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“OPPA” and What it Means in K-Dramas?

In the world of K-Dramas, we often hear the word “OPPA” used casually by the most loved characters in various series, but what is really the meaning of this word in Korean language? Many of us would like to know its meaning to understand better.

In Korea, “oppa” means older of a female individual but it has been altered over time that it now means: older brother, an older friend who is very close, and sometimes a boyfriend or husband if they are older.  Addressing other people in Korean language is complicated since you have to understand the word better and of course understand a bit of their culture to appropriately use the term “oppa”.

(Also read: 10 Reasons kung BAKIT PATOK sa mga Pinoy Ang K-Dramas)

Korean people are more specific when it comes to the use of this term and it is vital to observe the relationship between the speaker and the subject of the sentence. For some of us who do not fully understand this term, we may find this as something more “romantic” but for Koreans, it is actually about showing respect to those with higher status. It means those who is older than you, may be called “oppa”.

Korean use this term only to address ONLY to those older male that is why, in many drama series we always hear this word enunciated by female characters. Most importantly, the word is only used to those who are very close to the female speaker. They don’t usually use the word in an official or business setting.

Korean guys usually like it when they are called “oppa” in the right tone of voice because for them it means you like the guy more than just a friend. It is in another way exciting for guys to be called one or the other way around, it depends on the intent. That’s it and now that we understand the word, there is no room for questions anymore and just try to watch your favorite dramas properly and when you hear the word “oppa” then, just smile and continue. – Clea | Helpline PH