How to Say Bullying in Korean: Formal and Informal Ways

Are you interested in learning how to say “bullying” in Korean? In this comprehensive guide, we will cover both formal and informal ways of expressing this term in Korean. We will also provide regional variations, although they are not as commonly used. Whether you are a Korean language learner or simply curious about different languages, this article will offer tips, examples, and insights to help you understand how to express the concept of bullying in Korean.

Formal Ways to Say Bullying in Korean

When discussing a serious topic like bullying in a formal context, it is important to use appropriate language. Below, you will find the most common formal term for “bullying” in Korean:

학대 (Hak-dae)

The term “학대” refers to any form of bullying, whether it occurs in schools, workplaces, or other settings. It encompasses various types of abusive behavior, including physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. By using this formal term, you can effectively convey the seriousness of the issue.

Informal Ways to Say Bullying in Korean

When speaking casually or in informal settings, Koreans commonly use different expressions for “bullying.” Here are a few popular informal terms:

  1. 불리기 (Bul-li-gi): This term can be used to describe the act of bullying or the state of being bullied.
  2. 괴롭히다 (Goe-rob-hi-da): Although it can mean “to harass,” this term is often used interchangeably to convey the idea of bullying.
  3. 약탈 (Yak-tal): This term is less commonly used but can be translated as “oppression” or “extortion” in the context of bullying.

Remember to use caution when using informal expressions, as they may not be appropriate for all situations.

Regional Variations

While the formal and informal terms mentioned above are widely understood and used throughout Korea, it is worth noting that some regional variations exist. In certain dialects, you might come across the following terms:

  1. 마이다 (Ma-i-da): This expression is commonly used in Busan and other southeastern regions. It shares the same meaning as “학대,” but the pronunciation differs slightly.
  2. 약롱 (Yak-rong): This term is more specific to the Gyeongsang Province dialect. It is similar to “약탈” but has a regional nuance.

While regional variations can add flavor and cultural richness to the language, they are not as widely used as the previously mentioned terms. It’s generally better to stick with the commonly understood expressions.

Tips and Examples for Usage

Now that you are familiar with various ways to say “bullying” in Korean, let’s explore some tips and examples to help you use the terms correctly:

  • When talking about bullying, it is helpful to provide context and specify the type of bullying if possible. For example: “심리적인 학대 (psychological bullying)” or “체포와 폭행을 통한 학대 (bullying through arrest and physical assault).”
  • Always consider the formality of the situation and adjust your language accordingly. In formal settings, it is essential to use the term “학대.” In daily conversations, you can use the informal expressions mentioned earlier.
  • Take note of the specific verb forms associated with bullying. For example, “괴롭히다 (to harass/bully)” and “맞다 (to hit),” which can be used when describing physical bullying.
  • Be aware of other related terms, such as “가해자 (bully)” and “피해자 (victim),” to enhance your understanding of the topic.

By incorporating these tips into your Korean language usage, you will be able to communicate effectively when discussing the issue of bullying.


In conclusion, we have explored formal and informal ways of saying “bullying” in Korean. The term “학대” is the most widely-used formal term, while “불리기,” “괴롭히다,” and “약탈” are common informal expressions. Although regional variations like “마이다” and “약롱” exist, they are not as commonly used.

Remember to adjust your language based on the formality of the situation and provide specific context when discussing bullying. Learning related terms like “가해자” and “피해자” will further expand your vocabulary in this area.

By following these tips and incorporating the provided examples, you will be well-equipped to navigate conversations surrounding bullying in Korean. Remember, understanding and addressing this issue is crucial in promoting a safe and respectful environment for everyone.

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