What Does Oppa Mean In Korean (with Examples!)

Avatar photo

Alright, let’s break down this whole “oppa” thing in a fun way – it’s a word you’ve probably heard a lot if you’re into K-pop or Korean dramas. 

You’re about to get the 411 on “oppa” (오빠) – what it means, when to use it, and all that jazz.


So, “oppa” – it’s like saying ‘older brother’ in Korean, but it’s got a bit more flair to it. It’s what girls say to guys who are a bit older – think up to 10 years or so. 

It’s not just for actual brothers or cousins. Girls also call their older boyfriends “oppa.” Plus, it’s used for older guys they’re close to and totally trust. It’s like a cool mix of respect and affection.

When Is It Okay To Use The Word Oppa?

Okay, so when do you drop this word in a convo? If you’re a girl chatting with an older guy who’s kinda like a big brother, or maybe your boyfriend who’s a bit older, “Oppa” is your go-to word. It shows respect and closeness.

A common question we get is: Is ‘Oppa’ the Same as ‘Boyfriend’?

Not exactly! While you might call your boyfriend “Oppa” if he’s older, the word itself doesn’t mean boyfriend. It’s more about the age and relationship vibe.

Well, it can be flirty! If you call a guy “Oppa” with that twinkle in your eye, it might just add a sprinkle of flirtiness to the air. But remember, context is key!

‘Oppa’ = ‘Daddy’? Uh, Nope!

This one’s a big misunderstanding. “Oppa” is definitely not “Daddy.” It’s all about being an older brother figure or a close, older male friend.

Can I Call My Boyfriend ‘Oppa’?

Totally! If your boyfriend is older and you both dig the term, “Oppa” can be a cute and affectionate way to call him. It’s pretty common in Korean relationships.

20 Beginner-friendly Phrases

Korean PhraseRomanizationEnglish Translation
오빠, 안녕?Oppa, annyeong?Hi, Oppa?
오빠, 이거 봐봐!Oppa, igeo bwabwa!Look at this, Oppa!
오빠, 저녁 뭐 먹을래?Oppa, jeonyeok mwo meogeullae?What do you want for dinner, Oppa?
오빠, 도와줘요.Oppa, dowajwoyo.Help me, Oppa.
오빠, 잘했어요!Oppa, jalhaesseoyo!Good job, Oppa!
오빠, 같이 가자!Oppa, gati gaja!Let’s go together, Oppa!
오빠, 재밌는 일 있었어?Oppa, jaeminneun il isseosseo?Did anything fun happen, Oppa?
오빠, 걱정 마세요.Oppa, geokjeong maseyo.Don’t worry, Oppa.
오빠, 이거 좋아해요?Oppa, igeo joahaeyo?Do you like this, Oppa?
오빠, 여기 앉아도 돼요?Oppa, yeogi anjado dwaeyo?Can I sit here, Oppa?
오빠, 뭐 생각해?Oppa, mwo saenggakhae?What are you thinking, Oppa?
오빠, 기다려 줄래?Oppa, gidaryeo jullae?Will you wait for me, Oppa?
오빠, 영화 볼래?Oppa, yeonghwa bollae?Do you want to watch a movie, Oppa?
오빠, 이거 어때요?Oppa, igeo eottaeyo?How about this, Oppa?
오빠, 추워요?Oppa, chuwoyo?Are you cold, Oppa?
오빠, 늦어서 미안해요.Oppa, neujeoseo mianhaeyo.I’m sorry I’m late, Oppa.
오빠, 내일 뭐 해요?Oppa, naeil mwo haeyo?What are you doing tomorrow, Oppa?
오빠, 이거 들어줄래요?Oppa, igeo deureojullae?Can you hold this for me, Oppa?
오빠, 감사합니다.Oppa, gamsahamnida.Thank you, Oppa.
오빠, 힘내세요!Oppa, himnaeseyo!Cheer up, Oppa!

Final Thoughts

In Korean culture, the term “Oppa” (오빠) is much more than just a word; it’s a part of everyday language that reflects the intricacies of relationships and social etiquette.

For beginners learning Korean, understanding and appropriately using “Oppa” can significantly enhance conversational skills and cultural understanding.

It’s commonly used by younger women to address older men who are close to them, whether they are brothers, boyfriends, or just friends. The term is imbued with respect, affection, and a sense of closeness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is “Oppa” only used by women?

Yes, traditionally, “Oppa” is used exclusively by women to address older men who are close to them.

Can “Oppa” be used in formal settings?

While “Oppa” is generally used in informal settings, its appropriateness in formal situations depends on the relationship’s closeness and the context.

Does “Oppa” always imply a romantic relationship?

No, “Oppa” does not necessarily imply romance. It can be used for brothers, cousins, close male friends, as well as boyfriends.

Can non-Koreans use “Oppa”?

Absolutely! Non-Koreans learning the language or those familiar with Korean culture often use “Oppa” in appropriate contexts.

Ready to start learning Korean?
Just follow the 4 steps below...

Step #1

If you haven't started yet, learn the Korean
alphabet, basic sentences,
grammar and watch tutorials.

Step #2

If you're already getting started
and want to a course that's
more advanced.

Step #3

Improve your Korean speaking,
reading, writing, and understanding.

Step #4

Join our FREE facebook group
for exclusive live webinars.

Learn Korean in 3 simple steps from home. Without reading boring textbooks, language learning apps, and stressing over complex grammar.

© 2023 HANGULHOUSE. All Rights Reserved. | Part of YNG DIGITAL