When TheChanges hit Earth in 1996, they also brought corresponding changes in language as people searched for ways to describe the new phenomena springing up around them. This is an effort to document the vocabulary of TTU residents as a sort of translation guide for us out-of-universe observers.
All words here are from WITHIN the setting; don't add something to the list unless you might hear it from a TTU character.
anthro (n). Common.
- A theri whose form is humanoid (bipedal, opposable-thumbed, human-sized, with broadly human anatomy and sexual characteristics). Think of Chewbacca, the Thundercats, stereotypical Hollywood werewolves, minotaurs, etc. Also "anthroX" or "anthro-X", where X is an animal that their form resembles. Derivation: Originally shortened from "anthropomorphic", or "human-shaped".
baby killer (n). Obscure. Fundamentalist Christians.
- (Offensive) A theri. Derivation: Refers to the slain infant in the EventGoldMurders, and the widespread belief that it was a theri revenge killing.
beast (v). Rare.
- (Vulgar) To have sex with a theri.
Beast, the (n). Uncommon. Fundamentalist Christians.
- (Derogatory) CharacterDennisRedwing (who is widely believed to be the Antichrist among the American right wing).
Beast, Mark of the (n). Uncommon. Fundamentalist Christians.
- (Derogatory) Therianthropy and/or magic use, esp. in people who were normal humans before TheChanges.
beast out (v). Rare. Theris.
- To shapeshift from human form into theri form. Usage has almost no overlap with beast (1); people will tend to know and use one of the two.
- Pervasive. A large mythic theri, quadrupedal with reptilian characteristics, that fits the standard "dragon" mythological archetype (of either Eastern or Western varieties).
- Dragon (n). Common. Mages. A thaumometer. Derivation: Dragon Industries is their most well-known manufacturer.
- Dragon, The (n). Uncommon. CharacterDennisRedwing, especially in his capacity as a theri spokesperson or (alleged) leadership of a secret theri army bent on world domination.
- (n) A dwivination.
- (v) To answer a question via the magitech Web search engine DWIM. Usage of "dwim" or "dwiv" is much the same as "to Google" in our world (n.b.: in TTU, Google does not exist).
dwivination (n). Rare.
- A request to the magitech Web search engine DWIM (launched in 2000) that produces counterintuitive yet illuminating results. Derivation: Coined by the DWIM coding team as a lousy pun.
Elements (n). Common.
- A card game for 3-7 mages that is essentially a multi-contestant magical duel. By the early 2000s, formal Elements competitions have attracted some curiosity as a spectator sport, and ultimately gain popularity in televised tournaments.
- Uncommon. Synonym for anthro (even though some anthros have scales, feathers, or chitin). Inside TTU, the two competing usages of "furry" below have left the term loaded, and this definition's use (outside of self-identification) may be considered offensive.
- Rare. (Derogatory, somewhat vulgar) A human who is sexually attracted to theris, esp. anthros.
- Obscure. Also (adj) as in "furry art." A human who is a fan of media containing humanoids with animal characteristics, such as "funny animal" cartoons or theri movies; also the genre itself. EraPreChanges terminology that's now basically archaic since the term got hijacked by the usages above; even though TheChanges gave this group a big membership surge and a lot to get excited about, most of these people have taken to calling themselves "furfans"/"furfen."
halfling (n). Obscure. Theris.
- (Derogatory) A theri who spends significant time in human form (or, sometimes, one who changes back to human form at all).
LGBTS (n). Common.
- The post-Changes LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Shiftgender.
magitech (n). Pervasive.
- More common and less formal synonym for thaumitechnology.
mundane (n). Common. Mages, theris.
- (Often derogatory) A non-spellcasting human. N.b. "muggle" is NOT known as a synonym; in TTU, "Harry Potter"s original British publication in mid-1997 was met with popular indifference due to the focus on real-world magic, and the books are barely known outside of the British Isles.
mythic (n). Common.
- Catch-all term for theris who are neither anthros nor weres. Derivation: The most common forms of this type of theri are mythological in origin (dragons, gryphons, centaurs, etc).
Mythrel (n). Pervasive.
- Kevlar-style weave with an embedded magic-dispersing mesh (and, in later versions, embedded defensive spells); the only protection worth wearing if one anticipates both conventional and magical resistance in a fight. First prototyped in early 1999 and ubiquitous among law enforcement, military, etc., by the early 2000s. Famous for its "X: Myth. Protection: Mythrel" advertisements. Derivation: Brand name, chosen as a homophone of "mithril" (a super-light, super-strong metal in Tolkien's fantasy novels).
ping (v). Uncommon. Mages.
- To teleport. Backderived from ping timeout.
ping timeout (n). Uncommon. Mages.
- A type of teleportation mishap in which the person (or object) in transit does not show up at their destination immediately. Generally, the teleportation still seems instantaneous from the inside, but hours or days (or, in extreme cases, months) pass in the world outside. While gone, the travellers are undetectable even to magic and there is no indication of when they might arrive. Random, disorienting, and frightening. Derivation: Some mage's obscure computer geek joke.
resonance (n). Uncommon. Mages.
- The continuous biological/spiritual feedback loop within a living creature that maintains their physical form. A complicating factor in shapeshifting magic. Often invoked as an explanation for the mechanism of therianthrope change, and for why so few humans (0.01% - 0.1%) ever became theris.
- By extension, any self-sustaining magical pattern. Inanimate objects (and locations) do not inherently possess that feedback loop that living creatures do, but over time, living creatures can leave lasting impressions based on their interactions with the thing/place.
See also: ShapeshiftingInTTU
shiftgender (adj). Common.
- Possessing multiple, distinct gender identities -- most commonly, a therianthrope whose human and theri forms are different sexes.
thaum (n). Uncommon. Mages.
- A unit of measurement for magical energy. Mostly used humorously; some magitech applications like thaumometers do take objective measurement of magical energy levels, but the objective value and energy content of "1 thaum" are ridiculously situation-dependent. Takes metric prefixes: millithaum, gigathaum.
thaumatology (n). Common. Mages.
- The science of magic. The discipline of finding out what works and what doesn't when willworking (and why), with the same rigor applied to other modern sciences. Only a minority of mages are pretentious enough to call themselves thaumatologists, but if you go to school to become a professional magical researcher, this is what you get your degree in.
thaumitechnology (n). Common. Magitech.
- The discipline of mass-producing items with magical effects -- making minor magical effects accessible to the layman rather than requiring them to hire a mage or obtain a custom-made enchanted item. Thaumometers were the field's first success, and thaumitech is better known for its sensing, defensive and antimagic items than for its items with active effects.
- A magical item produced by said methods.
- More colloquially (and wrongly), any enchanted item or any item used by mages in their craft.
thaumivore (n). Rare.
- A theri, usually a mythic, that obtains some or all of its sustenance through absorption of magical background energy. Virtually all theris larger than human-sized are thaumivores.
thaumometer (n). Pervasive.
- A device to detect use of magic via sudden fluctuations in background energy. Derivation: Name is etymologically dubious, since it measures abrupt change in magical energy rather than magical energy, but the creator found the homophonic pun too good to pass up.
See also: ThaumoMeters
theri (n). Pervasive.
- Pervasive. A human who permanently shifted into a nonhuman form after TheChanges, or a human who can shapeshift back and forth into such a form. From the Greek "therion" + "anthropos"; lit. "beast man".
- Common. A human who can cast magic. Etymologically incorrect usage, but initially widespread around the time of EventTheFirstSighting, dwindling over time.
thread (n). Obscure. Mages.
- A sentient individual, one strand of the Weave that defines reality around us. Not used derogatorily, but can cause odd reactions (people get uncomfortable being described with a noun conventionally used for inanimate objects), and so is used more discreetly than "Weave".
time window (n). Uncommon. Mages.
- A form of indirect scrying invented late in the decade of the 2000s that uses resonance to construct visual images from the past of an object or location. It can only pick up the strongest impressions left on the item/area, but its usefulness in those cases outweighs its unpredictability. Typically limited to somewhere between hours and years (depending on strength of impression and further human interaction) -- but in a few cases where strong emotions were accumulated, and the area was then isolated from further resonance changes, this can reach back 1,000 years or more.
Uncanny Valley, the (n). Rare.
- A nickname for the site of EventTheMeeting: after its teleport beacons were taken down, none of the thousands of attendees were ever able to rediscover its location, even the mages enlisted to teleport people back and forth. (Note that the term's more traditional meaning is also in use.)
watcher (n). Obscure.
- (Derogatory) A theri. Derivation: From an early book of CharacterDennisRedwing's which discussed (with the clarity of hindsight) how many of the people who turned into theris during TheChanges had been watching and waiting for their chance to return to their true selves.
Weave, the (n). Rare. Mages.
- The Earth and its inhabitants -- i.e., the collective tangle of individual threads that make up our reality.
Wednesday (n). Uncommon.
- The presumed higher power responsible for TheChanges -- most often used jokingly as an epithet, such as in "oh my Wednesday" or "Wednesday only knows". Derivation: Popularized in spring 1997 by a late-night comedy sketch making light of TheWednesdayRule.
- Common. A theri who can freely shapeshift back and forth between the forms of a human and an animal that existed on EraPreChanges Earth. Also "wereX," where X is that animal; e.g. werewolf, werecheetah, etc.
- Uncommon. Popularly (but incorrectly) used to describe shapeshifting anthros. This usage drives weres (and pedants) nuts.
zed (n). Rare. Theris.
- (Derogatory) A theri who claims that their initial shift into a nonhuman form occurred prior to the First Wave, i.e. before EventTheFirstSighting. All such high-profile claims have either proven false or dubious/unverifiable, and such theris are generally ridiculed. Derivation: British pronunciation of "Z," for "Zero-th Wave" theri.
See also: TherianthropeWaves
If you've seen an unfamiliar term in a TTU story that isn't listed, either write it up into the list or add it here for other wiki editors to insert.
Term (part of speech). Usage level. Subgroup.
- (Other Notes) Definitions. Other terms can be cross-referenced.
See Also: (Link to wiki page with more detail)
"Usage level" will be, in descending order of recognizability:
Pervasive - Used and recognized by virtually all speakers of that language.
Common - Almost universally recognized; but not used by everyone.
Uncommon - Widely recognized; but used infrequently or only in specialized circumstances. May be slang/regionalism that is finding wider traction.
Rare - Recognition is hit-or-miss among the general public; word is subgroup slang or a regionalism.
Obscure - Recognition and use are confined almost exclusively to a particular group.
If "Subgroup" is specified (in the entry or a specific definition), it specifies that the word is jargon originating with that group (and, depending on usage level, possibly used only by them).
"Other notes" indicate if the word is vulgar (sexually scandalous), derogatory (intended to belittle or express contempt), or offensive (will provoke strong reactions in the targeted group). While both derogatory and offensive terms can wound (and while a word can be hurtful without being either!), words labeled "offensive" are the sort that start fights.