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is Japanese for " loan word" or "borrowed word", and indicates a transliteration (or "transvocalization") into Japanese. In particular, the word usually refers to a Japanese word of foreign origin that was not borrowed in ancient times from Old or Middle Chinese, but in modern times, primarily from English or from other European languages. These are primarily written in the katakana phonetic script, with a few older terms written in Chinese characters ( kanji); this latter is known as ateji.

Japanese has a large number of loan words from Chinese, accounting for a sizeable fraction of the language. These words were borrowed during ancient times and are written in kanji. Modern Chinese loanwords are generally considered gairaigo and written in katakana, or sometimes written in Chinese and glossed with katakana furigana; pronunciation of modern Chinese loanwords generally differs from the corresponding usual pronunciation of the characters in Japanese.

For a list of terms, see the List of gairaigo and wasei-eigo terms.