I'm looking for a term that a crazy cult member would apply to an outsider, a term that implies that such a "non-believer" is ignorant and of lesser worth -- ideally, something that is humorous because it is slightly ridiculous.

For example, an Islamic radical might use "filthy infidel" or an over-the-top Catholic may say "hell-bound heathen," but I'm looking for something that may be uttered by a member of a run-of-the-mill Kool-Aid cult.

  • 4
    "sheep"? "Muggle"? "Blind"/"in the dark"? Mar 11 '11 at 19:35
  • "The Lord is my shepherd". Would the sentence be true for a non believer?
    – apaderno
    Mar 12 '11 at 1:23
  • Some cults fancy themselves the wolves rather than the sheep.
    – chaos
    Mar 12 '11 at 1:39
  • I just read through Wikipedia's entry on Jim Jones, of not-so-run-of-the-mill Kool-Aid fame. Crazy story, but couldn't find andy specific terms for "outsiders" other than, possibly, capitalists. Mar 12 '11 at 15:03

10 Answers 10

  • Heathens
  • Unbelievers
  • Those who choose to live in the dark
  • The unwashed
  • The blind
  • Worshipers of Mammon
  • The unchosen
  • The prodigals
  • Strangers
  • Outsiders
  • The apostates
  • The unworthy
  • Servants of Baal
  • God's rebellious children
  • Lovers of darkness
  • Children of 'The World'

(I really need to stop joining all these secret groups!)

  • 1
    Technically, "Apostate" only applies if they were formerly members of said cult.
    – JeffSahol
    Nov 21 '11 at 23:57
  • @JeffSahol unless said cult had as one of it's beliefs that we originally lived in a golden-age were we all followed the "true way", but became apostates after!
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 17 '13 at 16:45

Mundane is fairly likely to see usage this way, referencing someone being concerned with "matters of this world" as opposed to whatever the cult is into. A cult less into traditional dualistic slurs and more into cutesy neologisms might use sheeple. Cults that are about awakening the higher perceptions or psychic powers of their members may derogate non-members as headblind.

And, of course, from A Scanner Darkly, we get the immortal phrase albino shape-shifting lizard bitches, which really cannot be applied frequently enough to describe anybody the speaker wishes to categorize as "other".

  • 1
    Seriously, I'll start a cult just to call people albino shape-shifting lizard bitches
    – juanzack
    Nov 27 '13 at 12:00

How about a nullifidian? Could be a word the cult leader decided to revive.

  • 2
    Fun question. Here's some more: gentile (especially if they are Gentiles), philistine, reprobate, latitudinarian, adiamorph, pagan. Mar 11 '11 at 19:44
  • Great answer, but +1 for pagan
    – Bluu
    Mar 11 '11 at 23:56
  • @Bluu: -1 for pagan. (Well actually I upvoted this answer, but the point is that "pagan" as negative term exists chiefly in Christianity, and using the term as derogatory is offensive to all the religions that are pagan, which includes the ancient Greek religion, most current Eastern religions of China, India, etc., the religions of Africa, and so on and on, as well as "neopaganism".) Mar 12 '11 at 7:55
  • 1
    @ShreevastaR: I understand the offensive nature of the use of pagan in this way, but I didn't think this would keep a cult from using it. Mar 12 '11 at 14:53
  • Depends on whether the cult is pagan or not. :-) Mar 12 '11 at 17:24

I propose heretic, apostate or paynim.

  • I'm not sure about paynim, but heretic and apostate both give a connotation of someone who was at least once a believer. Jan 22 '14 at 19:56

Philistine has that appropriate apocalyptic tenor characteristic of cult members:

Just as hath the Lord promised when He delivered those woeful people unto David and his mighty men, so shalt you and your heathen ilk burn in the fiery furnaces of Hell for all eternity!


In Iain Banks' novel Whit, or, Isis among the Unsaved, they are called (you get one guess) "the unsaved."


Some suggestions:

  • Unenlightened
  • Unwashed/Unclean
  • Uneducated
  • Pigs/piggies ( This was actually used by Charles Manson's cult)

I can think of infidel, heathen, agnostic, apostate.

Heathen is a derogatory word; maybe it is the genre of words that a "crazy cult member" would use.


If it's a Christian-based cult, then dogs might be appropriate. It's a Biblical image, which turns up more than once. Outside are the dogs, etc. It's used in both Revelation and the Gospels, and I think in other places.


I don't think the answer is simple. The reason being a cult is a specific instance of a radical belief system. If you want something humorous then the audience would need to be introduced to a basic understanding of their ideals.

It seems to me that many belief systems/ideologies are the result of a perceived problem. For this reason although their own tenants are good, the oppositions faults are viewed vehemently.

Consider the major political parties of your country, and insults each may have for the other. Consider the fear differing economic systems invoke in some people. The fear of different races, by racial pride groups. There are also many examples in science fiction too where one group has departed from another by some social, technological, evolutionary... well it's science fiction could be anything... the point is without understanding the differentiating factors between the two groups, insults have little meaning.

Oh, I did think of something! If it's a run of the mill "Kool-Aid cult" then PEPSI DRINKERS! Or maybe "Those who do not partake of the anti-freeze." I think the later would be said solemnly, like you would "Poor misguided people."


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.