphoric expression to say “cheating on someone”

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Vanessa: 16화: 그 남자 바람피는 것 같아

Chris: Episode #16: I think he’s cheating on her

Vanessa: Chris, Chris! 대박! 큰일났어요! OMG, something big happened!

Chris: Oh! Vanessa, What’s going on? 진정해요! Calm down!

Vanessa: I just went for a walk with my dog and saw something I shouldn’t see. The guy next door left his girlfriend and is cheating on another girl.

Chris: Really?

Vanessa: YES! I saw it with my own eyes. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to do.

Chris: Wow… He didn’t seem like that kind of person. How could he do such a thing to his girlfriend?

Vanessa: 모르겠어요. I don’t know. I guess it is hard to see the true personality and characters unless we know them.

Chris: Well, let’s stop talking about that next-door neighbour, and we’ll do our thing!

Vanessa: You are right; it’s not worth giving attention to!

Chris: That’s right.

Vanessa: By the way, do you know how to say “cheating” in Korean?

Chris: Hmm…since it is cheating, it must be something related to dishonesty or deception like 속이다?

Vanessa: Well… The expression “속이다” has a broader meaning and is equivalent to “to scam or to deceive.” In Korean, this expression is not used in a romantic relationship.

Chris: So what should I say?

Vanessa: Have you heard the expression “바람피다”?

Chris: 바람, a wind?

Vanessa: Yes, in Korean, we say 바람 피다wind blossoms to refer to cheating in a relationship.

Chris: Wow~ wind blossoms! Contrasted to the awful meaning it carries, the expression feels pretty and sweet.

Vanessa: Well, if you look at the superficial meaning, it can seem that way.  But if you look at the purpose and the meaning it carries, it is very sarcastic.  First of all, in Korean 바람is wind. As everyone knows, wind, that is, one of the natural phenomena.  But long ago, Koreans considered “wind” weather to be a disturbing phenomenon. Because Korea is a peninsula where the sea surrounds three sides of the country, it is easy to form low pressure creating large typhoons occasionally. Hundreds of years ago, such a natural phenomenon would have caused significant damage because they lacked tools and resources, unlike today.

As a result, strong winds are often viewed as the precursor to these typhoons, and Korean ancestors began to see “windy weather” itself as “a harbinger before something bad is about to happen, (an) unstable and ominous state.”

Chris: Oh, Koreans used to interpret wind as an ominous signal.

Vanessa: That’s right. So, “바람을 피다” is an expression of “a state of being in a person’s mind that “the wind blows and shakes the mind and may lead to danger soon.” In a word, it was seen as “a state on the verge of a big problem soon.”

Chris: Ah, that makes sense.  Having an affair rarely has a good ending.  Most, if not all, eventually go through lots of trouble due to their actions.

Vanessa: That’s right. So, Koreans expressed it sarcastically with a negative undertone as it is the state right before trouble rises due to their action.

Chris: Oh, after hearing the detailed explanation, I think I will definitely remember it now. I hope our neighbour will come to his senses soon before he gets into big trouble.

Vanessa:  Hope so. Anyway, shall we practice today’s lesson?

Chris: Yes! Great!


Vanessa: 그거 알아요? 어제 인터넷에서 봤는데, 그 연예인이 유부남이랑 바람을 피고 있다고 해요.  You know what? I saw it on the internet yesterday, and it says that the celebrity is having an affair with a married man.

Chris: 네? 정말요? 그 연예인 제가 좋아했는데 정말 실망이에요. Really? I liked her, but I’m really disappointed

Vanessa: 아… 그러게요. 저도 많이 실망했어요. Yeah. I was very disappointed too.


Vanessa: 우리 심심한데 같이 카드게임 해요. Let’s play card game together.

Chris: 네 좋아요! 진 사람이 이긴 사람에게 아이스크림 사주는 내기해요. Yes, I like it! Let’s bet that the loser buys ice cream for the winner.

Vanessa: 네, 그래요! 그럼 지난 번처럼 이상한 속임수로 속이지 마세요. 속이면 게임 끝이에요. Okay, sure! Then don’t use a strange trick like last time.  The game is over if you cheat.

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Picture of Hye Su Bae (Vanessa)

Hye Su Bae (Vanessa)

Korean Instructor