BTS ‘방탄소년단’ Name Translation + Breakdown

I don’t actually stan, but I know everyone else does 😉 And you can’t argue against their stellar performance quality!

English: BTS

Korean: 방탄소년단

Translation: Bulletproof Boys

So their name is actually different than a lot of other groups. Most groups have the same name in Korean and English; only the letters used change. However! BTS’s Korean name actually has a meaning, which most of you will know if you stan them. Buuuuut the name isn’t literally ‘Bulletproof Boy Scouts’. Here’s a breakdown:

방탄

This comes from the word 방탄하다, which is a verb meaning ‘to be bulletproof’.

Any verb ending in -하다 also has a noun form. This noun form can be found by removing the -하다 from the word. Whatever is left is a noun.

For example: 사랑하다 = to love, 사랑 = love.

So in this case, 방탄하다 means ‘to be bulletproof’, however we don’t have a noun form of that in English. I suppose the closest would be ‘bulletproofness/the state of being bulletproof’.

But! For the point of this breakdown, I should mention that grammar is not always by the book and especially where Kpop is concerned it can be very informal. In the case of BTS, ‘방탄’ is not functioning as a noun, but as an adjective describing the boys as being bulletproof.

소년단

So….I know people say that the name is ‘Bulletproof Boy Scouts’ but….it isn’t exactly.

Why? Because in Korea, Boy Scouts (as in the organization) is 보이스카웃. This is just a romanization of the English name of the organization.

So….what is 소년단? It simply refers to ‘a group of boys’.

BUT

This word needs a description in front of it to describe the boys, such as can be seen in BTS’s name. You would never use the word 소년단 in conversation by itself.

And there you have it! That is the end of the name breakdown. Hopefully you all enjoyed it!
If you have any question please leave them below and we will answer them ASAP 🙂

~ Hannah

Published by Satyanghae Korean (Hannah & Shelbi)

We are just 3 students who wish to share the love and joy of learning Korean through lesson posts and translations! We are doing this for fun, based on our experience and questions we ask native speakers. We are not fluent! Just passionate  ~ Hannah, Shelbi, and Jordan

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