Learn Korean Words with K-Pop – 남자 없이 잘 살아 by miss A


Hi, everyone! It’s time for another edition of “Learn Korean with K-pop”! Are you ready? 시작할까요? (Shall we start?)

I’ve chosen two phrases from miss A’s “남자 없이 잘 살아” (I Don’t Need a Man) since it’s really catchy and a fun song. The title itself literally translates to “I can live well without a man”, but Fei, Suzy, Jia, and Min couldn’t possibly live well without their male fans, right? If you’re a man, don’t turn away just yet! You can still enjoy the song and this lesson even if you’re a guy~! 😀

But, I digress. If you haven’t heard the song before, check out the full MV below:

“손 벌리다”

At 1 minute, 13 seconds in the MV, Jia sings “손 벌리지 않는 게 당연한 거 아냐”

The key phrase here is“손 벌리지”, which comes from “손 벌리다”.

  • 손 = hands
  • 벌리다 = to open, to spread

Open hands? What?! In Korean, this phrase means something more than just “to open your hands.” Can you guess what it means?

Yes, you’re totally right! It means that you are opening your hands to accept something, usually money from your parents. More often than not, you will hear 손 벌리다 paired with 부모님 (parents).

Although this phrase can be translated to English in various ways, the meaning behind it is always something along the lines of “to ask for and freely accept money/handouts/allowance/living expenses.”

Check out a couple of sample sentences using “손 벌리다”:

* 부모님께 손 벌리고 사는 게 부끄럽지도 않아요? = Are you not ashamed to be living off your parent’s hand outs?
* 아무리 힘들어도 부모님께 손 벌리고 싶지는 않아요. = No matter how hard it is, I don’t want to ask my parents for money.

“부러우면 지는 거다”

At 3:21, Min raps “부러우면 진 거야” which is a very informal way of telling someone, literally, “if you are jealous, [then] you will have lost.”

Let’s break it down:

  • 부럽다 = to be envious
  • -(으)면 = if
  • 지다 = to lose
  • * 진 = 지+-(으)ㄴ (past tense)
  • * 거다 = future tense infinitive verb ending (see TTMIK Level 3, Lesson 6)

The actual meaning of “부러우면 지는 거다” in Korean is a bit different than the literal translation. Not surprising, right?! Here, 지다 suggests a feeling of inferiority, meaning that if you let yourself become so envious or jealous of someone else, you’ve basically admitted or pointed out the fear of losing or being inferior to another person. If you say this phrase about yourself, not to someone else, you are admitting jealousy, but you are trying to convince others and yourself that you are not green with envy.

Here are 2 sample sentences to see the phrase in action:

* 친구가 한국에서 슈퍼주니어를 실제로 봤다. 부러우면 지는 거다. 하나도 안 부럽다… = My friend saw Super Junior in person in Korea. If I’m envious, it means that I’ll have lost, so I will say that I’m not jealous!
* 부러우면 지는 거니까 안 부러워할 거야! = I’m not going to be jealous because you are not better than I am!

Well, that’s all I have for you today! Use today’s phrases in a sentence of your own and write them in the comment section to practice. Thank you for all your comments and suggestions! Keep ‘em coming!

Until next time!
Hasta luego!

Written by: Stephanie Morris


Learn Korean Words with K-Pop – 남자 없이 잘 살아 by miss A
  • Great !!

  • dora

    That’s a really catchy song. Thanks 😀

  • Lilia

    I didn’t get the meaning of 부러우면 지는 거다 🙁

    • Lilia,

      It’s kind of like saying that you’re a “loser” if you become jealous. “Don’t be jealous, loser!” 🙂

  • mehran

    I want to continue my korean learning but i cant :”(
    Because of my school exams :”(
    I should study my lessons hard for 1 year
    So i cant study your lovely lessons :”(
    But after 1 year i can start again 😀
    Its very good!
    So goodbye until next year!
    I miss talktomeinkorean too much
    Thank you for your very useful lessons ♡

    • Please don’t forget us. The exam should be so hard! I hope you will have a good result.

  • Sheena


    I have a question about a line from a song I head in a drama. The song was called Fox Rain and the line is:

    난 당신이 자 그만 밟 혀 서 ….

    Is this some sort of idiom, because I’m translating it as “I stopped and stepped on your tongue”? I was excited when I started understanding lines in song I’ve already fell in love with, but this one still confuses me.


  • wijdane

    hiiii ….. this is my seenior year and i have to study hard but i just fell in love with this language and TTMIK …… I included korean in my goal of speaking 5 languages….. its number 4 ;)))
    wish me luck

  • Neupane Laxman

    Like this page to practic korean language .I am a EPS KLT pass member in 2011 in 88% but can’t go there so I think many more practic and I’will go there.