33 BTS Words To Know Once You Join The ARMY
Becoming a new fan of BTS can be a bit overwhelming at first. While bopping along to their music and obsessing over how cute they look is nothing but fun, you also have to juggle all the lingo that the BTS ARMY and the members themselves use. What is a maknae? Why does everyone love the color purple so much? I thought there were only seven members, so who the heck is Agust D? Don't despair, though — I've compiled a glossary of 34 BTS words every ARMY should know.
RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook have been dominating the globe since their debut in 2013, and as you can imagine, amassing a fanbase over six years leads to some inside jokes that only ARMYs understand. Beyond the BTS-specific terms, though, anyone unfamiliar with the K-pop industry or South Korean culture, in general, might find themselves tripped up by cultural references or Korean words they've never heard before.
That's where this glossary comes in handy; it contains everything from some of the members' nicknames to the terminology they use in their music. Read on to find out what BTS actually stands for, why so many ARMYs call Jimin "mochi," and more.
Aegyo is a Korean word that refers to a "cute" form of speaking or acting that often involves using a higher voice, making cute faces, and using hand gestures. It's pretty commonly used among K-pop idols for fanservice.
Aegyo isn't part of BTS' overall image, as is the case for some groups, but the members have been known to use aegyo just for kicks. And honestly? They're not bad. Check out this video (at the 3:28 mark) of Jungkook doing the aegyo that would inspire fan chants during performances of his solo track "Euphoria."
2. Agust D
You actually already know Agust D — it's Suga! Suga adopted Agust D as a second alias that he uses for his solo endeavors. He got the name by attaching the letters DT to Suga (it stands for Daegu Town, which is where he's from), and then flipping the whole thing backwards (DT Suga = Agust D).
Be careful, though: Agust D is also the name of the mixtape he released in 2016, as well as the lead single from that mixtape, so if someone mentions Agust D, they could be talking about any of those three things.
The reason ARMY is capitalized is because it's actually an acronym: it stands for Adorable Representative MC for Youth. Of course, that's kind of a mouthful, so most of the time you'll see BTS fans referred to as ARMYs, or collectively as the ARMY. The members came up with the name themselves, according to Hello K-Pop, and chose it because an "army" is never without its armor — in this case, the Bulletproof Boy Scouts themselves (see below for more on BTS' name).
When BTS rebranded in 2017, they gave ARMY their own logo, an inverse of the BTS logo. When you stack the two on top of each other, they make the shape of a shield. Oh, the symbolism.
Baepsae translates to crow tit, which is a small, short-legged bird. It's referenced in an old Korean idiom, "A crow tit following a stork will tear its legs." As popular YouTube channel DKDKTV explained, "It means when you try to do something that's out of your ... capabilities, then you will likely fail."
BTS used the term for their song "Baepsae" (titled "Silver Spoon" on Spotify), which is all about the hypocrisy of the older generation's criticism of young people. It positions South Korean millennials as crow tits and Baby Boomers as storks who faced fewer struggles than millennials but call millennials "lazy."
The song becomes even more meaningful when you understand the cultural context behind it, and it's a message that Korean and international fans alike can relate to. Not to mention, it's a total bop, and the group's live performances of "Baepsae" feature some crazy dance moves that you should check out.
5. Bang PD/Hitman Bang
Bang Si-hyuk, also often called Hitman Bang or Bang PD, is the founder and co-CEO of Big Hit Entertainment, BTS' label and management company (more on that below). In June, Bang was invited to join the Recording Academy along with the members of BTS. He's helped with writing, composing, and producing many of BTS' songs, and probably had a hand in creating your favorite BTS track.
He may be super impressive, but that doesn't stop BTS' members from poking fun at Hitman Bang now and then. It just confirms how much they trust and love him.
6. Bangtan Bomb
A Bangtan Bomb is a short behind-the-scenes video of the BTS members posted to their BANGTANTV channel on YouTube. Tragically, BANGTANTV does not provide English subtitles, but there's always some kindhearted, multilingual ARMYs who are willing to put their translation skills to use.
If you're curious what kind of content a Bangtan Bomb includes, some of the most recent ones show the members dance battling one another while shooting the "Idol" music video, and Jungkook using Snapchat's beard filter on the other members while he and Jimin basically lose their minds over how funny it is.
The concept of a bias is pretty self-explanatory: your bias is your favorite (i.e., you're biased toward that member). Within that, though, many ARMYs also have a "bias-wrecker," or a member that they love so much it often makes them question their loyalty to their bias.
Sometimes, you might hear someone say their bias is "OT7." That stands for One True 7, meaning that they just love all seven members equally and can't choose a favorite.
8. Big Hit
Big Hit Entertainment, often stylized as bighit by ARMYs, is BTS' label and management company. Aside from BTS, Big Hit currently has only two other acts under its name: soloist Lee Hyun, and newer idol group TXT, or TOMORROW X TOGETHER. In 2018, BTS extended their contract to remain under Big Hit until at least 2026, so you'll definitely want to get familiar with them as a company.
It's worth noting that Big Hit is not like many of the other Korean entertainment companies. For a long time, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment were considered the "Big Three" for commanding the K-Pop industry with their artists and raking in the most money.
However, Big Hit recently beat out JYP in revenue, according to Koreaboo, meaning that the traditional hierarchy is no longer certain. Many ARMYs appreciate Big Hit for the personal and artistic freedom they give their acts, which is not always a given in the K-pop industry.
Of course you know what BTS is, but do you know the multiple (yes, multiple) meanings it has?
In Korean, BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates to "Bulletproof Boy Scouts" (you have to admit that's a hardcore band name). BTS also took on another meaning in 2017, however — they announced that BTS now also stands for "Beyond the Scene." According to Soompi, Big Hit explained that the name "symbolizes youth who don’t settle for their current reality and instead open the door and go forward to achieve growth." They unveiled this change with a new logo for both BTS and the ARMY, all of which are part of their new brand identity.
And remember, that's Beyond the Scene, and not "behind the scenes" like BTS is often used to denote outside of any relation to the group.
BT21 is BTS' 2017 collaboration with LINE FRIENDS to make eight animated characters, one to represent each member and one to represent the ARMY. They've come up with entire backstories for these characters (Suga's may have gotten a little out of hand), and there's tons of BT21 merch to be had. Here's a quick rundown of each character.
RM created Koya, a blue koala bear, while Jin thought of alpaca RJ. Suga created Shooky, a literal magical cookie, because why not — but don't confuse that with Jungkook's Cooky, which is actually a very pink bunny. Meanwhile, J-Hope created Mang, a masked, dancing pony. Jimin's character is Chimmy, a puppy, and V created Tata, which isn't an animal, but rather an alien. VAN, a "space robot," represents the ARMY because they always protect the other BT21 characters.
You can read more descriptions of the characters on the LINE FRIENDS website, and watch the Making of BT21 series on YouTube to see how it all came together.
A comeback refers to an idol group's release of a new era or album. It's similar to the definition of a comeback in Western music, but usually minus the long AF hiatus; it's simply the next time a group puts out new music and usually denotes the launch of a brand new concept — both visually and musically. More specifically, a comeback entails promotion through performances, often on Korean music shows.
BTS' most recent comeback was for Map of the Soul: Persona. They performed "Boy With Luv" and "Mic Drop" on Saturday Night Live. The ARMY, hard at work as always, has already predicted BTS' next comeback to be in October.
Cypher isn't a BTS term; it's an established term in the hip-hop music community. Simply put, a cypher is when a group of rappers rap (usually freestyle) one after another, without the animosity of battling against each other.
BTS has released four Cyphers so far, and for each one, BTS' "rap line" — composed of RM, Suga, and J-Hope — has come together and spit some serious fire to their haters. The last Cypher came out in 2016 on their album Wings, so there's no word on when (or if) the next installment will arrive.
It is a running joke within the ARMY, though, that V really, really wants to be a part of the possible "Cypher Pt. 5," despite not officially being a member of the rap line. He's probably the Cyphers' biggest fan — he even covered "Cypher Pt. 3: KILLER" in a Bangtan Bomb.
If you look through ARMYs' replies to any of BTS' tweets, you're bound to notice a few fancams. A fancam is simply a recording taken by a fan, rather than by a professional. It's usually taken on a cell phone, and obviously lower in quality than a professional version, but they also give you an up-close look at the performance.
Actually, Jimin holds the record for the most-viewed K-Pop fancam for his May 2018 performance of "Fake Love" on M Countdown. The fancam is sitting pretty at 60 million views.
"Fansite" is a portmanteau of fan and website, and it's all in the name: a fansite is a website run by fans dedicated to posting high-quality pictures or videos of an idol (usually, they're focused on one member rather than the whole group). According to Koreaboo, idols usually know about and appreciate fansites, since they're so dedicated to getting the best possible pictures of them, and attend as many events as possible to photograph them.
While there are multiple fansites for all of the BTS members, one of the most popular is Snowpeach, which is dedicated to Jungkook. Snowpeach currently has a staggering 1.9 million followers on Twitter, so you can see how big fansites are within K-pop culture.
FESTA is the period right before BTS' anniversary on June 13 every year, during which the ARMY gets access to new photos, behind-the-scenes dance practice videos, unreleased songs, and more. It ends with a video posted on the anniversary day, where the members all join to answer questions, discuss their journey as a group, and share the love.
BTS' FESTA 2019 celebration, for example, saw the release of a solo song by Jin, a remix of Jungkook's solo song "Euphoria," and "Bangtan Attic," in which the members sat in an attic (duh) and talked about how they've changed since their debut.
GCF stands for Golden Closet Film, and it's Jungkook's baby — a series of short films/travel vlogs that Jungkook films, directs, and edits all by himself.
GCF's usual subjects are the other members while BTS is on tour. Jungkook posts the finished products on the BANGTANTV YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure, and they provide a unique look into the members' lives through his eyes. His first GCF video documented his 2017 trip to Tokyo with Jimin. Check it out below:
Hallyu translates to "the Korean wave." In other words, it refers to the spread of South Korean culture across the globe, like the rise of BTS and other K-pop groups that found success abroad (though, this term is not exclusive to K-Pop and refers to other forms of Korean culture, like their immensely popular K-Dramas, for example).
BTS was awarded an Order of Cultural Merit by the South Korean government in 2018 for their contributions to Hallyu. Considering they bring in an annual $5 billion to South Korea's economy, as reported by the Straits Times, BTS' link to Hallyu cannot be understated.
"Hwaiting" is a Konglish word that actually has a really interesting history — since Hangul, the Korean language, doesn't have an F sound, the English word "fighting" is mispronounced as "hwaiting."
BTS says, "BTS, hwaiting!" or, "ARMY, hwaiting!" a lot in livestreams or other videos, but don't worry, they're not actually asking you to fight anyone. Instead, "hwaiting" is used by South Koreans as a term of encouragement or to cheer someone on.
Hyung is an honorific within the Korean language. Koreans use honorifics to refer to people who are older or have a higher status than them. Hyung, more specifically, is used by men to refer to their older male friends or relatives, and translates to "older brother."
This is where knowing the age order of BTS (from oldest to youngest — Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, Jungkook) comes in handy: everyone has to use hyung with Jin because he's the oldest, and Jungkook has to use hyung with all the members because he's the youngest. (Though, BTS sometimes bends these rules when they're joking around, since they're so close.)
This acronym actually refers to The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, which was the second era in BTS' discography, from 2015 to 2016. If you're looking for the Hs and Ys in there, though, don't bother: HYYH literally stands for "Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa," which is the original Korean that means the same thing.
The HYYH era was notable for kicking off the BU, or Bangtan Universe, a fictional universe created through music videos, short films, and more — there's all kinds of fan theories as to how it all connects. HYYH also saw a huge boost in popularity for BTS with the release of their song "I Need U."
A "line" within BTS is simply a subgroup of members based around one classifying characteristic — it is not, however, the same as a sub-unit (more on that later). A line can have as few as two members, but often has at least three. There's really no way to tell how many lines exist within a group or what all of them are, since they're constantly being created or recomposed. There are, however, a few key ones that ARMYs should know:
The rap line (RM, Suga, and J-Hope) do almost all of the rapping for the group, although Jungkook is a featured rapper on some of their early tracks. The vocal line (Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook), on the other hand, cover most of the singing. The dance line (J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook) are usually the ones you see in the front during performances. The hyung line (Jin, Suga, J-Hope, and RM) are the older members of BTS, and the maknae line (Jimin, V, and Jungkook) are the younger members.
You've probably seen this word floating around before, but what does it mean? Well, it's simple: maknae is a term used to refer to the youngest person in a group (though, there's often also mention of a maknae line, which is the younger group of members).
BTS' maknae is Jungkook, who was born in 1997. He's also often called the "golden maknae," because he's good at almost everything he tries, whether it's singing, dancing, rapping, video editing, or making everyone fall in love with him.
As the maknae, Jungkook gets the privilege of being looked after and doted on by his hyungs, as he joined the group at only 15 and they watched him grow up. That doesn't mean they don't like to give him a bit of a hard time, though — Suga and Jin in particular like to tease Jungkook for making them buy him food.
A literal mochi is a Japanese rice cake. Within the ARMY, however, mochi is a popular nickname for Jimin, because his cute, squishy cheeks bear some resemblance to the rice cake in question (see below for some adorable evidence). Mochis are also thought of as sweet delicacies, and, well, Jimin's just so sweet, isn't he?
Muster is actually a military term that refers to an assembling of troops, and though the ARMY may not be an actual army, BTS still uses the term to refer to a series of special annual concerts meant to... well, assemble the ARMY.
Muster is always fun because the members do performances that they don't usually do at their regular concerts. For example, this year's fifth annual Muster included a role-swap performance of "Ddaeng," in which the vocal line took on rapping, an a capella version of "Autumn Leaves," and some new choreography for "Dimple."
When BTS visited New York City, the Empire State Building lit up purple for them. Why? The color purple has a special significance for the group, as V explained during the group's third Muster.
"Purple is the last color of the rainbow colors," he said. "Purple means I will trust and love you for a long time."
So when ARMYs or BTS say, "Borahae" in Korean or "I purple you" in English, it means "I love you." Say it with me: awww.
People like to call fangirls obsessive online all the time, let's be real, fangirls are the coolest and totally necessary to make the K-pop industry (and any entertainment industry) sustainable, so there. A sasaeng, however, is not OK, and sadly, you may see the word crop up quite a bit.
A sasaeng, in South Korean culture, is a fan that resorts to stalking, theft, harassment, and other criminal activity in order to get the attention of a public figure, like an idol or the star of a K-drama. There are all kinds of horror stories about sasaengs invading idols' privacy floating around, and although they rarely speak out publicly about it or complain, BTS has likely had to deal with them quite a bit. (Though, it's worth noting that although the term "sasaeng" is unique to the Korean entertainment industry, the behavior they exhibit certainly isn't. Celebrities deal with extreme stalkers in every country.)
It's much better to be respectful of your favorite idols' privacy than to resort to illegal methods to get them to notice you. It's both unsafe and unethical, and really, fans shouldn't have to be reminded not to stalk people.
Selca is a Korean slang word shortened from "self-camera," and it means exactly that: a selfie! BTS posts tons of selcas on their Twitter account, and now also on Weverse (see below). As of right now, I would say J-Hope and RM probably provide the most selcas, but all seven members do their part to show their beautiful faces to the ARMY.
"Ship" is short for relationship, and the concept has become something of a staple in fandom culture — if you "ship" two people, it means you love the relationship between them. A "ship" is denoted by its ship name, usually a combination of the two people's names. Some ARMYs ship members romantically with one another (also a pretty common staple in many fandoms — not just BTS' — regardless of whether the celebs are in a romantic relationship or not). However, when fans use the members' ship names, it's usually in reference to their adorable, platonic friendships — and boy, are there a lot of them.
Vox reported that the four most popular BTS ships appear to be Taekook (V and Jungkook), Jikook (Jimin and Jungkook), Yoonmin (Suga and Jimin), and Vmin (V and Jimin). These are not even close to all of them, though. BTS Wiki has a helpful table that lists out all 21 pairings. It helps to know, too, that BTS' ship names are a little more complicated because they tend to use a mixture of BTS' stage names (RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook) and their real names (in that same order: Namjoon, Seokjin, Yoongi, Hoseok, Jimin, Taehyung, and Jeongguk).
For Western groups, it might be unusual for a few members to break off and make a song or two without the others, but that isn't necessarily the case in idol groups. A sub-unit is just a smaller group of members within a larger one. While some idol groups' sub-units are more established and even tour without the other members, BTS usually splits into sub-units just for a couple songs (that are often used as transitional performances on tour).
The most recent sub-units occurred within the original soundtrack for the group's mobile game, BTS World. The seven-piece broke into three sub-units, each one collaborating with an outside artist. Jin, Jimin, and Jungkook teamed up with Charli XCX for "Dream Glow," J-Hope and V collaborated with Zara Larsson on "Brand New Day," and RM and Suga joined forces with Juice WRLD for "All Night."
Tannie, or Yeontan, is V's adorable dog, who is absolutely adored by both the ARMY and the members of BTS. Seeing as the members are away from home so often, it's always an event when Tannie makes an appearance on the BTS Twitter, or when, like in the video below, the members get to spend some quality time with Tannie (Jimin holding Tannie up to the window like a young Simba? Iconic).
While Tannie is not the only BTS pet, or even V's only pet, he and Jin's sugar gliders are the only pets that live in the BTS dorm. All of the members' other pets, including but not limited to Suga's family's poodle Holly, and J-Hope's family's shih tzu Mickey, live with the members' families — though, many of them have made appearances on the BTS Twitter too.
31. V Live
While many Western artists mainly use YouTube or Instagram to connect with their fans and post content, idol groups often utilize V Live, a South Korean streaming service. On their V Live channel, BTS' members do livestreams, film and post video logs, and participate in Run BTS!, their variety show, among other things.
You don't need a V Live account to watch most of their content (there is a paid tier where more premium content is available for streaming), and it's seriously a goldmine, with often multiple videos uploaded a week. V Live even provides English subtitles, so you don't miss a word.
Weply is the official app for BTS and TXT's fan merchandise. Once you make a Weply account, you can order exclusive BTS merch, and once it sells out (because of course it will), the app will actually alert you of restocks.
You'll also need a Weply account if you want to buy membership to BTS' Global Official Fanclub (yep, that's a thing) on Weverse. What's Weverse, you ask? Well, lucky for you, it's explained right below.
This is the newest addition to the ARMY's glossary. Weverse is an online community for BTS and ARMYs to connect with one another — it's meant to be similar to a "fancafe," which is the same concept, but was sadly mostly only accessible to domestic fans because it was exclusively in Korean. The difference with Weverse is that it allows international fans to have the same level of access to the members as Korean ARMYs since the app is available in different languages. While the group all shares one Twitter account, they have solo accounts on Weverse, so you always know who's posting what and can watch their individual "Artist Moments."
Weverse is also the host of BTS' Official Global Fanclub, which comes with perks like exclusive merch, images, early access to lotteries, and more.
BTS isn't the only group on Weverse, however; TXT is also using the app to connect with fans, and there's talk of adding more groups soon.
So there you have it — the vocabulary used by ARMYs is robust and complex, but it doesn't have to be inaccessible. Hopefully this glossary can help you learn a bit more about the seven boys so many people love, and the community of millions that support them. And if there's ever a new ARMY phrase you come across that you don't understand, just ask a fellow ARMY! There's always someone willing to spread the BTS wealth.