Someone from Mars is called a Martian. Someone from America is called an American. Someone from Europe is a European. Someone from Hyrule is a Hyrulean.

We are not far from colonizing other planets, let alone Earth's only moon. Obviously you wouldn't call someone from the moon a lunatic right? What if you are on Mars? What would I call a foreigner from Earth? Earthean doesn't sound right.

  • 2
    – nohat
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:17
  • Depends on whether the author uses slang well or not. I've always liked Larry Niven's term for people from Earth in his "Known Space" series: Flatlanders. Mar 13, 2015 at 22:50

4 Answers 4


The word I have always seen used for this in science fiction is Terran.


As @nohat posted, "Earthling" tends to be a common term. Science fiction has come up with others, such as "Terran" (using the Latin root, terra).

As society actually makes it to other planets, the language will naturally define this term and the nuances of its uses. While "American" could technically refer to the significant majority of people living in the Western Hemisphere, it tends to refer only to those from the United States of America. Does it refer to someone who is a citizen of the U.S.? Someone natural-born? A resident, whether citizen or not?

Until we realize colonization of other planets, the term and its nuances remain the realm of fiction and you, as the author, have the authority to decide on terminology and nuance.

  • 1
    They are going to have to think fast because colonization of another planet is at hand. Be it a satellite or planet. It may be twenty years before the moon is colonized and eighty for Mars, but that is closer than you think. Earthitean has a nice ring to it?
    – AMDG
    Mar 14, 2015 at 12:14
  • 1
    The problem with Earthling though is it usually comes from an alien, but -ling makes us sound like inferiorities since indeed we are inferior to the alien that visits us. I think there should be a less extreme way to call us "foreigners" by.
    – AMDG
    Apr 4, 2015 at 14:58
  • You might be able to take a page out of the seafarer's book. Those who don't have their "sea legs" yet are called landlubbers. Maybe you could call those who don't have their "space legs" orblubbers.
    – Paul Rowe
    Apr 6, 2015 at 2:49

A terrestrial being:

  • pertaining to, consisting of, or representing the earth as distinct from other planets.
  • it's also a noun as in : "Terrestrials soon to land on Mars" terrestrial— an inhabitant of the earth, especially a human being
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:38

Earthling would be an appropriate category of foreigner to a visiting planet that is not Earth.

So, "I am Joe, Earthling"

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