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[Korea Quiz] (33) Is it really ‘cool’?

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 14, 2022 - 10:40

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Test your knowledge of Korea with our weekly quiz on the language, culture, history or anything K-related.

Find the answer at the bottom of the page.

In America, the word "bad" is sometimes used colloquially to actually mean that something is very good. In Korea, a comparable word would be “si-won-ha-da,” which literally means cool, but is also used to mean something completely different.

A Korean might say “si-won-ha-da” when he or she is sitting on a hot bathtub or having a hot stew, in order to express that one is feeling refreshed or comfortable. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, this derives from the secondary meaning of the word that refers to one feeling well and relaxed in certain situations or while having certain types of food.

As sitting in a bathtub is conventionally a relaxing situation for many people, some Koreans might refer to it as being “cool.” Such usage is relatively more common among the older generation and not as much among the younger generation in the country.

It can also be used in situations when a certain person feels satisfied with a situation, which had previously been facing hindrance. For example, when a congested freeway is loosened up, one might say “si-won-ha-da.”

Answer: (a)