Say What?!: Decoding the K-Pop Lingo

The K-Pop universe has a language of its own.

This is something I discovered as I dived deeper into its colorful world.

In my few months as a K-Pop fan (I know. I’m sooo late.), I’ve been asked which group I stan, who my bias is, and whose comeback I’m looking forward to. They were all too confusing for me back then, and – naturally – my response was “What?”


What do these words I thought I knew (but apparently not enough to answer the questions thrown at me) actually mean in the K-Pop world?  Of course, grappling my way through what was once uncharted territory to me, I eventually found out what these terms meant, how they’re used, and even when to use them.

So if you’re a new K-Pop fan or simply a curious cat who’s intrigued by the idea of K-Pop lingo, read up as I decode some words from the second language of K-Pop junkies.


“Captain Yoo Si Jin and Sergeant Seo Dae Young are obviously Red Velvet stans.”


Simply put, a “stan” is an avid fan of a group or a celebrity. This term is said to have originated from Eminem’s 2000 music video for the song “Stan” that featured an obsessive fan who carried the name. “Stan” is believed to be a combination of the words “stalker” and “fan”.

In some cases, the word is also used a verb to express support, i.e. “I stan Infinite for their pure talent.” or “Through thick and thin, I will forever stan DBSK.”


“I love Suho so much! He is definitely my bias!”


“Bias” is pretty much synonymous to “favorite”, and basically refers to your favorite member in a group. It gets complicated as you fall deeper in your fandom, though, since its almost inevitable to love several members in a group you stan. So then you’ll have to label your biases – first bias, second bias, ultimate bias…You get the idea, right?


“V is my ultimate bias in BTS, but Jimin sure is my bias wrecker!”


 A “wrecker” or “bias wrecker” is a member of a group you stan who isn’t your bias BUT finds a way to mess with your feels, probably because he or she looks hotter than usual or sounds better than usual.


“Everybody agrees that SNSD’s Sunny is the queen of aegyo!” 


An idol’s aegyo is something that fans always look forward to. It is a Korean term that refers to the act of doing something cute. Idols commonly exhibit aegyo by displaying puppy eyes, speaking in a childish voice, or winking. These never fail to make their fans scream “kyaaaaaa!”


“Kyuhyun’s devilish grin makes him the evil maknae of Super Junior.”


The maknae is the youngest member of a group. Fans are particularly fond of them because they can be adorable and mischievous at the same time.


“The visuals of Black Pink are breathtaking. They are like living pieces of art!”


 “Visual” can either refer to the physical appearance of an idol or the group’s most attractive and charismatic member, who serves as the magnet of the group, simply because they have the ability to draw fans in through their good looks and charm.


“BIGBANG is making an early comeback with ‘MADE’ due to T.O.P’s impending military enlistment.”



The most awaited event of fans is their favorite group’s comeback. Comeback = new concepts, new songs, and a new era! Now, while “comeback” is a term commonly used to describe the return of an artist or a group of artists after a long break, that isn’t always the case in K-Pop. A band need not go on hiatus to make a comeback. Every new release of a group is considered a comeback in the world of K-Pop.


“Omo! TWICE achieved a perfect all-kill with ‘TT’!”


 “All-kill” is an impressive feat that a group can achieve by topping major music charts shortly after the release of ththeir new material. With a number of groups dropping new songs almost every week, obtaining an all-kill is absolutely a big deal!


“SEVENTEEN’s bright and lively stages always perk me up!”


Nope, a “stage” isn’t just the elevated platform on which your favorite groups sing and dance. In K-Pop, when you say “stage”, it IS the performance! Stages are most often held at music shows for groups to promote their latest songs (“comeback stage”).


“Jinyoung and Jackson’s skinship is too much to handle!”

Originally, “skinship” is a term reserved for the physical contact between a mother and her child. These days, however, “skinship” is used for just about any act of people who express affection or their closeness through touching. Hugging, kissing, and holding hands are some examples of skinship.


“That moment between Jonghyun and Taemin during their ‘Internet War’ performance back in 2012 is peak fan service!”


Fan service is any act done by idols to please and excite their fans and audience. These acts range from cute to sexy.


“Is it true that a Sasaeng fan managed to steal D.O’s underwear?”



“Sasaeng fans” are awfully obsessed fans who cross the line just to express their “love” for their favorite group or bias. They engage in various intrusive – and, sometimes, dangerous – activities such as following an idol all day long while snapping tons of photos (you wouldn’t believe how powerful their zoom lenses are!), calling and texting idols (yes, they find ways to get verified phone numbers), and even sneaking into the dorms of bands (stealing stuff along the way). Seriously, these sasaeng fans know no limits.


“2ne1’s Dara and SHINee’s series of Etude House ads remain to be my favorite CFs to date.”

“CF” is an acronym for “commercial film”. Companies most usually sign idols to endorse their brand through CFs.


“My dream is to take a selca with my bias.”


“Selca”, in Korea, is what’s known as “selfie” to the rest of the globe. It’s a combination of the words “self” and “camera”.


“I spend most of my free time scrolling through SNS.”


“SNS” is where your idols post their selcas. The acronym stands for “social networking services” a.k.a. social media. Facebook, Weibo, Twitter, Instagram – they’re all forms of SNS!

Do you have other words to add? Sound off in the comments!

Written by: Krew Member Andy Flores


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