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

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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2: A new slang term, rooting from the first definition, referring to fanatical or obsessed people, usually known to be withdrawn in many cases.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

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A Japanese word for person whom are prone to stay at home and watches anime/manga/video games. Although my friends and I like to mess around with that word saying like:
Goodbye my otaku brethern

Or
Fellow Otakus unite!
Or something like that

PS it is a negative word
Great I'm stuck with a non-otaku.
by Senpai Otaku-chan May 31, 2016

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Someone who is over obsessive about something; a fangirl or fanboy.
"Engineering Otaku."

"Shut up, Alchemy Otaku." (Quote: Fullmetal Alchemist, book 3)
by NoeruChan June 23, 2016

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A Japanese term that refers to the Japanese equivalent of a nerd or a geek but with an extremely negative connotation. Usually, otakus stay at home, don't go to school nor work, and don't try to do anything to better themselves or their societies and spend all of their time surfing the internet, play video games, or watch anime. The more extreme ones also sleep with pillow cases with anime characters on them and have entire rooms that are filled with nothing but anime goods which includes rooms full of anime figurines, which are sometimes found naked. Pretty much they are embarrassments towards Japanese society and the Japanese, themselves, believe this.

In America, however, anime fans mistakenly refer to themselves as otakus and has taken on a more positive connotation. But, otakus, in this sense, are hardcore anime fans. But it is still agreed upon that otakus in America are just as annoying as their Japanese counterparts since the ones in America believe that they know everything about anime, manga and sometimes fiction in general and they claim that they are never wrong in regards to their knowledge regarding anime and manga. Just like their Japanese counterparts, they love collecting figurines and have rooms full of nothing but things that are related to anime. The more extreme ones of these, however, are sometimes called weeaboos and actually wish that they were Japanese and worship the Japanese as if they were gods.
Otakus are infuriatingly annoying in both Japan and in America and it's generally not advised for someone to call himself an otaku, especially in front of a Japanese person since they look upon them with extreme disdain.
by Pfarrer October 01, 2014

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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

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A term that is miss-used by both the Japanese and other countries.

In Japanese its the honorific of home. meaning the person is a shut-in. They also refer to a community that visit certain places such as akihabara, Tokyo train station, ect. Otaku in America and other places is a term to describe fanatic fans of a certain thing ,mostly anime. In japan there are also other types of otaku such as train otaku "IE train station", Bridge otaku, anime otaku, music otaku, ect...

In America people think that it is being used wrong, but in actuality its just being used in the alternative term.

In japan the term is sometimes refereed to as something really bad. But their is a growing population that take the name otaku with pride. Demonstrations are being held. ect ect...
EX. how can a train otaku be an "otaku" if he actually leaves his/her house to go look at trains.

EX. how can an anime otaku be and "otaku" if he/she goes out to cosplay shops, akihabara, and other social events such as cons, "maid cafes", where the person HAS to meet other people.
by KoDuu July 16, 2010

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there are several definitions of "otaku"

1) polite(correct) way of saying house
2) many people mistake the actual definiton of otaku when it comes to things such as "anime otaku" or "game otaku"
it used to be a insult but recently, the definition has changed to a more positive meaning, although the word can still be used as a insult, it is more commonly used as a compliment
Ex. anata wa computer otaku desu ne (your a computer otaku)

although it is unclear as to when the definition switched, many believe that it may have happened with popularity of animes and mangas going up

manga otaku
electronic otaku
anime otaku
by fforigens0 March 14, 2009

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