Terminology & Definitions

HACKER – A hacker is an individual who breaches security in a computer system or computer network to capitalize on exposed weaknesses, for beneficial or nefarious reasons. Sometimes the term is applied to an individual with expert knowledge of computers and computer networks. A subculture now exists for hackers, formed by a real and recognized community known as the computer underground. This subculture of tech-savvy individuals has also developed a unique language and slang terms defined and collected in The Hacker’s Dictionary (originally known as the Jargon File), which is searchable online.


A Lefty’s Catcher Mitt ­– Net jargon for something people think exists, but doesn’t. The term came from the anime show Laughing Man (Ghost in the Shell), where a character owns a left-handed mitt inscribed with a quote by Holden Caulfield, title character in the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Bagbiter – a person who always causes problems, is a whiner, and is never satisfied. Comes from the hacker term for a piece of equipment, hardware, or software that fails

Black Hat – someone who maliciously hacks into secure systems to corrupt or gain unauthorized information. The hacker subculture often refers to this person as a “cracker” rather than a “hacker”

Bletcherous (bletch) – disgusting, makes you want to vomit, usually in reference to an object, and rarely regarding people

Defragment (defrag) – an action to reduce the fragmentation of a software file by concatenating parts stored in separate locations on a disk

Faraday Cage – a grounded metal screen (usually copper) that surrounds a piece of equipment to exclude electrostatic and electromagnetic influences

Fatal Exception Error – an error that closes down and aborts a program, returning the user to the operating system

Frobnicate – to manipulate or adjust, to tweak for the fun of it, goofing off

Gabriel / “Pull a Gabriel” – [for Dick Gabriel, SAIL volleyball fanatic] An unnecessary (in the opinion of the opponent) stalling tactic, e.g., tying one's shoelaces or hair repeatedly, asking the time, etc. Also used to refer to the perpetrator of such tactics. Also, "pulling a Gabriel", "Gabriel mode"

Glitch – a sudden interruption in electric service, sanity, or program function, sometimes recoverable

Gritching (gritch) – to complain; a blend of “gripe” and “bitch”

Gubbish – nonsense; a blend of “garbage” and “rubbish”

Hack-back – Loosely defined, “hacking back” involves turning the tables on a cyberhacking assailant: thwarting or stopping the crime, or perhaps even trying to steal back what was taken

Kernel Panic – an action taken by an operating system when detecting an internal fatal error from which it cannot safely recover; also known as “the blue screen of death”

Loser – an unexpectedly bad situation, program, programmer, or person

Mumblage – The topic of one’s mumbling, often used as a replacement for obscenities, “full of mumblage”

Parse – Slang for to understand or comprehend

Uncanny Valley – The hypothesis in the field of aesthetics which states that some humans feel revulsion or disturbance when robotics or 3D animation look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural beings

White Hat – someone who hacks into secure systems and instead of corrupting or taking unauthorized information, exposes the weaknesses to the system’s owners so they can strengthen the breach before it can be taken advantage of by others (including Black Hats)

Anime / Manga – Anime is a distinctly Japanese style of animation, while manga is the term for comic books that feature anime-stylized characters. Anime differs from American cartoons in that it is more often created for teens and adults with a range of topics that typically explore serious themes. It has been criticized by parents in the United States for discussing such taboo topics as teen suicide, violence, social rebellion, spiritual ideas, and sex. However, anime and manga include many genres, including romance, comedy, horror, and action, and feature several series for children, Pokémon being the most notable and successful in the U.S. Many video games, for general or mature audiences, feature anime-style characters and themes. In Japan, and even in the U.S., anime fans have formed a subculture with punk undertones emulating goth, emo, or cyberpunk movements.


Bishounen (bishonen, bish, bishie, bishy) – literally, “pretty boy” in Japanese, a term used to describe a young man—including those in anime, manga, and video games—who is notably beautiful and attractive

Bakayarō – dumbass, idiot, fool

Chikara – strength, power

Desu – Japanese for “it is,” often said at the end of sentences to seem cute or unwitting

Dokyun – a derogatory internet slang term that spread from Japan’s 2ch.net, which mostly means dumbass or idiot

Henshin – “to change or transform the body”; in anime and manga, this is usually when a character transforms into a superhero

Hikikomori – someone who purposely stays in their house all day long, isolating themselves from society, and who usually spends all their time on the Internet, playing video games, or watching anime

Jitsu – martial arts term for “technique” or “art”

Josei – woman

Kawaii – cute, Japanese culture reference.

Kiai – a Japanese term used in martial arts for the short yell or shout uttered when performing an attacking move

Kisama – No direct translation, but a good English equivalent might be “motherfucker.” It is an extremely hostile and rude address, mostly toward males, that begets the air of “hate” or “detest” to whom it’s directed. Historically, it was what a samurai called their enemy 

Kono Yaro – translates to “that bastard”

Kotatsu – a low, wooden table frame covered by a futon, or heavy blanket, upon which a table top sits. Underneath is a heat source, often built into the table itself

Kureejii – translates to “crazy,” as in a person

Kusogaki – little shit, shitty brat, damn child

Origami – The art of paper folding

Otaku – in Japan, originally a very negative term to describe a recluse who has no life, usually because their world revolves around fictional characters, such as in anime and manga; in America, the word has been applied by anime fans as a positive term for fanboy/girl

Nakoudo – translates to “matchmaker” or “go-between” and is the person who contracts a marriage between the man and woman who hope to marry

Nettomo – slang term for a friend made on the Internet

Nosebleed – used by fans about someone whom they think is hot or exciting; when an anime or manga character has become sexually excited, it is portrayed with a sudden nosebleed

Sakura – translates to “cherry blossom”

Samurai – a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan, especially a member of the class of military retainers of the daimyos

Sekushī – sexy

Senpai – someone who is of a higher social standing. “Notice me senpai” is usually a junior hoping he/she would get the attention of the senpai.

Tesaki – translates to “fingers,” but is slang for “minion”

Yaoi – “boys love” manga and anime typically aimed at a female audience

Yuinou / Yuinou no gi – translates to “betrothal presents” and is the ceremony where the groom and bride to-be swear their engagement publicly, followed by an exchange of gifts between the two households


Cob – a type of structural mud made from clay, sand, water, and straw that is applied wet between stones or in clumps to form walls. Cob homes, shops, and barns became the preferred building type during the Middle Ages, especially in the British Isles. The mud structures reached the height of popularity with Tudor-style architecture made famous for its external geometric timber designs, stone or brick accents, oriel window boxes, and lead multi-lit latticed windows. This is the most commonly featured style of building in fantasy storybook villages.

Cyberpunk – a literary and visual media genre that takes place in a future or near-future Earth and is most notably known for the film noir detective-like qualities of the story, high technology (computers, hackers, robotics, artificial intelligence), and a degraded society. The world or place setting is typically regulated and influenced by large corporations and wealthy elite rather than traditional governmental bodies. The protagonist is usually a rogue/misfit, a loner in society with a dark past. The cyberpunk genre is prominently featured in anime and manga in Japan.

Dungeon Master (DM) – individual in charge of organizing and planning the details and challenges of a given adventure in the table-top role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons.” He or she also is a participant in the game, but their key role is to make all the rules and control the story, telling the player characters what they hear and what they see. The only part a DM does not control are the decisions/actions of the player characters.

Emo / Emocore – an alternative rock subculture influenced by the punk music scene that emerged in the 1980s, featuring lyrics about self rather than traditional punk themes of society. The Emo scene exploded in the 1990s with the indie rock grunge scene and popularity of pop punk, and was later brought back to mainstream teen culture in the early 2000s through the Internet social media site MySpace. Individuals belonging to this subculture have a unique and notable fashion, the modern looks and trends believed to have been influenced by the anime and manga subculture. The Emo’s (sometimes called Scene Kids or Ravers) are described as being “emotive” in nature, giving rise to the idea that the boys possess more feminine traits and qualities than their non-emo counterparts.

Gamemaster (GM) – an individual who officiates and referees multi-player role-playing games (table-top or live action), sometimes with other Gamemasters. They arbitrate and moderate the rules, settle disputes, create and define the game world/environment, blend and weave player character stories together, and oversee the non-player character roles and influence in the story. The Gamemaster’s specific job and function is unique to each game.

Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) – a style of game that transcends traditional table-top or video game role-playing into live action where people physically become a character and act out their role in a defined fantasy setting. A LARP must contain three consistent ideas in order to be considered true live action role-playing (expanded in more depth by larping.org): collaborative (a mutual operation where everyone understands they are a character and must work together toward a common goal); pretending (a necessary element for each LARP, such as the game world/space, weapons and characterization, to name a few); and rules (agreed upon by the community of gamers and refereed by Gamemasters but usually sustained by an honor system among players).

Mundane – an object or person that does not belong to the fictional game or setting, such as a cellphone in a medieval community, or the President of the United States in ancient China. In the LARP and role-playing subculture, mundane also refers to one’s “real” life versus his or her character life/world.

Visual Kei (“visual music” or “visual system”) – an alternative rock music movement in Japan that features band members who typically try to emulate a unified androgynous appearance. They embody unique makeup, hair styles, and clothing that is punk in nature with mainstream success and influenced by Western concepts such as glam rock, goth, and cyberpunk. Some argue that Visual Kei is no longer about a music genre but about a subculture of individuals who reflect this fashion style and trend.

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