Hyung Meaning – Definition of Hyung 형 In Korean!

hyung meaning

Hyung, Hyeong, Hyungnim, if you are kdrama or reality show lovers, you must’ve heard this word mentioned a lot. Do you know what does hyung mean? In this short article, I will share to you all about ‘Hyung Meaning and definition in korean language!

In Korean culture, the term “hyung” is commonly used to refer to an older brother or a male friend who is older than you. This term holds significant cultural and social importance, and understanding its usage can help you navigate Korean social interactions more effectively.

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Hyung Meaning

In Korean culture, “hyung” 형  is a term used to refer to an older brother or a male friend who is older than you. It is a term of respect and affection, and is often used to show deference to someone who is older or more experienced. 

The term is also used to indicate a close relationship between two people, and can be used as a term of endearment between friends. Understanding the significance of “hyung” in Korean culture is important for anyone who wants to navigate social interactions in Korea effectively.

Credit to E Hyuk TV

While the quick answer for the meaning of Hyung is older brother, here are other definition and meaning of Hyung including.

1. Biological Older Brother

Generally, Hyung simply means biological older brother. However, since there are other meaning of Hyung, to emphasize someone is your biological brother, you can add ‘chin 친’ or ‘uri 우리’ which makes ‘chin hyung 친형’ or ‘uri hyung 우리형’.

2. Older Male Relatives

Another definition and meaning of Hyung is Older male relatives or cousin. If you want to emphasize that he is your cousin, you can add ‘sachon 사촌’ which makes ‘sachon hyung 사촌형’.

3. Older Male Friends

hyung meaning

If you are Running Man 런닝맨 lovers, you will heard the word hyung mentioned a lot, even though they’re not relatives. This is because Hyung can also be used to call older male friends.

4. Respected Male Friends

You can also call someone Hyung if he treat you like a ‘dongsaeng’ or little brother. For example, if he often treat you meal, or help you doing homework and teach you the lessons, you can call him ‘Hyung’. 

Even though He is on the same age, as long as he fulfill the responsibility of ‘Hyung’ and you respect him, you can call him ‘Hyung’.

5. Senior Classmates (Male)

While generally junior will call their senior classmates with the word ‘Sunbae’, after develop a closer relationship, they can call them ‘Hyung’. Take time to develop your relationship with your senior before start using this term because it can feels annoying.

Back then in the 1980s, the democratic activist usually call each other hyung regardless of their age and gender. Hyung sounds casual yet still polite, so most people will be okay to be call with this word.

6. Older Male Acquaintance

Hyung can also refer to older male acquaintance. Since Hyung is a friendly way to call someone, you can use this word to refer to someone you know well. To makes it clear that he is your close acquaintance, you can use the word ‘아는 Aneun’ in front of Hyung 형’ which makes ‘아는형 Aneun Hyung’ that means ‘a brother I know, my close older male friends’.

7. Male Korean Idol

bts jungkook doberman

You can also call your favourite korean idol ‘Hyung’ just to show your admiration and respect towards that your korean idol. Even though your korean idol only have a small gap with you, as long as you respect him, you can just use Hyung to makes it sounds more intimate.

Honorific Word For Hyung

You can add suffix -nim ot make the word ‘Hyung’ become honorific. While Hyung itself is already sounds polite, you can use ‘Hyung-nim’ to show more respect. 

Related Words To Hyung

There are several other terms in Korean culture that reflect the importance of hierarchy and respect for elders including

  • Noona: older sister, used by younger men to refer to an older women or an older female friend.
  • Oppa: older brother, used by younger women to refer to an older men or an older male friend.
  • Unnie: older sister, used by younger women to refer to an older women or an older female friend.
  • Dongsaeng: younger brother / sister, you can add ‘nam’ for male and ‘yeo’ for female which makes ‘nam dongsaeng’ or ‘yeo dongsaeng’.

Show respect to their "Hyungs"?

You can show respect to your “Hyungs” by using the term appropriately and addressing your hyung with respect. Additionally, showing respect through actions such as listening attentively, bow down properly, offering help when needed, and acknowledging their experience and knowledge can also demonstrate respect for their position as an older brother or male friend.

Hyung in Korean Culture

Credit to CJ ENM Movie

Most Hyung will exploit their ‘dongsaeng’, even though there are some case in which hyung can really act like a father or helper. Most koreans are more afraid of their hyung compare to their mother during their childhood.

In addition, parents usually trust Hyung more than the younger brother, because they’re seen as ‘more mature’. On the other side, parents will also demand their responsibility to protect their younger brother and be a great role model.

The Right Time To Call Someone Hyung

Once you getting close to someone older (male) than you, you can ask if it is okay to call him ‘Hyung’. Most people will tell you directly if they want you to just call him ‘Hyung’.

However, try to avoid calling someone Hyung right away in your very first meeting, especially in a formal settings. In addition, if someone ask you to call him Hyung right away, beware of his intention, whether he want to be a boss over you or he really like you.

F.A.Q About Hyung

Here are some frequently asked question about hyung including.

How To Say Brother in Korean?

  • If you are a male, you can call your older brother ‘hyung 형’.
  • If you are a female, you can call your older brother ‘oppa 오빠’.

Difference Between Oppa and Hyung?

While both words mean older brother, Oppa can only be used by women, while Hyung can only be used specifically by men.

Hyung and Hyeong

There are a various ways people spell Hyung, such as Hyeong, which is the right spelling for Hyung according to National Institute Of Korean Language romanization rules. However, Hyung is the most common spelling around the globe since it sounds more similar.

Sum Up

Hyung is a very common and friendly word used by younger male as they address another older male whether it is their biological brother or older male friends. These are all the other meaning of Hyung in korean language you might never knew before. I wish this article is helpful in helping you understand more about ‘Hyung’.

Do you have Hyung in your life? How’s your relationship with your Hyung? Let me know in the comment sections below! More than that, pin this article to help others understand more about korean language and culture!

hyung meaning
hyung meaning

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