Sunday, May 02, 2010


Woo~~ Cajun chicken omurice, 대박!

Waa~~ Ice crean waffle, 대박! 대박!

What do Koreans mean when they say "대박" (pronounced "tae-bak")? Dictionary gives you meaning like "big win", "great success" and "big hit". Suppose you are well-versed with all these textbook meanings, it is quite likely you will still scratch your head the next time a Korean says "대박". Many a time, "대박" is uttered with hardly any relation to win or success. Ostensibly, there are some other meanings to the word.

To help me memorise, I used to imagine "대박" as a big melon ("대" can mean big and "박" can mean melon like "수박" is watermelon) and an excited farmer shouting "대박 대박" when he discovered one. A big melon, to a farmer, can deliver the same joy as hitting jackpot. Of course, "대박" is not big melon but rather an expression of joy which is much like striking a lottery.

"대박" is similar to the Singlish's expression - "win liao lor". When you see a nice dessert or food in front of you, Koreans says "대박" and we say "win liao lor" (expressing a sense of being overwhelmed). Or when you want to express your shock and excitement when someone throws a surprise party for you, Koreans say "대박" but we say "win liao lor".

"대박" is also similar to another Singlish's expression - "huat ah". In this context, there is no win, loss or joy in the meaning of "대박" but a wish for good luck. Be it "대박" or "huat ah", they are the same to me - different language but same feeling. 대박~ Huat ah~


  1. When I have ever been told not an english but an Chinese speaking. My visit was short on the street they usually have an chinese. Officially I just consider singapolian use english.

  2. It's common to hear excited Korean say "대박이다!", but I never really took the time to look it up before now. As far as I can remember, I think a Korean just explained it to me as "great". You're explanation sounds better, though. ^^

    Haha, now I just need to find an equivalent expression in English.

  3. haha whenever i see the word, i think of big bang's 대성 and his song 대박이야. ㅋㅋ

  4. @우주영웅, singlish is a 'bibimbap' of languages and not just chinese per se. singaporeans not only can speak english, "singlish also can leh".

    @Jibril, similar expressions in english are "oh my goodness", "my god" or something along that line.

    @shanna, someone should just translate "대박이야" to a hokkien song called "huat ah". sure become a big hit. brother huat ah, sister huat ah, i also huat ah, everybody huat ah!!!

  5. This is by far the funniest post of yours :p Daebak !


  6. 개그 자격도 없는데 -_-"