Tuesday, July 03, 2018

What does 남색된 남편 mean?

In Google, if you type "henpecked husband in Korean," you get "남색된 남편," but the literal meaning of the Korean is "a sodomized husband." Since that might give non-Koreans the impression that Korean wives are really brutal, I would like to suggest a few other ways to say "henpecked husband" in Korean.

Probably the most common phrase for "henpecked husband," at least the one I first learned, is 공처가 (恐妻家), which literally means "fear (恐) wife (妻) husband (家)." Besides meaning "house" or "family,"  家 (가) can also mean "husband."

Another phrase used to refer to a henpecked husband is 엄처시하의 남편, which literally means "a husband under the care of a strict wife." 엄처(嚴妻) means "strict wife," and 시하 (侍下) means "under the care of."

If you prefer to use a more pure-Korean phrase to refer to a henpecked husband, you can say 부인에게 깔려 사는 남편," which literally means "a husband being sat on (or held down) by his wife." 까리다 can mean "to spread," but it can also mean "to be held down" or "to be sat on." I like this phrase because it reminds me of a hen sitting on her chicks in a protective way, but some husbands my see it differently.

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