Korean Metaphors, Proverbs & Idioms

열 번 찍어 안 넘어 가는 나무 없다.
There is no tree that won’t fall if you chop it 10 times.

눈코 뜰새가 없다.
No time to open the eyes or the nose.
Too much to do, too little time to do it.

둘이 먹다가 한 사람 죽어도 모른다.
While two are eating, one could die and the other wouldn’t notice.


From TOPIK Intermediate Papers:


백지장도 맞들면 낫다
Two heads are better than one.

뛰는 놈 위에 나는 놈 있다
There is always someone flying above someone who’s running.
There may be blue and better blue.

소문난 잔치에 먹을 것 없다
Much noise and no substance.

사공이 많으면 배가 산으로 간다
If there are many boatmen, the boat will go to the mountains.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.


5 thoughts on “Korean Metaphors, Proverbs & Idioms

  1. Hi hi, I am learning KOrean proverbs from Topik and suddenly get stuck with “소문난 잔치에 먹을 것 없다”. I searched Google and it led to your blog. >”:D< Thank you!

    • Haha. I guess not many websites/blog talks about these proverbs. Glad to be of help. Actually most proverbs can be searched in the Naver English-Korean dictionary. 🙂

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