If you are living in Korea, watch Korean Dramas, or are learning Korean online, you have probably heard the word ‘Oppa’ (오빠) a lot and wondered what it means. In this post, you will learn the meaning of Oppa, how to use the word Oppa, and what it means when a girl calls you Oppa in Korean.
So, what does Oppa mean?
Oppa (오빠) literally means ‘older brother’ and is used by Korean women to refer to a man who is a little older than them (within about 10 years). Oppa can be used by women to refer to their older brother/cousins in their own family, their older boyfriend, or to refer to an older man with whom they are close to and trust.
When Is It Okay To Use The Word Oppa?
If you’ve been studying Korean for while you probably know that the particular kind of language you use when speaking Korean depends on the social status of the people you are talking to, and your relationship with them. This is also true about using the word Oppa (오빠). Let’s take a look at when it is okay to call a man ‘Oppa’ and when it is not okay.
You can safely call someone ‘Oppa’ (오빠) in the following situations:
- A woman can call her older brother ‘Oppa’.
- A woman can call her older male cousins ‘Oppa’.
- A woman can call her older boyfriend ‘Oppa’.
- A woman can call her older male friends ‘Oppa’.
- Girls at school can call older boys at the same school ‘Oppa’.
You would not usually call someone ‘Oppa’ in the following situations:
- A man cannot call another man ‘Oppa’. Instead, the word ‘Hyeong’ (형), which also means ‘older brother’, should be used. Click here to learn more words about members of the family.
- A woman would not usually call a man ‘Oppa’ if they are much older than them (more than 10 years).
- A woman would not usually call a man ‘Oppa’ if they met through work or other formal situations.
Oppa In Korean – FAQ
Having heard the word Oppa a lot K-dramas and in K-pop songs, many Korean learners have lots of questions about this popular Korean word. Here are the answers to some common questions about the word ‘Oppa’ in Korean.
Does Oppa Mean Boyfriend?
No, it does not. Oppa (오빠) means older brother and it is used my women to call men who are a little older than them. Perhaps the reason why many Korean learners ask if Oppa means boyfriend is because they see women in K-dramas calling their boyfriend ‘Oppa’. Although women do call their older boyfriend ‘Oppa’, women also use this word to call other men, such as their close male friends and family.
Is Oppa Flirty?
The word ‘Oppa’ (오빠) is not inherently flirty and just because a Korean woman calls you ‘Oppa’ doesn’t mean they are flirting with you. That being said, ‘Oppa’ can be used flirtatiously. It all depends on the intonation and intention of the speaker. A woman may, for example, be attracted to a slightly older man and call him ‘Oppa’ in a cute way to be flirtatious. On the other hand, a woman may call a man ‘Oppa’ because they consider that person to be someone they trust and see as an older brother, not as a love interest.
Does Oppa Mean Daddy?
No, it does not. Oppa (오빠) means older brother. The word for ‘Dad’ is 아빠 (ap-pa). As you can see, the word for dad looks and sounds similar to the word for ‘older brother’, and this is perhaps why some people wonder whether ”Oppa’ means ‘daddy’, but it does not.
Can I call My Boyfriend ‘Oppa?’
A woman can call her boyfriend ‘Oppa’ (오빠) if he is slightly older than her (within about 10 years). Jagiya (자기야) is also another word you can use to call your boyfriend/girlfriend and means ‘honey’ or ‘darling’.
Oppa In Korean – Example Sentences
Here are some useful and cute example sentences you can use with ‘Oppa’ (오빠). All these sentences are in casual language so should only be used with someone you are close to.
- 오빠, 사랑해. = Oppa, I love you.
- 오빠, 귀여워. = Oppa, you’re cute.
- 오빠, 멋져! = Oppa, you’re cool!
- 오빠, 잘자. = Oppa, goodnight.
- 오빠, 잘생겼어. = Oppa, you’re handsome.
- 오빠 안녕. = Hello Oppa. / Goodbye Oppa
- 오빠, 보고싶어. = Oppa, I miss you.
- 오빠, 나 예뻐? = Oppa, am I pretty?
- 오빠라고 불러도 돼? = Can I call you Oppa?
- 오빠라고 부르지마. = Don’t call me Oppa.