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The Top 10 Most Common Korean Filler Words

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Filler words are small words or sounds that are used for a variety of purposes in spoken language. Common uses include indicating a pause in speech, keeping the speaker’s thoughts structured, and adding emphasis to something being said. While these words have no real meaning of their own, they’re an important part of any language—including Korean!

Learning the most common Korean filler words will help you sound more like a native speaker and give you the ability to end a conversation without an awkward silence. 

In this article, you’ll learn 10 essential Korean filler words and their variations as well as examples of how to use each one.

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  1. 음 (eum) / 어 (eo)
  2. 있잖아 (itjana)
  3. 세상에 (sesange)
  4. 말하자면 (malhajamyeon)
  5. 아무튼 (amuteun)
  6. 우와 (uwa)
  7. 에이 (ei)
  8. 뭐? (Mwo?) / 뭐라고? (Mworago?) / 네? (Ne?)
  9. 진짜 (jinjja) / 정말 (jeongmal)
  10. 아이고! (Aigo!) / 어머나! (Eomeona!) / 어머! (Eomeo!) / 어우씨 (Eoussi)
  11. Pros and Cons of Using Korean Filler Words
  12. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

1. 음 (eum) / 어 (eo)

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
음…eum…“um…” 

This filler sound is one of the most common Korean words you’ll hear when talking with locals, particularly in informal settings. Just like its English equivalent, you can use it to mark a pause while you think of what to say next.
  • 음… 무슨 말을 해야할 지 모르겠어. 
    Eum… museun mareul haeyahal ji moreugesseo.
    “Um… I don’t know what to say.” 

  • 바나나케이크랑, 음…치즈케이크 하나 씩 주세요. Bananakeikeulang, eum…chijeukeikeu hana ssik juseyo.
    “One banana cake, umm…and a Chinese cake please.”

  • 음.. 글쎄요, 잘 모르겠어요. 
    Eum.. geulsseyo, jal moreugesseoyo.
    “Um… Well, I don’t really know.”

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
어…eo…“uh…”

This is another common filler sound, used in both informal and formal settings. This Korean filler word has the exact same meaning as the previous one and is used in the same way. 
  • 어… 글쎄요, 무슨 뜻인지 잘 모르겠는데요. 
    Eo… geulsseyo, museun tteusinji jal moreugetneundeyo.
    “Uh… Well, I don’t understand the meaning.”

  • 그래요? 그럼, 어… 이쪽으로 갈까요?
    Geuraeyo? Geureom, eo… ijjogeuro galkkayo?
    “Really? Then, uh…let’s go this way?”

  • 블랙 커피랑 카페 모카랑 뭐 마시지? 어… 커피 마셔야겠다. 
    Beullaek keopilang kape mokarang mwo masiji? eo… keopi masyeoyagetda.
    “Should I drink black coffee or a cafe mocha? Uh… I will drink coffee.”

2. 있잖아 (itjana) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
있잖아itjana“you know what”

You can use 있잖아 (itjana) when you want to attract someone’s attention and start a conversation, especially if you want to talk with them about something personal or discuss something in secret. 
  • 있잖아, 그 소문 들었어? 
    Itjana, geu somun deureosseo?
    “You know what, did you hear about the rumor?”

  • 있잖아, 나랑 같이 어디갈래?
    Itjana, narang gachi eodigallae?
    “You know what, do you want to go somewhere with me?”

#2-1 [Alternative] – 참 (cham) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
참!Cham!“Oh, I just remembered!” 

This is another way to gain someone’s attention. You can use this filler word anytime you remember something important and want to say something about it.  
  • 참! 너 우유 사왔어? 
    Cham! Neo uyu sawasseo?
    Oh, I just remembered! Did you buy milk?”

  • 참! 나 집에 노트북 깜빡하고 안 가져왔어. 
    Cham! Na jibe noteubuk kkamppakago an gajyeowasseo.
    “Oh, I just remembered! I left my laptop at home and forgot to bring it with me.”

Four Popular Filler Words Used Worldwide

3. 세상에 (sesange

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
세상에sesange“oh my god”

This one is most often used by women, but it’s becoming less popular over time. Another way women can say this is: 어머 (eomeo).
  • 세상에! 정말?
    Sesange! Jeongmal?
    “Oh my god! Really?”

  • 세상에! 그런일이 있었구나, 몰랐어. 
    Sesange! Geureoniri isseotguna, mollasseo.
    “Oh my god! I did not know it happened.”

#3-1 [Alternative] – 오마이갓 (ohmaigat) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
오마이갓omaigat“oh my god”

This is the English phrase “oh my god” pronounced in Korean. If someone uses a strong Korean accent when saying this phrase, they’re emphasizing the situation in a humorous way. 
  • 오마이갓! 뭐하는거야? ㅋㅋㅋ
    Omaigat! Mwohaneungeoya? kkk
    “Oh my god! What are you doing? lol”

  • 오마이갓! 진심으로 하는 소리야? ㅋㅋㅋ
    Omaigat! Jinsimeuro haneun soriya? kkk
    “Oh my god! Are you serious? lol”

4. 말하자면 (malhajamyeon

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
말하자면malhajamyeon“in short”

You can use 말하자면 (malhajamyeon) to quickly summarize what you want to say, especially when you’re running out of time. 
  • 시간 없어. 짧게 말하자면…
    Sigan eopseo. Jjalge malhajamyeon…
    “I don’t have time. In short…”

  • 그러니까 말하자면… 
    Geureonikka malhajamyeon…
    “So in short…”

Two Korean Women in Hanbok

5. 아무튼 (amuteun

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
아무튼amuteun“anyway”

아무튼 (amuteun) is one of the most frequently used filler words in Korean, and it’s used to change the topic just like the word “anyway” does in English. 
  • 아무튼, 초대해줘서 고마워요.
    Amuteun, chodaehaejwoseo gomawoyo.
    “Thank you for inviting us anyway.”

  • 아무튼 지금은 가 봐야 해. 나중에 보자.
    Amuteun jigeumeun ga bwaya hae. Najunge boja.
    “Anyway, I have to go now. See you later.”
Check out our lesson I Do Like You But… on KoreanClass101.com to learn another way of changing the topic in Korean!

#5-1 [Alternative] – 어쨌든 (eojjetdeun) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
어쨌든eojjaetdeun“anyway”

어쨌든 (eojjaetdeun) has the same meaning as 아무튼 (amuteun). 
  • 어쨌든 그렇게 하겠습니다. 
    Eojjaetdeun geureoke hagetseumnida.
    “I will do that, anyway.”

  • 어쨌든 고마워요.
    Eojjaetdeun gomawoyo.
    “Thank you anyway.”
See our lesson I Was Going To Do It Anyway to learn when to use “anyway” in Korean!

6. 우와 (uwa

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
우와!Uwa!“Wow!”

우와 (uwa) means “wow” in English and is used exactly the same way. 
  • 우와! 너 벌써 구독자가 500만 명이네!
    Uwa! Neo beolsseo gudokjaga obaekman myeongine!
    “Wow! You already have 5 million subscribers.”

  • 우와! 대단한데!
    Uwa! Daedanhande!
    “Wow! That’s totally awesome!”
In our lesson Surprises in Korean: Wow! I Love Surprises, Too! you can learn more about how to express enthusiasm or excitement in Korean.

7. 에이 (ei

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
에이Ei“come on”

에이 (ei) is equivalent to the English filler “come on,” and it’s used the same way. 
  • 에이, 설마! 너 진담으로 그러는 건 아니겠지.
    Ei, seolma! Neo jindameuro geureoneun geon anigetji.
    “Come on! You cannot be serious.”

  • 에이, 두 개를 사자. 비용은 어떻게 되겠지, 뭐!
    Ei, du gaereul saja. Biyongeun eotteoke doegetji, mwo!
    “Come on, let’s get two and hang the expense!”

Two Wooden Blocks with Illustrations of a Human’s Head with Question Marks, and One with a Lightbulb

8. 뭐? (Mwo?) / 뭐라고? (Mworago?) / 네? (Ne?) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
뭐? Mwo?“What? What did you say?”
뭐라고?Mworago?“What? What did you say?”
네?Ne?“Pardon? What did you say?”

These common Korean fillers are used to ask someone to repeat what they said. 네? (Ne?) is the most common, while 뭐라고? (Mweorago?) can convey different meanings depending on how you say it. 
  • 뭐라고? 다시 한번 말해봐. 
    Mworago? Dasi hanbeon malhaebwa.
    “What? Say that again.”

  • 뭐? 설마!
    Mwo? seolma!
    “What? No way!”

  • 네? 
    Ne?
    “What did you say?” (Or: “Could you repeat that again?”)

9. 진짜 (jinjja) / 정말 (jeongmal

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
진짜jinjja“really”
정말jeongmal“really”

This filler word means “really,” and it’s often used to tell someone about something you strongly believe in.
  • 진짜 몰랐어. 
    Jinjja mollasseo.
    “I really didn’t know.”

  • 정말? 내일이 수미 생일이야? 몰랐네. 
    Jeongmal? Naeiri sumi saengiriya? Mollatne.
    “Really? Is it Sumi’s birthday tomorrow? I didn’t know.”
See our lesson Gyeongsangdo Korean: Saying “Really?” to learn how to say this word in another dialect! 

10. 아이고! (Aigo!) / 어머나! (Eomeona!) / 어머! (Eomeo!) / 어우씨 (Eoussi

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
아이고!Aigo!“Oops!”
어머나! Eomeona!“Oops!”
어머!Eomeo!“Oops!”
어우씨Eoussi“Ooh”

These filler words are used in many situations. You can use one of these words when you’ve been startled or when you’re beginning to remember something, for example. 

어머! (Eomeo!) and 어머나! (Eomeona!) are commonly used by women, and 아이고! (Aigo!) is commonly used by elders. 어우씨 (Eoussi) is used by both women and men, but do be careful about saying this as it will make you sound aggressive and unfriendly. 
  • 어우씨, 깜짝이야. 
    Eoussi, kkamjjagiya.
    “Oh, you startled me.” 

  • 아이고! 깜빡했네, 미안. 
    Aigo! Kkamppaghaetne, mian.
    “Oops! I forgot, sorry.” 

  • 어머나! 괜찮으세요? 
    Eomeona! Gwaenchanneuseyo?
    “Oops! Are you okay?”

  • 어머! 진짜요? 
    Eomeo! Jinjjayo?
    “Oops! Oh really?”

A Lady with a Korean Flag Smiling

11. Pros and Cons of Using Korean Filler Words

Filler words exist in every spoken language, making them a key component of communication. As a student of the language, you’ll greatly benefit from learning Korean filler words because doing so will help you sound more like a native speaker in everyday conversations. 

However, you should use them with caution. If you use filler words too often, you’ll sound less confident and less professional. It’s strongly recommended by Korean language professionals to avoid using filler words as much as possible—especially words like “oh” and “err.” 

The best thing would be to avoid saying them at all. It’s better to be silent than to overuse filler words! 

12. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

In summary, you’ve learned 10 essential Korean filler words that will help you sound more like a native speaker. You’ve also learned some of the pros and cons of using them in your conversations with locals. 

If you want to further advance your Korean skills, make sure to create your free lifetime account on KoreanClass101.com! We offer a number of entertaining and practical learning resources, including vocabulary lists and YouTube videos. 

We look forward to helping you reach your language learning goals!

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