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Recently, I’ve grown curious other universes and dimensions, and while looking around and reading about said things, I’ve come across the terms inter/ extra dimensions and universes.

This got me thinking even more and I stumbled upon the terms inter/ extra dimensional and universal beings, I tried searching more about said beings just for the fun of it, but I couldn’t find much.

So I’ve come here to ask about what makes a inter dimensional being different from a extra dimensional being, same goes with the universal beings.

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    $\begingroup$ none of the terms you use is scientifically used. Inter-dimension means "between dimensions" of wich there are 4: 3 room and 1 temporal one. extra-dimensional means "outside-of dimensions". inter-universal means "between universes" but universe means "encompassing everything" $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Jan 26, 2020 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget Cosmic Entity, that's topical with the Marvel universe's ascendance. $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2020 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ There is no difference. All the three terms are interchangeable high register synonyms for "I have no idea what I'm speaking about". $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 26, 2020 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ Bear in mind that some of those terms use "dimension" correctly, to mean direction (length / width / depth / time / etcetera), and others use it to mean realm, plane of existence / or universe. An extradimensional being comes from outside our universe, but a hyperdimensional just exists in more directions $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2020 at 13:37

2 Answers 2

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The prefix inter means something belongs to or transits between more than one area. For example, international means involving multiple nations (international flights, international soccer championships). Interstate roads are roads that pass through multiple states. Interdimensional then is a term for things or beings that transit through different dimensions, one which have origins involving more than one dimension (using the comic book definition of dimension, not the mathematical one).

An extradimensional being would be a being that exists outside dimensions. Many works of fiction involve spaces between the dimensions, rifts or voids where terrible things exist.

For example (beware of spoilers):

  • In the Discworld, dragons inhabit an extradimensional space.
  • In the trilogy of His Dark Materials, people travel through dimensions by cutting windows between them. This opens holes to the spaces between dimensions, which is where spectres come from. Therefore the spectres are extradimensional.
  • In Final Fantasy 5, the world was split in two different dimensions by the power of the crystals. In between the worlds there is a void where the villain is, so that is an extradimensional space.
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget "intra" (within the same) and "hyper"/"hypo" (more/less) - an intra-dimensional being would travel within the same dimension (i.e. a normal being), a hyper-dimensional being would be one that exists in more dimensions than us (e.g. a "5-dimensional" being), and hypo-dimensional being would exist in fewer (e.g. a "2-dimensional" being). $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2020 at 13:30
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Different flavor of shmeerp, essentially.

In sci-fi writing circles, there's a term called a 'shmeerp', and it's something to avoid. The saying goes - "If it looks like a rabbit, and acts like a rabbit, don't call it a shmeerp!" Basically, there's a tendency among new sci-fi (and fantasy!) authors to make up new and fancy names for whatever it is they've made when it doesn't actually matter.

And then, of course, there's an arms race among shmeerp users, because while vanilla shmeerps aren't interesting, sometimes if you make your shmeerp un-rabbit-like enough, it's actually interesting so writers keep upping the ante of shmeerp names. So first you have inter-dimensional beings, then extra-dimensional, and now there's the glorious fifth dimensional species. There are real definitions for these terms, but they aren't particularly meaningful (that is, they aren't specific in the slightest - it's like calling a human 'something which exists in the universe') but the colloquial usage in sci-fi doesn't follow them - it's just calling a rabbit a shmeerp.

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