김칫국을 마시다 – Korean Idioms #27

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

You assumed that someone will do you a favor or give you a present, but that person didn't even dream about doing that. However, you were sure about your idea and acted like that it is already done. This situation is called "counting chickens before they are hatched" in English, "김칫국을 마시다" in Korean.

This expression came from the saying, "떡 줄 사람은 생각도 않는데 김칫국부터 마신다," "Someone who has a rice cake doesn't even think about giving it to you, but you already have drunk kimchi broth." If you eat a rice cake too quickly, you may choke. To prevent this, you should drink some water. As kimchi is really common in Korea and the broth made of kimchi is popular, so you might have drunk it to prepare for the rice cake before you eat it.

As this saying is a bit long, so the first part "떡 줄 사람은 생각도 않는데" is gone, and we are using "김칫국부터 마신다" only to describe this situation.

Examples

김칫국 좀 그만 마셔. 그 상이 진짜 너한테 주어질지 누가 알아?
Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Who knows you will really get that prize?

그 아이는 내게 관심이 없었는데 나만 먼저 김칫국부터 마시고 있었나보다.
It seems that I counted chickens before they are hatched. She was not interested in me.

이번 분기 수익이 많이 나올 것 같아서 파티를 준비하고 있었는데, 생각지 못한 지출 때문에 지난 분기보다 수익이 덜 나왔다. 김칫국부터 마신 셈이다.
We were preparing for the party because we anticipated that the profit of this quarter would be huge, but we got less than the last due to the unexpected expenditure. We were counting chickens before they were hatched.

Why 김칫국 not 김치국?

Some of you might have wondered why it is "김칫국" not "김치국." As Koreans pronounce 국 in 김칫국 as [꾹] not [국], so you should add 시옷 before 국. It is called a 사이시옷 규칙 in Korean, but many Koreans write it as 김치국. As you can guess, it is wrong.