For an assignment this term I have to come up with an anti-cliché superhero. I am going to do a superhero that changes shape from thin to big and was wondering if anyone knew a word for this change of shape/size.

  • I'm afraid that your superhero isn't really going against the grain. Metamorpho is a pretty well known character. There are others too. The Superhero database might also be of some assistance. Jul 23, 2012 at 8:22
  • 13
    Calvin and Hobbes might suggest transmogrify.
    – Cameron
    Jul 23, 2012 at 8:25
  • @coleopterist Well, he did say cliché :) Aaaah... anti-cliché... Hm. Maybe he was making a joke :P Jul 23, 2012 at 9:53
  • See also Marvel's Big Bertha Jul 23, 2012 at 13:04
  • Off topic: naming a superhero (disguised as a word request).
    – MetaEd
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:58

9 Answers 9


Consider protean, "Exceedingly variable; readily assuming different shapes or forms"; "From Ancient Greek Πρωτεύς (Prōteus), the Greek warden of sea beasts, renowned for his ability to change shape."


Morph, metamorphose and mutate immediately come to mind ... And if he's changing the shape/size (in a negative way) of another object, mutilate.

  • 5
    That would be mutate and not mutilate. Jul 23, 2012 at 8:23
  • You missed a spot :) Also, mutate isn't necessarily negative. Jul 23, 2012 at 10:08
  • Mutilate is. I meant to keep that mutilate. Mutate refers to changing oneself... you can't mutate something else, can you? And I see that mutate can be used transitively... can you give an example? I couldn't think of any. Jul 23, 2012 at 11:03
  • 1
    I would suggest "transmute" over "mutate" in this context. Jul 23, 2012 at 11:04
  • I liked transmute :) But I feel mutate sounds better. I dunno... Jul 23, 2012 at 11:05

It sounds like you want a synonym for horizontal expansion (like puff or pop) more than you want a word for shapeshifting, since your superhero's morph abilities seem pretty specific and limited.

In any case, an anti-cliché superhero ought to have an anti-cliché name. How about Mister McPuffins (his tumescence is swell!)? Or Mary Poppins's cousin Percival Poppins?


Following Urbycoz’s gist, how about SupersizeMan? (def. supersize)

In a more humdrum vein, to increase in size is to augment, and Augmentor has a kind of X-men feel to it.


A "superhero that changes shape from thin to big"?

Dinna dinna dinna dinna...



Inflatoman might fill the bill, but could conjur up old superheros such as the StaPuft Marshmallow man from Ghost Busters, the Michelin Man, or even the Charles Atlas skinny-to-stud beach bodybuilder.


Your superhero appears to be changing from an ectomorph to an endomorph, so you could do something based on that.

Endomorpher? Endomorpho?

To answer the more general aspects of your question, the basic term for changing shape is metamorphosis. Which also means that names based on the body types noted above have a useful intrinsic allusion in place.


You could use words like shape-shifting, amoebic, elastic, or mutable. You could also use pliable to describe an inanimate object with the properties of your aforementioned superhero.


In general you would call it transforming. More specifically, dilating, scaling, or simply growing or enlarging

That said, the ability to grow or shrink oneself isn't particularly "anti-cliche".

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