An Anime Glossary

This is a glossary of some of the most commonly used terms in anime.

Anime: A Japanese word for animation; it is used by Western fans to refer to animation produced in Japan

Baka: A term that is heard often in anime as an insult. It can be used to mean “stupid,” “fool,” or “idiot”

BGM: Background music

Bishojo: Beautiful girl

Bishonen: Beautiful boy

Catgirl: A female cat-human hybrid character, which is usually a cute girl with catlike ears and sometimes a tail

Chibi: A commonly used alternate term for super deformed; however, this technically is not correct. “Chibi” is a Japanese word meaning “small child” or “dwarf”

Con: Short for convention, and usually applies to anime conventions

Cosplay: This is short for “Costume Play,” which is a practice of dressing up as one’s favorite anime character

Cour: Used to describe a span of anime episodes during their initial Japanese broadcast. One cour lasts for three months and usually includes anywhere from 10 to 14 episodes. Sometimes a cour will be the full season of an anime if the season is short enough

Ecchi or Etchi: Humorously indecent, and usually involves gratuitous nudity or sexual innuendo. Ecchi/etchi is milder than hentai

Eyecatch: The visual in anime that comes before and after an advertising break. It visually summarizes the show’s nature and features the main characters

Face fault: An exaggeration of facial features to convey extreme shock or surprise

Fan service: This usually refers to unnecessary things thrown into a story to capture the interest of adolescent male fans, but it can also refer to anything unrelated to a story but included to please fans (such as fancy outfits and cute animals)

Fandub: A fan-dubbed anime

Fansub: A fan-subtitled anime

Hammerspace: When an angry woman summons a mallet from nowhere and strikes someone with it

Henshin: A transformation scene, most often seen in Magical Girl anime

Hentai: Japanese word meaning “perverted.” In anime, it refers to pornographic material

Hime: Princess

Josei: Anime that is targeted at young women

Kawaii: A Japanese word meaning “cute,” it also refers to character designs

Kodomo: Anime that is targeted at all children, regardless of gender

Kohai: A term often heard in anime when an upperclassman is addressing an underclassman

Magical Girl: This term refers to a specific genre featuring young girls with some sort of magical power

Mahou Shoujo: Japanese for “Magical Girl”

Manga: Is usually used to mean Japanese comic books

Mecha: Short for mechanical, and refers to technology ranging from guns to vehicles to giant robots

Mobile Suit: Powered armor and is a human-piloted robotic flying machine. This is a subset of mecha

Neko: Cat

OAV / OVA: Short for Original Animation Video / Original Video Animation. This refers to anime made specifically for direct-to-video release

ONA: Original Net Anime. This refers to anime made specifically for streaming on the internet.

OST: Original soundtrack

Otaku: In anime, it refers to someone obsessed with a particular hobby

Sakura: Japanese word for “cherry blossoms.” In anime, cherry blossoms are a symbol of death.

Seinen: Anime that is targeted at teenage boys and young adult males

Seiyuu: A Japanese term for voice actor or actress

Senpai: A term often heard in anime when an underclassman is addressing an upperclassman

Sensei: A term often heard in anime when a student is addressing a teacher

Settei: The preparatory line work used by animators as a design reference at the beginning of an anime project

Shojo: Anime that is targeted at young girls

Shonen: Anime that is targeted at young boys

Super deformed: A style of anime where characters are drawn in an exaggerated fashion

Sweat drop: A visual stylization used in anime. When a character feels embarrassed, perplexed, or self-conscious, a large tear-shaped drop will appear near their face or head

Additional posts about anime:

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