Did you know that there’s something Koreans “eat” that others don’t? They also only “eat” this thing when something bad happens.
Can you guess what it is? Well, according to Korean streamer Rachel Kim, if a Korean says they “ate water” it means something bad happened.
Basically, it describes a situation where we’re stuck with a disappointing result.
Rachel explains that the reason the expression is “eat” water versus the correct “drink” water is that “eating water is something very unpleasant.”
People eat water when they are drowning. After rescuing a person from drowning, the first thing we check is if they ate water because how much water they ate determines how serious the situation is. Worst case scenario, people can eat 50% of their body weight amount of water!
So, if you hear a Korean saying “they ate water” it’s because something bad happened that was out of their control.
From about 3:00 Rachel gives conversational examples of how to use this phrase in Korean and English: