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.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Apr 21, 2018 at 16:43

5 Answers 5


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, 2018 at 23:56
  • 7
    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. Apr 21, 2018 at 3:52
  • try 'Cog-Primus'
    – lbf
    Apr 22, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 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.



MPD: Multiple Personality Disorder.

The alternates each have their own distinct psychology, and physiology. For example, when one is sedated as in a surgery, another has the ability to wake up. One may require eye glasses, but, another, not. In fact, the voice changes are beyond what any actor may create. Pretty profound what a free mind may say and do.

It's just that each of us, save for a few spiritual mystics who practise a lot, sells himself out to the expectations and other boundaries of society.

  • This does not match. The question is talking about body swapping, which involves multiple bodies.
    – Laurel
    Dec 22, 2022 at 21:22
  • In general, where does one body end, and, then, another begin? We swap out our DNA/RNA, but, no one is truly unique (especially, say, that we each are). Every thing is interconnected. All answers come from others than ourselves. Anyway, our spirits and souls aren't open to demonic possession because such are eternal, in the now (neither coming nor going,) then with neither good nor bad qualities to corrupt. On a biological level, every cell is changed out in our bodies, by about every seven years. On the macro level, people may change their bodies by getting some daily exercise, and, Dec 22, 2022 at 22:30
  • eating less, to lose weight. But no matter how smart we become, we remain essentially what we are, mere mortals who tell stories to ourselves as a substitute for telling the truth about ourselves. Dec 22, 2022 at 22:30

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