website free tracking What do Koreans say before drinking? - Namhan South Korea

What do Koreans say before drinking?


Korean drinking culture has become famous worldwide. Koreans have a unique drinking etiquette and several toasts, which is an essential part of their social gatherings. Before taking the first sip, they say a few words to show appreciation, respect, and gratitude. In this article, we will explore in detail what Koreans say before drinking.

History of Korean Drinking Culture

Korean drinking culture dates back to ancient times when people used liquor for religious ceremonies. Later on, it became a way of socializing, and the modern Korean drinking culture was born. Koreans believe that drinking together can bring people closer and create a sense of camaraderie.

The Importance of Drinking in Korean Society

Drinking is an essential part of Korean society. It is a way to bond with colleagues, friends, family, and even strangers. A night out drinking can lead to lasting friendships and business relationships.

Korean Drinking Etiquette

Korean drinking etiquette is essential to follow to show respect to the host and other guests. The most crucial rule is to pour drinks for others before pouring for yourself. It is also polite to use both hands when pouring or receiving a drink.

Saying “Cheers” in Korean

The most common phrase used before drinking in Korea is “gunbae” (건배), which means “empty glass.” Another popular phrase is “chukbae” (축배), which means “congratulations.”

Other Toasts in Korean

Besides “gunbae” and “chukbae,” Koreans have various other toasts for different occasions. For example, during a business meeting, they might say “geonbae” (건배) or “geonsa” (건사), which means “respect the glass” or “respect each other.”

Drinking Games in Korea

Koreans also have several drinking games that they play during social gatherings. One of the most popular games is “ppali-ppali” (빨리빨리), which means “hurry up.” In this game, everyone takes turns saying a word related to a specific topic without pausing.

Drinking Culture and Gender Roles in Korea

In Korean society, there is a significant gender divide when it comes to drinking. Men are expected to drink more and show their tolerance, while women are expected to be more reserved and not drink as much.

The Role of Soju in Korean Drinking Culture

Soju is a clear distilled liquor and the most popular alcoholic beverage in Korea. It is often consumed during social gatherings and plays a significant role in Korean drinking culture.

The Dangers of Korean Drinking Culture

While Korean drinking culture can be fun, it can also be dangerous. Koreans have one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world and are known for binge-drinking. This can lead to health problems, accidents, and even death.

Korean Drinking Culture in Contemporary Society

In recent years, Korean drinking culture has been under scrutiny due to its negative effects. As a result, many young Koreans are choosing to abstain from drinking or limit their alcohol intake.


In conclusion, Korean drinking culture is an integral part of Korean society. Saying a toast before drinking is an essential part of their etiquette, and there are various phrases for different occasions. While it can be fun, it is crucial to drink responsibly and be aware of its dangers.

What do Koreans say when they take shots?

If you are looking for a casual way to say cheers in Korean, “Wonsyat” is probably the most common phrase used. This is because it sounds like the English translation “One-shot.”

What is Korean slang for drink?

If you prefer to use only Korean words, you can use “음료” (eumnyo) which is the most commonly used word for “drink” in Korean. It can be used for any type of non-alcoholic beverage, including juices and sodas.

What words are said before drinking?

“Cheers!” is a common word used for toasting in various settings such as bars, pubs, and restaurants. It is a way to express good wishes before drinking. Other similar phrases include “here’s to you,” “good health,” and “bottoms up.”

What is chin cha in Korean?

Chincha is a common Korean word that translates to “really” and is often used to express surprise.

What is chin gu in Korean?

The word 친구 (chingu) in Korean means “friend,” but its usage is different from English. Koreans typically use the term only for people of the same age or for their close friends.

What do Koreans say after drinking?

In Korean, the word 건배 (or geonbae) is used as a toast when drinking. It translates to “empty glass” and is similar to the phrase “bottoms up” used in the United States.

Furthermore, Korean drinking culture is heavily intertwined with the country’s history and traditions. There are many historical and cultural references to drinking that are still prevalent today. For example, some Koreans believe that drinking rice wine can help ward off evil spirits, while others believe that drinking in moderation can promote good health and longevity.

In addition, Korean drinking culture has also had an impact on the country’s economy. Soju, the most popular alcoholic beverage in Korea, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Many Koreans take pride in their local soju brands and will often choose to drink them over imported liquors.

However, despite the positive aspects of Korean drinking culture, there are also negative consequences. The high rate of alcohol consumption in Korea has led to social problems such as drunk driving, domestic violence, and public disorder. Many Koreans are now advocating for a shift towards a more responsible and moderate drinking culture.

Overall, Korean drinking culture is a complex and multifaceted tradition that continues to evolve over time. It is both a source of pride and a cause for concern in modern Korean society. Regardless of one’s personal views on drinking, it is important to understand and respect this important aspect of Korean culture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top