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Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by SR배런, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. SR배런 New Member

    English-United States
    네가 잘 모르는 모양인데 원래 얌전한 고양이가 부뚜막에 먼저 올라가는 법이거든?

    I think I know what this sentence means for the most part. You must not know very well but, the quiet cat is first to reach the top/climb the highest. But I've never come across the word 부뚜막. I searched a dictionary, and it provided a kitchen range or a cooking range as its meaning. I'm not sure that is all the way correct. Is there more meaning behind 부뚜막에. Is this a common phrase?
  2. jakartaman Senior Member

    부뚜막 is a kitchen counter from Old Korea. This is what it looks like.

    얌전한 고양이가 부뚜막에 먼저 올라간다 is a proverb.
    What you stated in your post is a literal translation.
    얌전한 고양이 stands for a person who keeps a low profile.
    부뚜막 is a place where food(opportunity) is served.

    So you use it in such a case as this:
    Say there's a shy girl who says she's not interested in guys.
    She and other girls are approached by a very handsome guy.
    To everyone's surprise, she musters the courage to step out and talk to him.
    Then, one of the other girls may mumble the proverb with jealousy. :)

    Make sure you use it either when the person is not around or with a smile.
    It's cynical and could be offensive.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  3. SR배런 New Member

    English-United States
    Thank you jakartaman.
  4. 경상남도로 오이소 Junior Member

    I don't think younger Koreans know what 부뚜막 is, and how it looks. The word is hardly used now, at least not in Seoul. Ironically though, the proverb itself is well known and understood.

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