Acronyms and Abbreviations in Japanese

In Japanese by Jeremy Arns

You may have noticed some acronyms while studying Japanese that use English letters, like “OL” or “NG”. They are used somewhat commonly, and if you hear or see one you might not know what it means or how to look it up (since they don’t contain any kana or kanji).

Here’s a short list of some commonly used acronyms and what they stand for.

Acronym Meaning
OL Office Lady (オルエル)
NG No Good (エヌジー), the first time I heard someone say this I was wondering why they suddenly mentioned “energy”, and on top of it incorrectly. (エネルギー)
KY Kuuki wo Yomenai (ケイワイ), the K and Y are taken from 気をめない. If you don’t know what this expression means, check out this blog post
CM Commercial (シーエム), from commercial message
PV Promotional Video (ピーヴィー), which are music videos and clips
JR Japanese Railway (ジェイアール)
OP Opening (オーピー), from opening sequence, like an anime’s
NEET Someone not in education, employment, or training (ニート)
w “lol”, from the w in 笑う (わらう), or to laugh. Some use 笑 instead of w

On a related note, some words are abbreviated or contracted, which might also make it tricky if you are only familiar with the full version of the word or where it originated from in English. Here are some examples of some abbreviated/contracted words:

Abbreviation/Contraction Meaning
http://assets.languagepod101.com/dictionary/japanese/audiomp3.php?kana=マクド  マクド McDonald’s, from マクドナルド
http://assets.languagepod101.com/dictionary/japanese/audiomp3.php?kana=マクド  東大 University of Tokyo, from 東京大学
http://assets.languagepod101.com/dictionary/japanese/audiomp3.php?kana=マクド  ワープロ Word processor, from ワードプロセッサー
http://assets.languagepod101.com/dictionary/japanese/audiomp3.php?kana=マクド  アニメ Anime, from アニメーション
http://assets.languagepod101.com/dictionary/japanese/audiomp3.php?kana=マクド  ポケモン Pokemon, from ポケットモンスター
http://assets.languagepod101.com/dictionary/japanese/audiomp3.php?kana=マクド  パソコン Computer, from パーソナルコンピューター
      ブラピー Brad Pitt, from ブラッド・ピート

If you can think of any other acronyms or abbreviations you know, be sure to leave them in the comments!

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