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Paiting! (Korean파이팅, pronounced [pʰaitʰiŋ]) or Hwaiting! (Korean화이팅, pronounced [ɸwaitʰiŋ]) is a Korean word of support or encouragement. It is frequently used in sports or whenever a challenge such as a difficult test or unpleasant assignment is met.[1] It derives from a Konglish borrowing of the English word "Fighting!"[1][2][3]


Paiting as used in Korean has undergone the process of translanguaging, causing it to have different meanings in English and Korean.[4] In English, "fighting" is a verb (specifically, a present participle) whereas cheers and exclamations of support usually take the form of imperative verbs. Paiting!’s Japanese equivalent, for example, is the more grammatically standard Faito! (ファイト). For that reason, paiting! is often translated in English as "Come on!" or "Let's go!" Daehan Minguk Paiting! ("대한민국 파이팅!") might be glossed as "Go, Korea!"[2][5] English does sometimes use adjectives and nouns as words of support ("Good!" "Good job!") but the original meaning of fighting simply implies some conflict exists; it doesn't imply either side will be victorious and offers no support.[citation needed]

Paiting! is often accompanied by the expression Aja aja! (Korean아자 아자),[6] which has a similar meaning. The pronunciation Hwaiting, despite often being used colloquially, is not included in important Korean dictionaries such as Standard Korean Language Dictionary.[7]

Due to the global popularization of Korean pop culture (known as Korean Wave or hallyu), paiting! has returned to the English language. In September 2021 the interjection was added to the Oxford English Dictionary under the entry "fighting, int", distinguishing it from the native English usage of the word.[8]

Paiting! is limited to only South Korean dialects of the Korean language. North Korean dialects do not include paiting! due to the limited contact with the English world and general tendency to translate loanwords into 'pure' Korean.[9]


Spelling and pronunciation of paiting! as an interjection varies in Korean. This is due to the voiceless labiodental fricative sound [f] not existing in Korean. To make up for this, the sound is adjusted in Korean to either an aspirated voiceless bilabial stop [pʰ], or the combination of a voiceless bilabial fricative and labiovelar semivowel [ɸw]. These pronunciations are then romanized back into English as either "paiting" or "hwaiting".[10]

Related terms[edit]

In addition to Faito!, terms used similarly in East Asia are the Chinese Jiayou! (加油, lit. "add oil!") and Japanese Ganbatte! (頑張って). The growing importance of Korean pop culture means that "Fighting!" is now sometimes used in Chinese-to-English and Japanese-to-English translations as well to convey these native phrases.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b 파이팅 (in Korean). Standard Korean Language Dictionary. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  2. ^ a b 성대석(Seong, Dae-seok) (2010-07-12). '대한민국 파이팅' 유감 (in Korean). The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  3. ^ 박용찬 (Park Yong-chan) (2004-10-06). "'파이팅'(fighting)의 다듬은 말 '아자'" (in Korean). The Korea Defence Daily. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  4. ^ Kiaer, Jieun (December 7, 2018). Translingual Words: An East Asian Lexical Encounter with English. Taylor & Francis. pp. 40–42. ISBN 9781351109468.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  5. ^ "파이팅". Naver Korean-English dictionary. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  6. ^ 서정보(Seo, Jeong-bo) (2004-12-30). 올 최고 유행어는 ‘그런거야’ (in Korean). Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved December 27, 2010. '아자, 아자, 파이팅' KBS2 드라마 '풀하우스'에서 지은(송혜교)이 애교있게 외쳤던 말.
  7. ^ 조남호 (Cho Nam-ho) (2006-12-04). 파이팅 (in Korean). The Korea Defence Daily. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  8. ^ Salazar, Danica. "Daebak! The OED gets a K-update". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  9. ^ Park, Mi Yung (2022-07-03). "'I don't want to be distinguished by others': language ideologies and identity construction among North Korean refugees in South Korea". Language Awareness. 31 (3): 271–287. doi:10.1080/09658416.2020.1867563. ISSN 0965-8416. S2CID 234211861.
  10. ^ Ahn, Hyejeong; Kiaer, Jieun (17 Jul 2023). "Translingual English words of Korean origin and beyond: skinship, fighting, chimaek". Asian Englishes. 26 (1): 77. doi:10.1080/13488678.2023.2216866 – via Taylor & Francis Online.