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Glossary, Dictionary, Terms, Definitions, et cetera and so on
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It's Complicated
Theriotype: Brown Bear
Experience: Therian
Connection: Psychological
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Post: #1
Information Glossary, Dictionary, Terms, Definitions, et cetera and so on

The Editor Wrote:This glossary is not to be used as a source from which individuals can pick the term(s) that best describe(s) their experiences!

The best way to develop a better, deeper understanding of one's self is through solitary introspection and community discussion in the forums and the shoutbox. Using lists such as this one to cherry pick an acceptable label for one's self is the cheap Wal-Mart knockoff version of actually taking the time to learn and understand yourself in any meaningful way. You can't perform a Google search to the question, "What is my theriotype?" and expect to get a meaningful answer, anymore than you can browse a list of basic definitions and come to any substantial conclusions. You've been warned!

June 2019

Yes, this thread is Locked for the time being. Topics such as this tend to generate a lot of conversation; this is intended to be a resource for people who come across a word they don't recognize to find a very basic definition of what the word means, or for individuals writing a post or thread to quickly ensure they're using a term in the correct context.

For that reason, I've chosen to lock the thread (temporarily) so that your questions, comments, and concerns can be addressed at the top of the thread, in the first post, where they are more likely to be seen. Furthermore, this is also partially due to the fact that I know there are some terms missing that I want to include, but I'm also eager to get this out to you guys, so this is my attempt at a rather ungraceful compromise. Forgive me, bear with me, and thank you.

Let me say that again, though - I want your comments and contributions to be in a conspicuous place where they will be seen, not lost on Page 5 of a 15-page thread. To that end...

Questions, Comments, Concerns, Contributions, Criticisms, and Complaints

For the time being, send me a PM. I intend to unlock this thread on July 1, or when the buzz of activity has subsided, whichever comes last. I highly recommend sending that PM through the website as opposed to Discord, to ensure that it's readily available for you to post to the thread when it is unlocked. I want your input, and I want your input to be seen. I'll be sending out notifications to everyone who messages me when the thread is unlocked with encouragement to come post comments in the thread.

Even after the thread is unlocked, language evolves over time, and I intend to update and maintain this glossary as long as I'm able. Thank you in advance for your help in making it the best it can be.

Please also be aware that, like dictionaries, there is a level of Editorial Oversight that I intend to practice here, and not every word or term that is suggested is going to make the list. If your word or suggestion isn't included, I intend to reply to you with an explanation as to why this is the case, but #1, I don't know how much of a response to expect, so if it takes me a while to respond, please be patient, and #2, if you still think I/We (ideas are discussed with the rest of the site staff, after all) are in error, please... convince us!

Thank you, and enjoy.
- Coffeebear (The Editor)

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  • alpha
    • animal - an archaic notion that packs of animals (most notably wolves) are led by a dominant male, female, or male/female pair; in reality, this role is held by the parents (the breeding pair) of the pack, which is just a family (parents & children) of wolves

      the notion of an "alpha" leadership role in wolf packs was first posited by Rudolph Schenkel in a paper published in 1947, after years of studying a random assembly of captive adult wolves in a zoo in Switzerland, and then repeated by other researchers in the field for decades; it was notably reinforced by L. David Mech's 1970 book, The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species which popularized the notion of competition-based hierarchies, and remains in print today, despite Mech's attempts to halt production due to the inaccuracies of the research and conclusions

    • human - an artificial leadership role most notably present in adolescent and early 20s social groups called "packs"; generally (though not exclusively) adopted by individuals who enjoy exerting influence or control over others, or who seek to be the center of attention

      modeled after the disproven theories and conclusions of faulty research into the social hierarchies of wolves, and perpetuated in movies, television, and pop-culture

    see also "pack"
  • astral projection - a term describing a paranormal concept in which an individual induces an intentional out of body experience; adherents and believers in this practice assert that a soul, consciousness, or otherwise non-physical manifestation called an "astral body" separates from the physical body and is then capable of traveling throughout the universe; scientific evidence suggests that claims of being able to separate one's self from normal neural activity and consciously leave the body to make observations in other locations are fabricated, and astral projection has been characterized as a pseudoscience

    see also "out of body experience"
    see also "shift - astral"
  • awakening - a term used by some in various therian and otherkin circles to denote one's realization that he/she is therian and/or otherkin; this realization may be a relatively instantaneous moment of insight, or it may be a lengthy process

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  • bi-location shift - see "shift"

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  • cameo shift - see "shift"
  • cladotherian - see "therian"
  • contherian - see "therian"
  • copinglink (formerly "copingkin") - an individual who use a non-human identity as a way to cope with a traumatic experience or a mental illness or disorder; because a non-human identity is not something an individual can adopt or otherwise choose to have, these individuals are not otherkin or therian; as such, the name was changed from "copingkin" to "copinglink" to avoid unintended association with the otherkin community
  • cryptid - an animal whose existence or survival is unsubstantiated, and presumed based solely on anecdotal evidence and/or folklore, with no physical evidence to support the animal's existence (e.g., sasquatch)

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  • dream shift - see "shift"
  • dysmorphia
    • medical context - the abnormality or malformation of one or more physiological structures such as the skeleton, muscles, or organs; for example, dwarfism

    • psychological context; "Body Dysmorphic Disorder" (BDD) - a mental disorder most commonly associated with an individual's obsessive, delusional belief that some aspect of his or her body is severely flawed and in need of extraordinary measures with the intent of correcting or concealing the problem; the flaw is either completely imagined, or excessively exaggerated
  • dysphoria - a state of unhappiness, unease, or dissatisfaction, particularly with one's body

The Editor Wrote:Dysphoria is distinguished from dysmorphia in that the dysmorphic (BDD) individual perceives flaws which do not exist, whereas the dysphoric individual properly perceives the body he or she has, but is generally unhappy or dissatisfied with it.

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  • fictionkin - someone who experiences being and identifies as a fictional character (from literature, television, movies, games, etc.) on an integral, personal level
  • fluffy - a term used to criticize someone who lacks substance, is fake, or exaggerates to the extreme, usually to inflate their own importance and impress others; this is a derogatory and highly subjective term, as what one individual considers "fluffy" may be perfectly legitimate to the next

    note that usage in physical descriptions is entirely separate from the above usage (a fluffy blanket, a fluffy poodle, etc.)
  • furry - a fan of anthropomorphic characters

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  • gear - any of a number of clothing, jewelry, accessory, or decorative items related to a person's identity; while "therian gear" is perhaps the most common usage in the context of a therian website, the term could just as easily apply to fandoms, belief systems, etc.
  • greymuzzle - a term of respect for someone who has been in the therian community (not necessarily its online variant) for a considerable length of time, and has spent that time contributing in a meaningful way

    while there is no defined period of time after which the term is bestowed upon an individual, it is generally considered presumptuous and arrogant for someone to claim the title for themselves

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  • howl - a gathering of therians in the real world, generally held in a camping or outdoor setting over the course of a few days

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  • introspection - the deliberate contemplation of one's own thoughts, experiences, and existence, with the intent of coming to conclusions about a particular subject, problem, or question; commonly confused with "meditation"

    see also "meditation"

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  • kintype - see "type"
  • kith - a term denoting otherheartedness with a non-human animal or creature

    see also "otherhearted"

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  • lycanthropy
    • clinical - a delusional belief held by an individual that he or she is transforming (or has the ability to transform) into a wolf or some other non-human animal; this condition is exceedingly rare, with Dr. Jan Dirk Blom of the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, searched back to 1850 and managed to uncover only 56 cases of people who believed they were transforming into animals, with only 13 of those cases defined as clinical lycanthropy; the rest were ultimately attributed (by the attending experts at the time) to other psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia

    • mythological - in folklore and fiction, the magical condition bestowed by either a curse, ritual, or charm, that permits or causes a person to transform into a werewolf, variously depicted as either purely a four-legged wolf, or a man-wolf with incredible strength

The Editor Wrote:It should be noted that there is no historical difference between werewolves and lycanthropes; "werewolf" comes from the Middle English or Old High German "werwolf" (wer = man, wolf = wolf) whereas "lycanthrope" comes from the Greek (lycan = wolf, anthropos = man); differentiations between the two are modern contrivances, only showing up in the past 15-20 years, whereas the folklore surrounding werewolves and lycanthropes goes back for more than a millenium.

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  • meditation - a practice originating from eastern belief systems, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism, which seeks to bestow enlightenment on the practitioner over the course of their life; "enlightenment" in this context is the full realization of the true nature of reality and the universe, as well as the individual's position as an aspect of the universe's divine nature, and ultimately leading to Nirvana and the end of the karmic cycle, an end to suffering, and the conclusion of the cycle of reincarnation; commonly confused with "introspection"

    see also "introspection"

The Editor Wrote:This is an oversimplification, as the multitudes of eastern religions all practice various methods of meditation, and descriptions of Nirvana are equally diverse.

  • mental shift - see "shift"
  • multiple system (also called "a plural") - one physical individual with multiple intangible minds known as "headmates"; differentiated from Multiple Personality Disorder (Dissociative Identity Disorder; DID) generally by the ability of headmates in a multiple system to grow and develop, psychologically, as well as the lack of time loss

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  • otherhearted - someone who empathizes with, has a strong fascination with, or is obsessed over an animal or creature; denoted with the term "kith"

    unlike therians or otherkin, otherhearted individuals do not experience being or identify as the non-human animal or creature

    see also "kith"
  • otherkin - someone who experiences being and identifies as a non-earthly animal on an integral, personal level
  • out of body experience (OBE) - an experience during which an individual seems to perceive things (hallucinations, themselves, etc.) from a point of view other than their physical body,

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  • pack
    • animal - in social species (most notably wolves), a term which most accurately describes a simple family of parents and offspring

    • human - a social group formed around a centrally shared interest (such as therianthropy) and modeled off outdated and false notions of a group led by the strongest member
  • phantom shift - see "shift"
  • physical shift (p-shift) - see "shift"
  • plural - see "multiple system"
  • polymorph - a specific type of otherkin whose kintype has no "basic" form, or whose form is ambiguous and loosely defined, yet can adopt the form of countless other animals or creatures

    see also "shapeshifter"
  • polytherian - see "therian"

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  • reincarnation - the belief or process by which an entity (animal, human, or otherwise) becomes detached from its physical body at the point of death and is reborn in a new body

    different belief systems ascribe different meanings to why reincarnation happens, the purpose of subsequent lives, and what goes on in the interim between death and life; accepted by some therians as a cause of therianthropy, though the exact mechanism by which this takes place may differ from one individual to the next

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  • shapeshifter - a therian or otherkin whose type has a particular "base form" and usually a limited set of other forms the type may take; e.g., a werewolf
  • shift any of a variety of experiences therians and otherkin claim to experience during which either internal or external stimuli affecting physical, intellectual, or emotional processes deviate from what is considered to be the individual's baseline human characteristics; types of shifts claimed by therians and otherkin are as follows:
    • astral - variously described as "seeing" an esoteric manifestation of the seer's animal (kintype) body, or experiencing a first-person point of view of standard behaviors and events in the life (for individuals who claim what they see are past memories) or a life (for individuals who claim nothing further than the astral shift itself) of the seer's animal (kintype) life

      the claim of "astral shifts" is one alternative supporters of physical shifting (p-shifting) purport to experience when their p-shifting claims are rejected by others

    • bi-location - the supposed transposition of the consciousness of an individual into the mind of a currently living, breathing and singularly specific animal "link" (often claimed to be the "alpha") that is the individual's kintype; an alternate version of "factkin", and reminiscent of "worgs" in popular culture such as Game of Thrones

      the claim of "bi-location shifts" is one alternative supporters of physical shifting (p-shifting) purport to experience when their p-shifting claims are rejected by others

      see also "type - factkin"

    • cameo - a phantom shift in which the phantom limbs an individual experiences do not belong to their theriotype(s)

      see also "shift - phantom"

    • dream - a particular dream in which the individual experiences being their theriotype, either in the animal's natural habitat, or otherwise; some individuals have reported anthropomorphic versions of themselves during dream shifts

      it is worth noting that while a great deal of research still needs to be done into dreams in general, there is enough research to suggest that a preoccupation with a particular subject (such as therianthropy or one's theriotype) can lead to dreams about that subject; for this reason, dreams are generally considered unreliable or tenuous, especially for the purpose of identifying one's theriotype

    • mental - a shift in which the individual tends to think, processes information, respond to stimuli, experience emotion, and/or desire to act out more like their theriotype

    The Editor Wrote:Therianthropy is an influence and does not remove an individual's self-control or lucid mental faculties; the influence one experiences can make concentration difficult, alter emotional responses, and the like, but reports of extreme effects such as memory loss or a lack of self-control are generally not accepted as being the result of therianthropy.

    • phantom - a shift in which the individual experiences the sensation of having a limb, body, or physiology which does not exist

      this experience has also been reported by amputees and stroke victims who can still "feel" parts of their body which no longer exist or which they no longer have use of

    • physical (p-shift) - the real, physical transformation of an individual into their type

      while obviously impossible, a number of individuals have tried to claim the ability or pursued the ability in vain

    The Editor Wrote:Claims that p-shifting is real, "instructions" on how the ability can be obtained, and other deceitful conversations on the subject are not permitted on the Therian Guide, for obvious reasons.

    see also Rule II.20

    • sensory - a specific type of mental shift in which the individual pays closer attention to the senses, primarily (though not limited to) sounds and smells, to the point where it seems as though sensory reception has become vastly improved
  • spirit guide - primarily associated with Western spiritualism, New Age belief systems, and some forms of paganism, a spirit guide is an unincarnated spirit which provides guidance and/or protection to a living individual; spirit guides are variously seen as animals, ancestors, archetypal figures, famous people associated with various religions, or something or someone else, but are incorporeal and appear only to their particular individual
  • starseed - a highly evolved, superior being from another planet, star system, or galaxy, whose specific mission is to guide the Earth and its people to a new age of light and reason

    the notion that one's identity is of being better than everyone else tends to be viewed with skepticism and scorn, and as a clear example of egotistical narcissism
  • suntherian - see "therian"

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  • therian (abbreviation of "therianthrope") - someone who experiences being and/or identifies as a non-human animal on an integral, personal level
    • cladotherian - a therian whose types include all or some members of a clade (a particular group deriving from a common ancestor in biological classifications) as their type

      rather than simply identifying as a particular subspecies of wolf, a cladotherian might (for example) identify as all wolves, all wolves and their decedents (dogs), or all 34 species in the Family canidae (dogs, wolves, jackals, foxes, dingoes, etc.)

    • contherian - a therian who does not experience shifts, but is rather in a constant shifted state without variations

      see also "suntherian"

    The Editor Wrote:The term "contherian" was coined by Lion Templin in 1997, essentially so that he could have a term that applied only to himself. He wrote extensively on the topic, which is available for you to read. The term "suntherian" was created by WordWolf in 2005 in order to provide a term that meant the same thing as "cnotherian," but which other people could use in descriptions of themselves. Dustwolf was present for those discussions in 2005, and has provided a History of the word "Suntherian" for those interested in etymology.

    As of this writing (May, 2019) there is a growing consensus that these terms should be abandoned.

    • polytherian -

    • suntherian
      • original usage - a therian who does not experience shifts, but is rather in a constant shifted state without variations

      • modern usage - a therian who does not experience shifts in the normal sense, but is rather in a constant shifted state, with variations in the strength or condition of the state such that there are times that feel more human, and times that feel more animal; sometimes described as a "sliding scale"

      see also "contherian"

    The Editor Wrote:The term "contherian" was coined by Lion Templin in 1997, essentially so that he could have a term that applied only to himself. He wrote extensively on the topic, which is available for you to read. The term "suntherian" was created by WordWolf in 2005 in order to provide a term that meant the same thing as "cnotherian," but which other people could use in descriptions of themselves. Dustwolf was present for those discussions in 2005, and has provided a History of the word "Suntherian" for those interested in etymology.

    As of this writing (May, 2019) there is a growing consensus that these terms should be abandoned.

    • vacillant - see "suntherian"
  • therianthropy - the animalistic experience of being and/or identifying as a non-human animal on an integral, personal level

The Editor Wrote:The particular wording, "identify as," is the result ongoing efforts in therian and particularly otherkin communities to distill concepts into the shortest explanations possible. The original conversations and conclusions developed on Alt.Horror.Werewolves (AHWW) did not place such critical importance on "identity" in describing therianthropy, and the modern mandate that "as" was not present - the word "with" was perfectly acceptable; however, in the process of refining and explaining concepts and expanding the lexicon, a schism developed in which "as" was seen as superior to "with" and the notion of "otherhearted" evolved as the concept of "identifying with" something.

Splitting hairs to this degree has historically been detrimental to the community, as individuals trying to explain their experiences are met with adversity and the insistence that they aren't therian because they used the word "with" instead of "as", while others are excluded for describing their human/animal duality as an "experience" instead of as an "identity".

  • type
    • fictotype - the character a fictionkin identifies as

    • kintype - the type of creature an otherkin identifies as

    • theriotype - the species a therian identifies as

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  • were - someone who experiences being and/or identifies as a non-human animal on an integral, personal level; although synonymous with "therian," this term predates the latter and was primarily used in AHWW circles, though many therians still employ or even prefer the older term, "were"

    see also "therian"

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The Editor Wrote:The basis of human communications are the languages we speak, and within those languages are sets of vocabularies much like the one above. We utilize these words as a form of shorthand - a way to reference a concept without having to describe the concept as a whole. This streamlines the communication process, allowing us to rapidly share our experiences, thoughts, and new ideas with others. It is my hope that this Glossary is at least moderately beneficial to some, particularly new or younger members who may be somewhat confused or lost in the struggle to understand not only themselves, but the questions, thoughts, and ideas others are sharing in their attempts to communicate.

But language is a constantly evolving human creation - it is altered by subsequent generations, influenced by contact with external cultures, and revised when new knowledge or understanding replaces the old. Any given set of vocabulary, such as the one above, is subject to the same pressures and effects of the language in which it's found. Because we rely so heavily on established vocabulary, though, the meanings and connotations of these words should not evolve too quickly, nor should too much be added at once.

I have intentionally attempted to avoid highly specialized, niche terms that are constructed from established expressions (for example, "bovanthropy" - a joining of "bovine" and "therianthropy" to create a word to describe cow therians) because the creation of words just for the sake of creating a label is not that beneficial. First, it fractures the language even further, which can strain communications if one party is unfamiliar with a new term that was just invented last week. Second, if the term quickly arises and falls out of favor, it makes searching for relevant information during the time the word was in use rather difficult for future users. Third, the tendency to rapidly expand the vocabulary by altering the prefix or suffix to multiple root words is counterproductive, in that it discourages real communication in exchange for a few labels. Again, the words we use are not actually real - they are hollow references, pointers or directions conveyed between one another in order to share thoughts and ideas.

Nevertheless, if you feel like a word should be added, or a definition adjusted, please notify me via PM or email. Thanks for reading and being a part of the conversation.


[Image: GvOr5nC.jpg]

It would be fitting, I think, if among the last man made tracks on earth would be found the huge footprints of the great brown bear.
― Earl Fleming
(This post was last modified: 2019-12-25 14:18 by coffeebear.)
2019-05-31 19:51
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