The more I think of it, I don't think mutants would want to be identified as mutants but not all of them will be super heroes or super villains. In a modern western culture, what would the politically correct term for Mutant be?

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    $\begingroup$ Might be a better question for the English StackExchange. $\endgroup$
    – Wingman4l7
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ Genetically challenged? $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ Well, in point of fact we are all mutants. Estimates I've seen put per-birth mutations in humans at anywhere from two to 100+. So it's not that useful a category to begin with. But I assume you mean "visible" mutations, similar to "visible" disabilities, but sometimes granting greater ability (making "genetically challenged" a poor choice.) My guess is the "burn them" crowd would dig in on "mutant" (precision matters not to the witch-burning mobs) and mutant-rights partisans would come up with 5 or 6 euphemisms and spend 90% of their time arguing which one will magically liberate them. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ If you drink milk and don't get sick, you're a Mutant $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @AndersGustafson I'm assuming that he wants to create a universe like that of the X-Men but wonders if mutant would be considered prejudicial. Would another name be more realistic in universe? $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 6:51

5 Answers 5


Scientifically, humans with natural genetic alterations would be Homo sapiens sapiens if they can breed with, and produce fertile offspring from, Homo sapiens sapiens. If they can't, then they would be Homo sapiens deinde. (Deinde is Latin for next, if you're curious.)

Most people don't go by scientific names, however. The average individual instead refers to other individual(s) as he/she/them/we/us/you. There's also countless ways to refer to the gender identity of individuals, not all of which are politically correct, of course.

Laws already account for the generic case: person.

There's no reason not to keep using the term person to refer to both Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens deinde. Assuming, of course, the latter is legally a person...

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    $\begingroup$ Typically, the production of fertile offspring is set at the species boundary, not the subspecies boundary. So I'd expect it would be possible for Homo sapiens deinde and Homo sapiens sapiens to interbreed, like Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens are thought to have. If there was a fertility barrier, you would normally change the species name, e.g. Homo inamabilis. (inamabilis is Latin for unlovable). $\endgroup$
    – R.M.
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ @R.M. I'm not biologist, so you may be right. I'm going off previous discussions on the topic. Thanks for pointing it out. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ @R.M., as you probably know, delineating species is a notoriously tricky problem (books.google.com/…), and it must get even more fraught when you try to do it with individual people. (Is there a practical way to decide whether your spinster aunt or your infertile brother is Homo sapiens?) Given that ambiguity, I imagine some biologists would strongly resist terminology that literally dehumanizes coworkers, friends, family, or selves (although others, as your proposed species name suggests, might see things differently). $\endgroup$
    – Vectornaut
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ OFC you are right but I think the OP is curious how one should refer to someone who is the part of the... err... further evolved community. $\endgroup$
    – mg30rg
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 13:29

Shadowrun's answer to this is Metahuman. As the wiki page explains, the word "metahumanity" can be used to refer either to humans (homo sapiens sapiens) and their mutated cousins, or to only the mutated races excluding humans. Assuming you want a linguistic distinction to be able to talk about mutants without using the word mutant, you'll want to go with the latter case.

You could come up with a variety of similar words that perform the same purpose ("novohuman" for example), but I think metahuman rolls off the tongue better, and meta is a commonly used word in its own right these days, so you'll probably have to do less constant explaining of what you're talking about.

  • $\begingroup$ It will be the challenge of the near future. Metahumans (genetically evolved people) might or might not appear, but transhumans (technologically evolved people) and posthumans (AIs which once has been people and the descendents of those) will surely appear in the next few decades. $\endgroup$
    – mg30rg
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 13:33

Homo superior is a possibility, if the mutations provide advantages.
If you want something that isn't going to be threatening to non mutants (recommended) then Homo mutandis "The Changed Man" would be better.
Building off of that, Changed might be a good start.

If you look at the history of some of the current politically correct terms, it's kind of a moving target. For the "Intellectual and Developmental Disabled", past PC terms were Cretin, Idiot, Imbecile, Moron, Feeble-minded, Retarded, and others. All these entered the language, and then became insults, which forced a name change.


As you might expect, there are lots of slurs behind most of the links in this answer.

Given the frequency with which marginalized groups reappropriate slurs, I think it's likely that at least some mutants would call themselves mutants, around each other and maybe also around genotypical people. I think it's equally likely that many hypervariant and hyperabled people would be wary of reappropriation efforts. I expect clinical terms taking on lives of their own, names originating as slang within charm communities, names constructed to emphasize Varied people's friendliness and respectability, names reflecting the gallows humor of the freaks and the Cursed, insipid Latinate terms intended to convey neutrality toward parahumans but crawling with fear and revulsion, and hopefully also enthusiastic co-opting of classic monster movies.


The most politically correct one would be the one selected by that minority group. In all cases of vernacular syntax, there's a wave of names that will be attributed to a certain group or groups. It follows a fairly recurring progression:

  1. Exterior label

  2. Derogatory label

  3. Corrected Exterior Label

  4. Internally Accepted label

For example, Followers of Jesus were originally all considered

1) Jews in a cult, then were called

2) 'Christians', which translates to "Little Saviors" or "little Christs" by Greeks and Romans, then Romans separated

3) Jesus-Followers from Jews, calling them Followers of the Way, and finally

4) They incorporate the name "Christian" for themselves.

You can see that with other groups as well - 1) Deaf 2) Dumb 3)Hearing Impaired, then they agree on the label 4) "deaf". Something similar happened with people unable to walk (although it took effect over a LONG period of time) 1) Handicapped 2) Lame/Cripple 3) Disabled 4) Impaired.

In your story, there should be a similar progression. For example, if you're in a X-men, Inhuman, Chronicle or similar style of world, that can be a minor plot element. Something like a: 1) Biodynamic 2) Mutant 3) Genetically Different 4) Biodyn.


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