Question today comes from Cris who asked about "소개팅."
I have the understanding that 소개팅 means something like introducing something in the form of "matchmaking". I heard my korean cousin saying it in a joking manner, but i wasn't sure what it meant.
(1) Short answer:
As you said, 소개팅 is matchmaking, not necessarily for the marriage but just to introduce one person to another, which may lead to a date in the future (even on the same day if both like each other).
There is a word for matchmaking when people are introduced to each other specifically for marriage: 선 (or 맞선).
Hence the word 소개팅 is used in looser and casual sense. It's meant to be a "no-pressure" "introductory session."
(2) Long answer:
소 개팅 is a compound word, coming from 소개 + 팅. As you noted, 소개 means introduction. So let's talk a little about the cultural history of "팅."
I'm quite certain the young Koreans these days still have something called 미팅. 미팅 comes from an English word, "meeting." But as most of words do when they're "imported" into another culture, the word 미팅 in this case does not mean what English word means.
미팅 is when a group of male and female in a balanced ratio meet to get to know each other, which may lead to a real date later that day or some other time. For instance, you will have 3 of your male friends come, and I will have 3 of my female friends come. As leaders of this 미팅, you and I have a choice to be a part of it, but usually we opt out. The group will find a way to pair up (either in the beginning or toward the end, with help of leaders or not - there are many ways of doing this). And then if the pair likes, they go on a date - or not.
As 미팅 implies a certain level of matchmaking, Koreans begun to add "팅" to various nouns to mean some other type of matchmaking. While 미팅 is done in a group, they also needed something to mean one-on-one introduction that doesn't necessarily mean 선 (See the short answer above). So they created a word 소개팅.
I've heard folks saying 야외팅(outdoor 미팅), 동아리팅 (Those who belong to certain interest groups respectively meet), and many other.
~팅 is meant to introduce two or more strangers. You don't use it for those who already know each other.
Lasty, 미팅 is also used to mean conference or business meeting. So we need to see the context to detect what the speaker meant to say.
I hope this answers your question.
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