[KWotD] – What Does 오히려 Mean?

Korean Word of the Day: What does 오히려 mean?

오히려 (adverb)
Meaning: 1. rather 2. contrary to what one would expect / on the contrary / instead

Meaning of 오히려

It is the 28th of February, the last day of the month, 2015 and today’s Korean Word of the Day is no less then 오히려. It actually has two meanings. One is simply “rather” while the other is something along the lines of “opposite to what one expected or general standards“.

It is synonymous with 도리어 in its 2st meaning and 차라리 in its first but 차라리 tends to have a slightly negative nuance.

In its second usage, it is common to use this word in conjunction with the grammar structures -것 보다, -ㄴ다기보다는 and -느니 among other patterns with similar meaning, to express “rather.”


오히려 Examples

1. rather

이것은 음식이라기보다는 오히려 쓰레기에 더 가까운 것 같다. 

= This closer to trash rather than food.


Q: 만두 하실래요?

A: 오히려 김밥으로 하고 싶어요.

= (Q: would you like to have mandu?) I would rather have kimbab.


저는 막걸리보다는 오히려 맥주를 더 좋아해요.

= Rather than makgeolli, I like beer. 


그 사람을 만나느니 오히려 죽는 게 나을 것이다.

= I would rather die than meet that person.


2. contrary to what one would expect / instead

과일을 너무 먹으면 오히려 건강에 안 좋다.

= Eating to much fruit is (contrary to what you would expect) not good for your health.


지난달부터 운동을 시작했는데 오히려 살이 졌다. 

= I started working out last month but I gained weight instead.


그는 미안하다고 사과를 했는데 오히려 그녀가 화를 냈다.

= He apologized and sad he was sorry but (contrary to what he expected) she got angry.


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By: Kimchi Cloud