Japanese word for "idiot", "imbecile", "fool" or any other similar term; also frequently translated as "jerk." This is an all-purpose insult applied to persons who have done anything stupid, insensitive or thoughtless. Usually seen in the idiomatic phrase "<name> no baka!", which is a favorite of Tsunderes across Japan.
Also employed as an endearment between couples, but the delivery differs—when used affectionately, the word is drawn out instead of spat sharply. Being called "baka" by a new boyfriend/girlfriend while receiving a playful smack on the top of the head is considered a comforting sign of how well things are going.
Written with kanji characters meaning "horse-deer", which puzzles everybody, Japanese or not. (Folk etymologies trace this to someone who can't tell the two apart, or possibly to a test to find yes-men.) The Chinese have the legend of an Emperor's advisor testing his power by 'showing a horse and calling it a deer'. Though it's not a loanword, you'll often see it written in katakana for emphasis. Also means "cow" in Tagalog, not that it's terribly relevant. (Incidentally, vaca is Latin and Spanish for "cow". Not that that's relevant, either. (It also means "valley" in Hebrew and is the name of an upscale neighborhood of Jerusalem, not that that's relevant, either.)) Also, Babaca in (Brazilian) Portuguese is an old term for "vagina" and an expression for "jerk", "fool", not that... You know.
This word can sometimes take various forms:
- baka "Baka"
- ou-baka "Great Baka"
- origami-tsuki no baka "Acknowledged (i.e. Got A Degree In) Baka"
- shoushin shoumei no baka "Down-right Baka"
- sokonuke no baka "Bottomless (i.e. Down And Out) Baka"
- akireta baka "Hopeless Baka"
- kamaboko-baka "Fish Cake Baka"
- tanjun-baka "Simple Baka"
- usura-baka "Dumb Baka"