noun cos·play \ˈkäz-ˌplā, ˈkäs-\

Definition of cosplay

  1. :  the activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game, or television show) Sometimes people are miscast in life. They may appear to be dentists or clerks, but deep down they are actually fierce swordsmen or goddesses with devastating sex appeal. These true selves can emerge in the world of cosplay, the practice of impersonating characters from anime, manga, Japanese video games, and other realms of fiction. — Mother Jones, November/December 2007 —often used before another noun cosplay costumes


verb, transitive + intransitive,






At the orchestra's video game performance in 2013, some people cosplayed their favorite characters. — Stephanie Hayes, Tampa Bay Times, 17 Apr. 2014 Fans return to this convention year after year, celebrating Japanese visual culture and happily cosplaying as anime characters they care about. — Corbie Hill, News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 22 May 2014


noun, plural


A convention such as this wouldn't be complete without cosplayers out in full force. … Characters from Disney, DC, Marvel, video games and even childhood favorites like Transformers and Power Rangers inspired the masses to dress up. — Scott Fishman, Miami Herald, 6 June 2014


noun For the uninitiated, the typical anime convention is a carnival of delights for any fan of Japanese animation and comics. Aside from the costumed attendees, taking part in an activity known as cosplaying, there are also anime screenings, panel discussions … — Jason S. Yadao, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 21 Apr. 2005

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Origin and Etymology of cosplay

1cos(tume) + 1play, after Japanese kosupure, short for kosuchūmupurē, borrowed from English costume + (role) play The Japanese word was allegedly introduced in print by publisher and media producer Noboyuki Takahashi in the June, 1983 issue of the magazine Mai Anime/My Anime (see Brian Ashcraft and Luke Plunkett, Cosplay World [Prestel, 2014], pp. 18-20; the authors quote from an interview with Takahashi and reproduce pages from the magazine).

First Known Use: 1993

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