I am compiling a database of deities, mythological creatures, fairy tale or folkloric beings, and other similar entities, complete with categorisation based on various factors. In doing so, I have identified a (surprisingly large) category for which I cannot find an appropriate term, that being the class of animals who were once people. Despite this occurring in countless myths, legends, and folktales over several millennia (everything from the ancient Greek stories of the Pieredes and the encounter with Circe as described in the Odyssey, through to medieval and later tales such as The Children of Lir or The Frog Prince, and the innumerable further examples in modern works of fiction), I can find no general term to describe or refer to the subject or subjects of such a transformation.
The following terms I have already considered:
- These characters are not Shapeshifters, at the very least these characters are distinct from the common definition in that they do not possess the power to transform themselves. Further, Shapeshifter is already both an entry and classification in the aforementioned database.
- The terms Zoomorph and especially Zoomorphic have unfortunate connotations to deities with animalistic attributes, again with potential for confusion given the context.
- Therianthrope is tangentially related but definitely not the correct word here.
- The website TV Tropes refers to this phenomenon as Baleful Polymorph, and the more general concept of humans turning into animals as Animorphism. The latter of these terms is certainly too broad, while the former comes across as a bit of a misnomer both because the transformation may not always be what one would consider baleful, and in the sense that polymorph implies the ability to transform is inherent to the subject.
Does a concise term or (preferably) single word exist to describe this already? If not, could one perhaps be created or co-opted from Greek or Latin roots that would be fairly unambiguous in the given context and has no previous connotations in the realms of myth, religion, or folklore? And, failing that, what might you suggest as a new term to describe this (preferably in no more than two words)?
Note: This term will be used much like tags are used on this site, rather than in a sentence and as such no sample sentence is provided. Additionally, the grammatical form of this word or phrase (i.e., noun vs adjective) is not particularly important as long as the meaning is clear.