Maknae is a Korean term, used for the youngest member of a group or a friend group.
It is seen in K-pop circles, referring to the youngest artist in K-pop bands.
We may rarely encounter it outside of groups unrelated to Korea or K-pop.
Origin of the term
Maknae, originally pronounced more like “mang-nae” comes from the native tongue of the Korean peninsula, with the meaning “youngest child”.
It is used both for men and women; the term is only referring to the age of the person.
Spread of the term
With the spread of K-pop around the world, it was inevitable for fans to adopt words from their idols’ native tongue.
Message boards, blogs and forums that are wedging in words of Korean origin into English passages are more and more common on the web.
A similar phenomenon is seen in the much larger otaku community, who are slowly adopting Japanese vocabulary.
Urban Dictionary term to their definitions in 2008, with several other being written in the following decade, influenced by the music of that Far-Eastern peninsula.
- Urban Dictionary – Maknae
- Metro – What is a maknae in Korean and why did Jungkook give up the title?