NCT‘s Taeyong has many nicknames, from “Tyong” (a cute way of saying Taeyong) to “Bubu” (a nickname given to him by fans). He recently revealed to fans a nickname he’s had ever since he was a little kid: Lee Tae Baek!
Before a video call event, Taeyong messaged fans letting them know that instead of Taeyong, his “younger brother” Tae Baek (also written as Taebaek) would be making an appearance. He even changed his nickname on the messaging app Bubble to be “Lee Tae Baek!”
He showed up looking super cute while playing his university-student role! Just look at the duality between Lee Tae Baek and NCT’s Taeyong in the background.
Lee Taeyong as Lee Taebaek, the college student today 🥺🥺 pic.twitter.com/2fJQMjCijc
— taeoxo ☆ TY ☆ #NCT127 (@taeyong1st) October 16, 2021
Later during an Instagram live, Taeyong revealed the origin of his nickname and explained that it actually comes from his father who used to refer to Taeyong as “Lee Tae Baek” due to his laziness as a kid.
I went with the name Tae Baek because my dad used to call me that. When I was young, I was super lazy and my dad would tease me about it by calling me Tae Baek. He’d go around saying, ‘Where’s my Lee Tae Baek-ie? Where’s my Lee Tae Baek-ie?‘ So I really like the name Tae Baek.
왜 이름을 태백이 라고 했었냐면 우리 아빠가 어렸을때부터 제가 게으르니까 아빠가 맨날 태백이어딨냐 태백이 태백이 어딨냐 이러셨거든요
그래서 이태백 이라는 이름을 제가 굉장히 좋아해요 pic.twitter.com/bWdH8mjUpv
— 🝮 (@jelly_bbo) October 16, 2021
The phrase “Lee Tae Baek,” also written as “Yi Tae Baek,” is an abbreviation of a Korean phrase referring to people in their twenties being unemployed. And it just so happens to make the perfect wordplay for Taeyong’s full name, Lee Tae Yong!
The word Yi Tae Baek is now famous for its meaning as the abbreviation of the phrase, ‘Most of the people in their twenties are jobless good-for-nothings‘ (from the pronunciation of the word, yi meaning two, tae meaning most, and baek meaning jobless).
— Chun Gwang Am, DongA
Furthermore, there was a Korean drama called Ad Genius Lee Tae Baek released in 2013 that starred Jin Goo as the titular character. Lee Tae Baek was a talented high school graduate who worked non-stop to achieve his dream of becoming a top advertiser.
Even though the nickname originates from a phrase referring to lazy young adults, it’s sweet to see that it’s become a way for Taeyong to have fun and remember his childhood. Read more about another of Taeyong’s nicknames below!