Friday, February 6, 2015

갑 (甲: Gop)

갑 [gäp]


  1. a person who has reached the level of perfection in its expertise, godlike
  2. (usually negative) a person or group of people with social status of authority, dominance over the other party, 을 (Eul)

  1. 와 박지성 챔스에서 첼시 상대로 골 넣었다. 완전 갑임!
    (Wow, Ji-sung Park scored against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. He's an absolute 갑!)
  2. 최근 일어난 한국 항공사 부사장의 땅콩파문은 전형적인 갑들의 횡포를 보여주고 있어
    The recent "nut-rage" by an executive of a Korean airline shows the typical arrogance of the 갑s.

Origin of 갑 as slang

1. Original meaning
The meaning of 갑 as slang is quite far from its original meaning. 갑 is a general legal term specifically used for contracts. 갑 refers to a contract party who invites a bid for a contract, whose primary contract party is 을, who usually tries (or struggle) to get the contracts. Because of Korea's Chaebol-centered economic structure, 갑 usually has more power in the market. 을 is relatively smaller companies than 갑s in its power, size of capital, or social status.

2. Cause of 갑 in current usage as slang

The birthplace of slang 갑 is a baseball forum of, which has similar characteristics to Reddit or 4chan. 

If you look at the picture on the left, you can see an orange-ish Chinese character, 申, pronounced as Shin.

Actually, the one who was putting up the sign used a wrong word. He or she seemed to try to say 神 (Shin), which means a being beyond human, godlike, but it used 申, a homophone instead.

After spotting the mistake on TV, a guy in the baseball forum wrote a post making fun of the typo. The guy wrote, "What kind of dumb people in the world mistakes 神 (Shin) for 甲(Gop), and what is 종범 甲 anyways?"

(note: 이종범 (Jong Bum Lee) is thought to be a legendary and "godlike" baseball player in Korean baseball history.)

To explain, the guy making fun of the mistake the person made on the tv mistook 申 for 甲, too. Then, the comment section became full of comments laughing at the writer.

After that, people started using 甲 instead of 神 to keep reminding themselves of and laugh at the dumb guy.

Since the baseball forum has a huge impact on Korean internet subculture, it gradually has become widely used among average Netizens.

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