설상가상 – Korean 4 Character Idioms #9

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

When something bad happens, it gives us a really hard time. Sometimes, to make matters worse, something worse happens after that and that gives us an even harder time.

To describe this sad situation in Korean, you can use the word, 설상가상. 설 means snow, first 상 means on or upon, 가 means add, last 상 means frost. Note that 설상가상 has two 상s, but they have different meaning. Because of the snow, it is cold now, but there also came frost, it makes us even colder. Frost makes the problems of snow worse, so 설상가상 means to make matters worse.

Examples

이번 경기에서 져서 16강 진출이 불확실한데, 설상가상으로 주전 선수 한 명까지 부상을 입었다.
It became uncertain for us to advance to the round of 16 because we lost this game. To make matters worse, one of the key players was injured.

불황이라 사람들이 치킨을 예전처럼 잘 사 먹지 않는데, 설상가상으로 조류독감까지 확산되고 있어서 양계업자들이 괴로워하고 있다.
Because of the recession, people don't order chickens as much as before. To make matters worse, the avian influenza is now spreading, so chicken raisers are now suffering from them.

안 그래도 지금 화재 진압하느라 바쁜데, 설상가상으로 사거리에서 교통사고가 나서 부상자가 많이 발생했어.
We are really busy because of the fire. To make matters worse, a car crash happened in the crossroad and many people are now wounded.