Not to be confused with a person who can morph themselves into someone else or a creature by will, but someone who has an ability to body swap - without necessarily having control over it. I am writing a short fiction story and I am looking for acceptable sounding names/words to describe this action and the scientific name for body swapping.

I have come across Changeling, Morphling, and Automorphic but all of these suggest a way of having control over of changing ones own physical appearance. I am looking for something more specific to the actual switching of bodies.

This young woman has known since she was a child that she was able to [transcend into someone else's body] for an unknown amount of time but she could not control it.

Bonus points if it's SciFi jargon.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Apr 21 '18 at 16:43

transmute TFD

trans·mut·ed, trans·mut·ing, trans·mutes

To change from one form, nature, substance, or state into another; transform

As in:

This young woman has known since she was a child that she was able to transmute into another body for an unknown amount of time but she could not control it.

You may need to come up with your own SciFi neologism. This site's answers does not participate in such ... though anyone can do so in comments. Check the synonyms of this word and any others in answers and comments. Check out this article body-swapping for ideas. Good luck.

Good luck!

  • & call her a 'dimensional transmute' or a 'engramic entity'! – lbf Apr 20 '18 at 23:56
  • 5
    Transmute has nothing to do with swapping, exchanging, or inhabiting (other) bodies. A single person could transmute their own body without ever affecting somebody else. But since this answer was marked as correct, I feel the question—in particular the title—was very poorly phrased. – Jason Bassford Apr 21 '18 at 3:52
  • try 'Cog-Primus' – lbf Apr 22 '18 at 17:28

Assuming that you mean the character can’t control the ‘ability’, rather than can’t control the body they occupy, then you seem to be talking about a form of possession. Most commonly this is identified as a supernatural phenomenon taking the form of demonic or spiritual possession

Demonic possession, psychokinetic control of a person by the Devil or other malevolent spirit.

Spirit possession, psychokinetic control of the behavior of a living thing or natural object by a spiritual being

but essentially comes from the obsolete meaning of ‘possess’ as ‘to inhabit or occupy’ giving a modern meaning of

To take control of someone's body or mind, especially in a supernatural manner.

As to what people with the ability to possess others might be called, it is quite likely that the general population might call them witches or devils, what they call themselves may be very dependent on how they see the ability and how they use it.

Terry Pratchett used the gentler concept of ‘borrowing’ for characters who could ride in the mind of another but chose not to control the owner (other than the odd nudge).

  • OP says "she cannot control it". – Zebrafish Apr 23 '18 at 7:36
  • @Zebrafish which I find somewhat ambiguous, I assume the OP means the jumper can’t control when it for how long they jump, but it could mean they are only ‘present’ in the other body, a passenger as it were with no control over the body’s actions. – Spagirl Apr 23 '18 at 9:04

I'm going out on a limb here. I would suggest, as you seem inclined, using the diminutive suffix -ling with the appropriate descriptive word indicating an immature one, new one, or small one. The limitation is with the descriptive word that you use. From your description you describe a mutual experience - to switch, swap, trade, or exchange awareness. I think "switchling" might work. Or, if the switching process allows, possibly "graftling" or "spliceling".



This is typically called a ‘walk-in’. A walk-in is a soul that moves into another body, typically when the original soul leaves or dies, or sometimes they (choose to) co-habit the one body.

I have a friend whose baby died as a foetus, and that soul ended up staying and co-habiting with her. She learned a lot of new spiritual wisdom from that walk-in soul.


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