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The Origin Stories of 10 Cool Cosplay Terms

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It’s that time of year again when fanboys and girls from around the world transform into superheroes, aliens, or maybe just George Lucas. That’s right: It’s New York Comic Con.

Cosplay and convention culture can trace their roots back to at least the 1970s, when in the U.S. fans began to appear at science fiction conventions dressed as Starfleet commanders, Luke Skywalker, and the like, and in Japan, college students attended manga and anime festivals donned in full character regalia.

Such a colorful culture has also given rise to colorful terminology. You can find 12 right here to introduce you to the world of cosplay.


The manga style of comics emerged from post-World War II Japan with Ozama Tezuka’s Astro Boy. The genre is drawn in a “meticulously detailed style,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), and is often associated with a science fiction or fantasy theme.

While the term first appeared in English in 1951, manga in Japanese is from 1799 or earlier. Translated as “involuntary pictures,” manga was coined in 1812 by artist Katsushika Hokusai to describe a free-flowing, quirky style.


While Japanese animation has existed since as far back as 1917, anime as we know it today arose in the 1970s. This term for what's basically the animated version of manga first appeared in English in 1985 and might be based on the French animé, animated or lively. Before the 1970s, Japanese animation was known as manga eiga, or “TV manga.”


Cosplay, a blend of costume and play, comes from the Japanese kosupure, itself a Japanification of costume play, which originated in 19th century English to refer to a costume drama.

Kosupure was coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi, who would later become a film editor on such J-horror classics as Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge. But back in 1983, he was writing about fans who attended conventions dressed as their favorite manga and anime characters. The term kasou, a Japanification of costume, already existed, but didn’t capture the right spirit of cosplay, according to Kotaku, while a translation of the English masquerade seemed too old-fashioned to Takahashi. Hence, kosupure was born.


Layer is Japanese slang for cosplayer. Layer Support is a cleaning service specifically for cosplay costumes.


A furry is a fan of human-like animal characters and people dressed as such characters. While the OED’s earliest citation is from 1989, the furry phenomenon probably began in the early 1980s, if not sooner.


A Japanese loan word, otaku refers to someone extremely knowledgeable about a hobby or subculture, and who might be, at least according to the OED, skilled in "computer technology" and unskilled in interpersonal interaction. In other words, a nerd.

Otaku seems to have suffered a sort of reverse-reappropriation, at least in Japan. While in English, geek and nerd are traditionally pejorative terms that have gained a degree of coolness, otaku began in the early 1980s as an "insider" term—a way that anime and manga fans addressed each other, then any member of the subculture. Otaku only became an insult in the hands of the media commenting on such a subculture. Meanwhile, outside Japan, otaku has positive connotations, denoting someone who's an expert or aficionado.

Otaku translates literally from the Japanese as “your house” (in other words, people who are otaku don’t leave the house), and cosplay otaku is thought of as a subset.


Chibi, which translates from Japanese as “runt,” is a cute kid version of an anime character. Chibi and super-deformed are sometimes used interchangeably. However, while all chibis are super-deformed, not all super-deformed are chibis. Chibis are always child-like, but super-deformed describes a character drawn in any exaggerated or deformed way.

Both are used in anime as parody or slapstick. For instance, a character may suddenly become chibi when behaving immaturely.


Returning to the humdrum of everyday life from a place where one might be treated like a rock star can be a huge downer. Hence, post-con depression, or PCD, the blues some cosplayers feel after attending a convention.


Post-convention, you might also endure the con-plague, sometimes called the con crud, an illness one catches after several days of being in close quarters with throngs of people, not eating well, and not getting enough sleep.

There’s much advice about how to avoid the con-plague, which are basically the same tactics to avoid catching a cold or the flu.


If you don't want con-plague, you might also want to eschew glomping. An aggressive tackle-hug, glomp began as an anime term but has extended to convention use. Convention etiquette seems to be against it due to the possibility of costume crushing and bodily harm. It’s unclear if glomping is innate behavior among enthusiasts or if it's in imitation of anime characters.

According to TV Tropes, glomp may come from the English translation of the sound effect of the overenthusiastic embrace in some manga. A popular theory says that glomp is a backronym of "Grab, Latch On, Maintain Pressure," but more likely the word is imitative, and might be influenced by the English glom, to snatch or grab, or glamp, to grope or snatch at.

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Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.


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