So I saw my Korean friend E sending me all these ㅗ’s over whatsapp and I honestly thought it was just a typo every time! Maybe he was switching his keyboard language by accident or maybe he was messaging Korean friends and forgot to change it back when messaging me but noooooo.
I never actually asked, he told me! ㅗ is pronounced O yes but it’s an internet slang in Korea. You don’t read it as a word, you don’t speak it, it’s meant to depict ‘giving someone the finger’. Haha! Use it between close friends as you would in English, probably not people you’ve just met unless you’re using it to reference somebody else and you’re not using it against the person you’re talking to (even if it’s in a jokey way). You can never be too careful! Though of course mistakes equal knowledge. (:
So ㅗ meaning sticking your middle finger up at someone can be ‘internet slang defined’ as either saying ‘fuck off’ to someone in a jokey way or maybe in a serious way depending on the context. To be honest, not many of us send the angry emoticon online to anyone we’re genuinely irritated with, we tend to send no emoticons to show seriousness so I’d use this in the same way.
The way E used it though was in a way similar to ‘fml’ in English. We were talking about his college admission and how he didn’t like he had a communal bathroom and he was in a jokey-irritated mood, like not seriously irritated-irritated but irritated but joking about it too and he just sent ‘ㅗㅗㅗ’ to me after he’d had a rant – he was using it against the college because he was annoyed about how he didn’t have a single or ensuit bathroom and also in the sense that he felt his situation was a bit crap! For example; ‘God in this college I have to use a shared bathroom….ㅗ’. E said it against the college but also in a way that was like ‘…oh for gods sake I have to share a bathroom with other people….fml’.
In short – ㅗ = giving the middle finger – E encouraged me to use this with my friends, hohoho. They’ll never know what it means! So there you go, now you know what it means if a Korean person ever sends you one!