Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What does 돗대 mean?

The last cigarette (담배) in a pack can be referred to as 돗대 or 돛대. I am not a smoker, but I understand that a smoker puts a lot of value on his or her last cigarette. Consider the following expression:

"돗대는 아버지에게도 안 준다."
I would not give my last cigarette to even my father.

Though the above expression is meant to be humorous, it still shows how dear a 돗대 is to a smoker.

Here are a few other 담배 related terms:

  • 한 개비 (대) one cigarette
  • 한 갑 a pack (20) of cigarettes
  • 한 포 (보루) a carton of cigarettes
  • 잎담배 leaf tobacco
  • 살담배 pipe tobacco
  • 씹는 담배 chewing tobacco
  • 코담배 snuff
  • 담배 쌈지 a tobacco pouch
  • 담뱃갑 a cigarette case


  1. Wow, I learn something new every day.

    What I do know, however, is that '돛대' would probably be the more historically accurate way to spell it of the two options, though surely '돗대' frequent usage.

  2. You may be right, Oranckay, because I have a book that lists 돛대 as student slang meaning "하나만 남다." However, I have another book that suggests the 돗 in 돗대 comes from 독(獨), meaning 홀로 (alone). The book suggests that 돗대 started as 독대, but changed to 돗대 because it was easier to pronounce.

  3. 코담배 or 콧담배? Is there some sneaky rule on 사이 시옷?

  4. Yes, there is a rule for using 사이시옷, but it is not very sneaky since it is a little complicated.

    First of all, a 사이시옷 is sometimes used when combining two independent nouns to make new words. For example, you would use it with 나무 (tree) and 잎 (leaf) to make 나뭇잎 (a tree leaf), or with 나무 and 가지 (branch) to make 나뭇가지 (tree branch), but you would NOT use it with 나무 and 판자 to make 나무판자 (a board) or with 나무 and 꾼 to make 나무꾼 (a woodcutter). The reason it is not used in the last two examples is that those words do not fit the conditions for using it. Here are the conditions for using 사이시옷.

    1) The two words must be independent, which means they can be used separately in a sentence. For example, 나무 and 잎 in 나뭇잎 are both independent nouns, but the 꾼 in 나무꾼 is not independent; it is a dependent noun, which means it must always be used with another noun. That is why one uses a 사이시옷 with 나뭇잎 but not with 나무꾼.

    2) The two words must be either two pure Korean words (i.e. 나무 + 잎 = 나뭇잎) or one pure Korean and one Sino-Korean word (i.e. 귀 + 병(病) = 귓병).

    3) The first of the two words must, of course, end in a vowel and the second must begin with a non-aspirated or non-fortes consonant. In other words, the consonant cannot be one of the following: ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, or ㅉ. For example, since 판자 starts with an aspirated consonant, a 사이시옷 is not used in the word 나무판자 (board).

    4) As far as I know, there are only six exceptions to the above rules. They are 곳간, 셋방, 숫자, 툇간, 찻간, and 횟수. These six words are exceptions because the two words combined to make them are both Sino-Korean, which, as mentioned above, do not usually use a 사이시옷.

  5. I just noticed that the rules I mentioned above do not explain words like 코담배 or even 나뭇잎. For 나뭇잎, I just forgot to add that the second word can start with a vowel, but I do not know how to explain 코담배. I will have to do more research and get back to you later.

    In the meantime, I need to modify the comment saying there are only six exceptions. Those exceptions are only for the condition restricting the use of 사이시옷 with two Sino-Korean words.

  6. Um...I may be wrong, but I think I can hear 사이시옷 hiding (hiding as in "pronounced but not expressly written") in sino-Korean words such as 사건. And I beleive the ~꾼 that you make reference to was written 나뭇군, but has been changed with spelling reforms. I would still consider this a 사이 시옷, albeit hidden.

  7. Yes, 사건 seems to display the characteristics of a 사잇소리 word, but it is not considered a compound word, as far as I know. The 사이시옷 is used only with compound words. 나무꾼 is not a compound word, either. It is a derivative (파생어), which is a combination of a word and an affix, not two words. The -꾼 in 나무꾼 is a suffix meaning "to do something habitually or as one's profession."

    A 사잇소리 occurs when the first word in the compound ends in a vowel or with ㅁ, ㄴ, ㄹ, or o, and the second word starts with any consonant except ㅁ, ㄴ, ㄹ, and o. When the first word ends in a vowel, a 사이시옷 is normally attached. The consonant in the second word will be pronounced as ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, or ㅉ.

  8. I've also heard the slang terms "속담배" and "입담배". 속담배를 피다 means you inhale the smoke all the way into your lungs, while 입담배를 피다 is to suck it in only inside your mouth and then blow it out (in other words, "pretending" to smoke).

  9. whoa..im learning so much..


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