List of gairaigo and wasei-eigo terms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gairaigo are Japanese words originating from, or based on, foreign-language (generally Western) terms. These include wasei-eigo (Japanese pseudo-anglicisms). Many of these loanwords derive from Portuguese, due to Portugal's early role in Japanese-Western interaction; Dutch, due to the Netherlands' relationship with Japan amidst the isolationist policy of sakoku during the Edo period; and from French and German, due to France and Germany's cultural and scientific prominence during Japan's modernization in the Meiji period.

However, most come from English, the dominant world language today. Due to the large number of western concepts imported into Japanese culture during modern times, there are thousands of these English borrowings. These English words are informally referred to as having been "Nipponized". A few of them, such as "salaryman", have nevertheless been borrowed into English together with their Japanese meanings.

Japanese vocabulary also includes large numbers of words from Chinese, borrowed at various points throughout history. However, since the Japanese language has such strong historical ties to the Chinese language, these loans are not generally considered gairaigo.

Many loanwords are in fact pseudo-borrowings: despite their links to foreign language words, the word forms as used in modern Japanese are not used in the same way in their languages of origin. In fact, many such terms, despite their similarity to the original foreign words, are not easily understood by speakers of those languages (e.g. left over as a baseball term for a hit that goes over the left-fielder's head, rather than uneaten food saved for a later meal as in English—or famikon (ファミコン, from "family computer"), which actually refers to the Nintendo Entertainment System).

US = American English
UK = British English


Due to the extent of Japanese borrowings, particularly from English, this list focuses mainly on pseudo-borrowings and commonly used loanwords from languages other than English (which are often mistaken for English words in Japan). Most loanwords (and all modern loans) are transcribed in katakana, a Japanese syllabary. Older loans may be written using ateji, with Kanji used to represent their phonetic readings without necessarily inheriting their meaning. In words composed of both a loan and native Japanese, the Japanese can function as a morpheme within a compound (and would generally be written in Kanji if possible), or can be attached to the foreign word to inflect or otherwise modify it, as if it were okurigana (which is written in hiragana).

Japanese Hepburn romanization Origin Meaning Language of origin
アベック abekku avec (meaning 'with') romantic couple French
アフレコ afu-reko af(ter) + recor(ding) postrecording, dubbing English
アフターサービス afutā sābisu after service customer service, user support, after-care, service English
アイドル aidoru idol (teen) idol, pop star English
アイス, アイスクリーム aisu, aisu kurīmu ice/Eis, ice cream ice; ice cream English / German
アイスキャンディー aisu-kyandī ice + candy popsicle, ice lolly English
アイゼン aizen (Steig)eisen (meaning 'climbing iron' or 'crampon') crampons German
アメフト (from アメリカン フトボール) amefuto Ame(rican) foot(ball) American football English
アメリカンドッグ amerikan doggu American dog corn dog English
アニメ (from アニメーション) anime listen  anima(tion), anime animation, animated cartoons or films (although anime has been reborrowed into English with a meaning of "Japanese animation", in Japanese the term refers to all animation) English
アニソン (from アニソン) anison ani(me) + son(g) an anime song, most often the theme English
アンケート ankēto enquête questionnaire, survey French
アンニュイ annyui ennui ennui, boredom French
アンサー ansā answer reply to a question, solution to a problem English
アンチ anchi anti- hater, anti-fan English
アパート apāto apart(ment) apartment (US), flat (UK), though apāto are usually in small two-story wood-structure buildings, not multistory complexes as in the US usage (see manshon loanword) English (US)
アポ apo appo(intment) appointment English
〜アップ -appu up(grade) to upgrade or improve (something). Coupled with English or pseudo-English nouns that indicate what that something is; e.g., version-up: upgrade (software), buy the next-better version or model of something, improve the appearance of something; image-up: improve the image of, improve one's outward appearance; "weight-up": to gain weight; manner-up: improve one's manners, learn (proper/better) manners or etiquette; power-up: an object that instantly benefits or adds extra abilities to a video game character; base-up, level-up: take to the next or a higher (basic) level of quality; also base-up (frequently abbreviated bea): to raise the base wage of the workers English
アロエ aroe aloë aloe Dutch
アロワナ arowana arwana or arowana a freshwater bony fish of the family Osteoglossidae. Indonesian
アルバイト or バイト arubaito or baito Arbeit (meaning 'work') part-time job German
アールブイ ārubui RV truck, van, SUV, recreational vehicle English
アルコール arukōru alcohol, álcool alcohol, alcoholic beverage English (from Arabic)
アウトコース autokōsu out-course outside English
バーゲン bāgen bargain a sale at a store English
バイキング baikingu viking smorgasbord, buffet. (Supposedly named after the restaurant "Imperial Viking" in the Imperial Hotel, the first restaurant in Japan to serve buffet-style meals and named after the US film The Vikings) English
バイク baiku bike a motorcycle, but not a bicycle English
バカンス bakansu vacances holiday, vacation French
ブックカバー bukku kabā book cover dust jacket English
バックミラー bakku mirā back mirror rear-view mirror English
バックナンバー bakku nanbā back number back issue (US), back number (UK) English
バックネット bakku netto back net a backstop (in baseball) English
バンパー banpā bumper a horizontal bar fixed across the front or back of a motor vehicle to reduce damage in a collision or as a trim English
バリアフリー baria furī barrier-free accessible facilities for handicapped persons English
バリカン barikan Bariquand et Marre hand-operated or electric hair trimmer French
バスジャック basu jakku bus (hi)jack a bus hijacking (possibly based on the English term "carjack") English (US)
バター batā butter butter, sometimes used on food packaging for margarine English
バッティング battingu batting or butting Swing the bat in baseball; or, to project forward or propose competitively on business or others by two or more parties, like "butting heads" by animals. English
ベビーカー bebī kā baby car stroller (US), pushchair or pram (UK) English
ベッドタウン beddo taun bed town bedroom suburbs, bedroom community, dormitory suburb, commuter town English
ビー玉 bīdama vi(dro) (glass) + (dama, ball) marbles Portuguese + Japanese
ビジネスホテル bijinesu hoteru business hotel budget hotel English
ビントロング bintorongu binturung binturong (bearcat) Malay / Indonesian
ビロード birōdo veludo velvet Portuguese
ビル biru buil(ding) building (especially modern steel-and-concrete buildings) English
ビール bīru bier beer Dutch
ボンベ bonbe Bombe a steel canister for storing pressurized gas, such as a propane tank German
ボールペン bōru pen ball(point) pen a ballpoint pen English
ボタン botan botão button Portuguese
ブラセラ or ブルセラ burasera or burusera bloo(mer) sailor panty fetishism, especially with teenage girls wearing school outfits ("sailor suits") and bloomers. English
ブレザー burezā blazer blazer, or a Japanese school uniform that includes that garment. It usually has buttons down the front and a vest under it with a white collared shirt. English
ブルマ buruma bloomers short pants worn for exercise by girls, usually in PE class in high school English
キャビンアテンダント kyabin atendanto (abbr. "CA") cabin attendant A flight attendant English
チャージ chāji charge to top up, to add value, used for e-payment English
チャンプルー chanpurū campur stir fry dish from Okinawa Malay / Indonesian
チャレンジ charenji challenge duel, contest, competition English
チェンジレバー chenji-rebā change + lever gearshift, gear lever, gear stick English
チェリーボーイ cherī bōi cherry boy a male virgin English
チアガール, チアマン, チアリーダー chia gāru, chia man, chia rīdā cheer girl, cheer man, cheerleader (female), (male) cheerleader English
チアリーディング chiarīdingu cheerleading cheerleading English
チケット chiketto ticket ticket English
チンキ chinki tinktuur tincture Dutch
チューハイ or 酎ハイ chūhai ((shō)chū) + high(ball) a kind of alcoholic drink from Japan Japanese + English
コラボ korabo collab(orations) collaboration; crossover English
コンピューター or コンピュータ konpyūtā or konpyūta computer computer English
ダブル (noun), ダブる (intransitive verb). Also: "W" daburu double (noun and adjective) double; double-breasted (jacket), or turn-ups (cuffs) on trousers; (verb) to be redundant or doubled English
ダンプカー danpu kā dump car dump truck (US), dumper (UK) English
ダストボックス dasuto bokkusu dust box rubbish bin (UK), garbage can (US) English
ダストシュート dasuto shūto dust chute garbage chute English
ダッチワイフ datchi-waifu Dutch + wife sex doll English
ダウンロードオンリーメンバー daunrōdo onrī menbā download-only member a computing leech English
〜ティック or チック -tikku or -chikku "-tic", as in (roman)tic, (drama)tic -esque, attached to a noun. For example, a product with cute character illustrations may be considered "Akihabara-chikku". (This is rebracketing, as the actual productive English suffix is -ic. The t is these English words are part of their Latin/Greek etymons' stems.) English
デッドボール deddo bōru dead ball hit by a pitch English
デコレーションケーキ dekorēshon kēki decoration cake a fancy cake English
電子レンジ or レンジ denshi renji or renji 電子 (denshi, electronic) + range a microwave oven Japanese + English
デパート depāto depart(ment store) department store English
デパ地下 depa chika depa(rtment store) + 地下 (chika, underground)[1] a shopping area, often focused on food and located adjacent to train stations, found in major cities in Japan English + Japanese
デリバリーヘルス deribarī herusu delivery health a form of prostitution, essentially a call girl or escort service English
デッサン dessan dessin line drawing, sketch French
デスク desuku desk an editor for a certain section of a publication. (Derived from desk’s meaning as a division of specialization in a newsroom, e.g., "the sports desk".) A desk. English
ドアカット doakatto door + cut selective door operation English
ドイツ doitsu Duits(land), Deutsch(land) Germany Dutch, German
ドクター ストップ dokutā sutoppu doctor stop when the doctor tells a patient to stop doing something English
ドンマイ donmai don('t) mi(nd) "don't worry about it", "don't pay (that) any mind", "it's/I'm OK", "no problem". Used when something goes wrong. English
ドライバー doraibā driver a screwdriver; motor vehicle driver English
ドライブイン doraibuin drive in rest area, motor lodge, drive-in English
ドラマ dorama drama TV drama, soap opera English / Spanish / Latin
ドリフト dorifuto drift drifting (when a car is in a controlled skid) English
エアコン eakon air con(ditioning) / con(ditioner) air conditioning or air conditioner English
AV ēbui or ēvui wasei-eigo AV adult video; audiovisual (audio-video) English
エキス ekisu ex(tract) extract Dutch
エネルギー enerugī Energie energy German
エネルギッシュ enerugisshu energisch energetic German
エンスト ensuto en(gine) sto(p) stall (as in an automobile engine) English
NG enu-jī n(ot) + g(ood) not good or no good, acronym English
エレベーター erebētā elevator elevator (US), lift (UK) English (US)
エロ ero ero(s) erotic Greek / English / Spanish
エログ erogu ero(tic) + (b)log erotic blog, adult-oriented blog English
エログロ eroguro ero(tic) gro(tesque) an artistic movement featuring "erotic grotesque nonsense" that emerged in Japan in the early 20th century English
エール ēru yell (1) to cheer on a player in a sports competition; (2) to express support for a candidate in an election English
LLC eruerushī acronym for "long-life coolant" antifreeze coolants English
エスカレーター esukarētā escalator escalator English
エスパニャ esupanya Espanha Spain Portuguese
エステ esute esthé(tique) beauty salon, esthetic clinic French
エッチ etchi H (likely from the first letter of hentai) dirty, naughty; sex. (The etymology of etchi is still debated.) English
ファイナル fainaru final last English
ファイト faito fight often used to mean "Do your best!" or "I'll do my best." English
ファミコン famikon, Famicom listen  fami(ly) com(puter) the Nintendo Entertainment System. Also a catch-all term by the older generation for any gaming console. English
ファンファーレ fanfāre Fanfare a musical fanfare German
ファンタジック fantajikku fantasy + -ic fantastic English
ファッションヘルス fasshon herusu fashion health a form of brothel English
フェッチ fetchi fetch (computer jargon) To fetch an instruction from main memory when a microprocessor executes a command English
~フェチ fechi feti(sh) fetish (a sexual fetish or just a distinctive preference) English
フィリピンパブ firipin-pabu Philippines + pub a bar with Filipino staff English
フォアボール foabōru four ball walk, base on, ball four English
フライ furai fly fly ball (baseball term) English
フライ furai fry deep frying English
フライングゲット furaingu getto flying get to purchase an item before its official release date English
フライドポテト furaido poteto fried potato french fries (US), chips (UK) English
フライング(スタート) furaingu (sutāto) flying (start) premature start, breakaway English
フリーダイアル or フリーダイヤル, フリーコール furī daiaru or furī daiyaru, furī kōru free dial, free call toll-free call English
フリーサイズ furī saizu free size one-size-fits-all English
フリーター furītā free Arbeiter ("worker")
or: free time
underemployed young adults, people who opt to work (a series of) part-time jobs rather than engage in permanent employment English + German
フロント furonto front (desk) the reception desk, e.g. at a hotel or a sentō English
フロントガラス furonto garasu front glass windshield (US), windscreen (UK) English
フルベース furu bēsu full base bases loaded English
ガードマン gādo man guard man a (private) security guard, a person who directs traffic around work sites English
ガラス or 硝子 garasu glas or glass glass (material) Dutch / English
ガソリンスタンド gasorin sutando gasoline stand gas station (US), petrol station (UK) English
ガタパーチャ gata pācha getah perca or gutta percha a hard tough thermoplastic substance which is the coagulated latex of certain Malaysian trees Malay / Indonesian via English
ガッツポーズ gattsu pōzu guts pose fist pump, victory pose, named for boxer Guts Ishimatsu[2] English
ガーゼ gāze Gaze gauze German
ゲームクリエーター gēmu kuriētā game creator game developer English
ゲームセンター or ゲーセン gēmu sentā or gēsen game centre video arcade English
ゲレンデ gerende Gelände (meaning 'site; ground; premises') ski slope German
ギブ(アップ) gibu(appu) give (up) to give up English
ギプス or ギブス gipusu or gibusu Gips cast (gipusu also means a plaster cast, while gibusu refers to a plastic brace) German
ゴム gomu gom rubber, eraser, rubber band Dutch
ゴールデンアワー or ゴールデンタイム gōruden awā or gōruden taimu golden hour or golden time prime time in Japanese television English
ゴールデンウィーク or ゴールデンウイーク gōruden wīku or gōruden uīku golden week A week of holidays in Japan, Golden Week. English
ググる guguru goog(le) + -ru (Japanese verb ending) to google English + Japanese
グラビア gurabia gravure glamour photography English
グラス gurasu glass drinking glass English
グロ guro gro(tesque) grotesque English
ギャラリー gyararī gallery an art gallery, audience, or a pool of celebrities on a program. English
ギャル gyaru gal a young woman who belongs to the gyaru subculture English
ハイカラ haikara high colla(r) (1920s slang) a person who was devoted to Western fashions, trends and values. E.g., manga/anime Haikara-san ga Tōru ("Here Comes Miss High-Collar"). English
ハイネック hainekku high neck A turtleneck style shirt or sweater English
ハイオク haioku high octane high-octane gasoline English
ハイタッチ haitatchi high touch High five English
ハッカー hakkā hacker refers specifically to a computer black hat English
ハモる hamoru harmo(ny) + -ru (Japanese verb ending) to harmonize (when singing) English + Japanese
ハンバーグ hanbāgu hamburg(er steak) Salisbury steak (culinary term) English
ハンチング帽 hanchingu-bō hunting + (, hat, cap) deerstalker cap, hunting cap English + Japanese
ハンドル handoru handle steering wheel or bicycle handlebars English
ハンドルキーパー handoru kīpā handle keeper designated driver English
ハンドルネーム handoru nēmu handle name handle, screen name English
ハンカチ hankachi han(d)kerchie(f) handkerchief English
ハンスト hansuto hun(ger) st(rike) hunger strike English
ハッピーエンド happī endo happy end a happy ending English
ハウス (ビニールハウス) hausu (binīru hausu) house (vinyl house) greenhouse or glasshouse English
ハザードランプ hazādo ranpu hazard lamp hazard flashers or hazard lights English
ヘアピンカーブ heapin kābu hairpin curve hairpin turn English
ヘルスメーター herusu mētā health meter bathroom scales, scales English
ヒステリー hisuterī Hysterie loss of (self-)control German
ヒップ hippu Hips buttocks, butt English
ヒップホップ hippuhoppu hiphop a style of popular music of US black and Hispanic origin, featuring rap with an electronic backing English
ヒーリング hīringu healing a psychological process of dealing with a problem or problems (psychological or spiritual healing) English
ホルモン horumon Hormon hormone; also offal when served for yakiniku or hotpot German
ホース hōsu hoos a hose Dutch
ホッチキス hotchikisu Hotchkiss stapler (a genericized trademark of the E. H. Hotchkiss company, also used in Korea) English
ホテヘルス hote-herusu hote(l) + health erotic massage provided in a hotel room English
ホテトル hote-toru hote(l) + Tur(kish bath) sexual services provided in a hotel room English
ホットケーキ hotto kēki hotcake a pancake, hotcake English
ホーム hōmu (plat)form a railway platform English
ホワイトデー howaito dē White + Day White Day, a month after Valentine's Day English
イエス iesu Jesus Jesus Greek (reconstructed)
イエスー iesū yes yes English
イギリス igirisu *inglês or inglés English, England or the United Kingdom *Portuguese and Spanish
イクラ ikura икра (ikra, meaning 'caviar') salmon roe Russian
イメージ imēji image an image, often used to indicate an artist's rendering or a graphic intended to provide a conceptual image of a situation; especially in advertising and design, a conceptual description intended to conjure a mental image of an abstract situation; (the public's) impression or perception of an entity. English
イメージクラブ imēji-kurabu image + club a type of brothel in which the staff dress in costumes (schoolgirl, nurse, etc.) English
インスタ insuta Instagram Instagram English
インフレ infure infla(tion) inflation English
インキー in kī in key locking one's car keys inside of one's car English
イラスト irasuto illust(ration) an illustration English
イヤーオブコーチ iyā obu za kōchi year of the coach coach of the year (a title given to coaches by Asahi Shimbun and the High School Baseball Federation from 2003 to 2005) English
ジャンパー janpā jumper jacket, jumper (ski jumping athlete) English
ジャンプ janpu jump jump English
ジェンダーフリー jendā furī gender free gender equality, gender blind English
ジェットコースター jetto kōsutā jet coaster roller coaster English
ジンギスカン jingisukan Genghis Khan jingisukan (Mongolian-style barbecue with cut lamb and vegetables) Mongolian
ジーパン jīpan jea(ns) + pan(ts) jeans English
ジープ jīpu jeep a small, sturdy motor vehicle with four-wheel drive, especially one used by the military English
ジュース jūsu juice soda or energy drinks, regardless of whether they contain any juice English
カーセックス kā-sekkusu car + sex public sex (in a car) English
カチューシャ kachūsha Katyusha, a character in the novel Resurrection Alice band: horseshoe-shaped hairband made of metal or plastic (often covered with cloth). However, in Russian it is ободок (obodók). Russian
カメラマン kameraman cameraman photographer or cameraman English
カモン or カモーン kamon or kamōn come on An invitation to join an activity or event. English
カン or kan kan can (beverage can or tin can) Dutch
カンニング kanningu cunning cheating English
カッパ or 合羽 kappa capa (de chuva), capa (de lluvia) (rain) coat Portuguese / Spanish
カラン karan kraan faucet Dutch
カラオケ karaoke (kara, empty) + orche(stra) karaoke Japanese + English
カリウム or カリ or 加里 kariumu or kari kalium potassium Dutch
カルキ karuki kalk lime (mineral) Dutch
カルピス karupisu cal(cium) + सर पिस (sar)pis (Sanskrit for "good taste") Calpis (a milky soft drink) English + Sanskrit
カルタ karuta carta karuta (Japanese playing cards) Portuguese / Spanish
カルテ karute Karte (a patient's) medical record German
カシューナッツ Kashū nattsu cashew nut cashew English
カステラ kasutera (pão de) Castela (bread from Castile) castella, a kind of sponge cake at festivals and a street food in Japan Portuguese
カタルシス katarushisu katharsis (κάθαρσις) catharsis, purification, purgation Greek
キーホルダー kī horudā key holder key ring or key chain English
キーボード kībōdo keyboard a keyboard English
キリスト or 基督 kirisuto Cristo Christ *Portuguese / Spanish
キスマーク kisu māku kiss mark hickey English
キッチンペーパー kitchin pēpā kitchen paper paper towel English
コーヒー or 珈琲 kōhī koffie coffee Dutch
コインランドリー koin randorī coin laundry laundromat (US), launderette (UK) English
コインロッカー koin rokkā coin locker coin-operated locker English
コック kokku kok a cook Dutch
コマーシャルメッセージ or CM komāsharu messeji commercial message television advertisement English
コミカライズ komikaraizu comic[al] + -ize to make a comic strip (manga) version of an originally non-comic strip title, such as a novel, movie, or TV show. English
コンビニ konbini conveni(ence store) convenience store English
コンビナート konbināto комбинат (kombinat, meaning 'combine') combine (enterprise) Russian
コンクール konkūru concours a contest, a competition French
コンセント konsento concent(ric plug) power outlet English
コント konto conte a short comedy French
コップ koppu copo a glass or tumbler Portuguese
コラーゲン korāgen Kollagen collagen German
コロッケー korokke croquette croquette, a small fried roll English
コスプレ kosupure cos(tume) play cosplay (dressing up in costumes, especially from manga, anime and video games) English
クラブ or 倶楽部 kurabu club a club or society English
クラクション kurakushon Klaxon horn (on an automobile) English
クランケ kuranke Kranker patient German
クレーム kurēmu claim a complaint English
クレーンゲーム kurēn-gēmu crane + game claw crane (an alternate term used in Japan is "UFO catcher", derived from the Sega game of the same name) English
クリスタル kurisutaru crystal shiny or clear English
キャバクラ kyabakura cabaret club hostess club English
キャベツ kyabetsu cabbage cabbage English
キャンペーン kyanpēn campaign a sales campaign or sweepstakes English
キャンピングカー kyanpingu kā camping-car a recreational vehicle. (A pseudo-anglicism used in France) French-made English
キャッチボール kyatchi bōru catch ball the game of catch or a fast-paced conversation, especially in English English
キャッチホン kyatchi hon catch phone call waiting English
キャッチコピー kyatchi kopī catch copy tagline English
キャップ kyappu cap cap English
マグカップ magu kappu mug cup mug English
マイナスドライバー mainasu doraibā minus driver (flathead) screwdriver English
マイ〜 mai~ my Someone's own. E.g., mai būmu: personal taste; mai kã: one's own car; mai waifu : one's wife; mai hōmū: one's own house; mai pēsu: doing things at one's own (leisurely) pace, taking one's time (often somewhat derogatory). Confusingly for English speakers, this can be used to refer to someone else's car, wife, home, etc. English
マジックインキ majikku inki Magic Ink permanent marker (a genericized trademark of Uchida Yoko Co.) English
マジックテープ majikku tēpu magic tape velcro English
ママ mama mamá mom Spanish
マンダラ or 曼陀羅 mandara मण्डल (máṇḍala) mandala Sanskrit via Chinese
マニア mania mania enthusiasm, enthusiast English
マンジャカニ manjakani manjakani (Aleppo oak) a species of oak, bearing galls that used for traditional medicine in Asia Malay / Indonesian
マンション manshon mansion modern concrete apartment / condominium block English
満タン mantan (man, full) + tan(k) full tank (as in the fuel tank of an automobile) Japanese + English
マントル man-toru man(sion) + Tur(kish bath) sexual services provided in a private apartment English
マロン maron marron chestnut, metaphor for brown eyes French
マスコミ masukomi mass communication mass media, the media, the press English
マザコン mazakon mother com(plex)[3] Oedipus complex, a strong attachment to one's mother (often used derogatorily); "girly man" English
マゾ mazo (abbr. "M") masochiste masochist French
メーカー mēkā maker manufacturer English
メール mēru mail e-mail English
メールマガジン mēru magajin mail magazine e-mail newsletter, ezine English
メルヘン meruhen Märchen fairy tale German
メタボ metabo metabo(lic) Fat around the middle, big-bellied English
ミクスチャーロック mikusuchā-rokku mixture + rock rock music with rap, hip-hop, and reggae influences; also, as a catch-all term to describe such genres as rap rock, nu metal English
ミニアルバム mini-arubamu mini + album extended play English
ミイラ or 木乃伊 mīra mirra (myrrh: an oil used in preservation) a mummy Portuguese / Spanish
ミルク miruku milk milk, non-dairy creamer English
ミシン mishin machine sewing machine English
モバイル mobairu mobile mobile communications, mobile communications capability, or mobile communications devices, esp. PDAs and personal computers with wireless communications capabilities English
モバメ mobame mobile + mail mobile phone-based mailing list subscription, usually used by entertainers to share their daily activities with fans English
モボ mobo mo(dern) bo(y) (1920s slang) young men adopting western styles and behaviours English
モガ moga mo(dern) gi(rl) (1920s slang) young women adopting western styles and behaviours, flapper English
モーニングコール mōningu kōru morning call wake-up call English
モーニングコート or モーニング mōningu kōto or mōningu morning coat morning coat English
モーニングサービス or モーニング mōningu sābisu morning service breakfast special, complimentary toast, hard-boiled egg et al. that is served at cafes when a cup of coffee is ordered (only seen in some parts of Japan) English
モラトリアム人間 moratoriamu ningen moratorium + 人間 (ningen, person) a person who, having completed education and other preparations, delays the transition from student to productive member of society, staying in an uncertain limbo of continued education, part-time work, and parental support (similar to freeter) English + Japanese
モーテル mōteru motel recently called as "love hotel". Does not have meaning of English "motel" used by tourists with their own vehicles. English
ムーディ mūdi moody nice English
ムーンサルト mūnsaruto moon + Salto an artistic gymnastics maneuver. Also used to describe a professional wrestling maneuver. English + German
ナイター naitā night + -er a night game English
ナンバーディスプレイ nanbā disupurei number display caller ID English
ネーム nēmu manga storyboard, rough draft (historically so that type setters could get a head start on the speech bubbles before the art was finished) name English
ナンバープレート nanbā purēto number plate number plate (UK), license plate (US) English
ナトリウム natoriumu Natrium sodium (Na) Latin via German
ニート or NEET nīto Not in Employment, Education or Training underemployed young adults, akin to freeter English
ノー no no English
ノイローゼ noirōze Neurose neurosis German
ノークレームノーリターン nō kurēmu nō ritān no claim, no return sold "as is" English
ノルマ noruma норма (norma, meaning 'standard; norm') quota, minimum requirement (tasks) Russian
ノート nōto note a notebook English
ノートパソコン nōto-pasokon note + perso(nal) + com(puter) laptop English
ニューハーフ nyūhāfu new-half A transgender individual that has undergone a sex change operation. English
オーバー ōbā over overreaction to a situation or the end of a dating relationship English
オブ obu of of English
OB, OG ōbī, ōjī old boy, old girl alumnus, alumna, former student; furthermore used for former sport team members, employees, politicians etc., for former members of any kind of organisation likewise English
オーダーメード ōdā-mēdo order + made bespoke (tailoring) English
オーディエンス ōdiensu audience group of people who participate in a show English
オードブル ōdoburu hors-d'œuvre hors-d'œuvre French
オーエル ōeru O.L. (office lady) female office worker, usually in a clerical or support job English
オフ ofu off a sale at a store; e.g., a "big summer off" (=big summer sale) English
オフヴォーカル ofu-vōkaru off + vocal backing track, instrumental English
オイルショック oiru-shokku oil + shock oil crisis English
オージー ōjī orgy an orgy English
オナニー onanī Onanie masturbation (see Onan) German
オンリーワン onrīwan only one (adjective) one-of-a-kind or unique; e.g., オンリーワン技術 (-gijutsu, "unique technology") or オンリーワン商品 (-shōhin, "one-of-a-kind products") English
オペ ope OP (abbr. from operation) surgical operation, minor surgery German
オープンカー ōpun kā open car convertible (automobile) English
オーライ ōrai a(ll) righ(t) all right, OK English
オルゴール orugōru orgel a music box or any instrument that operates off of a music roll, such as a calliope Dutch
オートバイ ōtobai auto-bi(cycle) motorcycle, motorbike English
パイン pain pine(apple) pineapple English
パーマ pāma perma(nent wave) perm English
パン pan pão, pan bread Portuguese / Spanish
パネリスト panerisuto panelist panelist English
パンク panku punc(ture) flat tire English
パンスト pansuto pan(ty) + sto(cking) pantyhose English
パソコン pasokon perso(nal) com(puter) PC English
パーソナルコンピューター pāsonaru konpyūtā personal computer personal computer English
パンツ pantsu pants underpants (US; simply called "pants" in the UK) English (UK)
パパ papa papà or papá dad Italian / Spanish
ペチカ pechika печка (pechka, meaning 'little oven') Russian stove Russian
ペアルック pea rukku pair look matching outfits (usually between a couple) English
ペンギン pengin "penguin" Penguin English
ペニス penisu penis the penis English
ペンション penshon pension a resort hotel / chalet / cottage French
ペーパーカンパニー pēpā kanpanī paper company dummy company, shell company English
ペーパードライバー pēpā doraibā paper driver a person who has a driver's license but does not usually drive (i.e., a driver only on paper) English
ペパロニ, ペッペロニ peparoni, pepperoni pep per oni Pepperoni English
ペーパーテスト pēpā tesuto paper test written examination/test English
ピエロ piero pierrot a clown French
ピーマン pīman piment sweet bell pepper French
ピッケル pikkeru (Eis)pickel (meaning 'ice axe') ice axe German
ピザ, ピッザ piza, pizza pizza pizza Italian
ピンサロン pin-saron pink + salon sex parlor English
ピンチ pinchi pinch potentially disastrous situation (from "in a pinch") English
ピンセット pinsetto pincet tweezers Dutch
ポエマー poemā poema (poem) + -er a poet English + Spanish
ポケベル pokeberu pocke(t) bell beeper, pager English
ポケモン Pokémon pocke(t) mon(ster) Pokémon English
ポンプ ponpu pomp pump Dutch
ポシェット poshetto pochette a small bag French
ポスト posuto post a mailbox (US), a postbox (UK) English
ポテチ pote-chi potato + chips potato chips English
プラスアルファ purasu arufa plus alpha (ἄλφα) (a misreading of "+ X") in addition, a little bit more, with something else English + Greek
プラスドライバー purasu doraibā plus driver Phillips screwdriver English
プレー, プレイ purē, purei play play English
プレイ purei pray pray English
プレイガイド purei gaido play + guide (theater) ticket agency English
プリクラ purikura Print Club (trademark) photo booth#purikura English
プロ puro professional describes a business professional or professional sports English
プロフィール purofīru profil a profile French
プロレス puroresu pro(fessional) wrest(ling) professional wrestling English
プッシュホン pusshu hon push phone push-button telephone. A genericized trademark first registered by the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (電電公社, Dendenkōsha, now NTT) English
ラブドール rabu-dōru love + doll a sex doll made of silicone English
ラブホテル rabu hoteru love hotel love hotel (hotel used as a private place for couples to have sex) English
ライバル raibaru rival A fellow competitor or an enemy English
ライブアクション raibu akushon live-action animated or comic form stories made into TV shows/movies involving real actors. It's the opposite of komikarizu English
ライブハウス raibu hausu live house club with live music, rock bar English
ライフライン raifurain lifeline infrastructure English
ラッコ rakko rakko a sea otter Ainu
ラムネ ramune lemona(de) Ramune (a lemon-lime soft drink; hard, powdery candy like Rockets or Smarties) English
ランドセル randoseru ransel a hard schoolbag, worn on the back, carried by young children to school Dutch
ランジェリーパブ ranjerī-pabu lingerie + pub a public house in which the waitresses work in their underwear English
ランニングホームラン ranningu hōmu ran running home run an inside-the-park home run (baseball) English
ランニングシャツ ranningu shatsu running shirt a sleeveless T-shirt English
ランサ ransa langsat Lansium parasiticum Malay / Indonesian
レジュメ rejume résumé a resume, an outline French
レントゲン rentogen Röntgen X-ray, X-ray medical imaging German
レースクイーン rēsu kuīn race queen umbrella girls English
レストラン resutoran restaurant restaurant French
リベンジ ribenji revenge return match, rematch, chance for redemption after a failed attempt English
リーチ rīchi reach One step away from winning. Usually used in mahjong. English
リードオンリーメンバー rīdo onrī menbā read-only member an internet lurker, thought to be a pun on "read-only memory" English
リフォーム rifōmu reform remodel, renovation (as in a building) English
リモコン rimokon remo(te) con(trol) remote control English
リンクフリー rinku furī link free free to link English
リニューアル rinyūaru renewal remodeling English
リサイクルショップ risaikuru shoppu recycle shop secondhand shop (selling used or unwanted furniture, household appliances, housewares, and clothes; slightly different from non-profit or charity thrift shops in that they are fundamentally for-profit shops and perceived as one way to help reduce trash) English
リセマラ rise-mara reset marathon uninstalling and reinstalling a game in order to re-roll certain starting items or statistics until a desirable result is achieved English
リストラ risutora restru(cturing) (noun) restructuring, but with emphasis on lowering headcounts as in downsizing, termination as a redundancy; (verb) to downsize, lay off or terminate as a redundancy. When used in the passive (〜される: -sareru), to get or have been made redundant, downsized (out of a job) English
ロードショー rōdo shō roadshow premiere, especially of a film English
ロケーションハンティング, ロケハン rokēshon hantingu, rokehan location hunting location scout English
ロマン roman roman novel, something that rouses one's dreams / longings French
ロマンスグレー romansu gurē romance grey silver-gray hair English
ロマンスカー romansu kā Romancecar deluxe train (named after a series of limited express operated by the Odakyu Electric Railway) English
ロンパリ ronpari Lon(don) + Paris slang for strabismus (crosseyed, wandering eye), alluding to one eye looking toward London while the other looking toward Paris English + French
ロープウェー rōpuwē ropeway ropeway English
ロリコン rorikon Loli(ta) (title of a novel by Vladimir Nabokov) com(plex) sexual attraction to fictional and real underage girls, or ephebophilia. (reborrowed into English to refer a genre of manga-style sexual artwork involving childlike female characters) English
ロスタイム rosu taimu loss time added time, additional time English
ルー roux roux, most commonly used in describing the sauce of the popular dish, curry rice French
ルポ rupo repo(rtage) reportage French
リュックサック ryukkusakku Rucksack backpack, rucksack German
サービス sābisu service service, often used to describe something as being free of charge English
サボる saboru sabo(tage) + -ru (Japanese verb ending) to slack off, to shirk one's duties French + Japanese
サド sado (abbr. "S") (Marquis de) Sade sadist French
サイドブレーキ saido burēki side brake hand brake, parking brake, emergency brake English
サイダー saidā cider a kind of soda unrelated to actual cider English
サイコ saiko psycho psychopath English
サイン sain sign signature, autograph English
サインペン sainpen sign pen marker, Trade name of Pentel's English
サンドイッチ or サンド sandoitchi, sando sand(wich) sandwich English
サンドバッグ sandobaggu sandbag punching bag English
サラダ sarada salada or salad salad Portuguese or English
サラリーマン sararīman salaried man salaryman: a salaried office/white collar worker English
セックス sekkusu sex sexual intercourse English
セフレ sefure se(x) + frie(nd) casual sexual partner English
セクハラ sekuhara sex(ual) hara(ssment) sexual harassment English
セメダイン semedain, Cemedine ceme(nt) dyne glue, adhesive. A genericized trademark of Cemedine Co., Ltd. English
センス sensu sense understanding of subtleties English
セレブ serebu celeb(rity) a rich person, whether or not they are famous English
セツナ or 剎那 setsuna क्षण (kṣaṇa) moment Sanskrit via Chinese
シャボン玉 shabondama xabon ("soap" in Old Spanish) + (tama, "ball") soap bubble Spanish + Japanese
シャープペンシル or シャーペン shāpu penshiru or shāpen Shar(p) pencil mechanical pencil (referring to Sharp, a manufacturer) English
シャッターチャンス shattā-chansu shutter + chance the perfect opportunity to take a photograph English
シーエム shīemu C.M. ("commercial message") television commercial English
シール shīru seal sticker, decal English
シルバーシート shirubā shīto silver seat priority seating on public transportation. ("Silver" refers to the hair of elderly passengers.) English
シュークリーム shūkurīmu chou (à la) crème a cream puff French, English
シュプール Shupūru spoor trail from/for skis Dutch
シュラーフ / シュラーフザック shurāfu / shurāfuzakku Schlaf / Schlafsack sleeping bag German
ソファー sofā sofa a sofa English (from Arabic)
ソフト sofuto soft(ware) video game console or computer software; also used to describe tasks or work (such as design) requiring imagination, foresight, and intuition English
ソフトクリーム sofuto kurīmu or softcream soft (ice) cream soft serve (ice cream) English
ソーラーシステム sōrā shisutemu solar system a solar battery English
すべた or スベタ subeta espada ("spade") unattractive woman *Portuguese / Spanish
スイートルーム suīto rūmu suite room a suite in a hotel English
スケボー sukebō ska(te)bo(ard) skateboard English
スケルトン sukeruton skeleton translucent English
スキー sukī ski (noun) skiing English
スキンシップ sukinshippu skin + -ship skinship (bonding through physical contact) English
スコップ sukoppu schop trowel, spade, shovel Dutch
スマート sumāto smart slim, stylish, well-dressed, cool, handsome English
スマホ sumaho sma(rt) + (p)ho(ne) smartphone English
スムーズ sumūzu smooth (transaction) When a plan or transaction happens without incident English
スーパー sūpā super(market) supermarket English
スパッツ, スパッツタイツ supattsu, supattsu taitsu spats, spats tights tights (US), leggings English
スペル superu spell (noun) spelling English
スピン supin spin a ribbon or tassel on a book English
スポイト supoito spuit syringe, dropper Dutch
スリーサイズ surī saizu three size three primary female body measurements (bust, waist, hips) English
スター sutā star star, Starr English
スタイル sutairu style body shape; style English
ステップ suteppu step step, steppe English/German
ストライキ or スト sutoraiki or suto strike or st(rike) labor strike English
ストレートティー sutorēto tī straight tea black tea without milk or lemon English
ストーブ sutōbu stove space heater English
スーツアクター sūtsu akutā suits actor suit actor, an actor who performs wearing a cartoon-character costume English
タバコ, たばこ or 煙草 tabako tabaco tobacco, cigarette *Portuguese / Spanish
タイムオーバー taimu ōbā time over when a time limit has been reached English
タイムリー taimurī timely (hit) a clutch hit (in baseball), on time English
タオルケット taoru ketto towelket (towel + (blan)ket) a type of blanket made of a material similar to a beach or bath towel English
タレント tarento talent, talento TV personality/celebrity English / Spanish
テーマ tēma Thema theme German
テンキー tenkī ten key numeric keypad English
てんぷら or 天ぷら tenpura tempero and têmpora tempura. Conflation of Portuguese tempero ("seasoning") and têmpora ("ember days", a Catholic holiday). Portuguese
テンション tenshon tension a state of excitement English
テレビ terebi televi(sion) television English
テレビゲーム terebi gēmu televi(sion) game video game English
テレフォン terefon telephone telephone, phone English
テレカ tereka tele(phone) ca(rd) prepaid card for using public telephones English
ティーンエージャー tīn'ējā teenager teenager, teen English
トーチカ tōchika точка (tochka, meaning 'point') bunker Russian
トイレ toire toilet toilet, bathroom, washroom, restroom English
トマト tomato tomato tomato Nahuatl via English
トンカツ tonkatsu ton (, pork) + katsu (from the English cutlet) pork cutlet English
トップページ toppu-pēji top + page home page, start page English
トラブル (noun), トラブる (verb) toraburu trouble (noun) (legal) trouble, a dispute or altercation; (verb) to encounter or experience trouble, to break down or not function as expected (e.g., a device) English
トラックメーカー torakkumēkā track maker music producer English
トランプ toranpu trump(s) playing cards English
トレーナー torēnā trainer sweatshirt English (UK)
トレーニングパンツ torēningu pantsu training pants pants for toddlers or babies; diaper English
ツイッター tsuittā Twitter Twitter app English
ウィンカー or ウインカー winkā or uinkā winker turn signal, a.k.a. blinker or indicator on an automobile English
ウーパールーパー ūpārūpā wooper looper Wasei-eigo for axolotl English
ヴァージンロード vājin rōdo virgin road the aisle (in a Western-style or Christian wedding ceremony, as followed by the bridal procession) English
ワイドショー waido shō wide show talk show English
ワイシャツ or Yシャツ wai shatsu Y (< "white") shirt dress shirt (of any color) English
ワンパターン wan patān one pattern of (artificial or boring) uniformity or conformity, lacking of (spontaneous) variation. Used to describe behavior and responses as well as objects. Being "in a rut" English
ワンピース wan pīsu one piece (a single-piece) dress English
ワープロ wāpuro wor(d) pro(cessor) word processor English
ウォシュレット woshuretto washlet (wash+(toi)let) a toilet with a built-in bidet (a genericized trademark of Toto) English
ヨット yotto yacht a sailboat or yacht English
ヤンエグ yan egu youn(g) ex(ecutive) young executive English
ヨード yōdo jood iodine Dutch
ヨードチンキ yōdo chinki joodtinctuur tincture of iodine Dutch
ユニットバス yunitto basu unit bath modular bath, prefabricated bath English
Uターンラッシュ yūtān rasshu U-turn rush the rush of traffic and people, and attendant traffic jams and crowding of transportation facilities, that occurs as everyone returns home after extended holidays, esp. New Year's, Golden Week, and the summer o-bon week. English
ザイル zairu Seil (meaning 'rope') rope (used in a climbing context, in preference to the general term 'rōpu') German
ゼミナール or ゼミ zemināru or zemi Seminar or Semi(nar) seminar German
ゼン or zen ध्यान (dhyāna) a meditation Sanskrit via Chinese
ゼロ zero zéro zero French / Italian / Latin
ズボン zubon jupon (meaning "petticoat") trousers (UK), pants (US) French

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Depachika". Japan National Tourism Organization. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  2. ^ McClain, K. J. (2017-09-19). "Video: Learn About the "Guts Pose!" and Why It's In So Many Games". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  3. ^ Takie Sugiyama Lebra; Henshall, Kenneth G. (November 2000). "Review of Dimensions of Japanese Society: Gender, Margins and Mainstream by Kenneth G. Henshall". The Journal of Asian Studies. The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 59, No. 4. 59 (4): 1019–1020. doi:10.2307/2659245. JSTOR 2659245. S2CID 144665359.


  • Takashi Ichikawa, et al. (1998). Sanseidō New Modern Dictionary (三省堂現代新国語辞典, Sanseidō-gendai-shin-kokugo-jiten), Tokyo, Japan: Sanseido Co., Ltd. ISBN 4-385-14034-0.

External links[edit]