The term "otaku" seems to have been introduced to anime fans in the US and other countries via Studio Gainax's "Otaku no Video 1985," a self-parody film.
Otaku, meaning probably "venerable house," refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home. For instance, an otaku fan of a particular movie star could quite possibly know all of the films s/he has been in, their birth date, time of birth, shoe size, favorite toothpaste, etc. Generally speaking, calling someone an otaku in Japan is an insult, implying that their social skills have atrophied or never even developed, due to their manic involvement in their chosen fandom.

In America, the term is used to denote a zealous fan, usually of anime and/or manga. Due to its introduction to most people's vocabulary through its tongue-in-cheek use in Gainax's film, "otaku" tends to have a much less dire definition overseas.

When dealing with Japanese people, however, it may be best to keep in mind the modern Japanese image of an otaku -- Someone who only leaves their home to eat or shop, if at all, with an overwhelming and unhealthy obsession about something. It can as easily refer to a stalker or sociopath as it can to a harmless anime buff.

Best to avoid the word altogether if one is not sure of the context in which it will be received.
Positive: "Oh, wow! Check it out: Neck-through, Floyd Rose locking tremolo and an optional push/pull coil tap!" (slaps forehead and laughs) "Man, I am such a guitar otaku, aren't I?"

Negative: "Stay clear of Toshi, man. He's such a RQ otaku, always online. Bet he's never actually even talked to a real-live girl before... You never know when he's gonna' snap, right?"
by Cobweb February 23, 2005
this word was originally used in japan to describe someone who enjoys anime and manga. the term later became derogatory when a japanese news station used it to describe a serial killer who had been a hermit and was obsessed with anime, manga, and doujn. When it crossed the pacific to America, otaku became a word popularly used to describe anime-con goers. the Japanese, who are always quick to pick up on American fads, soon used the phrase to describe a cool "geek chic" type of person, often found in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.
the kid who knew everything about Death note was a true otaku
by objectiveobserver July 10, 2008
In Japan the word otaku is used to refer to someone who is extremely obsessed with something. Americans have adopted it to refer to anyone in their culture who is obessesed with the Japanese culture. Americans do not use it "incorrectly" as many people claim, they have just re-defined the word.
That Mallory girl is such an otaku... She watches anime, has been to more cosplay conventions then I can count, and can read, write, and speak Japanese!
by Wonderful Aishas September 05, 2005
A life form that dies if it cannot watch anime
My roommate's a complete otaku and cried for a week because Naruto was over
by epic_pandemic December 18, 2014
Otaku are smelly, furry, plump creatures that are usually found in their natural habitats: their own mother's basements or in their dark rooms where the only sources of light are the bright glow of their computers or television
my friend is an otaku, he stays in his room on the computer and TV all day
by Amos Nusheg February 19, 2008
Otaku

A person who loves to watch anime and read manga and also admires the Japanese culture, but not to the point of denouncing their own, that would make them a weeaboo. Being an otaku is basically being apart of a whole new culture, an it's great! Just don't become a weeb.
"Hey, do you watch anime?" "Yeah!, I am an otaku, you?" "So am I!"
by CurrentSlang2014 December 07, 2014
1: Another version of the word "you" in Japanese (which includes anata, omae, kimi, and so on) this word when used by someone, connotes that that person would like to stress the boundaries between your relationship. You are only to be acquaintances and not friends.
2: A new slang term, rooting from the first definition, referring to fanatical or obsessed people, usually known to be withdrawn in many cases.
by kei_blue June 22, 2003
an otaku is a word commonly used to describe someone who is either obsessed with Japanese culture or a geek who spends all his/her time watching anime and never leaves the house. these are both false; that is the definition of a weaboo. an otaku is simply a fan of anime and manga and stuff like that. not a geek who has no life; not a weaboo. but sometimes, otakus try too hard and do turn into weaboos. for a better idea of the difference between otakus and weaboos, read my definition on weaboo.
~Pauly-T-Swizzle
me: hey, do you watch anime?
friend: anime sucks.
me: no, you suck. anime is good.
friend: your such a weaboo.
me: no, im an otaku.
by Pauly-T-Swizzle April 20, 2013

Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from daily@urbandictionary.com. We'll never spam you.

×