I'm doing an extensive write-up project, and I'm stumped for how an alien species similar to the human analogue morphology (Two Arms, Two Legs, and Plantigrade-Bipedal standing/maneuvering) should be called. I don't want to go for Humanoid, because that's to on the nose and too humancentric for the type of setting I'm developing.

I want something more neutral, so I went for the terminology "Bipedaloid", but I don't know how easily parse-able a person seeing that at face value would know I'm denoting to a rough morphology similar too a human.

Do you think such a terminology I thought up is good or feasible, or can there be a suggestion for anything else that can help?

  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because asking (a) for an opinion on an invented word and (b) for other word suggestions, is off-topic (whether for inviting opinions, or for asking help with what to write). Apr 28 at 10:02

Many, many science fiction writers, biologists, and anthropologists have come up with some creative words and terminology for bipedal creatures that aren't strictly humanoid. Maybe one of them will give you some inspiration. (You can check out "List of fictional extraterrestrials" on Wikipedia for inspiration, too!)

(You may also want to ask this question on Worldbuilding SE, since you'll get more specific advice about worldbuilding species there.)

A few ideas that might fit your concept, though, off the top of my head:

  • Anthropoid (twist on the English word; suggests human-like qualities without being strictly humanoid)
  • Bipeds (common English scientific word for two-legged creatures; Latin for "two feet")
  • Bipods (as opposed to, say, "hexapods", a la Arrival)
  • Centauri/Centaurist (from "centaurism", a term coined by speculative biologists for a four or more-legged creature that raises its front limbs into the air through evolutionary processes)
  • Quadrupeds (another common English scientific word for four-limbed creatures; Latin for "four feet")
  • 1
    I did actually initially ask in Worldbuilding first, but apparently the topic got closed and discarded because they don't accept questions for writing advice; or the fact that my question was too "open ended" and didn't have an objective answer. Thank you for this however.
    – Nagaraja
    Apr 28 at 2:50
  • @Nagaraja Ah, okay. Sorry your question got closed there - sometimes the line between Writing and Worldbuilding is blurry. Hopefully some other writers can stop by with more advice for you, I'm not much of a biologist :)
    – Sciborg
    Apr 28 at 2:53
  • "Anthropoid" means exactly the same as "humanoid".
    – Trang Oul
    Apr 28 at 13:00
  • @TrangOul Technically yes, but it sounds less like it does.
    – Barmar
    Apr 28 at 14:46
  • English Language & Usage might be more appropriate -- requests for words to fill in a blank in a sentence are common (the tag [single-word-requests] is their most popular). Or you could go out of SE to a site like Reddit for discussion rather than Q/A.
    – Barmar
    Apr 28 at 14:50

The proper description for a creature that moves on two legs is a biped. Bipedaloid does not make sense as the -oid means "like or resembling (but not exactly the same)". Thus a Vulcan is a humaniod because it has features that resemble a human, but are not the same as humans. Vulcans are not "bipedaloids" because they do not have features like but not the same as bipeds... because they have all the same features of bipeds! Bipedaloids might be a clever term for a whole host of animals that will shift between a four legged and two legged gait (such as Basilisk lizards or even all non-Hominid Primates aka every primate but humans and near human evolutionary members as humans are evolved for bipedal movement over quadrapedal stances, while the rest of existing primates are reversed).

A creature that moves in a bipedal walk is called a biped and covers a wide array of non-humanoid species (all birds are bipedal but not humanoid). Humanoid generally requires a creature that has a basic human body plan to such a degree that they mimic several very unique body features (such as thumbs, binocular vision, and plantigrade-bipedalism (ability to walk on heel and metatarsal bones in an upright (spine quasi-perpendicular to the ground) fashion.). Some of these features are almost human only biological features in our own animal kingdom.

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