The Korea Herald


[Korea Quiz] Abusive imbalances of power

By Korea Herald

Published : April 24, 2024 - 10:01

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In relationships or social situations where power imbalances lead to problematic dynamics, the term "gapjil" is used to describe unjust and abusive behavior by someone who thinks they are in a relatively superior position.

The term originates from Korean legal terminology, where "gap" signifies the more powerful or superior party in a contract, while "eul" denotes the relatively less powerful or inferior party. The suffix "jil" implies actions or behavior with negative connotations.

Initially associated with abuses of power in the workplace, "gapjil" now extends to various social contexts, encompassing situations where individuals attempt to assert their dominance over others.

Monitoring for gapjil has led to the development of protective measures aimed at safeguarding individuals perceived to be in a weaker position. However, there has also emerged the inverse manifestation of this toxic dynamic, known as "euljil," wherein a subordinate exploits their vulnerability for personal gain. Instances of euljil are relatively rare.

The suffix jil can be added to a wide array of behaviors to impart a negative connotation. For example, "satdaejil" refers to pointing one's finger at another person, considered a rude gesture, while "gojajil" is a derogatory term for snitching on someone.

Answer: D