Whether you are new to dramaland or a long-time watcher, you are bound to come across certain terms which you may be unfamiliar with. Most of these terms aren’t mines but are something that I have been picking up throughout my time in dramaland. Please feel free to use them and correct me if I am wrong!

Hopefully this will be somewhat helpful 🙂

Terms at A Fairytale World 

  • My Opinion – a brief review of the ep/drama incorporated with my feelings
  • Overview – dot-point summary of the episode with minimal screencaps
  • Recap – an summary of the episode complete with screencaps and my opinion on it
  • Synopsis – a brief summary of what the drama is about
  • Video preview – a direct translation from the video preview (videos are usually obtained from the drama channel’s YouTube site)
  • Written preview – a direct translation from the written preview obtained from the drama’s website

Drama Terms

  • Bromance – a deep friendship between two men (I wish there was an equal word for deep female friendships)
  • CF – commercial film, a commercial which stars a celebrity
  • Eye candy – someone who is visually appealing to look at
  • Friendzone(d) – a person who has special feelings towards a particular someone is seen only as a platonic friend
  • Jie Di Lian (Mandarin term)/Ze Dai Lyun (Cantonese term) – older woman, younger guy relationship
  • Live-stream – watching the drama as it airs in live time
  • Live action – a drama adaptation from a manga or anime
  • MV – music video
  • Makjang (Korean term) – extreme plot devices
  • May-December relationship – a relationship in which the two parties are of a significant age difference, usually of 20+ years difference
  • NG – no good
  • Nonna-dongsaeng relationship/noona romance (Korean term) – older woman, younger guy relationship
  • OST – original soundtrack; a compilation of the songs used in a drama whether it be instrumental or sung
  • OTP – one true pairing
  • Root – to support
  • Screencap – a screenshot/picture of the scene
  • Saegeuk drama (Korean term) – a historical drama
  • Ship – to support a couple
  • SLS – rooting for the second male lead to get the girl
  • Swoon – to show strong admiration towards someone
  • Subs – subtitles
    • Hard subs – subtitles which are embedded in an video and cannot be removed
    • Soft subs – subtitles which come in a separated file to the video, it can be disabled or enabled whenever one pleases
  • RL – Real life
  • Raw video – a video as it was broadcast on television

One Meaning, Three/Four Languages

Obviously these terms have varying levels of politeness but I tried to keep it as uniform as possible. Also, these words are used differently depending on context.

*Mandarin uses Simplifided Chinese while Cantonese uses Traditional Chinese

  • Bon a petite
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Kai Dong/Hoi Fan (开动/開飯)
    • Japanese – Itadakimasu (頂きます)
    • Korean – Jal Meokkesseumnida (잘 먹겠습니다 )
  • Excuse me (to get attention)
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Qing Wen/M Hou Yi Si (请问/唔好意思)
    • Japanese – Sumimasen (すみません)
    • Korean – Sillyehabnida (실례합니다)
  • Excuse me (to get past)
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Qing Rangg Yi Xia/M Goi Je Je (请让一下/唔該借借)
    • Japanese – Sumimasen (すみません)
    • Korean – Jamsimanyo (잠시만요)
  • Hello
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Ni Hao/Nei Hou (你好)
    • Japanese – Konnichiwa (こんにちは)
    • Korean – Annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요)
  • Good-bye
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Zai Jian/Zoi Gin (再见/再見)
    • Japanese – Sayounara (さようなら)
    • Korean – Annyeonhi Gaseyo (to the person leaving) (안녕히 가세요)/Annyeonghi Gyeseyo (to the person staying) (안녕히 계세요)
  • Fighting
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Jia You/Gaa Jau (加油)
    • Japanese – Ganbatte (頑張って)
    • Korean – Hwaiting (화이팅)
  • I love you
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Wo Ai Ni/Ngo Oi Nei (我爱你/我愛你)
    • Japanese – Aishiteru (愛してる)
    • Korean – Saranghaeyo (사랑해요)
  • Please
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Qing/Ching (请/請)
    • Japanese – Douzo (as an offer )(どうぞ)/Onegaishimasu (as a request) (おねがいします)
    • Korean – Jebal (제발)
  • Senior
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Qian Bei/Cin Bui (前辈/前輩)
    • Japanese – Senpai (先輩)
    • Korean – Seonbae (선배)
  • Sorry
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Dui Bu Qi/Deoi M Zyu (对不起/對唔住)
    • Japanese – Sumimasen (すみません)
    • Korean – Mianhamnida (미안합니다)
  • Thank you
    • Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) – Xie Xie/M Goi (谢谢/唔該)
    • Japanese – Arigatou (ありがとう)
    • Korean – Gamsahabnida (감사합니다)

Family Terms

In the Asian language, family terms are hard to explain as it gets complicated through different sides of the family and your status in the family but I’ll do my best to explain while keeping it simple. Again, formality comes into play and the words are different depending on whether you are talking about the person or if you are addressing them directly.

*Mandarin uses Simplifided Chinese while Cantonese uses Traditional Chinese

**Click on the hyperlinks for an extensive list

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)

  • Paternal grandfather – Zhu Fu/Yeh Ye (祖父/爺爺)
  • Paternal grandmother – Zhu Mu/Mah Mah (祖母/嫲嫲)
  • Maternal grandfather – Wai Gong/Gung Gung (外公/公公)
  • Maternal grandmother – Wai Po/Poh Po (外婆/婆婆)
  • Parents – Fu Mu/Fu Mou (父母)
  • Father – Baba/Baabaa (爸爸)
  • Mother – Mama/Maamaa (妈妈/媽媽)
  • Siblings – Xiong Di Jie Mei/Hing Dai Ze Mui (兄弟姐妹)
  • Older brother – Ge Ge/Goh Go (哥哥)
  • Older sister – Jie Jie/Jeh Je(姐姐)
  • Younger brother – Di Di/Daih Dai (弟弟)
  • Younger sister – Mei Mei/Muih Mui (妹妹)
  • Uncle (general term) – Shu Shu/Suk Suk (叔叔)
  • Aunty (general term) – Ah Yi/Yi Yi (阿姨/姨姨)


The Chinese system of honorifics is very different to that of the Japanese and Korean system. Honorifics are very very very rarely used between known people. Chinese honorifics are more similar to English titles than they are honorifics.

  • Sir – Xian Sheng/Sin Saang (先生)
  • Ms. – Xiao Jie/Siu Je (小姐); this “honorific” is taboo in parts of China as it refers to prostitutes, it is commonly used in Hong Kong
  • Madam – Nv Shi/Neoi Si (女士)
  • Mrs. – Fu Ren/Fu Jan (夫人)
  • Dr. (PhD holder) – Bo Shi/Bok Si (博士)
  • Dr. (refers to a medical doctor) – Yi Sheng/Ji Sang (医生/醫生)
  • Teacher – Lao Shi/Lou Si (老師)
  • Master/Teacher (used to address someone with more experience in a field same or different to the speaker) – Shi Fu/Si Fu (師父)


When speaking about one’s own family:

  • Grandfather – Sofu (祖父)
  • Grandmother – Soba (祖母)
  • Parents – Ryoushin (両親)
  • Father – Chichi (父)
  • Mother – Haha (母)
  • Siblings – Kyoudai (兄弟)
  • Brothers – Kyoudai (兄弟)
  • Sisters – Shimai (姉妹)
  • Older brother – Ani (兄)
  • Older sister – Ane (姉)
  • Younger brother – Otouto (弟)
  • Younger sister – Imouto (妹)

When speaking about someone else’s family:

  • Grandfather – Ojiisan (お爺さん)
  • Grandmother – Obaasan (お婆さん)
  • Parents – Goryoushin (ご両親)
  • Father – Otousan (お父さん)
  • Mother – Okaasan (お母さん)
  • Siblings – Gokyoudai (ご兄弟)
  • Older brother – Oniisan (お兄さん)
  • Older sister – Oneesan (お姉さん)
  • Younger brother – Otoutosan (弟さん)
  • Younger sister – Imoutosan (妹さん)
  • Uncle (general term) – Ojisan (叔父さん)
  • Aunty (general term) – Obasan (叔母さん)


  • -san (-さん) – title of respect, denotes person being spoken to is of equal status to you
  • -kun (-くん) – used when a senior is addressing a junior or when addressing male friends or relatives
  • -chan (-ちゃん) – used to address someone the speaker finds endearing, it is typically used for babies and young children
  • -senpai (先輩) – to refer to a senior (or someone with more experience than the speaker)
  • -sensei (先生) – title of respect, used to refer to someone who has achieved a masters level such as a teacher, doctor and lawyer.
  • -kouhai (後輩) – to refer to a junior; it is a rarely used honorific, usually -san or -kun is used instead
  • -shi (氏) – used in formal writing to refer to someone who the writer is unfamiliar with, it is usually used in newspapers and legal documents


*It’s just really complicated once you consider the paternal, maternal, married and children’s side. I’ll just keep it simple here.

  • Paternal grandfather – Harabeoji (할아버지)
  • Paternal grandmother – Halmeoni (할머니)
  • Maternal grandfather – Oe Harabeoji (외할아버지)
  • Maternal grandmother – Oe Halmeoni (외할머니)
  • Parents – Bumo (부모)
  • Father – Abeoji/Appa (아버지/아빠)
  • Mother – Eomoni/Eomma (어머니/엄마)
  • Siblings – Donggi (동기)
  • Older brother
    • If you are a guy – Heong (형)
    • If you are a girl – Oppa (오빠), it has the connotation of “boyfriend”
  • Older sister
    • If you are a guy – Noona (누나)
    • If you are a girl – Eonni (언니)
  • Younger brother – Namdongsaeng (남동생)
  • Younger sister – Yeodongsaeng (여동생)
  • Uncle (general term) – Ajusshi (아저씨)
  • Aunty (general term) – Ajumma (아줌마)


  • -ssi (씨) – title of respect, denotes person being spoken to is of equal status to you. It is either attached to the person’s full name or the person’s first name. Attaching it to the person’s surname is deemed as rude and disrespectful
  • -seonbae (선배) – to refer to a senior (or someone with more experience than the speaker)
  • -hubaei (후배) – to refer to a junior; it may be used as an honorific or title
  • -seongsang-nim (선생님) – very formal title of respect, used to address someone who has more experience than the speaker
  • -nim (님) – used to address someone of higher status than the speaker; it is attached after the occupation

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