All of us have lots of friends, but there’s only a select few we can call our best friends. So how would you call your best friend in Korean. There are a few words you can use. Most are common and standard, but a few are thought of as slang words. Let’s show you some words you can use.
If you’re already familiar with Hangul and Konglish, you might know how this word was formed. Can you take a guess?
It’s a slang/Konglish word that combines the first two syllables of ‘best’ and ‘friend’ in Korean:
베스트 (be-seu-teu) + 프렌드 (peu-ren-deu) = 베프
Lots of Korean loan words and slang words are formed like this, which makes them easy to remember. This is a typical word you can use to refer to your best friend. Here are some example sentences.
걔 내 베프였어. (gyae nae be-peu-yeo-sseo) = She was my best friend.
베프가 4명이 있어요. (be-peu-ga 4myeong-i i-sseo-yo) = I have four best friends.
Next up, we have 절친. This is also a word made from other words and is also commonly used in daily conversation.
절친한 (from the verb 절친하다 which means close) + 친구 (chin-gu) = 절한
So the literal translation of this word would be saying that you and your friend have a very close relationship, like a best friend. What’s ironic is that the verb ‘절친하다’ itself could also be shortened to just ‘절친’.
Here are some example sentences:
그는 나의 절친한 친구입니다. (geu-neun na-ui jeol-chin-han chin-gu-im-ni-da) = He is a close friend of mine.
오래된 절친한 친구. (o-rae-doen jeol-chin-han chin-gu) = An old, good friend.
This one is less used than the ones above these days and refers to a good friend you’ve known since childhood. The literal meaning of this phrase is ‘A friend whom you used to ride a bamboo horse with’. A little weird right? It’s a 4-character idiom that comes from Hanja and old stories. This is not typically used in daily conversation and you will see it more often in books, poems, etc. that come from old times.
Finally, we have 불알친구. This is a slang word and an expression that people might find rude and distasteful. It’s only used between close and long-time male friends. It’s literal meaning is ‘testicle buddies’ and I have no idea where this phrase came from. If you watch some Korean comedians/prank videos on Youtube, you will hear them use this phrase a lot. I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you’re a guy with a very close Korean male friend you’ve known for a while.
So you got ’em all? Now go out and try using these (not the last one) on some of your close Korean friends.