애가 탄다 – Korean Idioms #12

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With Explanation

If you want something really much or you want something to happen so much, then you are anxious to do something. In addition, the word, anxiety is used as a synonym of worry.

In Korean, there is an idiom for anxiety and worrying, it is called "애가 탄다."

It sounds like burning a baby, but it has nothing to do with that cruel thing. 애 here means the intestine in your bodies. When you feel intense anxiety or worry, then you cannot digest well. It is an expression that came from that situation.

Some scientists really experimented this. They took a child monkey from his mother and didn't give him back to her. They just made her intensely anxious. After her death, they checked her intestine and it was not right.

Similar expression is "애간장을 태우다" or "애간장이 탄다." "애간장" is "애" and "간장." 간장 here doesn't mean the black liquid that Koreans use to season their foods, it means the liver in your body. In this expression, not only do you burn your intestine, but you also burn your liver.

Examples

오늘까지 보내주어야 하는 물건이 있는데, 재료가 아직도 도착하지 않아 애가 탄다.
There are some products that I should send till today, but the materials didn't arrive yet. I feel really anxious.

연락이 없어 애가 타겠지만, 특별히 할 이야기가 없어서 연락이 없는 걸 거야. 무소식이 희소식잖아.
You might worry because there is no contact, I think it is because he has nothing special to talk. As you know, no news is good news.

사람 애는 다 태워 놓고, 왜 이제서야 나타난 거야?
You made me die of anxiety. Why do you come up now?