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Dehumanizing Insult

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"No one asked your opinion... you filthy, little Mudblood."

When insulting someone, particularly someone of a different race/class/state of living, it's common to call them a subperson rather than just accuse them of having a negative trait like being dumb. In many cases, the two will overlap, but it's not always done in such a way.

Super-Trope of Nicknaming the Enemy, Pitiful Worms and My Friends... and Zoidberg. Sub-Trope to Dehumanization. See Call a Human a "Meatbag" for robots or Energy Beings insulting organic life forms, Son of an Ape for nonhumans insulting humans (or humans insulting other humans who they consider primitive), or Fantastic Slurs when the target of the insult is a sentient nonhuman. See also "It" Is Dehumanizing, Your Little Dismissive Diminutive and You Monster!.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, Eldians are frequently dehumanized by being called devils, amongst a few other things, although it's not known if this is merely metaphorical or if there are literal implications. Also overlaps with You Monster!.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Frieza is quite blatantly racist towards the Saiyans, often mockingly calling them apes, monkeys, and simians.
  • In Kill la Kill, Satsuki repeatedly refers to the common students at her school as "pigs in human clothing". Additionally, Nonon is fond of calling Sanageyama a "wild monkey".
  • Katsuki Bakugou from My Hero Academia has an incredible superiority complex. He sees himself as the greatest thing alive and the only one who can or should succeed in life. In the beginning of the series, he dismisses everyone around himself as "extras" who won't amount to anything. He even calls Izuku, his former friend who was diagnosed as quirkless, "Deku", which translated into kanji means "worthless or useless".
  • One Piece:
    • After seeing what Crocodile has done during the "Alabasta" arc, Zoro bluntly says, "The term 'not-human' was created to describe scum such as you."
    • "Dog" is also a predominant strong insult towards Marines, especially when they follow "Absolute Justice".

    Comic Books 
  • In the "Nativity" arc of The Authority, France is attacked by Corrupted Character Copies of the Howling Commandos. When one of them questions whether it's right to be attacking civilians, the Nick Fury expy remarks that "civilians are civilized. These are French." He goes on to say that he hates the French even more than he hates Mexicans, Asians, and blacks.
  • In Eternals (2006), Sprite mentions that the Eternals used to call the humans "mayflies" because of their comparatively short lifespans. This is born out later when Zuras chides Thena for bringing her human son to Olympia; he says that she will outlive her son, and thus there's no point keeping him around (that the boy is his grandson doesn't seem to interest him in the least). She counters that Zuras brought his dog with him, and the dog will die much sooner than her son.
  • In the second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as the Martian invasion of London continues, Nemo contemplates blowing up the bridges to turn the Thames river into London's moat and stymie the invaders. He considers that the resulting civilian casualties would not be worth worrying about, because they're only English.
  • In Runaways, upon meeting Klara Prast for the first time, Xavin refuses to acknowledge her presence and instead chides Karolina for wasting the team's time with a "stray".
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Alkyone calls Diana "The Dragon" and believes she is the foretold doom of the Amazons.
    • Wonder Woman (2011): Wondy's fellow Amazons call her "clay" behind her back, referencing the fact that she was made of clay. These Amazons are revealed to be fakes created as part of a cover-up by the Olympians at the close of the New 52.
    • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Tek calls Diana Phyxis, as a reference to her unnatural birth from clay, as she resents Diana and feels that the Amazons will eventually have to pay a horrible price for her life since the gods "never give anything for free".
  • In X-Men and most of the media adapted from the comics, mutants are often called "muties" by anti-mutant bigots.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Turning Red fanfic The Great Red Panda Rescue, Mei is kidnapped and continually called "freak" by her captors.
  • I Will Not Bow:
    • On multiple occasions in Blazing Revolution and Blazing Generations, whenever Sugou and/or Yamato are mentioned, Kirito's crew tends to describe them as "parasites".
    • In Blazing Generations chapter 54, with Yui and Luna outed as AIs, Madoka demeans them by calling them "robots" and "freaks".
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Bishop Sharkov wants to throw Lily and her sisters out of the church, calling the nuns "creatures" who have long since overstayed their welcome.
    • Archbishop Grishom exhorts the rebel forces to "do away with the yolk of the 'False Goddess and her pet demon'". The term "pet demon" is meant as an insult to the Good Hunter.
  • "Dog (of the World Government)"/"Government Pet" are the two worst things anyone can call a Marine in Rerum Danarae, far more than in the original One Piece. Which one is actually the worse of both is not clear, as the latter is also a designator for a Marine that rose through the ranks through Government Backing, usually doing the World Government's dirty work (and thus being Absolute Justice followers) while escaping legal consequences.
  • Subverted in Planet of the Mullettes, where the crewmen of the spaceship the TARDIS team meets think Rory called one of them (who has been less than nice) "not human". Rory hurries to clarify that he meant the Doctor (wounded at the moment) and explains that the Time Lord can't take certain human medicines.
  • Pulse and Void, a My Hero Academia fic has Fusion, a sadistic, perverted torturer who is working with another villain but wants to keep a captive Present Mic for himself when it’s over. He does a lot of Evil Gloating to an already bloodthirsty Aizawa during which he calls Mic a “worthless piece of shit”, a dog, and a pet. He’s obsessed with wielding power over another person and sees Mic as personal plaything he wants to have more fun with. But he quickly finds out that Aizawa is intent on ripping him apart and that he isn’t getting it of it alive.
    • Another My Hero Academia fic The Harvest has Overhaul turn his sights on Aizawa as a source of quirk erasing blood. Overhaul keeps calling Aizawa “Blood Bag” because he sees him as just a blood source and occasionally a way to fulfill certain adult urges.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Batman throws several of these at Superman during their fight.
    Batman: You're not brave. Men are brave.
    Batman: You were never a god. You were never even a man!
  • Ghostbusters (1984): When Dana Barrett is possessed by Zuul and wants to have sex, she tells Peter Venkman, "Take me now, subcreature."
  • Juncture: After Anna delivers her rant at the dinner party about rapists and molesters and mothers who kill their children:
    Marty: What are we supposed to do? They're still human beings.
    Anna: Are they?
  • Monster is about two gay kids who are still in elementary school. Hoshikawa's father says that his son has a pig's brain, and claims that this is a mental disease that he has to get rid of. Also teachers call every kid or parent that causes them trouble a monster.

  • In Gor, a common epithet is to call someone a "tarsk" or a "sleen", both of which are animals on this world.
  • Harry Potter:
    • As the quote on top of this page shows, "mudblood" is a dehumanizing insult. In this universe, there are elitist wizards who believe one's worth can be measured by the amount of wizards in one's family tree. These wizards see Muggles as subhuman and dirty beings. Mudblood is a term they use for wizards with two muggle parents, as they consider these wizards to have impure dirty blood.
    • Another frequently used insult is half-breed, used for wizards with at least one non-human parent. Though more prejudiced wizards or witches, like Dolores Umbridge, also use this term to refer to creatures who resemble humans, but aren't related to them, like for example Centaurs and Mer-people.
    • In the first book (in scenes omitted from the film), Hagrid calls obese Dudley "yeh great lump" and a "great puddin'". When Vernon insults Dumbledore, Hagrid grows Dudley a pig's tail, causing him to "howl with pain".
  • In Honor Harrington, Mesan slaves and ex-slaves refer to Mesa's ruling class and especially Manpower Ultd. as "the scorpions".
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, a woman accuses Ward of being inappropriately interested in "Haverness' cow" — she's talking about Haverness' daughter. (Ward himself has been compared to an ox, but more because of his strength than as an insult, making this hilarious in context.)
  • In John Carter of Mars, "calot" (a Barsoomian creature that resembles a mix between a frog and dog) and "ulsio" (a Barsoomian rodent) are sometimes used as insults against people.
  • Lilith's Brood: After the End, humanity is divided into those who live and have children with the alien Oankali, and sterile "resisters" who refuse to associate with them. The more unpleasant resisters refer to the first group of humans as the Oankali's "animals".
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sandor Clegane's nickname "the Hound" is only partially affectionate. Mostly, it's meant to reflect that the Lannisters only consider him valuable so long as he protects Joffrey. Meanwhile, Samwell Tarly's nickname "Ser Piggy" is definitely meant to dehumanize him, as is Tyrion's nickname "the Imp".
  • In Star Trek: Voyager: The Black Shore, the crew of the Voyager travel to a seemingly friendly planet where the apparent natives have enslaved a race of primates that they call the "neffler". The crew starts to realize that something's wrong when the natives start referring to them as neffler. It turns out that "natives" came from somewhere else, and that the "neffler" are some long-extinct species that they previously exploited. They now use the word to describe all those they subjugate.
  • In Unique, vampires refer to humans as 'kine'. Of note, at one point Ophelia uses the term when talking to Lana and she reflexively snaps back "Don't call them that," because unlike Ophelia who had never moved beyond smugly glorying in her power, she had gone out and made human friends and trained herself to think of them as real people.
  • Victoria has the heroes refer to ethnic gangs, and people who disrespect American history or culture, as 'orcs'.
  • In Warrior Cats, solitary feral cats are commonly referred to as 'rogues'. Clan cats think of them as untrustworthy, dishonorable, dirty, and cowardly, and they have lumped all those traits into that single catchall term. When Hollyleaf learns she might have been born a rogue, she is filled with horror at what it implies, namely, that she is really one of those horrible uncivilized creatures her 'mother' told her about.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24: Redemption, the Child Soldiers being trained by the season's Big Bad are taught to think of the enemies they're going to kill as "cockroaches".
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy and Xander call Spike a "thing" at varying points in season 6. The former is particularly notable, as she'd never spoken to him that dehumanizingly even when he was her direct antagonist and Big Bad — it isn't until she finds herself attracted to him that she starts trying to emphasize his monstrous nature.
  • Inverted in Community. Dean Pelton reasons that the players on the Greendale Community College football team have been called animals their whole lives, so he renames the team the Human Beings.
  • In Dare Me, Beth's pet name for her half-sister Tacy is "Fetus".
  • Family Ties: In "The Harder They Fall", a Sadist Teacher refers to Steven and Elyse as Amazonian savages... this after both had punched him in the jaw for insulting them and others in the classroom. During a private meeting with Steven, the teacher also calls Elyse a crude name, although he whispers this in Steven's ear. Beforehand, the teacher was called out by several parents for calling his students cruel names and nicknames.
  • In the Mad Men episode "Six Month Leave", Roger Sterling remarks that before Freddy Rumsen was in the Army Signal Corps, he was "in charge of killing people. And by 'people', I mean Germans."
  • In Supergirl (2015), after aliens start becoming more public, bigoted humans start referring to them as "roaches".

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock, Rapture's citizens refer to those who preach non-objectivist viewpoints and/or smuggle in surface world contraband as "parasites". Burial at Sea even reveals that Rapture's schools teach children about a Right Way/Wrong Way Pair named Ryan the Lion and Peter the Parasite.
  • In Dragon Age II, the Qunari refer to just about all non-Qunari as bas, which literally translates to "thing".
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Garlean Empire refers to anyone not of the empire, regardless of their race or sapience of it, as a "savage". There's also the beastmen, who are otherwise intelligent but mostly lacking in humanoid attributes so much that Fantastic Racism is very much in effect, even on people not using it to dehumanize them, it's just their overall moniker.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Felix calls his former close friend Dimitri a "boar" due to the latter's violent true nature, as he saw the latter consumed with bloodlust when they put down a rebellion two years before the start of the game. He also calls Dimitri's retainer Dedue a "dog" due to being disgusted by Dedue's Blind Obedience to Dimitri.
  • The Desians in Tales of Symphonia, who are all half-elves (though not all half-elves are Desians), incessantly refer to their enemies as "inferior beings".
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, those who detest flesh-eater blades (blades who have mortal DNA absorbed into their crystal through various means) tend to be called "cannibals". This resentment could stem from the unnatural power a flesh-eating blade might acquire, if they're lucky.
  • In Xenogears, the people of Solaris use the term "lamb" or "land-dweller" to speak about everyone else in the world. "Land-dweller" is kinda justified, given that Solaris is a floating sky city.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, Dennis starts calling the protagonist a “tool” that he plans to use against Dr. Mosely after he's gotten dirt on him.

    Web Videos 
  • Weird school rules in Hong Kong: In The Stinger of Episode 3, a student complains that not permitting students to speak during lessons deprives them of freedom and compares them to not allowing one's pet dog to bark. The student next to him then says, in complete Gratuitous English, "You are a dog."

    Western Animation 
  • In Infinity Train, the Apex — a bunch of passengers who assume that the Train is a playland for them to abuse — call denizens "Nulls" because they don't have numbers.
  • Rahan: The Wolf Clan frequently refers to the Cave-Dwellers as "savages" while the Cave-Dwellers regard the Wolf Clan as "beasts".
  • In Steven Universe, an insult used among Gems is "clod" — a chunk of dirt which, by implication, has no mind or form. It's practically become Peridot's Catchphrase Insult. Similarly, "pebble" also seems to be used as an insult, although we only hear it once.
  • Teen Titans (2003) features this trope heavily in the episode "TROQ". In it, the Titans meet a muscular metallic alien named Val-Yor and happily introduce themselves. It's only when Starfire steps onto the scene that he says, "I see you have a Tamaranian." Val-Yor goes on to ask the Titans for help with a mission of his and soon every one of the Titans is given an Affectionate Nickname by their new companion except for Starfire, whom he begrudgingly refers to as "Troq" or "Troqie". Cyborg asks what the word "Troq" means just as Starfire leaves to complete her part of the mission. She replies, "It means nothing." Having watched her successfully complete her task, Cyborg exclaims "Way to go, Troqie!", only for Starfire to become angry. Puzzled, Cyborg reminds her that she said it didn't mean anything. She promptly corrects him and explains that the word "Troq" literally means "nothing" and that when Val-Yor calls her that, he's saying she's worthless. Obviously, that doesn't sit well with the rest of the team and in the end all Val-Yor has decided is that Starfire must be one of the good Tamaranians. That still doesn't sit well with the team.