Korean History Lesson: Ok-Body

Occasionally, I hear a Korean person say the phrase, “Ok-body.” It is used in place of “you’re welcome,” but I couldn’t understand why. I thought it was either a mix of English and Korea or some other language altogether. It turns out that I was totally wrong. A Korean friend recently told me the story, and it is quite interesting.

Korean War Soldier and Child During the Korean war, as in World War II, many American GIs carried candy in their pockets to give to children. This was a great way to build goodwill with Korean civilians and help feed hungry people, many of whom were starving as a direct result of the war.

When the soldiers gave candy to Korean children, they often said “it’s OK, buddy.” Since there were very few English-speaking Korean civilians, they were unable to correctly pronounce “Ok buddy.” They thought the GIs were saying “Ok-body.”

Although they had difficulty with the pronunciation, the Koreans understood its meaning. For the last 60 years, “Ok-body” has been a part of Korean slang. It’s used in place of “you’re welcome” or “it’s ok.”

Next time you hear a Korean person say “Ok-body”, you’ll understand what they’re saying.

Until next time.

-Taft

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4 thoughts on “Korean History Lesson: Ok-Body

  1. very interesting, I haven’t heard it, but when I do, I’ll know!

  2. paisstat says:

    Very interesting!

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