Follow TV Tropes


Humans by Any Other Name

Go To
Maria: I've been wondering for a while... What does "Minos" mean?
Jin: [...] Well, it comes from the word "minority." These days, most people are Adepts, so they are the majority. That makes us the minority, and so we're called "Minos." To be honest, I don't like using that word to refer to myself. It feels like admitting defeat.

It looks like a human, walks like a human, talks like a human, and, for all intents and purposes, it is a human. Yet, for some odd reason, it is not called "human".

In Speculative Fiction, the word "human" can seem out of place in a universe where every other species is Named After Their Planet (unless, of course, they come from Humus). As a consequence of this, or perhaps just to sound "exotic", alien cultures often come up with their own monikers for Puny Earthlings. Indeed, the word "Earthling" itself is an example, and it also shows that most of the time, oddly enough, they name humans after our own terms for our planet and its surroundings, rather than whatever Earth or the Sun is named in their language.

Of course, the word "human" itself originally meant "of earth", arguably making this Older Than Feudalism. The implied contrast, however, was not inhabitants of the Earth as opposed to those of other planets, but mortals walking the earth as opposed to the celestial gods.

Animal characters will also often refer to humans by something besides "human", even in works where other animals have their standard names. For quadrupeds, it's particularly common for describe humans by their bipedalism, such as using "two-legged".

Sometimes indicative of Fantastic Racism, though not as much as Call a Human a "Meatbag" or Son of an Ape. Not to be confused with Human Aliens, or Our Humans Are Different. Compare Ambiguously Human, where a specific individual looks reasonably human, but has something off about them that makes people think otherwise.

A subtrope of this is Planet Terra. Another is Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp".


    open/close all folders 

  • "Terran" (from the Latin Terra, "Earth") is probably the most popular choice by far, which crept into all kinds of settings, from Starship Troopers to Blake's 7 to StarCraft, along with other examples. It probably got popular because it sounds like what you might call some alien race, and, at some point, wasn't immediately recognizable as "Earth", so it feels "alien". "Terran" also sounds cooler than "Human".
  • "Solar(i)an" (from latin Sol, "Sun") is used less frequently, but to exactly the same effect.
  • An older established term was "Earthling" - something of a Discredited Trope, as nowadays this brings to mind "naive children under the bootheels of little green martians", rather than "badasses". It also immediately conjures up the word "Puny".
    • Star Control used the term "Earthling Cruiser" to describe our Alliance starship in the first game. The subsequent game(s) switched to calling them "Human Cruisers" likely due to the word's discrediting.
    • In Russian sci-fi (or Russian translations of sci-fi from other languages), the word "zemlyane" (Earthlings) is typically used in place of "humans" ("lyudi"), as the latter word also means "people", which doesn't necessarily apply to just humans. Alternatively, in settings with Human Alien races, you may also hear/read "Earth humanity" when referring to the people of Earth.
  • It's worth bearing in mind that there are several technical words for "beings closely taxonomically related to humans". "Hominid" used to mean "humans and their extinct relatives", but since Science Marches On and it's found out that gibbons (the lesser apes) branched off of the ape superfamily earlier than humans, according to The Other Wiki "hominids" now refer to all great apes (humans, chimps, gorillas, and orangutans). "Hominin" is sometimes used as a modern alternative, but taxonomically speaking, it includes both humans and chimps. The More You Know...
  • "Two-leggeds" or something similar is often used in xenofiction works when the protagonists are quadrupeds. "Man" is also common.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sgt. Frog: Keronians give us the title of Pekoponians/Pekoponjin, because they refer to Earth as "Pekopon". In the manga the planet was "Pokopen", a rather nasty Japanese word for the Chinese, which was changed for obvious reasons.
  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross, humans and miniaturized Zentradi are known as "Microns" ("Micronians" in Robotech), although this is more to do with their size than their race.
  • The Arume from Blue Drop refer to earthly human beings as "Horime".
  • Heroic Age officially designates Humans as "The Iron Tribe".
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the humans are also referred as "Lilim" by certain in-the-know individuals, due to their descent from the alien lifeform called Lilith, and the entire human race is the 18th Angel.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, humans are called Spirals in the end. This term also encompasses all humanoid races that can use Spiral Energy.
  • In Uchuu Senkan Yamato, the invading Gamillans call the Earthlings "Terron".
  • Inverted in Dragon Ball, whose setting doesn't appear to have a term directly equivalent to "human" as we would understand it, at least not in casual speech. "Ningen" (Japanese for human) is treated as more or less synonymous with "mortal"; it refers to any intelligent life form that is not a god. "Chikyuujin" (earthling) can be used to narrow it down a bit more, but this category also includes sapient Beast Men and Half-Human Hybrids. I.e.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, in the original Japanese, humans are written with the kanji for "human", but the pronounciation guide says "tall-man" in English. The official English translation uses the latter. They're also nicknamed "long legs", particularly by shorter races like the dwarves. In the translation, the term "human" is instead used to refer to the sapient races as a whole.
  • Gundam series almost always have Absent Aliens, but has a variant in different terms for humans depending if they grew up on Earth or in space colonies:
    • In the original Universal Century continuity, they were "Earthnoid" or "Spacenoid".
    • The humans in ∀ Gundam from the lunar colonies are known as the "Moonrace". They call humans from Earth "chikyuujin", a comparatively generic phrase considered equivalent to "Earthling", though the subs translate it as "Earther".
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, the equivalent terms are "Earthian" and "Spacian".

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering considered doing this when they first decided to make Human into a creature type (previously, humans had only a "class" creature type and no "race"). They eventually decided to just use human, though.
    • Kithkin (or Sangamis in the French version), Magic's Hobbit expy, could qualify. Especially since in the Lorwyn block, they are the creature type closest to what you would expect from humans (live in cities, have pink skin, use tech rather than magic...) They have the proportions of hobbits and lead idyllic, pastoral, cooperative lives. Lorwyn deliberately had no humans in it at all unless planeswalkers count.
    • Other creature types like Metathran and Kor showed up around the same time as Human in much the same manner: previously, all members of these races had only "class" creature types. Apart from their blue skin, both qualify as examples of this trope.

  • 2000 AD's alien Editor-In-Chief, Tharg the Mighty, refers to humans as "Earthlets."

    Fan Works 
  • In Their Bond, wolfos refer to humans and other humanoid beings as "two-leggers". They also call other animals, like deer, "four-leggers".
  • Zwei in Humble Beginnings refers to humans as "Creatures", though it seems to be a term for beings in general.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, the feral horse protagonist Spirit refers to humans as "two-leggeds".
  • In the Hungarian animated film Vuk the Little Fox (as well as the novel it's based on), foxes call humans "Smooth-skins", referring to their hairless skin.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Though there is no Earth in Star Wars, most humans are referred to by their planet of origin — Corellians from Corellia, Coruscanti from Coruscant, Naboo from Naboo and so on. Collectively, they are called humans though however. Expanded Universe material (currently non-canon) strongly implies that humans evolved on Coruscant, originally an early space-age species known as the Zhell, but spreading through space through generation ships until Corellians developed hyperdrives. Humans is just a catch-all term.
  • In Willow, humans are referred to as "Daikini", which may or may not be a racial slur. The Making of... says that Daikini is a Nelwyn word meaning "tall person", implying that humans might call themselves human..
  • In TRON, the programs call humans "Users".
  • In Jupiter Ascending, Caine refers to the humans of Earth as "Terrsies" in a tone that is very condescending.
  • In Coneheads, Remulakians refer to humans as "Humo-carbs".
  • In The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, the Garbage Pail Kids refer to humans as "normies".
  • In The Lord of the Rings, humans are referred simply as Men (see literature section).

  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • J. R. R. Tolkien refers to humans in all his Middle Earth's stories as Men (with capital "m") as a counterpart to Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and Hobbits among others. This is carried out to the film adaptations both animated and live action and is probably a Call-Back to classic fantasy literature as the term human wasn't common in classic mythology or literature.
    • In one his letters, Tolkien pointed out that Elves and Men being able to interbreed means that they must be the same species. While unstated in that letter, this logic must also mean that the Orcs and Men are the same species — the Uruk-hai are, after all, Half-Human Hybrids. Another letter has him noting that the Hobbits are an offshoot of Men. Taken together, this suggests the reason that he doesn't call Men "human" is that all of the main races are humans, and Men refers specifically to the branch of humans that survived to the modern day (this also makes Tolkien one of the few sci-fi/fantasy authors to use the term "race" correctly, as they are in fact different races of the same species).
  • Battlefield Earth. Man-animal.
  • Inverted in Cat Planet Cuties. The Catians are so insanely similar to humans (having a genetic difference of only 0.00001%), that they not only speak our language but call their home planet Earth and themselves Earthlings. Upon encountering our Earth, they voluntarily changed their name so as to avoid confusion.
  • "Tellurian" (from the Latin Tellus, a Roman earth-goddess) is a related example, most associated with Lensman author E. E. "Doc" Smith, but also seen elsewhere, including several episodes of Doctor Who.
    • In addition, Solarian is the term used to describe the races native to the Solar System: Tellurians, Martians, and Venerians.
  • Piers Anthony's Cluster books used the term "Solarian", named after the star, as opposed to the planet.
  • Similarly, the Lizards in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar novels refer to humans as "Tosevites" — derived from Tosev, their name for Sol. When speaking formally, anyway. In casual speech, they're just as likely to refer to humans as "Big Uglies". It's implied that the names of the two races previously conquered by the Race (the Halessi and the Rabotevs) are not native names.
  • Arthur Dent of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gets called Earthman, although he is one of only two remaining humans. (Trillian is only ever "Trillian".)
  • Animorphs averts the convention that aliens are named after their own home world, and instead, they call their planets "the Andalite home world," "the Hork-Bajir home world," and so on; it's mostly unclear whether they have any other names for these planets. Despite the fact that they use this convention for every other inhabited planet, they still call this planet "Earth" rather than "the human home world."
    • In The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor asks Loren if she is an "Earther" after hearing the name of her homeworld for the first time, leading to some speculation that the Andalite homeworld is called Andal.
    • According to The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, it's actually the other way around: Andalites name planets after the dominant sentient species. Unless, like Earth, the dominant species already has their own name for it.
    • Other than Earth, the only exception seems to be Leerans, from the planet Leera.
    • Word of God is that every species calls their home world their language's equivalent of the word "Earth", so the "_______ home world" naming is more a case of Translation Convention.
  • In the Antares novels by Michael McCollum, the Ryall aliens refer to humans as "Monsters".
  • In Fred Saberhagen's Berserker universe, all sapient life forms are called Human. Homo sapiens is called the E.D., or Earth Descended "theme" of humanity. (Non-human Earthlife is also referred to as E.D. lifeforms.)
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space stories, humans get different titles based on what planet they're from. Few of of these are references to the name of the planet. Earth humans are Flatlanders, humans from the asteroid belt (or any asteroids in the Solar System) are Belters, those from "We Made It" are Crashlanders (guess how they — and the planet — got THAT name?), natives of Plateau are Mountaineers, and so on.
    • Just to further complicate things, planet-born visitors to the Ringworld informally took to calling themselves "Ball People" to distinguish themselves from the indigenous hominids and kzinti.
  • Robert Sheckley's The Monsters features aliens identified in the text as "humans," who regard the visiting actual humans as (you guessed it) "monsters."
  • In The Culture, humans are the most common species - apparently capable of interbreeding - despite evolving independently on thousands of different worlds, and the word "human" is generally understood to refer to all of these people.
    • Well, within the Culture itself at least, but they all have tons of specialized organs which probably contributes to their capability of reproducing with other Humanoids outside the Culture (such as one half-Culture-by-biology character in Consider Phlebas who becomes pregnant with the child of a non-Culture Humanoid).
      • In The Player of Games, at one point, the main character is forced to bet his reproductive organs on the outcome of a match and his AI companion assures him that the Culture has no intention of letting such "advanced biological equipment" fall into a potentially rival civilization's hands (the reverse engineering possibilities would be disastrous). If it came down to it, they would simply evacuate him as soon as he lost and face the political/military consequences.
    • Interestingly, this does not seem to include H. sapiens itself — Earth is an uncontacted backwater through most of said books.
  • In Codex Alera, Aleran isn't technically just another name for humans. Alera is the name of the continent they live on, and of their empire. However, since Alera is the only incontestably human nation (The Marat are Homo, but may not be sapiens), it's mostly a distinction without a difference.
  • Played with in the Dragaera books: both the actual humans ("Easterners") and the basically-elves ("Dragaerans") refer to themselves as human and the other group as the alternate name. In some places outside of the Dragaeran Empire, humans call Dragaerans "elfs," and Dragaerans call humans "dwarfs."
  • In the Sector General books, every sentient species refers to themselves as "human", or by a word that the Translator Microbes translate as "human". As this is utterly useless to the medically-oriented protagonists, they frequently have to insist that their patients use the hospital's four-letter code description for different species.
  • In the Tairen Soul series the word that isn't used is human or even Man. Instead they call the humans by their nation's name or elves and fey call them mortals.
  • In the Prince Roger series, Mardukans (9-foot tall 4-armed guys with horns) call the stranded human company basik, after a rather dim creature that fills the same niche in the ecology as a rabbit. They quickly learn that this is a big mistake. The humans, in turn, call Mardukans "scummies" due to their slimy moist skins (they evolved from amphibians).
  • In Hilari Bell's YA science fiction novel A Matter of Profit, the humans call themselves the Vivitare.
  • The Kantri of Tales of Kolmar call humanity "Gedri", Silent Ones, because humans mostly can't use or hear the psychic "truespeech" that Kantri have as well as vocal speech.
  • The animals from Tamora Pierce's The Immortals quartet call humans "two-leggers", for obvious reasons.
  • In the Myth Adventures books, the dimension humans come from is known as Klah, and the humans themselves are Klahds (pronounced "clods").
  • In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel the Elders typically call humans "humani".
  • Isaac Asimov
    • "Homo Sol":
      • This is an Inverted Trope example because the over two hundred Humanoid Aliens of the galactic Federation are considered members of "mankind", and are "humans".
      • This story has a straight example of this trope because each intelligent species is given the genus designation Homo and species designation of the star system they evolved in. There is Homo Arcturus, Homo Alpha Centauri, and, in our case, Homo Sol. Each species can also be called by their system name; Arcturians, Centaurians, and Solarians.
    • "The Hazing": Williams calls the other human races "Galaxy men", in parallel to the term "Earthmen" for the humans of Earth.
    • "The Secret Sense": Several nouns are used for human beings in this work; human, Earthmen, and Terrestrial.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles: Rather than being introduced as Earthlings, human characters tend to introduce themselves as Terrans, and they speak Terran Basic. There is a small impact on the plot with this; Ancient Astronauts came and visited Earth in the distant past and brought a community to colonize the planet Izz, so there are technically two planets of human beings and Terrans would distinguish which race of humans are meant.
  • In the Eldraeverse the eldrae are seven-foot tall immortal humanoids with pointy ears who are descended from heavily Precursors-modified Transplanted Humans. The few fossils of these ancestors are identified in their scientific literature as (in translation) Pseudoeldrae archaea.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's The Missing Link, the protagonist lands on a rogue planet and names it Chthon (which literally means "Earth" in Greek) and its extinct people Chthonians (making them Earthlings?).
  • In Vladimir Vasilyev's Death or Glory books, aliens tend to call humans "Homo", likely derived from "homo sapiens".
  • Cats in Tailchaser's Song refer to humans as "m'an" and as "(the) Big Folk" (in contrast to cats being the normal "Folk") or "Big Ones". "M'an" means "out of the sunshine", referring to the "Just So" Story about how the first human was an exiled cat who was deformed by a demi-god due to his cocky behavior.
  • In Wings of Fire, dragons call humans "scavengers" (due to humans scavenging off of dragon treasures). Overlaps with Call a Human a "Meatbag" as dragons think humans are weak creatures only good for a snack. The fact one of their queens was killed by a scavenger, who also stole her treasure, is a source of embarrassment and mockery.
  • Erin Hunter:
    • Warrior Cats:
      • Humans are most commonly referred to as Twolegs. They have also been called Nofurs and Upwalkers, as well as housefolk and workfolk (for pet cats).
      • Humans are referred to as "Man" (always capitalized) by dogs.
    • In Seeker Bears, different bears refer to humans as different things. Polar bears call them "no-claws", black bears call them "flatfaces", and grizzly bears call them "smoothpelts". Humans are usually referred to as "flatfaces".
    • In Survivor Dogs, dogs and wolves refer to humans as "longpaws".
  • According to Disney Fairies, Never fairies refer to humans as "clumsies". This is because, compared to them, humans are unusually ungainly and clumsy.
  • Kherishdar: The Ai-Naidar always refer to humans as "Aunera", aliens.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Narnians prefer the more formal and religiously themed terms "Sons of Adam" and "Daughters of Eve" to refer to humans.
  • In Cat Pack, cat slang for humans is "two-leggeds".
  • In Felidae, cats refer to humans as "can-openers", which has an edge of Cats Are Superior to it.
  • In The Cold Moons, humans are referred to with both "human" and "man".
  • In House of Tribes, mice call humans "nudniks".
  • In No Game No Life, humans are the 16th race of the Exceed, called "Imanity". They're the lowest of the Exceed, having no outstanding physical capabilities or inclination towards magic. It's later revealed that Imanity was not one of the Exceed originally, but instead were elevated to such status by Tet when he ascended to One True God. The is derived from combining the words for "immunity" and "humanity".
  • Overlord (2012): Since every member of Nazarick is of a nonhuman species, their terms for humans tend to be less than flattering. Narberal in particular refers to every human she talks to as some species of insect/arachnid/small insignificant lifeform, and has yet to use the same one twice.
  • Hollow Kingdom (2019): Most of the wildlife refers to humanity as "The One Who Hollows", with individual humans being called "Hollows"; this references the species' collective tendency to hollow away nature for their own ends. S.T. the crow calls humans "MoFos" instead, due to being raised by a man with a rather colorful vocabulary.
  • In The Dark Side of the Sun, "human" is a legal status indicating sentience and conferring rights. It cover actual homo sapiens (known as "Man" In-Universe), various species of aliens and sufficiently intelligent robots or A.I.s.
  • In The Black Fox of Beckham, foxes call humans "furless ones."
  • In Mermaid's Song, merfolk call humans "split-tails."

    Live-Action TV 
  • "Tau'ri" in the Stargate-verse is an example that does not involve an Earth term, although, strictly speaking, it only refers to humans born on Earth (since most aliens are human). And even then, they couldn't resist the temptation to use "Terran" as well, because "Terra" just happened to be what the Ancients called Earth. The season six episode "Cure" also has an alien use the term "Earthans"... about Jonas Quinn and Teal'c, both of whom are actually Human Aliens. Jonas then corrects her: "Earthlings".
    • It actually means "the first world," because Human Aliens are Earth humans taken to other worlds long ago to be used as slave labor by the villains. It sorta drifted to mean the people as well as the place.
      • In earlier seasons, they were referred to as "Humans of the Tau'ri." After a while, people probably decided that was too clunky, and shortened it to just "Tau'ri."
    • There was some kind of relationship between the Alterans, a.k.a. the Ancients, a.k.a. the Precursors, and the Romans. It's hard to see exactly what that relationship was - the Alterans are literally millions of years old, and had long since become Energy Beings governed by a noninterference doctrine by the time the city of Rome was founded - but the similarity between "tau'ri" and "terran" was not the only Latin-like alien word used on the show. The cancelled MMO Stargate Worlds explained this as the Ancients having created the humans as a successor species, like the rest of the Four Races (Nox insisted that none was needed, Furlings created the Goa'uld, and the Asgard worked on the "Solacris", which backfired).
      • It goes a bit further than that. The actual Ancient language is supposed to be similar to Latin in universe. Odds are it is a matter of certain parts of the universe lore pre-dating the point in the series where the Ancients began to be fleshed out in more detail rather than intentional.
    • Played with in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Letters from Pegasus". Carson Beckett is recording a letter to his mom, and starts going off on a tangent about how "Earthlings are a scrappy bunch". Ford immediately stops him, assuming the use of the word "Earthling" as opposed to "human" to be a security breach. Carson matter-of-factly states, "She knows I'm from Earth."
  • The Tomorrow People (1973) (and the 2013 reboot) call normal humans "saps" (short for Homo sapiens, or just because they're saps).
  • In Star Trek, most species have a name for the species in Federation Standard (English), which is usually derived from the Federation Standard name for their planet. (Bajorans from Bajor, Vulcans from Vulcan; in an aversion, Klingons from Qo'noS (pronounced Kronos)). However, they also usually have a name for people from any particular planet. So a member of any species that was raised on Earth would be an Earthling, or on Bajor would be a Bajoran and so on. However, all species have at least one language of their own, which has a different name for their species that may have nothing to do with their name for their home planet. For example, in Imperial Standard Klingon (The Klingon language used by the Imperial Council, that can be learned at the Klingon Language Institute in Real Life) Klingon = tlhIngan. But their homeworld is called Qo'noS. Presumably the English word 'Klingon' was just a bad Human pronunciation at first.
    • Names for the earlier races seem to be names given to them by Humans, rather than what they actually call each other. The two Romulan home worlds are Romulus and Remus, then there's the afore-mentioned Vulcan and Kronos...whoever was naming these races seemed to have a yen for Greco-Roman mythology.
    • On at least one occasion, a Klingon has been heard referring to his homeworld as Kling. Of course, Star Trek suffers massively from Canon Discontinuity. And, it's also been said that the original Klingon Homeworld was destroyed, and Qo'noS is the "new" Klingon Homeworld.
    • Also in Star Trek, one (nonhumanoid—indeed, inorganic) alien race referred to our intrepid crew as "ugly bags of mostly water." The science officer points out that this is technically accurate.
    • At least once, in the original series, a Romulan referred to humans as "Terrans". Additionally, in the Mirror Universe (except in Star Trek: The Original Series), all humans are called Terrans.note 
    • Blue-skinned Andorians are known to refer to humans as "pink-skins."
  • In the first episode of Sliders that the Kromagg appeared humans are referred as "homo sapiens". Makes sense considering that the Kromagg are not aliens but hominids evolved in a parallel Earth and thus from the genus homo (homo means human in latin). In any case, the writers soon get tired of it and all other episodes just go straight to humans, as in most shows.
  • Earthlings is used by most aliens in Lost in Space, probably because most of them are simply Human Aliens.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Promised Land", the Tsal-Khan refer to humans as "beings."
  • Young Dracula: Vampires and other supernatural creatures refer to humans as "breathers".
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Humans are called Men by the Demihuman Races, though Poppy, a Harfoots refers to Men as humans at a point.
  • In Space: Above and Beyond the Silicates (androides) call humans "Carbonites", and according to them their Chig (alien) allies call humans something translatable as "Red Stink Animal".

    Puppet Shows 

  • Classical Mythology including such works as The Odyssey generally refer to humans simply as mortals.
  • In Guatuso Mythology, the Gods endearingly refer to humans as "our curassows" (Crax Rubra), since this is their favorite bird.
  • "Son of man" is a common term for humans in the Hebrew Bible, especially when contrasting humans with God ("God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind"). The term is frequently used in the Book of Ezekiel by God when calling Ezekiel. The Book of Daniel also uses the term for a coming messianic figure, hence why "Son of Man" is one of the Christian titles for Jesus.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller divides "humaniti" into the "Solomani" (humans from Earth), the "Vilani" (humans from the planet Vland), and the "Zhodani" (humans from the planet Zhodane). The ancestors of the Vilani and the Zhodani were originally moved to those planets by the Precursors. There are several other minor human races, which were similarly transplanted from Earth.
  • In Nobilis, humans get referred to as "beasts".
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Eldar race refers to humans as "Mon-keigh" (this being the eldar word meaning 'inferior', not to mention one of the least subtle puns ever). The Tau race use the base word "Gue" for humans, and distinguish between allies and enemies with "Gue'vesa" or "Gue'la" respectively.note  The remaining species of the universe (Orks, Necrons and Tyranids) refer to humans as "'umies", "the living", and "dinner", respectively.
  • The chock-fulla-weird-races Talislanta game system generally refers to humans by their nationality, and virtually never as "humans". The fact that some of those "human" nationalities lie well outside the range of physical types known on Earth — green humans, metallic golden humans, purple humans; humans with bat ears or webbed hands or no nose — would make the use of "human" seem incongruous at best.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Dwarfs' word for "human" is Umgi, which in dwarfen also means "shoddy". It's unclear whether the dwarfs' word for shoddy derives from their word for human, or vice versa. In the former case, it means their word for "bad craftsdwarfship" literally means "like it's been made by a human", in the latter that dwarfs view humans as badly put-together dwarfs (which, given dwarfen attitudes on practically every other sentient race, is a lot more complementary to humans than you'd think).

  • Amadeus Gryffindor on NoPixel came to Los Santos from another dimension, and calls humans "chompskihomps."

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Starflight: In 2, after defeating the big bad, it is revealed that the Umanu are the human descendants of the Noah 6 colony ship.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Rebirth humans are referred to as "Huma", and BeastMen are called "Gajuma".
    • Tales of Hearts calls humans "Organicans", as opposed to crystal-based Minerans and Ridiculously Human Robots Mechanoids.
    • In Tales of Arise everyone is referred to as either Dahnan (natives of the conquered planet Dahna), or Renan (more advanced, magic-capable Human Aliens from the planet Rena). Both races look completely indistinguishable from humans. Eventually it's revealed that Renans, in fact, descend from a group of Dahnans who were abducted by the real natives of Rena. As such, they end up being more like different ethnicities, not races, but the word "human" is still not used.
  • Most Final Fantasy games refer to humans as humans, but Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics A2 call them Humes. And the four tribes of the Crystal Chronicles games include human-looking Clavats and Selkies (and Lilties, if you allow for their flower-like hair).
    • Final Fantasy XI in particular still preserves the word "human" in adjective form; an NPC describes the mannequins you can have assembled in a quest as "more human than Hume!"
    • Final Fantasy XIV refers to humans as "Hyur". In Shadowbringers the alternate dimension of the First has different names for its races, and in a Mythology Gag to the aforementioned entries, the counterparts of Hyur are known as Humes.
  • The Legend of Zelda is an odd case. Hylians are variously the only humans, not humans, or just one of a few races of humans. For example, in Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild, and some games that have come out since, humans are broken up into races or tribes that include Hylians, Gerudo, Sheikah, and maybe some others. Other times, they're the only humans in the game. Normal round-eared humans appear in some games but not in others, and whether they're distinct from Hylians as a species is vague at best, although they do not seem native to Hyrule; games set outside of it, such as the Oracle duology and Link's Awakening, have Link as a lone pointy-eared person in a cast of fully round-eared ones, while Twilight Princess has humans with round ears in Ordona and ones with pointed ears everywhere else; at no point in any of these games, however, are humans and Hylians explicitly identified as separate races.
  • "Human" and "Earthling" are mostly interchangable in Star Control II. This is in part because they just arrived on the galactic scene (through donated technology from the Chenjesu), and because of the overprotective Arilou. (It's explained exactly why the Arilou are overprotective in Star Control 3.) In the situations where the difference matters, "Earthling" means "from Earth", while "Human" means Homo sapiens sapiens. A squirrel is Earthling, but not human; the protagonist is human but not an Earthling. (An Arilou catches itself making this mistake at one point, and corrects itself.) The status of the Androsynth is somewhat vague, but knowledgable characters in-game consistently refer to the Androsynth as a culture, not a species in its own right.
    • There is also an interesting note in that humans called themselves 'earthlings' when they first were meeting with alien races in an attempt to avoid the implied speciesism in calling aliens inhuman, while the aliens skipped all the bother and just called them humans. Except for the Spathi, of course, who continually refer to them as "Hunams".
    • Androsynth are refered as Androsynth, as they are no longer Earth-connected AND make pretty clear that they are not in friendly terms with Humans. Not that we can blame them. 100 years of racism and slavery can cause it, just because you weren't born in the normal way.
  • The two major human factions in the X-Universe series are called the Argon and the Terrans. The Argon Federation is a Lost Colony that was cut off from Earth several hundred years before the games take place, and is named after its first leader, Nathan R. Gunne. The Earth State (commonly just called "Terrans") is the continuation of Earth's government, and controls the Solar System. Members of the minor factions like the Goners, Free State of Solara, and the Hatikvah Free League are generally just called humans.
  • Averted in Mass Effect - humans are still referred to as humans. The only exception is the volus, who refer to humans as "Earth-clan" per their practice of calling other races "(planet)-clan" (the volus are "Vol-clan" to themselves and an exception to that rule, another being quarians getting the title "Clanless"... or "migrant-clan" and/or "star-clan" if the volus is feeling polite). This extends to aliens as well — in the game, no aliens species are named for their homeworld (asari come from Thessia, salarians come from Sur'Kesh, turians come from Palaven, krogan come from Tuchanka, quarians and geth come from Rannoch, elcor come from Dakuuna, volus come from Irune, and hanar come from Kahje), and, unlike many, many other SF franchises, spell them in all-lowercase, just like the word "human".
    • The one exception is the Protheans. Mass Effect 3 introduces Javik, who reveals that "Prothean" is the collective term for all species that his own species has conquered, although "Prothean" was originally the name for just his species.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has two races of characters: Beastmen are known as "Laguz" and Humans are known as "Beorc". 'Human' can also be used, but it's actually a racist remark unless said by another Beorc (the equivalent of calling a Laguz 'sub-human').
    • Yune, the goddess of chaos in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has all sorts of names to refer to the player characters, including but not limited to "Meat puppet".
  • In The Last Remnant humans are called "Mitra".
  • The colonists in Ace Online are called "Decaians".
  • Ragnarok II: The Gate of the World's humans are called "Normans," which is probably a portmanteau of Human and Norse. More likely it refers to the Normans, a viking descended people who ruled various European lands during the Middle Ages.
  • In Guild Wars: Eye of the North, the Asura use the pejorative term "bookah" for humans. In a cutscene, the term is revealed to refer to a violent, clumsy, stupid, bellowing imaginary creature used to frighten Asura children. This has somewhat expanded to cover any race they see as less intelligent than the Asura, meaning every other race.
  • Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns referred to humans as the Mareten.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars gives us the Terrans and it's only a matter of time before the bug aliens declare a war on Terra (sorry).
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the elves (particularly the Dalish) refer to humans as shemlen. The shorter term "shem" is used in a derogatory manner (not surprising, given what humans did to them). "Shemlen" means "quickling" or "quick children", as the Dalish believe that their ancestors used to live for centuries. Additionally, the word "Qunari" actually refers to a culture (it literally means "people of the Qun", Qun being their religion/way of life) not a race. The race the original Qunari belong to is technically called "Kossith", though the people who take the time to distinguish between Kossith and Qunari are extremely few and far between, even among the Qunari. Even this isn't consistent; nobody in-universe is quite sure whether Kossith was a name for the race or a different political or religious group that the Qunari broke off from, and other members of the race who don't follow the Qun reject it's claim on the term and call themselves "qunari" as though it were a race name.
  • Albion uses the expression Celt and Helromier (a portmanteau of Hellenic and Roman) to distinguish the magic using humans of Albion and the technologically advanced Terrans. Terran humans are also referred to as Earthlings by the Kenget Kamulos.
  • In StarCraft, the term "terran" (lowercase even!) is used as a substitute in nearly all instances to describe humanity, even if the ones speaking are themselves humans. This is particularly strange since Earth (Terra) isn't even really a factor for most of the game. Oddly enough Earth is never actually referred to as Terra.
    • Interestingly, when contact is re-established with Earth in the expansion for the first game, the United Earth Directorate fairly consistantly refer to themselves as humans and humanity, rather than as terrans!
    • The naming convention has been applied for the Zerg in StarCraft II (at first it may seem like a retroactive application, but the planet had in fact already been mentioned in the lore section of the manual for the first game): they come from Planet Zerus (not Zeerust), and to tell the Zerus-zerg from Overmind-zerg, the from-Zerus ones are called "Primal Zerg". Neat, huh?
  • While the term "human" is used in Rift, humans are more likely to be referred to by whichever of the two battling nations to which they belong.
  • The Locust in Gears of War tend to refer to humans by the derogatory term "groundwalker". Because the humans walk on the surface.
  • Imperium Galactica II calls humans "Solarians" and reveals that many alien races are actually Human Subspecies. This is averted in the first game, which appears to be set in a different universe.
  • Averted in Earth & Beyond. Humans are still called that, although the human race became divided during the initial colonization of the Solar System. Those who remained behind on Earth are called Terrans, those who settled Mars are called Progen, and those who colonized the moons of Jupiter are called Jenquai. By the events of the game, the terms refer to nation-states, not worlds of origin, as all three have colonized other star systems which remain under their rule.
    • FreeSpace uses Terran for humans, but also flips the trope by naming one alien race "Vasudans" after the Sanskrit word "Vasuda" which means... "Earth".
  • In Wildstar the humans on the Dominion side are called "Cassians", after their homeworld in the setting, Cassus. The Exile humans on the other hand are simply called humans despite originating on the same planet, as they fled generations ago and have spent the time since in space. Presumably the differentiation is because of the animosity between the two.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles
    • Similarly to the examples for Final Fantasy XI and XIV, humans in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 are known as Homs. The only difference is apparently that Homs need ether to survive. Even so, the adjective "human" is still in use. At the very end of the game we do meet two humans and learn there IS a difference between them and Homs
    • Inverted in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, where every humanoid race is called, "Human," despite Blades, Machina, and other races like them being treated as seperate from human in the previous entries.
  • Averted in Sword of the Stars, where none of the species are named after their home planet and generally have acceptable terms used by all other species they have diplomatic ties with — for humans, this is "human" ("ape" is more often used in informal settings, however). It is flipped by the hivers, however, who are called that by all other species in formal settings but do not refer to themselves with that name (the hivers' name for their own species is unpronounceable by human mouths but means "the children" in their own language). The Zuul also twist it because they don't have a name for themselves at all — in the Zuul worldview, their species is "chosen", their creators are "master"; all others "slave". The word "Zuul" is only used by the other races to describe them, and is essentially the Liirian word for "complete and utter ☠☠☠☠" which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Zuul.
  • Out of the Twelve Tribes in Chronicles of Elyria, the one almost identical to Earth humans is called "the Neran."
  • Warcraft III: The Tauren chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof refers to invading Alliance forces as "pinkskins" (which could apply to humans, elves, and dwarves), since the only other outlanders he's met are the greenskinned orcs.
  • In Pillars of Eternity humans are referred to as "Folk".
  • In The Sims, humans are called "Sims".

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue has Shisno, which means the excrement of the excrement of the most repugnant creature in the world. Though this is indicated to be a Fantastic Slur; it's not mentioned what aliens friendly to humans call them.

    Web Comics 
  • Aliens in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! usually call humans Earthlings.
  • Unsounded: Then Inak call humans "spider paws". Humans are monstrous to them having destroyed their homelands and enslaved them in greed for the valuable first materials the Inak had. Humans tend to call the Inak "two-toes", so both groups came up with names for the other based on their difference in digits.

    Web Original 
  • A variant in Orion's Arm, the term "Terragen" is used to denote anything with an ancestry going back to Earth. This includes humans, Uplifted Animals, AI's, machines, virtual minds, and everything in between. Actual homo sapiens sapiens make up a little less than 1/20th of a percent of the population of the Terragen civilization, and are referred to as "baselines". Genetically engineered variants tend to be known collectively as "hu".
  • Nepleslians of Star Army are displaced humans who were taken from the Earth That Was to a distant sector of space. Naturally, they're the setting's main source of Badass Normals.

    Western Animation 
  • The baseline humans are referred as "Terrans" in Exo Squad to distinguish them from Neosapiens and get around the small fact that both races are human, regardless of the fact that they don't call Earth "Terra", or that many humans are natives of Venus or the moons of the outer planets.
    • And possibly because the Homo sapiens like to call the Neo sapiens "Neos" or "Sapes", the only similar nickname for the Neo sapiens to call them back to differentiate would be "Homos".
  • Characters from Futurama sometimes use the intentionally odd term "Earthicans" instead of more common monikers, though Earthican refers to anyone native to Earth, not just to humans and not to all humans. It's also used as a nationality, as Futurama's Earth is all one 'country'. Therefore, Earthican refers to anyone who is a citizen of Earth, just like 'French' or 'American' describes someone from someone from France or America. Aliens and robots could be considered 'Earthicans' if they are recognized as citizens of Earth (pay taxes, etc.).
    • Especially in earlier episodes, Earthling is used as a derogatory term for humans, usually when they've just been conquered... again.
    • Also, we have Amy, who is human but not an Earthican—she's a Martian. Not to be confused with Native Martians, who are non-human.
  • In Invader Zim, when Zim first discovers Earth, he refers to the inhabitant as "Earthenoids;" he switches to "humans" after he's learned the word. In another episode, he also refers to the extinct inhabitants of Mars as "Marsoids."
  • In Megas XLR, humans are called Earthers by the Glorft.
  • Widget the World Watcher also used "Earther."

Alternative Title(s): Call A Human A Smeerp