Chapter 7 was actually a lot longer than I expected so I am splitting up the chapter. First, I will give you the background on the idiomatic expressions with stories (like I did with the frog in a well…).

바가지를 긁다  (literally this means scratching the dipper gourd) it means: to nag 

This described it easily: “잔소리를 늘어 놓다`는 뜻이다. 옛날에 쥐통(괴질-콜레라)이 돌아다닐 때에 귀신을 쫓는다 하여 바가지를 득득 (scratching sound) 문지르던 데서 비롯한 말이다.듣기 싫다는 공통성으로 인해 흔히 아내가 남편에게 경제적 불평 따위 를 말하는 것을 가리키는 말이 되었다.” The meaning is referring to nagging.  In the past cholera was spreading around, and people believed it was a ghost doing this. So to drive them away they believed by scrubbing the dipper gourd, the scratching sounds  was like the sound of nagging.  People commonly hated this sound (I guess it was like nails on a chalkboard) and it reminded them of the wife griping over finances to the husband.  (Side note: I don’t know if I like this phrase because it is usually only directed toward women! Just wait men…when I learn a phrase to explain their nagging then I will definitely post it.)

그림의 떡 (literally means cream rice cake)  US equivalent: pie in the sky It means: unreachable, unobtainable while still having hope

Background on US meaning: Interesting fact is that this is just like the American song “Bye bye Miss American Pie”. It’s not literally a pie, but the phrase was coined in 1911 by WWII soldiers promising them a bright hopeful future. So literally this phrase in the English language because it promised them greatness while suffering in the present. Of course, if there is a hanja (Chinese) expression I am sure it has its own very elaborate and profound story…Leave it to Americans to quote pie.

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