What’s the English Equivalent to the Korean phrase “멋있어” or “멋있다” (romanized as “muh-shee-ssuh” or “muh-shee-dah”)

The Korean phrase “멋있어” means “chivalrous” in English

The Korean word 멋있어 (romanized as “muh-shee-ssuh”) can exude many other concepts including: debonair, courageous or valorous.  There could be arguments that it means charming, suave or even heroic.  However, as many words are defined or received in terms of meaning, it can depend on so many factors including who is defining it or who is using it for whatever reasons.  Linguistically, semantics can have so many dimensions that make it almost impossible to provide the perfect twin in a completely different language.

Many times, a real life situation can help properly define vernacular. Using a Korean drama, Itaewon Class provides a good example of how the protagonist is “멋있어.” We uploaded a great scene where the protagonist surprises his little team of employees despite his manager’s recommendation to fire an employee.

If you have an active Netflix account or are able to access Season 1’s Episode 5 of Itaewon Class, you’ll see around minute 45:01 to 49:18 a great example of how a person can be “muh-shee-ssuh” (Since Netflix also shows remaining time, you can scroll to 22:22 remaining to 18:16 to the right of the red timing bar).  In the scene, Park Sae-ro-yi (played by Park Seo-joon) appears as if he’ll be firing Ma Hyeon-yi (played by Lee Joo-young) .

“muh-shee-ssuh” may also mean “gentlemanly”

The Korean term also has feelings of being “genteel” or even “knightly.”  There are many connotations attached to male figures.  Like “handsome,” the definitions in English are normally reserved for males like “gallant.”   A few more terms like honorable, brave and noble are also good English connotations to utilize when trying to understand what the term most males would love to have used when describing them.

In several efforts on a Korean Drama YouTube channel I built to practice youtubing, I was unable to upload the scene.  The technology behind both Netflix and Youtube prevents us from even screen recording smaller snippets to exemplify meaning.