More vitriolic rhetoric from KCNA

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We've already had a taste of the crass, crude contumely that the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) typically spews forth against the perceived enemies of the North Korean state:

"Dotard" (9/22/17)
"Of dotards and DOLtards" (10/4/17)

KCNA hits a new low with their latest denunciation of the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe:

"North Korea promises to bring 'nuclear clouds' to Japan, mocks PM as 'headless chicken'", by Katherine Lam, Fox News (10/3/17)
"N. Korea threatens nuke strike on Japan, calls Abe ‘headless chicken’:  Abe’s comments at UN will 'bring nuclear clouds to the Japanese archipelago,' says KCNA", Asia Unhedged, Asia Times (10/4/17)

From the latter article:

“At the recent UN General Assembly Abe said that ‘pressure, not dialogue, is needed’ over the issue of the DPRK while running around the UN stage like a headless chicken to meet leaders of different countries so as to incite ‘solidarity of the international community,’” KCNA said in a commentary issued on Monday.

So what is this "headless chicken"?

mok jallin dak (Revised Romanzation) 목 잘린 닭 ("neck; throat" [mok] – "be cut" [jallin] – "chicken" [dak]) –> chicken with its throat cut (= decapitated/beheaded chicken)

In English, we have the idiomatic expression "run around like a chicken with its head cut off".  As a young boy, I once witnessed such a scene, and it had a lasting impact on me.  Since this happens wherever people kill chickens and are not careful to control the decapitated body, it is possible that similar idioms exist in many languages, though I do not know if there is some connection between the English expression and what KCNA said about PM Abe.

[Thanks to Haewon Cho]


  1. More Cowbell said,

    October 8, 2017 @ 2:27 pm

    Let's not forget Mike the Headless Chicken.

  2. Dick Margulis said,

    October 8, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

    As headless chickens have been running around for some millennia longer than we've had written language, and probably from before Proto-Indo-European, let alone modern English, was first uttered, it would probably be fair to surmise that the idiom exists in a great many languages.

  3. Michael Watts said,

    October 8, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

    I'm fond of the Chinese idiom 飞蛾扑火 ("a moth hurls itself at a flame"). I think most English speakers would have little difficulty understanding the idea.

  4. Thiers Halliwell said,

    October 8, 2017 @ 8:05 pm

    The expression 'running around like a headless chicken' (with the same connotation as KCNA) is quite familiar to me here in New Zealand

  5. Bloix said,

    October 8, 2017 @ 8:47 pm

    Like a moth to a flame is an English idiom. There's a version of it in The Merchant of Venice: "Thus hath the candle singed the moth."

  6. mollymooly said,

    October 9, 2017 @ 7:21 am

    Google nGrams confirms GB prefers "headless chicken", US "chicken with its head cut off" (though contexts other than "running around like a…" not excluded)

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