상전벽해 – Korean 4 Character Idioms #10

3 Speed Only

With English

Sometimes the world around us changed a lot without telling us anything. We cannot believe our eyes when we see this.

상전벽해 is the word for this situation. 상전 means the forest or farm of mulberry trees, 벽해 means blue see. The basic meaning of 상전벽해 is the change from a forest to a blue sea. It is used to call such a drastic change.

Examples

누가 전 세계에서 제일 못 살던 나라 중 하나였던 대한민국이 지금처럼 변할 것이라 생각했을까? 상전벽해가 따로 없다.
Were there anyone who guessed that Korea, one of the poorest countries in the world, would be like this now? We cannot believe our eyes.

몇 십 년만에 고향을 다시 방문했는데 상전벽해를 실감했다. 예전에는 공장들의 굴뚝에서 나온 검은 연기로 자욱한 곳이었는데, 그 공장들이 다 중국으로 이사 가고, 고급 아파트들과 공원들이 들어섰다. 내가 살던 곳이 아닌 것 같았다.
After a few decades, I visited my hometown and I cannot believe my eyes. In the past, it was full of the black smoke coming from the chimneys of the factories, but those factories moved to China and there are high class apartments and parks. It doesn't look like the place I once lived.

항상 꼴찌를 도맡아 하던 팀이었는데 감독님이 바뀐 이후 하나 둘씩 변화하기 시작하더니 이제는 우승을 노리는 팀이 되었다. 완전 상전벽해다.
They were the team which always took the last place. After the coach was changed, they started to change one by one. Finally, they became a team that targets the championship. What a drastic change!