The 10 words every K-Pop fan must know!

The 10 words every K-Pop fan must know!

K-Pop has taken over the world. While the first ever modern K-Pop group, 'Seo Taiji and Boys', debuted way back in 1992, K-Pop has evolved a lot since then and has brought forth some groundbreaking artists like BTS, EXO, BIGBANG, and Blackpink. But do you also know some of the essential words K-Pop fans use? Test your knowledge below and see if you've heard these terms before.

  • Fanwars in K-Pop fandoms were much more common in the early to mid 2010's. Nowadays they aren't as common thankfully
  • The largest K-Pop fandom in the world is BTS's 'ARMY'
  • There's a word for obsessive fans that are closer to being stalkers: Sasaeng



1. Bias

Fans and their biases (via deutschlandfunkkultur)

The word that you will probably hear the most: Bias basically means 'favorite'. It can be misleading as the word 'bias' in English means that one is against something or someone. But in K-Pop, it's the opposite. Example: 'My Bias is Jungkook from BTS', meaning that Jungkook is their favorite idol in that group.


 2. Idol

(via koreaboo)

An 'idol' refers to a celebrity in the K-Pop industry working for a company, either in a group or as a solo artist. They are no longer trainees. Most of your own biases are idols.


3. Stan

These girls obviously stan BTS (via

Very dedicated fans will often use the word 'stan' to explain which celebrities they like. The word exists in many different fandoms and is not reserved exclusively for K-Pop. For example: 'I stan BTS'.


  4. Debut 

While 'debut' in the western world means the beginning of one's career, in K-Pop it means a trainee's transition into an idol, which often takes several years. You debut when you release your first single as a fully fledged idol.


5. Comeback

You would normally use the word 'comeback' to describe a group's return after a long hiatus, but in K-Pop, a comeback means that an idol or a group has released a new song or album. For example, Stray Kids had their comeback just a couple of days ago, on August 23rd.


6. All-Kill

'All-Kill' means an idol group's song that tops all music charts in South Korea, including digital streaming and downloading charts. The major streaming and downloading sites are Mnet, Bugs and Melon. RM from BTS achieved his 17th All-Kill with his second mixtape, 'Mono' in July.


7. Hyung/Maknae

V maknae & Suga hyung (via YouTube Jungkook 97)

'Hyung' is Korean and means 'older brother'. In K-Pop, it is often used between younger and older group members in boy groups whereas 'maknae' means 'youngest person'  


8. Main

Jennie is the main rapper in Blackpink (via koreaboo)


In K-Pop groups, there is often a 'main vocal', 'main rappper', or 'main dancer'. It is used to refer to a certain member who is best at singing, rapping, or dancing.


9. Leader

RM is BTS's leader (via

Almost all K-Pop groups have a leader. Sometimes it can be the member who first joined a new group. Leaders are responsible for the group's schedule, activities, and often speak on behalf of their group at interviews, award ceremonies, etc. Though not necessarily required, some leaders also learn to speak English for international events and interviews in order to make a group more "approachable".


  10. Sub-unit

A 'sub-unit' is a smaller group that is used to highlight members that are usually focused on as much. They're also for targeting different audiences, different vocals or different themes. For example, NCT, a 23 member boy group, is divided into several sub-units: NCT 127, NCT Dream, NCTU, WayV, and the related SuperM.


How did you do? Were all of these terms familiar to you? 

Of course, this is just a small selection of K-Pop terms - There's tons more but these are some of the most important ones to know since I've seen a lot of those being used in other articles and comments. 

Lena Bernet

Freelance writer. Kpop enthusiast. Millenial with an obsession for C-dramas+ info

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