#IOTW: Idioms in K-pop Song Titles

Hello, fellas! How familiar are you with K-pop songs?

I’ve noticed a trend where a lot of K-pop songs are using English titles or sometimes a Korean title with a different English title in parenthesis (e.g.: ‘서원을 말해봐 (Genie)’ by SNSD). The sentence 서원을 말해봐 (read: seo-won-eul mal-hae-bwa) which means ‘tell me your wish’ has a different title in English called ‘Genie.’

This might happens because K-pop are trying to expand into the international market, thus, having song title in English is more effective to garner the attention of overseas people. Another reason is because most of overseas listeners of K-pop can’t type the Korean alphabet, so with the English title, people can easily find the song and the music video.

Not only an English title, but some of popular K-pop song are using idiomatic expression in English too. Here are some idiom in K-pop song titles.

  1. One of a kind. (Song by GD, 2012)
  • Meaning: the only item of a particular type.
    • E.g.: “Kwon Jiyoung is a leader of popular boy-group who has produced more than 160 songs. He’s absolutely one of a kind.”
  1. Blood, sweat & tears. (Song by BTS, 2016)
  • Meaning: a lot of effort and suffering.
    • E.g.: “Namjoon produces the songs with blood, sweat, and tears to make it well known internationally.”
  1. Born with a silver spoon. (Inspired from Silver Spoon by BTS, 2015)
  • Meaning: to be in a high social class or be rich from birth.
    • E.g.: “Taehyung wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He earned his success through hard work.”
  1. Spine breaker. (Song by BTS, 2014)
  • Meaning: someone who demands the parents to always buy fancy things so he/she could keep up with expensive trends.
    • E.g.: “Jin is such a spine breaker. He wears a limited edition shoes after begging her mom to buying them for him.”
  1. Home run. (Song by GOT7, 2016)
  • Meaning: a highly successful achievement.
    • E.g.: “After starring a drama called Dream High 2, Jaebum & Jinyoung scored a home run. They debuted as a duo and later in a popular boy-group.”


  1. Mental breakdown. (Inspired from MTBD by CL, 2014)
  • Meaning: the state of being overwhelmed by a situation that one’s can’t handle.
    • E.g.: “Chaelin almost had a mental breakdown because she thought that she had lost the shoes given by Rihanna.”


  1. Lionhearted. (Inspired from Lion Heart by SNSD, 2015)
  • Meaning: exceptionally corageous or brave.
    • E.g.: “Hyoyeon is lionhearted. She usually dances with a cute concept in a group, but she dares to perform a ballroom dance all alone.”


  1. Play with fire. (Song by BLACKPINK, 2016)
  • Meaning: to do something that could cause a great trouble later.
    • E.g.: “Jennie is playing with fire because she doesn’t wear a helmet while driving the motorcycle.”


  1. Play Russian roulette. (Inspired from Russian Roullete by Red Velvet, 2016)

Russian roulette is a dangerous game of chance in which the player holds a gun containing one bullet to your head and shoot, the player wins if the bullet does not come out.

  • Meaning: to take big risks, in a way which is very dangerous.
    • E.g.: “Yeri is playing Russian roulette by pursuing her career in the entertainment industry since 12 years old.”
  1. Lovey-dovey. (Song by T-ara, 2011)
  • Meaning: to express affection in an extravagantly sentimental way.
    • E.g.: “There’s a lovey-dovey couple at Kirin-art School. They are Jiyeon and Jaebum whom are always holding hands together.”

– Cambridge Idioms Dictionary.
– McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs.

Featured photo by Jeon Han – Korea.net

Compiled and written by @anhtiss at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, July 1, 2017.

Related Post(s):

One thought on “#IOTW: Idioms in K-pop Song Titles”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s