Friday, January 26, 2018

寝取られ, Netorare - Meaning in Japanese

One term used around English-speaking anime communities and forums is the infamous netorare 寝取られ. Having been loaned from that exactly Japanese word, its meaning eludes many new fans who have no fucking idea what the hell everybody is talking about and why the thread derailed so hard. After all, what is netorare?


Basically, netorare means "cuckolding," which means "being cheated on by your partner." For example, a guy's girlfriend cheating on him with another guy is netorare. Likewise, a girl's boyfriend cheating on her with another girl is also netorare. It can also be just a romantic partner, love interest, wife, husband, and it doesn't even have to be heterosexual.

For example, in Netsuzou TRap -NTR- 捏造トラップ−NTR−, the main theme of the story is that a girl has a boyfriend, but ends up falling with her best friend, who is a girl, too. So it ends up being about two girls betraying both their boyfriends with each other.

For most part, netorare is used as a "cuckoldry" tag to tag works of fiction (primarily pornographic hentai) featuring this sort of cheating. You'll also find it in anime-related forums when something of the kind shows up in an episode or chapter.

The word netorare is sometimes abbreviated to NTR.

Usage in Japanese

Unlike the words ecchi and waifu, which mean something in English but not in Japanese, the word netorare and its abbreviation NTR are, indeed, used in Japanese with the same meaning they have in English.

Katsura from the manga Gintama 銀魂 saying he likes netorare (NTR)


The word netorare written with kanji is 寝取られ.

The meaning of these kanji are "to sleep," neru 寝る, and "to take," toru 取る. So if you tried to guess the meaning of the word from its kanji, you'd probably guess something stupid like "to take sleep," which makes no sense.

So what does netorare mean in Japanese, if not "to take sleep"? Is it just "cuckold" or "cuckolding"? Well, no, netorare doesn't mean that. To understand it, we have to go to the origin of netorare: the verb netoru 寝取る.

Netoru 寝取る

The verb netoru means "to sleep with a girl (or guy) that's already sleeping with someone else." Of course, we don't need to be so literal, we're clearly talking about "cheating" here. But the point is netoru is not "to cheate with" or "to be cheated on by." It's from the viewpoint of the third-party, the outsider.

In English, the most literal translation of netoru I could find, albeit obscure, would be "to homewreck." Because a "homewrecker" is a woman who sleeps with somebody's husband, therefore "wrecking their home." Again: it doesn't need to a woman, and it doesn't to be a husband. So it's not a very exact translation, but it gives you a good idea of what it means.

The word netoru 寝取る used in the manga Mahou Shoujo, Ore 魔法少女 俺

As for why it means that and not "to take sleep" as you might have guessed, it's because the "to sleep," neru 寝る, also means "to sleep with [someone]," as in, "to have sex with [someone]," or "to lie with [someone]." So:
  1. Person A was sleeping with person B
  2. Person C slept with B
  3. C took the "sleeping with B" away from A.

That's why netoru means that.

Here's some example phrases. Note how the unfaithful partner is the object of the action marked by the wo を particle.
  • tanin no tsuma wo netoru 他人の妻を寝取る
    To sleep with other people's wives.
  • tomodachi no kareshi wo netotta 友達の彼氏を寝取った
    [I] slept with my friend's boyfriend.
  • tsuma wo netotta otoko wo koroshita 妻を寝取った男を殺した
    [He] killed the man who slept with [his] wife.

So now we know how netoru works, but how do we get to netorare from netoru? First we need its passive form: netorareru.

Netorareru 寝取られる

The verb netorareru 寝取られる is the passive form of netoru 寝取る. English doesn't have passive forms like Japanese. In English we achieve the same effect by the use of prepositions. But I think it's easy enough to understand what it does:
  • neko ga nezumi wo taberu 猫が鼠を食べる
    The cat eats the rat. (active)
  • nezumi ga neko ni taberareru 鼠が猫に食べられる
    The rat is eaten by the cat. (passive)
  • yuujin ga kanojo wo netoru 友人が彼女を寝取る
    The friend netoru's the girlfriend. (active)
  • kanojo ga yuujin ni netorareru 彼女が友人に寝取られる
    The girlfriend is netoru'd by the friend. (passive)

(note: kanojo 彼女 means both "girlfriend" and the third-person pronoun "she")

In Japanese, conjugations of verbs can be conjugated again. So from the passive form we can get netorareta 寝取られた which'd be the past, "was netoru'd."
  • netorareta tsuma 寝取られた妻
    Netoru'd wife. Wife someone else slept with.
  • netorareta kanojo 寝取られた彼女
    Netoru'd girlfriend. Girlfriend someone else slept with.

Finally, we can also conjugate it to the word netorare, which would mean the act of netorareru'ing. In other words, netorare means something like "cheating with."

So, even thought a lot of people think this, if a character says netorare they don't mean "cuckold," they're referring to the act. Like saying "it's robbery!" instead of "it's a robber!"

Netori vs. Netorare

A word related to netorare is netori 寝取り, which is similar, but different.

Basically, the noun netori comes from the verb netoru, while the noun netorare comes from the verb netorareru, the passive form of netoru. So netori is active while netorare is passive. In other words, netori means "stealing someone else's partner" or "homewrecking," while netorare means "cheating with."

Here's a diagram:

The meaning and difference between netori and netorare shown in a diagram.

Technically, what is going on is pretty much the same thing, but the point of view changes. From the girl being taken (netorare) to the guy taking the girl (netori). So if it was a story about someone's girl who ends up with multiple guys, it'd be netorare, but if it's a story about a guy who goes around sleeping with other guys' girls, it'd be netori.

And, likewise, a woman going around stealing boyfriends or husbands is netori.

Netori example found in the manga Seitokai Yakuindomo 生徒会役員共. demo kare wa sudeni kekkon shitete ne でも彼はすでに結婚しててねー But he had already married [you see]. netori ni kyoumi atta watashi niwa zekkou no kikai!! 寝取りに興味あった私には絶好の機会!! For me who had interest in netori [it was the] ideal chance!! are? あれ Uh?


Factoring netori into the equation, some people came up with not one, but two ways to disambiguate the NTR abbreviation:
  1. netorare is NTR, netori is NTL.
  2. netorare is NTRR, netori is NTR. comment...


One weird thing about netori and netorare is that they're both the same type of form, only being conjugated different verbs, netoru and netorareru, respectively.

This might sound weird if you know something about Japanese because to get netorare you remove ru from netorareru, but to get netori you change the u at the end of netoru to i. How are they the same conjugation? If they were the same wouldn't the word be netorareri 寝取られり instead?

Well, this happens because in Japanese there are two classes of ru-ending verbs, called ichidan and godan. The verb toru 取る, and consequently netoru 寝取る, are godan verbs. But the passive conjugation -rareru ~られる is treated as an ichidan verb. The conjugation of ichidan and godan verbs are different. For example:
  • kiru, kiru. 着る、 切る (ichidan, godan)
    To wear. To cut.
  • kigaeru, kirikaeru 着替える、 切り替える
    To change clothes, to switch over.

Netorase 寝取らせ

As if netorare and netori weren't enough, netorase 寝取らせ also exists.

The difference between netorase, netori, and netorare, is that netorase is the causative form of netoru. That is: it means to cause, or let, someone netoru someone. Mainly, netorase would be about the cuckold letting (or forcing) someone else to have their way with their partner.

For example, in English, a "cuckquean" is a woman who enjoys letting another woman (dubbed cuckcake?) have her way with his husband/boyfriend. So the cuckquean netoraseta her partner to the cuckcake. (I think I have seen something like this in Blade Runner 2049...)

The abbreviation of this word would be NTRS.

Uwaki 浮気

The term uwaki 浮気 is a general term for "infidelity," or "fooling around (with other women, etc.)"

The words netoru, netorare, netorase carry the nuance of "taking" someone from someone else, which is normally unnecessary. So uwaki would be the normal word for extramarital relationships, cheating, and so on.

浮気はダメだぞ!? transcript from Aho Girl アホガール
Manga: Aho Girl / Aho Gaaru アホガール
  • uwaki wa
    dame dazo!?

    Infidelity is bad, [you know]!?

1 comment:

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  1. Olá, gostaria de saber a forma de se diferenciar o netorare por gênero