눈치 [nunchi] is the ability to read the counterpart’s nonverbal cues, read between the lines, understand the situation and react appropriately. Basically, Koreans have the high-context culture, which means the communication is less verbally direct, and where more meaning is derived from the context. That’s why 눈치 has had a big influence on speech and communication. In addition, there are some useful Korean expressions including the word 눈치. Keep in mind all of the phrases below are very commonly used in Korea.
- 눈치 있다 [nunchi itta]
to be sensible, to be tactful
눈치 있는 사람 [nunchi itneun saram] (lit. a person who has 눈치) refers to someone who is sensible and tactful, so he/she can understand the situation quickly.
- 눈치 없다 [nunchi eoptta]
to have no common sense, to be tactless
눈치 없는 사람 [nunchi eopneun saram] (lit. a person who doesn’t have 눈치) refers to someone who is tactless and has no common sense. In other words, he/she doesn’t understand what’s going on.
- 눈치 빠르다 [nunchi ppareuda]
to be quick-witted
눈치 빠른 사람 [nunchi ppareun saram] (lit. a person whose 눈치 is quick) can sense things right away, so he/she can quickly find out the mind and emotion one tries to conceal.
- 눈치 보다 [nunchi boda]
to try to read one’s mind
눈치 보다 means the action of observing someone’s thought or emotion.
- 눈치 채다 [nunchi cheda]
to sense, to become aware of
눈치 채다 expresses the action of understanding an event, situation, or atmosphere based upon feeling.
I hope you enjoy this post and learn about Korean word “눈치 [nunchi].”
- De Mente B. The Korean Mind. Tokyo: Tuttle Pub.; 2012.
- Shim T, Kim M, Martin J. Changing Korea. New York: Peter Lang; 2008.
- Oh Seung-eun. Korean Made Easy. Seoul: Darakwon; 2015.