Thursday, March 1, 2018

nyanko にゃんこ

In Japanese, a nyanko にゃんこ is a colloquial way to refer to a cat, specially a kitten. The word is formed from an onomatopoeia for the sound cats make, "meow," in Japanese: nyan にゃん, and ko, which in this case is a suffix used to refer to something cute.

So nyanko is how you say "kitty" in Japanese. But more literally nyanko means "lil' meow" or something like that. Note, however, that despite the cutesy origins of the word, it may be used in a very enraged way depending on the situation.

この・・・クソニャンコ・・・!! この体はなんや お前は何者や・・・ ハァハァ ワシになんの恨みがあんねん・・・・・・!!
Manga: Doll-Kara, どるから (Chapter 1)


Since it's a pet-like name, sometimes the chan honorific suffix is added to make stuff cuter: nyanko-chan にゃんこちゃん. The term nyanchan にゃんちゃん may also be used to say "kitty."

The words above are usually written with hiragana, mostly because hiragana is cuter, but they can be written with katakana, too.

nyanko ニャンコ
nyanko-chan ニャンコちゃん
nyanchan ニャンちゃん

The term wanko わんこ is the dog counterpart of nyanko.

Animal Words

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