[Ask Hyojin] What does 맙소사 mean?

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How do you say “Oh, my God!” in Korean? A lot of people find the expression 맙소사 from books, dictionaries, TV shows, etc, but it’s not really a common expression used in everyday Korean. Find out why and how to say it more naturally through this video lesson by Hyunwoo and Hyojin~! 감사합니다 ^^

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[Ask Hyojin] What does 맙소사 mean?
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  • 역시 구어의 말은 아니군요. 이야기 시리즈의 첫째 이야기에선 석진 선생님이 이렇게 경은 선생님 한 어색한 얘길 들으시면서 맙소사라고 하셨던데 저는 아하 그런 경우에 맞는 말이구나 라는 생각이었어요. 그 맙소사라고 하신 기억이 아주 지워지지 않는 거네요. 🙂
    그 외에는 하나도 본 적이 없는 듯해요. 네 주로 헐 헉 이라는 거 봐요..
    믿을 수 없어 라는 건요? 아니면 짧게 믿을 수가….

  • roaa


  • 태권도_마틴_불가리아

    So it’s like ‘세상에’, ‘이럴수가’, ‘어머(나)’ ‘헉’, ‘헐’, 등등..
    그런데 ‘맙소사’의 어원이 뭔지 알고 싶어요.. 어원을 알 때 더 쉽게 배워요! ㅅ_ㅅ


    [Oh, by the way, I’ve found something about it, but I can’t understand it, because of my poor Korean vocabulary.. xD Maybe it can help you.]

    • My vocab not so good as well, but with help of dictionary figured out a bit 🙂
      So basically if you break the word, it’s simply the verb 말 (imperative not) with some high level grammar honorific imperative ending ~ㅂ소서 (somewhat originally).

      There’s some imperative endings mentioned, from lowest to highest – 해라, 하게, 하오, 합쇼, 하소서. and some variations of 하오. I got confused following what’s is what.

      Also unlike imperative 마라 and 말게, which you should say with the verb, like 하지 마라 or 하지 말게, 마오 eventually started to be used independent from the verb, like 마오 and 맙소서, and turned into interjection.
      While you won’t find the word 마오 in a dictionary, there’s an example from one Korean legend, where it was used as “enough” or interjection when you’re surprised. (probably gives you the idea of how unnatural it is, along with 맙소사).

      If you go even further back to the origin of 맙소사, originally it’s 말다 + 옵 + 쇼셔
      옵 is some politeness suffix
      쇼셔 is ending you use to higher people.
      Together it’s 마옵쇼셔 → 맙쇼셔 → 맙소서 → 맙소사.
      Then there’s a part after this where I see squares every 2 syllables. Probably because of hanja, which I don’t know anyway, so I’m not gonna try decipher it. But he’s saying that 맙소사 came in 19th century, and there’s also 맙시사 in 20th century.

      Now when you say 맙소사 on it’s own using this very high literature level of speech the idea is that you’re talking to the god, saying “oh god don’t do it please”.

      He’s also adding that because of this 하느님 맙소사 is the more correct way to translate “오 마이 갓”. But if you try to suggest it to little kids, you will only hear back “오 마이 갓” from them 🙂

      Well and he begins with that he wonders what’s the proper way to to translate “오 마이 갓”. Since 어머나’ or ‘어머” are interjections that females use, and “어라” is of some specific dialect. In the subtitles you can often see “아이구, 저런” or “이런”, but it’s more like when you see something stupidly ridiculous happens, and not when you’re surprised or scared.

    • I mean the verb 말다 not 말. Ran out of editing time T.T

    • 태권도_마틴_불가리아

      Thank you very much! : )

  • Lexi

    About a month ago found out that one of my college classmates came from South Korea two years ago, and I asked him if it was okay to call him “오빠”, but he acted weird when I asked him.

    I know that “오빠” is something like older brother in Korean. He is 24 years old, making him a few years older then myself and I’m female, so I don’t believe I used it incorrectly. He just acted so odd that I am curious if I did something out of line or wrong.

    Also, I recently, as in last night, went on a date with him, and I still want to call him Oppa as I just enjoy the word — but I don’t want to say it and have him act weird again.

    Please Help Me!

    • aruffaroo

      “어빠” is used only by females when speaking to their older brothers, and when speaking to a boyfriend or a very (very) close older male friend. Just calling a guy “어빠” when you don’t have that kind of relationship with him can be considered very presumptuous – you’d be taking a liberty, and making things awkward. Even after dating for a bit, I imagine it can be awkward to use that term if the guy isnt ready for that kind of language, since it implies a deeper level of intimacy than may actually be there.

    • Thbanned

      어빠 and 오빠 is different or is same?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Actually, 어빠 is a wrong expression. 오빠 is correct.

    • Thbanned

      thank you

  • Andrew

    I’ve noticed ‘맙소사’ a lot in Korean subtitles for English language films to translate when people are surprised, but actually the first time i ever heard it was in the first iyagi episode, where Seokjin reacts to a story Kyeongeun is telling about falling asleep on the bus. Did he say it to be jokingly dramatic in this situation?

  • jeng

    Hello I’m learning a lot Hyojin,is really funny…:)

  • jeng

    Thanks guys I’m learning a lot,I realy enjoy listening to your voice Hyonwoo realy has a great voice,and Hyojin is really funny…:)

  • Athiraa

    안녕하세요! What is 매일 mean? Just in 틴탑 song, To You. Niel’s part. I hope you can explain it, thank you 🙂

    • Andrew

      ‘매일’ means ‘every day’.

    • Athiraa

      Oh, thanks Andrew 🙂 고마워요!

  • 타일러

    I don’t know where to ask questions, but I think here right?
    Teacher what does 롱탐노씨 mean? ^^ I’ve looked it up in the dictionary but I can’t find it D; I think 씨 is like (이름) 씨 right? So what’s 롱탐노?

    • Hi 타일러,
      I think that is the Korean pronounce of “Long time no see” and it is not related to Mr. 롱탐노.
      There is no word like 롱탐노.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

    • 타일러

      Oh Thank You so much ^^ 너무 감사합니다!
      wow I feel really dumb now haha xD thats what I automatically thought of when i saw 씨 at the end of the word

  • Raemi

    I got a question… I’m trying to translate lyrics of one song and I don’t know how to exactly translate : “니가 저 하늘에 별이 되는게 ” . Is it like : you’re becoming a star in that sky or it looks like u’re a star in that sky .. ? I just don’t know what means that 는게 suffix. Can anyone translate this for me please?

  • Hai Binh Nguyen

    선생님…I wonder if 많다 and 많이 있다 mean the same thing?

    • 이태인

      많다 just means “many” and 많이 있다 means “there is many” ^^