Korean Language Blog

Proverb of the Day Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Korean Language

Today’s sajasongo (사자성어) or four letter proverb is 초록동색 (草綠同色). () = means “grass.” () = green. () = alike. () = color.

There’s a similar saying in English as well. Before I tell you what that English proverb is, let me give you hints as to what the Korean version could possibly mean. If we jumble the words around to make the proverb into a coherent sentence, you get something like, “like the color green gets along with the grass, so does every color that is alike get along.”

Technically, color is not an object, it’s a physical aspect of an object. However, if the grass is healthy, it’s most likely green. That’s what I mean by the “green getting along with the grass.” Green is the color that looks good on grass, hence that’s why it “gets along with the grass.” (Trust me, this makes more sense in Korean than in English)

Okay, so the English proverb that is similar to this Korean proverb is “Birds of a feather flock together.” In other words, people who are alike in personality, habits, ways of thinking are going to hang out with people who are just like them. If you connect this with the Korean proverb, it’s like saying, people with similar shades of color are likely to want to be together.

“Shades of color” is a code word for character. People who are dishonest, will tend to gravitate towards people who are dishonest. Another example is, people who are wealthy will want to hang out with people who are wealthy. Of course, there are lots of real life examples that prove this proverb to be false. However, if you look at your circle of friends, this proverb might hold true for you.

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