So many people know the term Lycanthrope, a fancy term for Werewolf, a person who turns into a wolf and/or a wolf-human hybrid.
Some RPGs (like Dungeons & Dragons, and Pathfinder) use “Lycanthrope” to refer to all such types of shapechangers, regardless of which animal it is. Problem is, this is linguistically incorrect.
Lycanthrope comes from two Greek words, Lykos (“wolf”) and Anthropos (“human”), which works fine for werewolves but not other werecreatures. Using the Greek word for whatever animal it is they turn into as the prefix would be more appropriate.
With that in mind, here’s what I’ve cobbled together:
A more correct proper term for such shapechangers as a whole would be Therianthrope, from Therion (“beast” or “wild animal”) + Anthropos – a term I first encountered in the AD&D 2nd Ed. Monster Manual – or Zoanthrope, from Zoion (“animal” or “living being”) + Anthropos.
Wereape = Pithekanthrope, from Pithekos (“Ape”) + Anthropos
Weregoat = Traganthrope, from Tragos (“Goat”) + Anthropos
Werehorse = Hippanthrope, from Hippos (“Horse”) + Anthropos
Werelion = Leanthrope, from Leon (“Lion”) + Anthropos
Werelizard = Crocodilanthrope, from Crocodilos (“Lizard”) + Anthropos
Weremouse = Musanthrope, from Mus (“Mouse”) + Anthropos
Werepig = Khoiranthrope, from Khoiros (“Pig”) + Anthropos
Wererat = Arouraianthrope, from Arouraios (“Rat”) + Anthropos
Wereshark = Karcharianthrope, from Karcharias (“Sharp-Tooth”) + Anthropos
Wereserpent = Drakontanthrope, from Drakon, Drakontos (“Serpent”) + Anthropos
Weresquid = Kalamoanthrope, from Kalamos (the Grerek word for squid, literally meaning “reed/tube/pen”) + Anthropos
Wereswan = Kyknanthrope, from Kyknos (“Swan”) + Anthropos
Weretiger = Tigranthrope, from Tigris (“Tiger”) + Anthropos
Werevulture = Aegypianthrope, from Aegypius (“Vulture”) + Anthropos
Werewhale = Falenanthrope, from Falena (“Whale”) + Anthropos
Greek did of course have its own words for many things, but some were borrowed from other cultures, and some things were named by combining the names of two or more things.
Cats & Big Cats: These are really tricky, since for one thing the Ancient Greeks didn’t really have cats until they met the Egyptians. (What was the most common housepet for the Ancient Greeks? Weasels!) Ailuros was what they called the Egyptian cats (and was itself the Greek word for the Egyptian goddess Bast, whom they likened to Artemis), but after interacting with those and other breeds of cats for a while they adapted the Latin word for cats, cattus. As for the big cats… things get confusing. The word “leopard” comes from Leon (Greek word for lion) + Pardos (Greek for panther), since it was believed leopards were the offspring of a lion and a panther. But the word “panther” itself is a folk etymology stemming from the Greek words Pan (“all”) + Therion (”beast”). Tigris is the Greek word for tiger, but that came from either Latin or Persian.
(Pantherianthrope could refer not to a werepanther but to someone who could shift into any animal form!)
Giraffe: Supposedly, when the Greeks first saw giraffes, they thought they looked like camels with the spots of a leopard, so the called them camel-leopards, or camelopards. (The Ancient Greek term for baboons? Khoiropithekos, from Khoiros + Pithekos, since they were thought to look like monkeys with pig snouts.) “Cameleopard” was a not uncommon term for giraffes in some parts of the world on up to the 19th century!
If I’ve gotten anything wrong, or you know of a better word, please let me know!
EDIT: Another thing about the word “werewolf” is that the “were” part means “adult male”; “werewolf” is literally “man-wolf.” The word “woman” is derived from wifman, a combination of “man” and wif, meaning
an adult female and surviving with an altered meaning in the form
“wife.” If you wanted to construct an etymologically accurate term for a female lycanthrope, it’d be something like wifwolf (wifshark, wiftigress, et cetera).
Idk if i’ve already expressed my thoughts on shape shifters vs shape changers but if i haven’t here they are because i think its an important thing.
Shape shifters, at least in my account, can shift their form to be anything, but in every form they are themselves, so they are just shifting into different forms of their original self. They cannot turn into another person, or change there appearance once in a select form. (although changing their gender is a possibility)
Shape changers on the other hand can only become something else other then what they are originally. They can, for example, turn into a copy of another person they see, but cannot become a dragon that was drawn on a sheet of paper, if they tried they would likely become the exact sheet of paper with the drawing on it. (they cannot change their gender or select things when in a form, they can only really copy what they see, but might be able to copy select attributes like hair color or nose shape of other people or things to look different from the original person or thing they copied, they just cant change select things based on imagination.)
idk what the real true true meanings are behind these words because people use them pretty interchangeably but this is what i think.
I’ve often wondered about “furry” humanoids with lycanthropy. Osirion: Legacy of the Pharaohs introduces a human werehyena NPC with gnoll followers - what if she infected her henchmen with her curse? Would you be able to tell if they transformed into hybrid form? The same goes for catfolk weretigers or, I dunno, lizardfolk weremonitors.
It could get weirder – Ratfolk Weretigers? Catfolk Werewolves? Gnoll Wereboars? Strix Werecrocodiles/Wereserpents? Madness!
So after making Sammy a Half-Fiend Human Wereshark Bard (and later a kaiju wereshark), and Rose a Half-Elf Wereseal Ranger, I decided to make myself (as) a Human Weresquid Bard (Archivist). Because of reasons. I am using my House Rules on Lycanthropes.
If you could have any physical form, what would it be?
Not really sure, honestly. The baseline form of some shapechanger species or other would be the place to start, assuming that it came with their full set of shapechanging abilities as well. Possibly one of the pre-Bayverse versions of Jetfire? I mean, c’mon, that’s a form that allows for (admittedly somewhat limited) interaction with humans and has trans-atmospheric capabilities…
Sweet @shapechanger tagged me! Thank you dear, and sorry for the delay (I’m just coming back home after long holidays).
1) What is that one song that you and your friends always sing along to without fail when you hear it, and why?
We met at a camp (we all were volunteers) and we used to dance on that song.
2) Are you a coffee drinker, a tea drinker, or both?
Tea! I’m really fond of that drink! :3
3) What is your favourite smell?
I would say cinnamon, or a forest after the rain.
4) Are you a morning person or a night person, or both?
I would say both, I usually work on mornings and when I party on nights, I don’t sleep at all or I wake up à 6 or 7.
5) What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
Enter medicine college. That was pretty tough.
6) Do you like poetry, and if so, who is your current poet of choice?
I like it, but it’s not my favourite genre. I prefer Hugo and Rimbault.
7) If you were sorted into a Hogwarts house, which one would it be and why?
Gryffindor I think.I usually stand up for what I think is right, I’m very determined and stubborn, pretty short-tempered.For a second choice, I’m 50/50 Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff. Slytherin is usually my last House.
8) Who is your favourite person to receive messages from?
My sister! She’s adorable.
What items do you keep on your desk at home, if you have one? If you
don’t have one, where do you like to sit and use your computer?
I always keep paper sheets, a lamp, some pens, tons of memos, an agenda, sometimes one or two books, my phone and my computer. I also have a teddy bear on one of its corners.
10) What is the most memorable place you’ve ever travelled to?
Ireland! It’s my favourite country: people are so nice here, landscapes are so beautiful and there is a very peaceful atmosphere.
11) Do you prefer hugs or holding hands?
Hugs. Always hugs. Should I say more? :3
My questions are:
1. Your favourite cake?
2. What would be your perfect home?
3. The book(s) you grew up with? (the one(s) that really mattered, that made you grow up)
4. Your favourite time of year, and why.
5. What is your biggest project for the future?
6. What would your Boggart be?
7. And your Amortentia smell?
8. You travel to Middle-Earth. Would you rather be a Hobbit, a Human, a Dwarf, an Elf or an Orc? Why?
9. Do you prefer ebooks or “real” books?
10. Your favourite road-trip playlist?
11. You have to cast a Patronus. What memory do you use?