Monday, June 03, 2013

Ask a Korean! Wiki: Time Expressions in Korean

Dear Korean,

Anyway I'm after some metaphors involving the concept of 'time' in the language. So far I've gathered:

시간에 쫓기다: 'to be chased by time'
때를 놓치다: 'to miss an opportunity'

The idea behind the sentences is that Korean views time as something to capture or be chased by, likened to an animal in a prey-predator relationship. Can you think of any other examples along the same vein?

Cana X

This is a rather interesting question. Rather than confining the answer to whatever he could think of on his own, the Korean decided to open this question up for a little bit of crowd-sourcing. Korean-speaking readers: what other time-related expressions in Korean refer to time as if it were an animal?

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. my single contribution:

    시간 날아간다: time is running away (lit.)

    although I do notice this kind of phenomenon in the 빨리빨리 culture around me...

    1. I'd correct you, it's "flying away" rather than "running", but it's not wrong considering the context.

  2. What exactly does 시간에 쫓기다 mean? No be super busy ("no time to spare")? To have some important thing be imminent or have to occur right away ("down to the wire", "under the gun")? To be getting old ("biological clock ticking")?


      시간에 쫓기다

      1. (시간이 없어서)be pressed[pushed] for time
      2. (시간이 없어서)be racing against time[the clock]

    2. Using a Korean dictionary for 쫓기다:

      1. 일에 몹시 몰려 지내다.
      - 일에 쫓기다
      - 시간에 쫓기다
      - 농사에 쫓겨 애들을 돌보지 못했다.


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