25 Must-Know Anime Words and Phrases for Fans

, Staff Writer
Updated January 16, 2021
anime word ureshii happy
    anime word ureshii happy
    Kiku / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

Every true anime fan needs to build a strong anime vocabulary. Expand your ability to talk about all things anime by mastering a selection of critical anime words and phrases.

Common Anime Words

Many commonly used Japanese language words are used in anime. The phonetic pronunciation for each word appears in parentheses.

  • arigato (a.ɾi.ɡaˈto) - thank you
  • baka (ba̠ka̠) - foolish, stupid, dummy (used when a character does something foolish)
  • chikara (t͡ɕi̥ka̠ɾa̠) - power, strength
  • daijōbu (daidubu) - alright, okay (as in I will be okay; I am not hurt.)
  • doshite (dōshite) - for what reason, why
  • kawaii (kəˈwaɪ) - adorable, cute
  • imōto (imo̞ːto̞) - younger sister, little sister
  • itai (ita̠i) - something hurts or is painful; ouch
  • konnichiwa (kon'nichiwa) - hello; used for any generic greeting (hi, hey)
  • nani (nánì) - what, really (asked as questions)
  • oniisan (òníꜜìsàǹ) - older brother, big brother
  • otaku (o̞ta̠kɯ̟) - nerd, geek; one who has an enthusiastic obsession (like an anime superfan!)
  • senpai (sɛnpaɪ) - an upperclassman or elder; a person who is older than the individual who is speaking
  • sugoi (sɨᵝɡo̞i) - amazing, great, superb
  • sumimasen (sṳ̀-li-ma-sén) - excuse me; I'm sorry
  • tomodachi (tòmódáchí) - friend, pal
  • ureshii (ùréshíꜜì) - happy; used to indicate that a person is happy

Essential Anime Phrases

As an anime fan, you won't want to stop building your knowledge of must-know anime words with individual terms. Expand your anime vocabulary to include some phrases as well.

  • kakatte koi yo (kuh.kaht.ay kɔɪ yō) - bring it on
  • kuuki yomeru (kùúkí jo̞mɯ̟ᵝ) - read the room; pick up signals to figure out the situation or mood
  • kuuki yomenai (kùúkí o̞ jo̞mɯ̟ᵝ) - someone who isn't perceptive; similar to the expression "can't read the writing on the wall"
  • nodo ga kawaita (no̞do̞ ga kàwáꜜkù) - my throat is dry; I'm thirsty
  • ohayo gozaimasu (o̞ha̠jo̞ː ɡo̞za̠ima̠sɨ̥ᵝ) - good morning
  • onaka ga suita (o̞na̠ka̠ ɡa̠ sɨ̥ᵝkɯ̟ᵝ) - I'm hungry; the belly is empty
  • taigi no tameni (táꜜìgì nō tame.ni) - for the greater good; for justice to be served
  • tsukiatte kudasai (t͡sɨᵝkʲia̠ɯ̟ᵝ na̠ɡe̞ɾɯ̟ᵝ) - please go out on a date with me

All About About Anime

As a true fan of anime, you'll want to go beyond even just building your vocabulary with anime words and phrases. Expand your anime knowledge in multiple areas.

  • Learn about the history of anime to satisfy your own curiosity and to impress other otakus.
  • Have a new pet? Consider giving your new animal companion a great anime name!
  • Planning to go to an anime con or get-together with other superfans? Find inspiration for the perfect anime costume.
  • Make sure you're not missing out on the best shows by discovering the best anime series options.
  • Find out which of the full-length anime movies are the best and make sure you watch all of them.
  • Thinking about getting a tattoo? Check out a selection of cool anime tattoo ideas.

Grow Your Japanese and Anime Vocabulary

Once you've mastered these anime words and phrases, you'll be well on your way to building a good working vocabulary of frequently used words in the Japanese language. Don't stop there! Continue building your vocabulary by learning a selection of powerfully beautiful Japanese words. Then, explore some other cool Japanese words. Next, discover a few dozen English words of Japanese origin used every day. Not only will you be expanding your anime knowledge, but you'll also be well on your way to learning to speak another language!