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  1. a Japanese style of motion-picture animation, characterized by highly stylized, colorful art, futuristic settings, violence, and sexuality.

Origin of anime

1985–90; < Japanese, borrowing of English animation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for anime


  1. a type of Japanese animated film with themes and styles similar to manga comics

Word Origin

C20: from Japanese


  1. any of various resins, esp that obtained from the tropical American leguminous tree Hymenaea courbaril

Word Origin

French: of uncertain origin


adjective, adverb
  1. music the French word for animato
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for anime


c.1985, Japanese for "animation," a term that seems to have arisen in the 1970s, apparently based on French animé "animated, lively, roused," from the same root as English animate (adj.). Probably taken into Japanese from a phrase such as dessin animé "cartoon," literally "animated design," with the adjective abstracted or mistaken, due to its position, as a noun.

Manga (q.v.) is Japanese for "comic book, graphic novel," but anime largely are based on manga and until 1970s, anime were known in Japan as manga eiga or "TV manga." The two terms are somewhat confused in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper