Jjang meaning explained: It appears in various forms – jjang, kkaep jjang, illjjang – but what does the South Korean word jjang actually mean, and how is it used?

One of the fun things about the emergence of bands, films and influencers across the globe is the chance to feel a little clever by learning some new words, even slang.

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The K-Pop phenomenon is still going strong, with South Korean bands such as BTS, ACE and others adding new faces and rhythms to pop, rap and electronic pop. With them, we’ve gained some new terms and phrases.

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THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON — Episode 1330A — Pictured in this screengrab: Musical guest BTS performs on October 2, 2020 — (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

What does jjang mean?

A quick disclaimer here – unfortunately I don’t speak Korean, other than what I’ve garnered from Duolingo and a few words picked up during taekwondo training. As such, I’m heavily reliant on the helpful translations I’ve found.

It’s possible Korean readers of The Focus may be left cringing by any errors here, for which I apologise in advance!

But with that said…


The word jjang means ‘best’.It’s also used as a title to mean ‘chief’. As someone on Quora explained, it conveys someone or something is ‘superb’, ‘superior or dominant’, ‘the best person’.

Among young people especially it has been used as slang to convey a general sense of excellence.In popular slang, it not only means best but also ‘awesome’.

YouTuber Granny Kim, from Sweet And Tasty TV, gives a mocking frown at the idea. She tells us on light-hearted tutorial Korean Word Of The Week, jjang is “sometimes confused with daebak”, which means ‘big win’ or ‘awesome’.

While acknowledging the popular use of jjang, she points out: “Just because something is daebak, doesn’t mean it’s jjang!”

Regardless, jjang is often used to mean awesome as well as best, especially among young people.Some social media posts note it’s becoming less popular as a term among South Korean youth, but it has far from disappeared.


BTS and ARMY = THE jjangest Family!!#jjang pic.twitter.com/dhKbpXlihJ

— infires^^!