Have you ever asked “What does ML stands for?” or “What does MTL supposed to mean?”. Then this article is for you!

I have compiled and explain some important abbreviations and terms commonly used in forums and comments when discussing Manhwa or Web Novel. This is not a conclusive list but more of a list of some of regularly used abbreviations and terms so you won’t feel left behind or confused. The definition used is specifically for Asian literature not the common definition used for western literature.

Drop a comment below if you have some stuff you think needed to be added to the list here.


BL Boys Love
CN China/Chinese
ED Editor
EN English
FL Female Lead
GL Girls Love
KR Korea/Korean
LN Light Novel
MC Main Character
*FMC – Female Main Character and MMC- Male Main Character
MLMain Character
*Could also mean Main Lead
MTL Machine Translation
NU Novel Updates
NUF Novel Updates Forum
OP Overpowered
POV Point of View
TL Translation or Translator
WN Web Novel


ANTAGONISTA character who actively opposes or is hostile to the MC or Protagonist. A.k.a The real bad guys of the story.
CAPTURE TARGETA Capture Target is a Love Interest that the heroine/protagonist will have to raise their affection with. They are usually multiple Capture Targets that the heroine/protagonist can pick from by participating in predestined events/scenes involving them. The process of raising affection with the Capture Target is also called “entering a route”.

A character (can be female) that possesses superhuman powers not found in other humans. They may not be necessarily be the Protagonist and sometimes can be the Antagonist instead. Their traits differs depending on where they are depicted.

In Manga, they are usually tasked with defeating the Demon King or bringing peace to the world. These kind of heroes are usually summoned from another world or born natively in the world and given their powers by higher beings.

In Manhwa, they can refer to characters that achieved great feats of courage, military triumph or value justice over wealth and power thus gaining support from the commoners. They do have tremendous magical power or swordmanship skills to be able to do all that. They are usually born native in their world.

HEROINEA female character meant to overcome obstacles and tribulations to reach the happy ending with their chosen Capture Target. They are usually opposed by the Villainess.
ISEKAIA Japanese word describing an ordinary person who is transported to another world, summoned by magic, reincarnated, transmigrated or indefinitely trapped inside a new universe. A group of people or an entire populace can also be transported into a new world. The new world must always be different from the protagonist’s homeworld. It can be ancient, magical, or futuristic. The new world can either have a similar culture and society to that of the protagonist’s, or a completely different one.
MANHUAChinese comic in full color with detailed artwork (can be printed or digital). Meant to be read in a one continuous page using scrolling (if digital). Chat bubbles are read from left to right. Most popular genre and common trope of Manhua is the inclusion of Cultivation.
MANHWAKorean comic in full color with detailed artwork (can be printed or digital). Meant to be read in a one continuous page using scrolling (if digital). Chat bubbles are read from left to right. Most popular genre of Manhwa is Romance.

Simply put Visual Novel but for female demographic. Currently this term is used in some Isekai manga because the character got transported to the game world.

According to Wikipedia “An otome game is a story based video game that is targeted towards the female market. Generally one of the goals, besides the main plot goal, is to develop a romantic relationship between the female player character and one of several male characters. This genre is most established in Japan, and is mostly made up of visual novels and simulation games; particularly dating sims and life simulation games.”

PROTAGONISTThe leading character(s) or one of the major characters in the story. Opposite to Antagonist. A.k.a The good guys of the story.
REBIRTHA soul that is born again as another living being (i.e: demon to human). They may or may not retain their memories of previous life.
REGRESSIONA character that turned back time to their past triggered by their death or magical means whether knowingly or unknowingly. They usually retain their memories of their life.
REINCARNATIONA soul that is born again as a baby in a different world (rarely in the same world). They exibit the same traits and behavior as their previous life because they usually retain their memories of their previous life. A character can be reincarnated multiple times with or without their memories intact.
SAUCESlang used when asking for the “source” of an image.
SCANLATIONPortmanteau of Scan and Translation. Refers to the work of individuals of groups scanning and translating Manga, Manhwa and Manhua. Those that do this are called Scanlator.
TRANSMIGRATIONA soul that unwittingly possessed another person body after the original soul has died (usually in another world). They may or may not receive the previous owner memories.
VILLAINThe character perceived to be responsible for all of the trouble or harm or generally a bad person. They may not be the real Antagonist of the story and actually be one of the Protagonist assisting the MC in some situation. Can be a Capture Target too.
VILLAINESSA female version of the Villain. Some stories uses the Villainess trope as the MC while pairing it with the Otome Game trope.
WEBTOONAnother name for Manhwa. The word Webtoon originated from Korea. It denotes Korean digital comic in full color usually with detailed artwork. Meant to be read in a one continuous page using scrolling. Chat bubbles are read from left to right.