Top 5 Meanings of the Korean Word 답답하다 [dapdaphada]

Top 5 Meanings of the Korean Word 답답하다 [dapdaphada]


Here’s a common Korean phrase you’ve surely heard in Korean dramas and Kpop songs – 답답하다 [dap-dap-ha-da]. We’ll learn the top 5 must-know usages, and I’ll also give example sentences.

Honestly, I don’t think an exact equivalent English translation exists. It means that this Korean expression is extremely versatile and, if you make it yours, you must be able to use in different ways.

답답하다 [dap-dap-ha-da]
Stuffy (of a place)
Stuffy (of a person)


Let’s take a look at some examples.


1. Frustrated

The most common meaning of 답답하다 is “frustrated.” It would be feeling distressed or annoyed, especially because of an inability to change or achieve something.

  • 답답해. [dapdaphe]

I’m frustrated.

  • 너무 답답했어. 그 사람을 도울 수가 없었어. [neomu dapdaphesseo geu sarameul doul suga eopseosseo]

I was so frustrated. I couldn’t help the guy.

  • 1년 넘게 한국어 공부를 해 왔는데 전혀 발전이 없는 것 같은 기분이야. 정말 답답해. [ilnyeon neomge han-gugeo gongbureul he wan-neunde jeonhyeo baljeoni eopneun geot gateun gibuniya jeongmal dapdaphe]

I’ve been studying Korean for over 1 year now, but it feels like I haven’t gotten any better. I’m so frustrated.

  • 왜 그렇게 쉽게 답답해해? [we geureoke shipge dapdaphehe]

Why do you get frustrated so easily?

Word List   
너무 [neomu]so, very, too사람 [saram]person
돕다 [dopda]to help일년 [ilnyeon]1 year
한국어 [hangugeo]Korean (language)공부 [gongbu]study
발전 [baljeon]development없다 [eopda]not to exist, not to be
정말 [jeongmal]really왜 [we]why
쉽게 [shipge]easily


2. Frustrating

In addition, 답답하다 is used when things don’t work out the way you wanted, even though you’ve tried so hard.

  • 답답해. [dapdaphe]

It’s frustrating.

  • 오늘 뉴스 정말 답답하네! [o-neul nyuseu jeongmal dapdaphane]

Today’s news is so frustrating!

  • 새로운 언어를 배우는 건 답답할 수 있어. [seroun eoneoreul beuneun geon dapdaphal su isseo]

Learning a new language can be frustrating.

  • 몇 번을 설명해야 해? 아, 답답해! [myeot beoneul seolmyeongheya he a dapdaphe]

How many times should I explain this? Ah, this is frustrating!

Word List   
오늘 [oneul]today뉴스 [nyuseu]news
정말 [jeongmal]really새롭다 [seropda]new
언어 [eoneo]language배우다 [beuda]to learn
설명하다 [seolmyeonghada]to explain


3. Cramped

feeling or causing someone to feel uncomfortably confined or hemmed in by lack of space

  • 방이 너무 작아. 조금 답답해. [bang-i neomu jaga jogeum dapdaphe]

This room is so small. I’m feeling a little cramped.

  • 이 교실은 답답해. [i gyosireun dapdaphe]

This classroom is cramped.

  • 좌석이 너무 답답해. [jwaseogi neomu dapdaphe]

The seats are too cramped.

  • 사무실에 사람이 많으면 좀 답답해져. [samusire sarami maneumyeon jom dapdaphejyeo]

I feel cramped when the office gets crowded.

Word List   
방 [bang]room너무 [neomu]so, very, too
조금 [jogeum]a little이 [i]this
교실 [gyosil]classroom좌석 [jwaseok]seat
사무실 [samusil]office사람 [saram]person
많다 [manta]many, much


4. Stuffy

(of a place) lacking fresh air

  • 이 방은 너무 답답해. [i bang-eun neomu dapdaphe]

This room is so stuffy.

  • 여기 좀 답답해. 창문 좀 열까? [yeogi jom dapdaphe changmun jom yeolgga]

It’s a bit stuffy in here. How about opening a window?

  • 문 닫고 잠들어버려서 공기가 답답해졌어. [mun datgo jamdeureobeoryeoseo gong-giga dapdaphejyeosseo]

I fell asleep with the window closed and it got really stuffy.

Word List   
이 [i]this방 [bang]room
너무 [neomu]so, very, too여기 [yeogi]here
창문 [changmun]window열다 [yeolda]to open
문 [mun]door닫다 [datda]to close
잠들다 [jamdeulda]to fall asleep공기 [gong-gi]air


5. Stuffy

(of a person) not receptive to new or unusual ideas and behavior; conventional and narrow-minded

답답하다 can also be used for a person—the feeling you have when a person is stubborn or inflexible.

  • 그 사람은 융통성이 없어. 정말 답답한 사람이야. [geu sarameun yungtongseong-i eopsseo jeongmal dapdaphan saramiya]

He is inflexible. He is so stuffy.

  • 그 사람은 답답한 교수였어. [geu sarameun dapdaphan gyosuyeosseo]

She was such a stuffy professor.

  • 내 상사는 답답한 사람이야. [ne sangsaneun dapdaphan saramiya]

My boss is stuffy.

Word List   
융통성이 없다 [yungtongseong-i eopda]inflexible정말 [jeongmal]really
사람 [saram]person교수 [gyosu]professor
내 [ne]my상사 [sangsa]boss



1. – The world’s favorite online dictionary!. Dictionarycom. 2018. Available at: Accessed May 9, 2018.

2. ‘답답하다’ : 네이버 국어사전. Krdicnavercom. 2018. Available at: Accessed May 10, 2018.