39

I'm writing a fiction where inhabitants live on the Moon, so I want a name for them. I know that 'venusian' means 'of or relating to the planet Venus', 'martian' means 'of or relating to the planet Mars or its hypothetical inhabitants' and so on.

But, after having observed that 'moonian' is not a word, I wonder as to whether there is a term meaning 'of or relating to the Moon or its hypothetical inhabitants'.

16
  • 3
    how about aliens? ;-)
    – Jim
    Sep 19, 2013 at 7:47
  • 15
    Perhaps lunatics or loonies for short. What? Those are already taken? Maybe moonmen, assuming that there is only one gender.
    – bib
    Sep 19, 2013 at 12:13
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA makes a good point - almost every suggestion here already has some sort of meaning, that lunar inhabitants might not want to associate themselves with. The answer, should an author come up with something good, might come out of nowhere - for example, to borrow the Japanese suffix for "person of ___", we could end up with "moonjin" or "lunajin" (like bib's suggestion of "moonmen" but not male-oriented).
    – Izkata
    Sep 19, 2013 at 12:44
  • 3
    There's nothing nypothetical about the Mooninites.
    – Kyle Hale
    Sep 19, 2013 at 14:39
  • 5
    They call themselves the mooninites. Sep 19, 2013 at 16:10

17 Answers 17

75

My choice would be Lunarian—employing the same Latin roots as Martian and Venerian, using the same way to build the word.

It is actually already existing term as per Marriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lunarian).

7
  • I'd go for Lunarian too - only other ones I can think of that don't carry connotations of literal madness are Loonling (as in Earthling) or Moonling, but they're both a bit awkward.
    – bamboo
    Sep 19, 2013 at 9:22
  • 6
    Speaking as an SF reader, I think Lunarian is a common choice, with Selenite being roughly as common. Sep 19, 2013 at 15:11
  • My first answer would have been lunarian too. Sep 19, 2013 at 21:34
  • 4
    Isaac Asimov used the word "Lunarian" in "The Gods Themselves" 1972. Sep 19, 2013 at 22:32
  • +1 ... I wasn't familiar with the Latin word lunaris.
    – LarsH
    Sep 20, 2013 at 2:34
36

H.G.Wells, in The First Men In The Moon, referred to the inhabitants of the moon as selenites, but the name doesn't seem to have caught on. The only definition I can find for the word in a dictionary refers to a kind of gypsum.

5
  • 2
    Interestingly, french and spanish exclusively use sélénites and selenitas, respectively. Possibly because the word is several centuries old in those languages. Sep 19, 2013 at 12:12
  • 6
    Selenite has caught on among SF writers. Between it and Lunarian I don't think either is strongly dominant. Google Ngrams have the two about on par (the singular Selenite is dominant but that seems to be due to the chemical). Sep 19, 2013 at 15:10
  • It all depends on whether you want to use the Latin or Greek pantheon. Luna is Latin/Roman, which is the standard for naming Solar System objects to date. Selene is Greek, and yes, selenium has the same origin; the element was named because it had similar properties to the previously-discovered tellurium (for Tellus - Earth).
    – KeithS
    Sep 19, 2013 at 18:53
  • Jules Verne also used this term in "From Earth to the Moon" and "Around the Moon". Thanks for making me remember how awesome those books are!
    – Svalorzen
    Sep 19, 2013 at 21:17
  • I've also encountered the term in Georges Méliès' Trip to the Moon (1902), though since the word doesn't appear on screen I don't know if it was applied to those characters at the time.
    – supercat
    Jan 9, 2018 at 17:46
17

via the Latin Luna, I suggest Lunans

Lunans (Luna: Earth II)

Loonies (from the book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein) - however being loony is considered a little crazy

Lunar is the adjective: "The Lunar inhabitants", but lunatic is an informal term referring to the mentally ill

Lunan will be more readily understandable by anyone not Greek than their Selenite and rolls off the tongue better than Lunarian](http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lunarian) in my opinion :)

Moonies is a pejorative used for the followers of the Unification Church

1
  • 1
    +1 for loonies, Heinlein did use it as a pun in the book as well if I remember correctly.
    – terdon
    Sep 19, 2013 at 17:55
12

Honestly if I were writing about a fictional people that lived on the moon I would take a different approach. What would they call their home? What would they think of the blue giant "moon" hanging in the sky above their planet? If they did not come from the earth then surely they would not call their home planet the moon... Will they have water and grow plants? Technology enough to see the lush planet they cannot reach? I would think they would be green with envy and it would be the focus of their religion and most of their stories. They might speculate about the man in the moon just as we do, and strive for ways to get there. It would likely be considered a utopian planet that could save them from their desolation. Their heaven perhaps. I would choose a name for my home planet in that context I think. Not an answer - just a suggestion. Be creative and make it your own.

4
  • That's an approach with pedigree, e.g. (Out of the Silent Planet)[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_the_Silent_Planet] by CS Lewis, however some term may be needed when introducing these beings, before their own name is known to the reader.
    – Chris H
    Sep 19, 2013 at 11:11
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    Earth would not appear to orbit - it would have phases, but remain stationary in the sky.
    – Random832
    Sep 19, 2013 at 15:58
  • 1
    I LOVE this answer! It shows up the egocentric way we so automatically think about things. We need to be constantly reminded not to be that way. This is thoughtful, creative, beautiful, and RIGHT. Thanks, John! Sep 19, 2013 at 20:48
  • Thanks John! @Random even better! It would always be there, waxing and waning in the sky above them, reminding them of what they don't have. Imagine the religions that would spring forth from that! I could see them performing elaborate rituals. It seems they should be able to make out elements of weather on the earth as well, a swirling atmosphere they lack on their home planet. How they would speculate! I wonder if solar storms that create such vivid light shows on earth might be visible to them through a telescope? and what of those on the dark side? Only rumors of it would reach them. Sep 19, 2013 at 21:43
6

Of or related to the moon is lunar. Perhaps the word lunatic expresses the idea of the moon's inhabitants.

There was an LDS [Mormon] belief that the moon was inhabited, but they simply refer to “the inhabitants of the moon”. At least one commentator, however, calls them moon-men.

5
  • 3
    I find that 1950's sexist
    – mplungjan
    Sep 19, 2013 at 9:20
  • 5
    So you said earlier. I make no comment and merely present the research; there's probably a question here about the use of the word "man" to mean "person".
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 19, 2013 at 9:22
  • being a mormon, i can assure you that there is no such belief at the moment. I can't really tell how widespread that belief was back in the days, but i'm quite sure it was never official doctrine.
    – kutschkem
    Sep 19, 2013 at 11:43
  • @kutschkem Thanks: happy to clarify in the answer that it's not current now.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 19, 2013 at 11:55
  • @AndrewLeach np ;-)
    – kutschkem
    Sep 19, 2013 at 12:00
5

What about deriving the name from some other property of the Moon?

  • The Moon is in High Earth Orbit -> a heo, two heos (almost similar to the greek word for Sun, helios)
  • Fortnighters - the night on the Moon lasts for, uh, a fortnight :-)
  • Regos, that regolith sticks to just anything
  • Copernicans, if they all live in or originate from the same crater
  • Neils (and Buzzes), in honor of Mr. Armstrong & Mr. Aldrin
  • Farsiders, if they hid from humans there until discovered
2
  • 1
    That's an interesting idea, it's more similar to what you might expect would arise as slang. "Oh those crazy fortnighters" or "Damn dirty Regos!"
    – Amory
    Sep 19, 2013 at 14:57
  • I like Regos, as it ties into the structure of the moon, and could be a pejorative from an Earther. Sep 19, 2013 at 19:37
4

No term currently exists, because we haven't really needed one: the Moon has no inhabitants. Different authors who wrote about people on the Moon tended to coin their own terms, but none have really caught on as standard yet.

The end result is that you get to coin your own term too. If you want to derive from Latin, I'd suggest "Lunans." If you want the word to have Germanic roots instead, "Moonfolk" should work.

I think the Latin derivation has a somewhat more scientific feel, while the Germanic derivation sounds more mythic. Either way, you should pick whatever feels best for your work.

3

Since it is not uncommon to refer to Earth's inhabitants Earthlings, the obvious generalization would be Moonlings. Unfortunately that also seems to be synonymous to lunatic in the meaning of simpleton...

1
  • In a similar spirit, one could generalize Terrans to Lunans, but that just doesn't sound so good to me... Sep 19, 2013 at 15:18
2

I'd say "Moonwalker". It does have some different meanings colloquially and it's the name of a Michael Jackson movie so it might not be that original.

2

I would suggest you to consider Mooners or Moonsters :)

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  • 1
    'Moonsters' is very nice, congratulations!
    – user51029
    Sep 19, 2013 at 11:42
  • Moonsters... sounds like cows in gangs :-)
    – Jens
    Sep 19, 2013 at 14:29
  • that what happens maybe when the moonsters moon haha
    – sivi
    Sep 20, 2013 at 13:51
2

Continuing the theonymous tradition one could call them Selenians after the Greek moon goddess.

And I don't know how moonling came about to mean lunatic.

According to the dictionaries mooner has been misappropriated in a similar manner. However I don't see a problem with Luner as a general term for your hypothetical moonwalkers.

Edit: In fact according to OED Selenian is extant and means just that - of or pertaining to the moon considered as a world.

Eg. ...we should not select the Moon as a habitation ; and the Selenians, if there be any, must be a peculiar race (courtesy - FumbleFingers)

3
1

In Robert Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", the inhabitants, who are almost all transported convicts or descendents of such, all refer to themselves as "Loonies". In much the same way, I imagine, that Yankees took that pejorative on as a badge of honor, to spite their enemies.

0

Perhaps if you were looking for a colloquial term/insult/slang for these people I'd go for something like Luny, Looney or Luney. Base on on the Latin origin of Moon and the fact that you might end up insane living on such a barren, desolate place.

0

I think if there were people living on the moon that we would call them whatever they wanted us to call them.

I think if you are writing the book then your "Moon" people need to have a name for it. The fact is they would have a name for the place they called home. They might not have a clue what Moon/Lunar is.

Name the moon, name your people on the moon, and let them be introduced. If an advanced civilization came to us and lived on the moon we might refer to them as Martians at first but then it would be whatevertheywantustocallthem.

3
  • 2
    Huh, I was under the impression that we English-speakers historically ignore what the people of a given place call themselves and come up with a name based on our traditional way of referring to the place they're from.
    – user867
    Sep 20, 2013 at 7:13
  • 1
    ... not only us English speakers, but all speakers of anything anywhere ever. We don't call people "les français", "die Deutschen", "belorusy" or "ukraintsy", and they don't call us "Englishmen", "Scots" or "Irish".
    – RegDwigнt
    Sep 20, 2013 at 8:57
  • Yes we English speakers do ignore what people call themselves but something tells me if it were an alien race we would probably use their name or a nickname of their name.
    – Tom
    Sep 20, 2013 at 15:43
0

Moonman or Moonwoman is the best word to describe

2
  • Please explain the reasons for your choice to help the OP arrive at his conclusions.
    – user49727
    Sep 20, 2013 at 5:02
  • because they live in the place called Moon. simple as that.
    – Ken Men
    Sep 20, 2013 at 5:22
-1

They can be called any of Moonian/ Lunarian/ Moonarchs.

-1

Lunadens

Lunar + Denizens = Lunadens

2
  • Shouldn't it be lunazens, then?
    – RegDwigнt
    Sep 20, 2013 at 8:58
  • That would work too. "Lou-Na-Dens" or "Luna-zens".
    – Dennis
    Sep 21, 2013 at 0:32