A Guide To 12 K-Pop Terms For New Fans!






K-Pop basically refers to Korean Pop, and K-Pop is another world of its own. From colorful music videos to survival shows, there are a lot of things that are waiting to be explored here. Below are the most common terms that you will see in K-Pop!


Photograph: 8- member boy group Stray Kids

“Idol” is a word used for K-pop stars. Idols can be soloists or members of a group, but the word is often used for a K-pop artist who has debuted and is no longer a trainee at an entertainment agency.


Photograph: NCT's Jaemin and Mark during their trainee days

Before K-pop artists are “idols”, they’re trainees. Trainees are like students at K-pop entertainment companies (who have either auditioned or been scouted) and they spend years training in dancing and singing before they debut as a soloist or as part of a group. Along with singing and dancing, many trainee programs also include lessons in languages, such as Korean (if the trainee isn’t already fluent), English and Japanese. 


Normally the word “comeback” is used to refer to an artist’s return to music after a long break or after they’ve been cancelled on social media, possibly because of a scandal. But in K-pop, the word “comeback” is more often used to refer to when an idol or a group releases a new song. Each comeback also includes a concept or a theme that an idol or a group keeps throughout their promotional activities and performances.


Photograph: Jungkook of BTS is very popularly known as the "Golden Maknae" 

“Maknae” means the “youngest sibling” in Korean. In K-pop, the “maknae” is often used to refer to the youngest member of a girl group or boy band (a.k.a. Jungkook in BTS or Lisa in BLACKPINK). “Golden Maknae” is also often used to describe a maknae who excels in all aspects of performing (singing, dancing and visuals).


Photograph: Jooheon from Monsta X doing aegyo

“Aegyo” is a Korean word that is used to describe the cuteness of someone. In K-pop, aegyo is often associated with the cutest member of a group who expresses their cuteness through gestures, facial expressions and a cute, baby-like voice. A common example of “aegyo” in K-pop is Jooheon from Monsta X.


“Fanchants” are phrases that fans shout before an idol’s performance. Fanchants most often includes the names of each of of the members of a group (or an abbreviated version), as well as words, lines or lyrics specific to that artist.


“Bias” is most often the first word a new K-pop fan learns. “Bias” refers to a fan’s favorite member in a group. “Ult bias,” is another term which is short for “ultimate bias,” and is used to refer to a fan’s favorite idol out of all the groups they’re a fan of.


“Bias wrecker” refers to a fan’s second favorite in a group, who has a high chance of overtaking their bias and becoming their new favorite. There's a very talked about theory among fans that a person's bias is just like them and bias wrecker is usually their ideal type in dating. 


The Big Three refers to the three big entertainment companies that have launched the most successful K-Pop acts and are believed to have majorly influenced K-pop: SM Entertainment (Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, SHINee), JYP Entertainment (TWICE, Wonder Girls, Miss A) and YG Entertainment (BLACKPINK, 2NE1, Big Bang). There is a debate on whether The Big Three should be expanded to The Big Four to include Big Hit Entertainment, which manages BTS and TXT, but many fans argue that Big Hit isn’t in the same category as SM, JYP and YG because it’s a newer company and wasn’t around at the same time as The Big Three’s early days when K-Pop wasn't much known and everything that K-Pop is today, the credit goes to "The Big Three". 


“All-Kill” is when a soloist or a group is number one on all of the main Korean music charts: iChart Weekly, iChart Realtime, Melon Daily TOP 100, Melon 24Hits, Genie TOP 100 Daily, Genie TOP 100 Realtime, FLO Realtime, VIBE Today Top 100, Bugs Song Chart Daily, Bugs Song Chart Realtime. This term is also used when an idol group or soloist wins awards in all major award categories. 


This is usually the part in a song fans have deemed to be the best part. It can apply to the music or the choreography and it could be anything from a key change to a bass drop, or a particular gesture in the dance.


Photograph: Hongjoong from ATEEZ is the leader of his group

Almost every idol group has a designated leader. This person is usually responsible for organising the group and acting as a middleman between their agency and the group. They also usually start public introductions and are the first to speak at awards ceremonies. Leaders aren't always the oldest member of their groups! Blackpink is one of the very few groups who does not have an official leader. 

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