Have you ever wondered what it means onii-chan, onee-chan, onii-san, onee-san and other Japanese variations? this words are offered to describe brothers in the Japanese language and also are often heard in anime. In this article, us will perform a thorough find to understand the meaning and difference of this words.

You are watching: What does onii-chan mean

We have previously composed an short article talking about the Japanese family members, come remember let's additionally leave a video clip that ours Sensei made about family members below.

Before girlfriend start analysis this detailed research and explaining the different ways come say brother or sisters in Japanese, us recommend the town hall our video about household members in Japanese.

Two sister hugging a Pokemon

The various ways come speak older brothers in Japanese

In Japanese, over there is a hierarchy of treatment, a formal, common, and also informal language. This is one of the main reasons there are so numerous variations and ways come say big brother in Japanese. To make it easier, let"s put a perform of native below, exemplifying the idea a little:

Remembering that all the words in the list listed below refer to older sisters or brothers:

Responsive Table: roll the table sideways v your finger >>
descriptionOlder brotherElder sister
Keigo - as well formal - Sovereignonii-sama <お兄さま>onee-sama <お姉さま>
Sonkeigo (brothers from above)aniue <兄上>aneue <姉上>
Formal - daily life - Commononii-san <お兄さん>onee-san <お姉さん>
A little more informalnii-san <兄さん>nee-san <姉さん>
Without any type of respectful, informal suffixnii <兄>nee <姉>
Informal and also diminutive suffixonii-chan <お兄ちゃん>onee-chan <お姉ちゃん>
Totally informal v diminutive suffixnii-chan <兄ちゃん>nee-chan <姉ちゃん>
Alternative to nii and neeani <兄>ane <姉>
Precious, esteemed, honorableAniki <兄貴>aneki <姉貴>

Aniki that is frequently used through the yakuza, the is choose a comrade brother, whereby the character <貴> describes something precious, esteemed and valuable.

Kyoudai and Shimai - Other methods to talk about siblings

The relationship in between younger and older brother is highly valued in Japan. The Japanese have actually a knack for placing younger sister who call their brothers onii-chan in anime.

We already mentioned that brother and little sister room imouto <妹> and otouto <弟>, yet remember that it is no as typical to usage suffixes together san <さん> and also chan <ちゃん> because that younger siblings, yet neither is the wrong or unusual.

If you find for younger sister at the jisho friend will watch that there are infinite ways come convey the idea the a younger sister, yet unusual.

If we desire to speak in the plural brothers and also sisters we can use the combination of the ideograms of an older brother through a younger brother. Speaking in Japanese kyoudai <兄弟>, and also sisters in Japanese are spelled shimai <姉妹>.

See more: Consciousness Depends On The Function Of This Part Of The Brain

Kyoudai can incorporate all siblings even female, return you can rarely discover Kyoudai created in other means using 2 that the 4 characters used because that siblings <兄 - 弟 - 姉 - 妹>.

Have friend noticed just how anime overdo this little sister scheme? most of the time they space lolis, yet do you recognize what loli means? Click here and read our article on loli, lolicon and lolita.

I hope this write-up has cleared every doubts around the native onii-chan, onee-chan, onii-san and onee-san, others related to brothers in Japanese like imouto, otouto, kyoudai and shimai! many thanks for the comments and shares!