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I'd like a word to refer to both races at once, as they are the dominant species in my world. All I could think of is 'men' and 'sapients', neither of which I like. Any ideas?


marked as duplicate by Vincent, Bellerophon, sphennings, Mołot, a CVn May 20 '17 at 21:07

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    $\begingroup$ Despite your asking about fantastical creatures, you might get better results on Writers.SE or evene EnglishLanguage.SE $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T May 20 '17 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ Pretty sure we had a similar question on how to refer to multiple sapient species at once. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon May 20 '17 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ Found it, possible dupe of this worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/52351/17720 if this answers your question then could you tell us. If not edit your question to explain why it is different. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon May 20 '17 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ how about people? $\endgroup$ – John May 20 '17 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ This question is a little vague, perhaps. Would Elves be excluded from the club? $\endgroup$ – Spencer May 20 '17 at 23:51

There is this great word that would work rather well:


You can even call them "civilized people" to differentiate dwarves/humans/elves from, well, 'evil' things like orcs, etc. This is okay because a dwarf, a human, and an elf in a room does not always mean a fight, whereas an orc or goblin with any of those three very likely means fighting.

Thinking about it, I do believe Tolkien gets around this just by grouping these fantasy races (species?) by whom they follow, or whatever cause they they share, such as "The Fellowship." Spencer points out that Tolkien also writes "the Free Peoples" when talking about, well, "Gandalf-friendly" societies. (It should be noted that a significant number of men were "evil".)

  • $\begingroup$ Well, Tolkien actually put the phrase "the Free Peoples" in Treebeard's recitation to Merry and Pippin. But your answer is still the best one. $\endgroup$ – Spencer May 20 '17 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Spencer Good point, I'm adding it. $\endgroup$ – PipperChip May 21 '17 at 1:13

If they are the dominants on their world, even if they are not slave-holding races, they might still be Masters. Alternatively, Dominants might actually be enough to get your point across. (First answer, so I hope I did it right...)

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome Rie Sheridan Rose! Good Answer! $\endgroup$ – PipperChip May 20 '17 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding Rie! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Looking forward to your contributions. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 20 '17 at 20:01

They are all “humans”. In real-world nomenclature we have different species including including Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens, and Homo floresinsis. All different species that came from a common ancestor that we’ve grouped into the same genus are human.

If there were different human species alive today that were substantially different in size and appearance, it would be like us and floresinsis.

So the correct language would be to ask what the humans-like-us are called to distinguish them from all humans. If dwarves mean small ones, the converse would be “giants”. Each would be named in the language of the other to express how they are different from us. But you are writing in English, so both are translated into English as a word for little people and a word for big people.


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