Today’s word of the day is K-pop inspired. While watching BTS’s music videos in the past, I had noticed that their name was 방탄소년단. I knew that 소년 meant “boys”, and I had seen them referenced as the “Bangtan Boys”, so I guess I just assumed that the 방탄 referred to a city or a place, like Gangnam.
I was wrong.
Out of curiosity a few days ago I looked up 방탄 on Naver’s English dictionary, and to my surprise it came up as “bulletproof”, as in 방탄차 – bulletproof car.
I have to admit, my mind was blown. Suddenly their song “We are Bulletproof” — which is incidentally the song that first introduced me to BTS — made much more sense.
- 防 – pronounced 방 – to block, to protect
- 彈 – pronounced 탄 – bullet, shot, pellet
This is one of those words that I’ll never forget, because of the context in which I learned it. I just wish it were a more commonly used word.
Side note — According to Naver, the rest of BTS’s Korean name, 소년단, means “Boys Scouts”. So their full name is literally “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”, which for some reason strikes me as hilarious (but also kind of morbid).
Who says K-pop can’t be educational?