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What’s in the Name?? - Kpop group edition

Updated: May 20, 2020

To appeal to international audiences Korean groups often think of names that non-Korean fans can get behind. While 방탄소년단 (BangTan Sonyeondan) is well known in Korea as Bulletproof Boy Scouts, they are better known by their shortened English letters, BTS to international fans.

ARMY fans, did you realize that ARMY is also an acronym? If you are part of the BTS ARMY you are an Adorable Representative M.C for Youth!

Other groups have acronyms for names too. Most of them are meant to symbolize or portray the image of their group like SF9 - Sensational Feeling 9

(for the nine members and the sensational feeling you get from their music).

We're curious how many of these Kpop groups you know the actual name for?

Try to guess before scrolling past the picture to see their actual name. We made it easier by providing four choices (yes, one is the real answer even though it may not seem possible). Tell us how you did in the comments below.

Let’s start with one of our recent song of the day groups -

H.O.T - what does this acronym stand for?

1. H. O. T. (에이치오티)

Is it...

A) Hotmusic Of Teenager

B) Highfive Of Teenagers

C) Healthy Original Teens

D) Honest Original Tempo

The answer is...

B) Highfive Of Teenagers

Did you guess that’s what it was?

How about our next group?

I know this probably doesn't look like it would be an acronym for anything, but surprisingly it is!

2. Teen Top

Is it...

A) Teenager Emoboy Emotion Nextgeneration Talent Object Praise

B) Teen Empowering Emotion Now Trend Over Planet

C) Teens Together Over Power

D) Together Employ Emotion Not Tears On Point

It's B) TEEN TOP = Teenager Emoboy Emotion Nextgeneration Talent Object Praise Easy right??

3. Vixx

Are they...

A) Voice, Visual, Value In Excelsis

B) Value In Extreme Excelling

C) Very Visual Value In Excellence

D) Voice Ingenuity Exceeds Expectations

And it's A) VIXX - Voice, Visual, Value In Excelsis Not sure how this one works but it's probably best not to question it at this point...

4. ENOi

Is it...

A) Excelling Now On International stage

B) We Can Do It

C) Exceeding Now On International level

D) Learn To Excel

B) wE caN dO it.

Did you know that this group was put together by leader Laon, on April 13th, last year? Happy One Year Anniversary ENOi!


Are they...

A) Music Boys Live in Absolute Quality

B) Mystic Boys Love Absolutely Qualifies

C) Men Being Living Ambassadors of Quality

D) Music Building Lasting Absolute Quality

It's obviously A) Music Boys Live Absolute Quality

6. BAP

Does it stand for...

A) Boys Approach Power

B) Born Attaining Perfection

C) Beyond All Powerful

D) Best Absolute Perfect

If you guessed D) Best Absolute Perfect, award yourself 100 points!

7. 2NE1

Is it...

A) Now Everyone Together

B) New Evolution of the 21st Century

C) To Anyone

D) 21 (as they were all 21 years old when they formed the group)

2NE1 (Twenty-one) stands for - B) New Evolution of the 21st Century !

8. AOA

Are they...

A) Adorable Original Agents

B) Absolute Of Atmosphere

C) Agents Of Adoration

D) Ace Of Angels

D) Ace of Angels


Which of these could they be...

A) Be the Original Beat

B) Born TO Beat

C) Blessed TO Become

D) Beat The Ordered Bass

Did you guess - Born TO Beat

If so... give yourself 100 points!

10. B1A4

Is it...

A) Before one achieve four

B) Be the One, All For One C) Best one achieve for all

D) Beoseot Gui Andong jjimdak

B) Be the One, All For One

By now you are probably thinking you could create better. Keep going! ( But we warn you, it won’t get any easier)


Are they...

A) Boys of East Asia Sing Terrifically

B) BE Always Soulful Tunes

C) Boys of EAst Standing Tall

D) Boys of the EAST

C) Boys of EAst Standing Tall (They are now called Highlight having left their former agency... can't imagine what an acronym for Highlight might be.)


Does it stand for...

A) Cadence Not Blue

B) Calming Notes Build Love Until Eternity

C) Calm Not Blue

D) Code-Name Blue

D) Code-Name Blue

This one is tricky because they are words that actually can make sense together; we're not used to that.

13. F.Cuz

Are they...

A) Fashion beCuz

B) Fashion Centric Ultimate Zone

C) Friends Create Unequaled Zestfulness

D) For Century Ultimate Zest

D) For Century Ultimate Zest will get you another 100 points!

14. Fin.K.L

Is it...

A) Fin Killing Liberty

B) Finite Korean Love

C) Finesse Keeping Life

D) Fine Kept Love

If you guessed D) Fin Killing Liberty, you are 100% correct

But don't ask us what it is supposed to mean.

15. Exid

Are they...

A) Exit Domination

B) Excel in delicacies

C) Exceed in dreaming

D) Existence in doing

C) Exceed In Dreaming

16. SNSD

Is it...

A) Sonyeo Sidae - Girls Generation

B) Soulful November Sparkle December

C) Sounding Notes Singing Delicately

D) Sinseollo Sannakji Dae - girls deliver greatness

A) Sonyeo Sidae which means Girl’s Generation, which is how they are known more commonly known to international fans.

17. EXO

is it...

A) EXplOre


C) Entice eXtra Overture

D) Easily eXpanding Opinions

It had to be - B) EXOPLANET - a planet outside our solar system ... right?

18. KNK

Are they...

A) K-pop kNocK

B) KpoppiN Kings

C) Kings ’N Knights

D) Kings iN Korea

A) Kpop kNocK - meaning to ”knock on the door of K-pop with their music”

19. F.I.X

Are they...

A) Forever In eXcelling

B) First In Xcellence

C) First Intense Excellent D) Four Immaculate Xtraordinaries

D) Four Immaculate Xtraordinaries ... obviously.

20. F.T Island

Does it stand for...

A) Finding Treasure Island

B) Five-Treasure Island

C) Fire Treasured Island

D) First Tempo Island

If you guessed B) Five-Treasure Island give yourself an extra 10 bonus points... (Why 'Five' when there are only four members? Does anyone know?)

21. D1CE

A) Domination for 1 Century of Excellence

B) The Once

C) Doing 1 Challenge Everyday

D) Dice of Chance

B) D-once (디원스) The Once

It means ‘DICE + The Once, Leader’. Dice is related to the visual concept of these boys. D1CE also has the same pronunciation as “The Once,” which means first. They let fans vote for one of five names and this is the one they chose.

22. I.O.I

Are they...

A) Idyllic Organic Idols

B) Ideal of Idols

C) Illustriousness of Inception

D) Indicator Of Interest

B) Ideal Of Idol - gets you another 100 points.

23. MCND

Is it...

A) Music Champions aNd Dominates

B) Making Champions iN Declaration

C) Music Creates New Dream

D) M.C. aNd Dominate

C) Music Creates New Dream. - Debuted on February 27th, 2020 with ‘ICE AGE’.

Have you gotten to know them yet?

24. NCT

Are they...

A) Novel Creators of Tunes

B) Neo Culture Technology

C) Nano Culture Trendsetter

D) Now Contending Together

B) Neo Culture Technology

In NCT 127 the 127 stands for the line of longitude that runs through Seoul

NCT Dream is the younger members who graduate out when they turn 19 (20 Korean age)

25. NU'EST

Does it mean... A) New Establishment

B) New Establish Style Tempo

C) Next Universally Established Star Trend

D) Notice Universe Excellent Style Trend

B) New Establish Style Tempo will get you another 100 points.

26. S.E.S

Is it...

A) Sea Eugene Shoo

B) Sukhoe Ejae Saeujeot

C) Strong Equalized Singers

D) Sing Emote Star

It's A) Sea [Bada] Eugene Shoo - the names of the members

27. Seventeen

Could it be...

A) 13+3+1= 17

B) Starring EVEN as TEENs

C) Potential and Perfection

D) 13 Promise Promote Protect Together

Originally their name would have been surprisingly straightforward as they planned to have 17 members. However, prior to debut 4 members (including now soloist Samuel Kim) quit for various reasons. So now they explain their name as...

A) 13 members + 3 units + the fans (1 big group) = 17.

28. SG Wannabe

Don't worry... not every letter of Wannabe stands for something else. Is it... A) SM YG Wannabe

B) Simon & Garfunkel Wannabe

C) Song Greatnesses Wannabe

D) Samgyeopsal Wanna Be Excellent

If you guessed, B) Simon & Garfunkel Wannabe. You are correct! Do you get a Simon & Garfunkel vibe from these guys?


Could it be...

A) Super Nouveau Unpretentious Excel and Reign

B) Higher than Super

C) Super Novella D) Superior

Somehow, it is B) Higher than Super !

30. SS501

Is it... A) Superstar Singer five members united as one forever

B) Star Singer o-baek-il

C) Super Star 5 Operate as 1

D) Saltant Star 501

And the answer is... A) Superstar Singer five members united as one forever or 5 Superstar Singers United as 1 Forever


Are they...

A) The Original Undeniable Charismatic Homme

B) The Odyssey of Ultimate Considerate Harmony

C) The Omnipotent Ultimate Categorically Harmonies

D) Trending Original Undeniable Charisma Harmonic

A) The Original Undeniable Charismatic Homme

I applaud their use of both English and French to create something that vaguely makes sense as a band name.

32. TRAX

Are they...

A) Tantalous Rigorous Advances eXcellence B) Typhoon of the Rose Attack on X-Mas

C) Tuneful Raconteur Accentuate eXtreme

D) Tracks on Music Stage

Yep, it's B) Typhoon of the Rose Attack on X-Mas (based on the member’s stage names)

33. TVXQ:

Fans of the band should get this one...

A) Rising gods of the East

B) Kings of melody

C) The Virtuous eXcel in Quality

D) Daesang Bias Shining Kings

A) Rising Gods of the East is correct!

If you don't understand how they get TVXQ from this, don't worry, you aren't going crazy!

It's (based on the Chinese pronunciation of the group’s official hanja: 東方神起 “Tong Vfang Xien Qi”).

They are Also known as Tohoshinki(東方神起,Tōhōshinki)in Japanese releases, and are sometimes referred to as DBSK, an abbreviation of their Korean name Dong Bang Shin Ki(동방신기). Their name roughly translates to "Rising Gods of the East"

34. U-KISS

Does it stand for... A) Ultimate Kind Iconic Sexy Stardom

B) Ultimate Korean Iconic Singing Star

C) Unambiguous Kindred Icon Super Star

D) Ubiquitous Korean International Super Star

D) Ubiquitous Korean International (idol) Super Star

Interesting use of Ubiquitous, wouldn't you say? Give yourself 60 bonus points if you got this one right!

And last but not least!

35. ZE:A

Are they...

A) Children of Empire

B) Champion of Stage

C) Rise above

D) Zeal: Advances

If you know a little Korean you may have been able to guess A) Children of Empire !

based on the pronunciation of their Korean name:국의이들 “[Z]Jegook-ui Aideul”

So how did you do? 36/36? 3,600+ points could have been yours with a clean sweep!

Let us know in the comments below.


It’s interesting how the bands decided on their names.

There are many, many more but here are a few extras :

T.T.MA: Taste The Maximum (orig. To The Maximum)

SHU-I: So Hot Union of Idols

S.L.I.M: SunLight In the Morning

Sonamoo: 소나무 literally means Pine Tree

Two X: The members’ names areTop, Win and One and the X stands for a multiplication


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