Understanding Hajima & Kajima

Two of my favorite words in Korean are 하지마 (hajima) and 가자마 (kajima). They are both common words in everyday 반말 (banmal) or informal language, and they appear in just about every K-pop song.

하지마 (hajima) usually is translated as “Don’t do it”. 하 (ha) comes from the verb 하다 (hada) which means “to do.” 지마 (jima) is part of a negative conjugation where the speaker asks or orders someone else to not do something.


하 (ha) = “(you) do”


지마 (jima) = “don’t”

= “Don’t do it”

Seungri really doesn't want you to do it. Hajima!

Seungri really doesn’t want you to do it. Hajima!


Note that the Korean word for “you” is omitted. The person you’re talking to is implied by context.

Likewise, 가지마 (kajima) uses the conjugation of 지마 (jima). 가 (ka) comes from 가다 (kada) which is the verb meaning “to go.”


가 (ka) = “(you) go”


지마 (jima) = “don’t”

= “Don’t go.”

Please, GD, kajima!

Please, GD, kajima!


These phrases are commonly used in dramas where someone orders someone else not to do something or to go somewhere.


Person 1: 집에 가. (Jib-e ka.) “I’m going home.”

Person 2: 집에 가지마! (Jib-e kajima!) “Don’t go home!”

From http://25.media.tumblr.com/b0b55f4def1776af83390768a9c86fc2/tumblr_mgahm3FZMj1rwnim2o1_500.gif


Person 1: 그래. (Keurae.) “Okay.”


top jibe


That just about sums up GD & T.O.P.’s ‘Don’t Go Home’ song. Can you guess the Korean name of that song? 네. (Ne.) It’s 집에 가지마 (jib-e kajima).

Here’s an example using “Don’t do it.”


Person 1: 야…난…널… (Ya…Nan…Neol…) “Hey…I…to you…”

Person 2: 뭐? 야! 하지마! 하지마! (Mweo? YA! Hajima! Hajima!) “What? HEY! Don’t do (say) it! Don’t!”

Person 1: 사랑해. (Saranghae.) “I love you.”

T.O.P. loves SE7EN-hyung

T.O.P. loves SE7EN-hyung

Person 2: 하지마! 난 니가 싫어.. 넌 못생겼어.  (Hajima! Nan niga sirheo. Neon mot saengyeosseo.) “Don’t! I hate you. You’re ugly.”


T.O.P. disapproves


How about some song examples in K-pop where hajima or kajima are used very obviously?

Monster by Big Bang

Don’t Go Home/Jibe Kajima by GD & T.O.P.,

Stop It by B.A.P.



A/N: Revised April 9, 2018, as the previous version was written years ago when I barely knew any Korean; I previously (and mistakenly) told readers that these sentences can also mean “I don’t do it”. That was incorrect. 하지마 and 가지마 are both commands/requests to another person to not do something. An exception may occur in the form of a question in some situations, such as when someone teases someone else. The would-be teaser might ask, “하지마?” Effectively, they’re saying to the other person, “(Are you telling me) don’t do it?”

Happy studying!


30 thoughts on “Understanding Hajima & Kajima

  1. whoa! it helps me a lot, i’m so glad i have found your website, truly you are a master of explanation! kamsahamnida sonsengnim! keep going!!


  2. Hey! My Arabian horse is named Kajima! I looked up what that means on the web and your site came up. I’d love to send you a picture of him.


  3. Hi, I’m super fan of Kdramas a listen to OST of my favorite ones in the car, in the house , at work, everywhere even my phone ringtone it’s a song from Boys over Flowers it’s crazy but I cant get enough of Korean language and I started learning on my own because it’s not easy to find a teacher.Thanks for the explanation.


  4. 안녕하세요! I started to study Korean very recently and while looking up for some useful sites I find yours. 감사합니다! It really helped me to understand in a very clearl way some little things. I’m still looking for extra help but maybe I’ll be lucky to find an exchange language friend. 안녕계세요. (hope I didn’t make any major mistakes there!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • 안녕하세요~!^^ Thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad that my site was able to help you out a little bit – but a language partner is definitely one of the best things that you can do for you language learning! I recommend checking out http://www.italki.com. It will help you network with other language learners. You can put in your native language and the language you want to learn, and it will help you find a native speaker of your target language who wants to learn your native language 🙂

      Well done! You just had a teeny typo – it’s 안녕히계세요 (with a 히 in there). Keep up the good work, and fighting on your studies!


  5. I’m not saying you’re wrong or anything, but I’ve seen ‘don’t go’ spelled kajima but at other times, it’s spelled gajima. It has been confusing me for a while and I just wanted to know what was up with that.


    • There are actually multiple ways of transliterating Korean into English characters, and depending on where you are reading the romanization and who wrote it, the method may change. For example, South Korea utilizes the revised romanization style, which would write ‘don’t go’ as gajima whereas many of my fellow language learners write kajima because the k sound is often closer to the pronunciation of the word in Korean, 가지마. Academic papers written in English also use various schemes for using the Latin alphabet to represent Korean words, so unfortunately you’ll continue to encounter a diversity of Korean romanizations. My recommendation is that you focus on studying Hangul/Hangeul and ignore romanization if you can – it commonly increases mispronunciation among language learners. Hope this helped you understand why you’re getting confused!


  6. Pingback: Common Korean Drama Phrases Part I | my {seoul} dream

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.