• Site Maintenance in progress; pardon our dust!

Needing Information

ksugar1

New member
Hi there!
I identify as a human/non-kin. I've never been a part of this community, and am trying to educate myself on the otherkin community. I am writing an anthropology paper on the linguistics of an online community, and I chose the realm (if that's the right word) of otherkin. I find it super interesting, and am hoping to educate myself on the different teminology, and the otherkin culture.
So, I have no idea about what slang or other terms you all use and I don't know much information about the otherkin community. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you so much!!
 

Shezep

Well-known member
Gold Donor
VIP
It's too bad that our library isn't currently up. There are a lot of words and I probably won't hit on all of them. This is only a brief list because there are a lot of words. I hope others jump in to clarify if I don't get these exactly right. I'd advise reading the other threads in Q&A if you haven't already. And ask questions if you run into something specific you want to know about.

Otherkin - a person who identifies as a nonhuman being, usually on a spiritual or psychological level, not physical. Otherkin are physically human. The identity, called a kintype, is not consciously chosen. Legitimate kintypes are an integral part of a person's being, as such they doesn't disappear over time. Otherkin usually, but not always, have certain experiences in common such as mental shifting, phantom limbs, a desire to return to some other "home" where they can live fully as their kintype, and occasionally display small habits or patterns pertaining to their kintype consciously or unconsciously.

Kintype - the species that an otherkin identifies as.

Therian - therians are similar to otherkin but their identity is related to animals that actually exist or have existed on earth. Someone who identifies as a wolf would be a therian, although they still fit under the otherkin umbrella. Someone who identifies as a dragon would not be a therian, but would still be otherkin. There's also a subset called "theriomythic" which might be used if the mythical animal has the mindset of a natural wild animal, for example a "wild" dragon as opposed to one who is intelligent and uses language.

Theriotype - the species that the therian identifies as.

Fictionkin and fictotype - identifying as a person, creature, or species found in modern fictional works. If the character in question is human then technically they don't qualify as otherkin.

Mental shift - a change in mindset closer to that of another species. These shifts range in intensity from barely noticeable to practically forgetting the human side, and everything in between. Extreme shifts are very rare. Usually a mental shift just involves something like a heightened awareness or quieting the human chatter in the mind. Sometimes a mental shift will let certain behaviors though, for example I might do a birdlike head bob or just seem to stare at nothing if I'm mentally shifted toward the bird side. Mental shifts can be encouraged to happen or sometimes they show up spontaneously. (Otherkin are still responsible for their own actions whether they are shifted or not. If they have trouble controlling their actions during a shift then they probably have other issues that they should speak to a therapist about.)

Phantom shift - a sensation in which a person feels that they have extra limbs that aren't really there. For example, many otherkin and therians sometimes get the sense of having a tail or wings or sharp teeth. The sensation ranges from having an odd undefined sensation in the general area, to having a detailed mental image of the limb and being able to move it at will. Some people talk about having pain when a "tail" gets stuck in a door or stepped on, but such vivid sensations are rare. Phantom limbs often just phase through other objects because they aren't physical. (Otherwise my phantom wings would make it difficult to sit in a normal chair.) Phantom limbs are something like a secondary mental image superimposed over the physical body.

Awakening - the point at which a person discovers that they are otherkin. Sometimes they know right away what their kintype is, and other times they have to put the pieces and clues together in order to narrow it down. It's not about acquiring anything new, just recognizing what has been there all along.

"Kin with" "Kinning" - the community has been around long enough for there to be a linguistic divide and this is where it is. These words are not considered legitimate by most older otherkin. Using kin as a verb implies that kintypes are acquired through some kind of action. That also implies that someone goes through a process of choosing their kintype. There's the admonition of "Don't kin with people outside of your race." (Which applies more to fictionkin than otherkin because otherkin are about species and not race to begin with.) The admonition is based on the faulty idea that otherkin choose their kintypes. This type of language runs the risk of reducing something that is an innate part of our being to being just a hobby or pass time of those who don't really understand it. These words seem to be used more often among fictionkin communities.
 

Effervescent-Daydream

Well-known member
Hello, welcome! Good luck with your paper! While many of the important terms have been mentioned already, I do feel that there are a few others worth noting.

If someone identifies as "Kith" or "Hearted" with a certain species, they identify very strongly with that animal. The animal that one is kith with may be called a "kithtype". Kithness is considered much broader then otherkinity due to the fact that identifying "as" something is fairly straightforward in concept, though there are many different ways that one could identify "with" something. Being kith is still very different from simply liking an animal though. The connection that someone who is wolfhearted feels to wolves is very different to someone who just likes them, often in the way that it is much deeper, to a point where they feel like family. However, they may not consider themselves to be a member of that species as well. One analogy describes the difference as being a human who is at home amongst a pack of wolves as opposed to actually being one of the wolves.

Something else worth mentioning is copinglinkers. Copinglinking is a process by which one consciously assumes the identity of an animal as a means to cope with stress. For example, someone who feels weak and scared in their human life may choose a strong, brave animal to identify as.

I believe these terms are both important to know about because there are common misconceptions about the otherkin community that they address. Notably, many believe that being kin with something is no different than just really liking that animal or feeling a connection with them. Some others think that being otherkin is a choice and/or coping mechanism. In truth, though these are extant communities, they fall outside the scope of what is traditionally considered otherkin, which is in involuntary identity as a nonhuman species. However, because there are many kith and copinglinkers in the otherkin community, you may often hear these terms used within it.

Hope that helps! c:
 
Hi OP! It's always cool seeing non-kin delve into our communities and terminology and whatnot.

The other posters have covered the most common and important terms already, but if you want to delve more, there's a dictionary here (with sources if you need them!) although this covers terms pertinent to the greater alterhuman community too, not just otherkin.

There's also this post over on Amino that, despite not providing sources for the definitions, is probably the most comprehensive dictionary on social media I've ever seen.

If you really, REALLY want to delve, here's a link to O. Scribner's Otherkin Lexicon, a 67 page doc that covers a multitude of otherkin terms with extensive sourcing and terminology history. This is an older document (ca. 2013), so some newer terms have been left out as a result.

Good luck on your paper! If you have other questions, you know where to find us!
 
Top