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Creatures by Many Other Names

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In Speculative Fiction, humans might be called something else. This trope, however is one that usually occurs in fantasy only, with all the different kinds and names of monsters that could be, and how variable monsters can be, certain works can use more than one name, but apply them to the same monster. Although, some of them might not be monstrous at all.

For example, a species that's known as fairies, might also be called pixies, or elves.

If the names are ones we have tropes on, then that qualifies a species for more tropes than they would otherwise. But this trope also encompasses things we don't have tropes on, or don't have tropes on yet, such as if, there's a Horned Humanoid species called Cornics, that call themselves, the Kerae.

Palette Swap and Underground Monkey may sometimes create this trope, if the variants are visually similar but named utterly differently. Like if a floating flame has two different colored variations, and which are respectively called a Will-o'-the-Wisp and an Evil Living Flame.

Linguistically speaking, this likely occurs in Real Life due to translations, or linguistic mixing for example, "Fairy" comes to English from French / Latin and "Elf" from German, for what are creatures that share many traits. You Are the Translated Foreign Word would also cause two names to appear in one work, although they would be in different languages.

Then there's The Scottish Trope, where some creatures are called by euphemisms, to avoid speaking its true name, (e.g) "Kindly Ones" for furies of Classical Mythology, or The Fair Folk for fairies.

There are a few Sister Tropes connected by the concept of naming species in relation to another name, but all of these don't need that secondary name to be In-Universe. The tropes are Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff", in which a work calls its mythical creatures the name of a different mythical creature; Not Using the "Z" Word, in which a work deliberately calls its well-known mythical creature a different, likely non-mythical word/term; And Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit", In which a made up thing uses the name of a normal thing. Lastly, Descriptively-Named Species, paired with another name, would result in this.

Fantastic Slur is a Sub-Trope because that requires that one of the alternate names is a slur. Binomium ridiculus is when the new name is in silly-sounding Latin-style, and actual binomial nomenclature when it's being more scientific, but that's not a trope, so that goes here.

Due to the One-Steve Limit, most names are uniquely identifying species, but for Real Life plants, that, and this trope, can occur together. Such as "miracle fruit" being the name for multiple fruits, that each have other names.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Death Note: The English dub of the anime interchanges "shinigami" and "god of death" a few times in the early episodes, presumably to make sure English-speakers know what a shinigami is supposed to be. By the middle of the series onward it just refers to them as "shinigami".
  • In Interviews with Monster Girls, monsters in general are called demi-humans owing to the fact that they are seen as Human Subspecies and treated as humans. Calling them "monsters" is considered to be akin to "It" Is Dehumanizing.
  • In Magical Miracle, elves are, due to Inconsistent Dub, called both "Hahaze" and "Onburu".
  • In Vampire Hunter D, vampires are often referred to as "Nobles", "The Nobility" and "Children of Darkness" as well as vampires

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: For multiple card types:
    • "Boggart Sprite-Chaser" are buffed when Faeries are present, so it's implied that "sprite" and "faerie" are synonymous.
    • Geists being all Spirits, implies they're referring to the same thing.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the English version, it's implied that fairies and angels are the same thing, and based on the Japanese version, they are the same, given that "天使族", a.k.a basically "Angel-type" is translated to "Fairy" in English, and some English cards use both words, like "Doma The Angel of Silence", whose Flavor Text is:
    This fairy rules over the end of existence.

    Fan Works 
  • Oversaturated World: In Group Precipitation: "X-Ray Examination, by Jenna Cipher and FoME", a alien species has multiple possible translations for its name:
    "They are the... how to translate the term? Astrals? Quintessentials?"
    Ditzy quirked an eyebrow. "You copied my knowledge of Wranglish. How can you not know?"
    Kikai paced about the bed. "Because your language is a hair-splitting kleptomaniac with commitment issues.
  • In the Wicked fanfic Verdigris, zombies are referred to as "Unmentionables" and "Verdigris'".

    Film - Animated 
  • Beowulf (2007): Due to You Are the Translated Foreign Word: As Grendel's Mother approaches the eponymous hero, she says "Beowulf. Bee wolf. Bear." Considering that she's supposed to be speaking in Old English, she really just said "Beowulf" three times in a row.
  • In Peter Pan, Tinker Bell is referred to as both a fairy and a pixie.

    Film - Live-Action 

  • Discworld:
    • The euphemisms for elves are used because Speak of the Devil, and they shall appear. "The Fair Folk", "The Lords and Ladies" and "The Gentry".
    • The Nac Mac Feegle are also called pictsies, and are technically a kind of fairy.
    • In the early books "goblin" was used interchangeably with "gnome" — most notably in the short story "Theatre of Cruelty". Unseen Academicals and Snuff, however, establish that gnomes and goblins are very different.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula due to using You Are the Translated Foreign Word for reporting something he heard and providing a translation, presumably for his own future reference.
    "stregoica" — witch, "vrolok" and "vlkoslak" — both mean the same thing, one being Slovak and the other Servian for something that is either werewolf or vampire. (Mem., I must ask the Count about these superstitions.)"
  • The Dresden Files: Pixies are a specific kind of fairy.
  • Fantasy Encyclopedia: When talking of gnomes, this is mentioned for the connection between regular gnomes, garden gnomes, and dwarves:
    Gnomes are not at all like garden gnomes, which are actually dwarves, a mistake that began in early fairy tales.
  • Lyttle Lytton Contest: From the 2020 entries, implied as both an orc and an ogre from the name:
    Oogor Orkson let out a curdling hell scream and plunged his rigid warpick deep into elven flesh; this was not an Age for soft long-ears, but hard green men.
  • Spoofed in "Mark Trade," an early MAD parody of Mark Trail:
    "Shall we spy on the habitat of Wa-sko-wee-ta, the moose? Shall we invade the habitat of Ka-wa-we-ska, the otter, or shall we visit the habitat of Ko-ka-ko-la, the drink?"
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Elf-related things, have also been called Fey, like a "fey-wood".
  • In The Stormlight Archive, one race is variously called Parshmen, Parshendi, Listeners, Singers, Voidbringers, and Fused depending on which book it is, which group of them it is, and which character is narrating.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: In The Fairy Godmother, it is said that "dragonets [...] were the much smaller, unintelligent subspecies of Draconis Sapiens". Draconis Sapiens is presumably the designation for sapient dragons, which appear later in the series.
  • In Tolkien's Legendarium, the words Orc and Goblin refer to the same species, though some groups such as the Uruk-Hai are only ever called orcs.
  • Whateley Universe: The Sidhe have been called fairies, or elves, and possibly Alfar, and one of them has a codename of Fey.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The titular vampires call are called various things, some examples being: "the Kindred" and "the Damned".
  • Deviant: The Renegades might just have Masquerade beat. The titular Deviants are also known as Remade, Broken, Renegades, and Devoted. (The last two being mutually exclusive.)

    Video Games 
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow: The Cockatrice and the Basilisk are pretty much palette swaps, although mythological, speaking, they're very different, which is Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff".
  • The Elder Scrolls the races of Elves all have a common name and an Aldmeri name, which about half the time means the same thing (with "elves" translated as "folk or ones") and half the time has it's own meaning.
    • Wood Elves are also called Bosmer, which means "forest folk" ,
    • Dark Elves are Dunmer, or "dark folk",
    • High Elves are Altmer, or "high folk"
    • Snow Elves are Falmer, or "snow folk"
    • Sea Elves are Maormer, or "sea folk"
    • Orcs are Orsimer or "cursed folk"
    • Dwarves are Dwemer or "deep folk" (or at least were before they vanished mysteriously).
    • Notably, the Aldmer "Old/ancient folk" and Chimer "changed folk" are only referred to by those names, and the Ayleids, though sometimes called "Heartland High Elves" do not have a -mer name. All three of these races no longer exist, so a common name is not necessary.
  • Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green: By Not Using the "Z" Word. Some of the more strained euphemisms the game uses include "flesh feasters", "awakened dead", and "soulless walkers".
  • A Primer On The Capture And Identification Of The Little Folk Of Myth And Legend: It offers multiple spellings for the names of the tiny humanoids, but there's some which only have one name, like MENEHUNE or DWARF:
    • Fairy: "Marvellous - you've captured a FAIRY (also called a FAE or FAERIE)
    • Puca: "Well, I must say that I'm impressed you've managed to capture a PUCA (also known as a PWCA, a CROMLECH or a PHOOCA)."
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky:

  • Blonde Sunrise: Werewolves are more commonly referred to as lycans, as seen in the character listing.
  • Delve: Parodying Not Using the "Z" Word, in a one-comic diversion from the NSFW webcomic, using alternate names for zombies, a term which is only used by one person, the rest of the universe seems to know them as: "The Infected", "The Biters" and "The Ambulant Deceased".
  • Modest Medusa: With a bit of Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff", the titular character's species is referred to as "hydra" by the Prince of Yeld. Modest's mother's name is Gorgon, and her daughters all call themselves Medusa until they decide that's too confusing. They're mostly just the author's own invention.