If you’re an anime or gaming fan and you’ve been on the internet for any period of time, you’ve probably heard the word “weeb”.
Weeb is the result of many different variations of internet slang evolving into a brand-new term, and they aren’t all flattering! Let’s get to know the origins, the meaning, and the current usage of the word.
“What is a Weeb?”
The word “weeb” refers to a person who is heavily interested in Japanese culture. Nowadays referring to fans of Japanese anime, comics, and video games, the word weeb has a negative connotation. Although it’s considered rude between strangers, it doesn’t carry the same connotation among friends.
Because weeb is used among friends and foes alike, it can be a confusing term to use correctly. Some people would find offense in its usage, while others take pride and even label themselves as weebs.
Understanding the history as well as the current usage is important context, so let’s examine where the term came from.
What is the origin of the word “weeb”?
The word weeb comes from the word “weeaboo” which was originally a nonsense word from the webcomic “The Perry Bible Fellowship”.
The word was used to signify something useless or unpleasant, but was spread through online forums to mean a Japan-obsessed and unpleasant person.
The word weeaboo was not created with fans of Japanese culture and anime in mind. It was a filler word included in a comic strip from The Perry Bible Fellowship to signify an unpleasant or useless thing.
This short, 3-panel comic quickly became an internet sensation on the internet for reasons the author could not imagine.
At the same time of this comic’s release, the term “wapanese” had gained popularity among internet forums.
Some say that wapanese meant “white Japanese”, while others claim it meant “wannabe Japanese”.
This term was deemed offensive by multiple users, so moderators of multiple internet forums sought to ban the word from use.
4Chan, an online forum/image board was responsible for popularizing the term “weeaboo” in place of “wapanese”, which was being heavily regulated in some forums.
The term referred to non-Japanese people who acted like they wanted to be Japanese, or who boasted about how amazing Japan was without prior knowledge of the country itself aside from games and anime.
Weeaboo was eventually shortened to “weeb”, which now most often refers to people who are into Japanese games and anime. Though it can refer to those who are simply obsessed with Japan, that obsession usually goes hand-in-hand with an interest in games and anime.
These days, the term is far more light-hearted than it used to be.
It may still be used in a derogatory manner (think “nerd” or “geek”), but many people are now claiming it for themselves. Some proudly refer to themselves as weebs when talking about their interests or joking about their fondness for 2D characters.
Who is considered a weeb?
Weeb is a broad term that refers to people who like the following: Japanese games and anime, Japanese comics, or Japanese culture in general. The meaning is skewed towards someone with a love for anime and games, however, especially those who are heavily invested in them.
One who announces that their favorite show is a Japanese anime may be called a weeb. Similarly, those who declare their favorite books are Japanese comics (otherwise known as manga) may also be called a weeb.
There are even those who believe that listening to Japanese text-to-speech musicians known as “Vocaloids” makes one a weeb.
There are many different types of weeb, but it is not always appropriate to use that word toward another person.
Especially given the history of the word as an offensive “cover-up” word, there are many people who would take great offense to being called a weeb.
Is it rude to call someone a weeb?
It is rude to call someone you don’t know well a weeb. Because this person may not know your intention, it is akin to calling a stranger a geek. Fans of anime and manga also tend to be bullied more often for having these interests, which may put them on the defensive if called this word.
Words that are inherently used to poke fun at others should only be used among friends. You wouldn’t want to risk hurting someone’s feelings and making them feel bad for having an interest in something, so it’s best to avoid this word unless you’re close with the person.
Is it bad to call yourself a weeb?
The word weeb does not have a complex historical context, so it is not problematic to call yourself a weeb if you so choose. You may wish to avoid putting it in a negative context, but overall, there is no problem if you wish to poke fun at your own hobbies.
You should be careful not to speak badly about your own hobbies, as this may offend others who hold the same interests. Calling oneself a weeb is usually done in a joking manner followed by a laugh, which invites others to do the same when discussing interests.
It is a precise and easy-to-understand term among other fans of Japanese games and anime, so it is often used during introductions to others when discussing one’s own hobbies or interests. It’s only negative if you portray it that way, so don’t worry when using it in a positive or descriptive way!
Do people still use the word “weeaboo”?
Although weeb is still a relatively popular term used in anime and gaming circles, the word weeaboo has fallen out of popularity. Internet slang terms tend to come and go, and “weeaboo” is one that has definitely gone.
Consider using the word “weeb” if you’re looking to describe yourself as an anime or manga fan, because using the word “weeaboo” will either confuse the listener, or make you seem old-fashioned.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.