Caveat: 빈정상했어

At work yesterday, the front-desk person was handing out some student-placement spreadsheet printouts and she skipped me. This always annoys me,  because I have a genuine interest in what’s happening to the students.
I think they leave me out because they assume I’m not interested, since I don’t often don’t join in the discussions they have over these printouts (given that they are in Korean and/or they often seem to take place at times when I’m off teaching a class – my schedule is thicker in the afternoons whereas many of the teachers have a thin afternoon schedule and a thicker evening schedule, and so meetings are often in the afternoons).
So this time, I said something like, “why are you forgetting me, can I have one too?” and she happily complied.
But then Curt remarked, muttering, “빈정상했어” [bin-jeong-sang-haess-eo]. And of course I had no idea what this meant. And I wanted to know.
It therefore became a long, drawn-out discussion over what, exactly, this phrase means. The verb (빈정상하다 [binjeongsanghada] / alternate form 빈정사다 [binjeongsada]) doesn’t appear any online Korean-English dictionaries we consulted. Google translate doesn’t even try.
After some back-and-forth, we decided it meant something roughly like “peeve” as in, “he’s/you’re peeved” (the subject is left out in Korean and so you can fill in whatever verb subject fits the situation). But I wasn’t really satisfied with this.
The Korean-Korean dictionaries online don’t have the verb (or the pre-derived verb-noun 빈정상) either. For the near-match 비정상,  they offer definitions as follows. The definitions are hard enough to understand – my “translations” of the definitions are tentative at best.

1.) 어떤 것이 바뀌어 달라지거나 탈이 생겨 나타나는 제대로가 아닌 상태. “The condition of [something] not being as one desires [such] that some kind of trouble or revised change appears.”
2.) 바르거나 떳떳하지 못한 상태. “The condition of being unable to be honorable or upright.”

These definitions utterly fail to match Curt’s off-the-cuff definition and don’t match my intuition of verb’s actual meaning. They don’t make any sense at all, in my opinion. So that’s not it. Just a lexical wild-goose-chase.

ImagesLooking at the verb in parts (which isn’t always a smart or correct thing to do with Korean verbs, as my Korean tutor is constantly insisting), I see the first part is 빈정, which appears bound in other verbs like 빈정거리다, which means “to make a sarcastic remark.” And the second part is 상하다, which includes a definition “to be hurt, to be offended, to be troubled with.” This latter is promising – it seems to match Curt’s definition much better. If you add in a shading of sarcasm, it actually seems to capture my actual expression and manner pretty well.
So I’m going to offer a tentative English definition of the phrase “빈정상했어” as “he’s/you’re sarcastically peeved” … but in slangy pragmatics (and dating myself  to the 1980s) as “don’t have a cow, man.”
What I’m listening to right now.

Linkin Park, “Pushing Me Away.”

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