From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In subcultural and fictional uses, a mundane is a person who does not belong to a particular group, according to the members of that group; the implication is that such persons, lacking imagination, are concerned solely with the mundane: the quotidian and ordinary.[1] The term first came into use in science fiction fandom to refer, sometimes deprecatingly, to non-fans; this use of the term antedates 1955.[2]


Mundane came originally from the Latin mundus, meaning ordinary and worldly as opposed to spiritual, and has been in use in English since the 15th century.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

Some western cultural examples:

  • In Cassandra Clare's book series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, humans who were not Shadowhunters nor Downworlders were referred to as "mundanes".
  • In fantasy literature the term is sometimes used to apply to non-magical people or the non-magical society. It is used in Piers Anthony's Xanth novels and Bill Willingham's comic book series Fables (often shortened to "mundies" in the latter).
  • In furry fandom, it is used to describe non-furries, or "humans".[4]
  • In historical reenactment groups such as the Society for Creative Anachronism (which originated in science fiction fandom):
    • 'Mundanes', sometimes shortened to just "'danes" (not to be confused with people of Danish descent), is also a term for normal everyday clothes, as opposed to those dressed in historical garb.[5]
    • Similarly, one's "mundane" name is the legal name one goes by in the outside world.
    • Some participants classify all non-participants as "mundanes".
  • In science fiction fandom, some fans classify all non-fans as "mundanes."[6]
  • In text-based online role-playing games, the term is commonly used to refer to the player as opposed to their character, typically shortened to "mun".
  • In the science fiction television series Babylon 5, telepathic humans (especially Psi Corps members) classify all non-telepathic humans as "mundanes". The classification is employed mainly, but not solely, by telepathic characters who have telepath-supremacist ideologies (such ideologies being one of the issues dealt with by the series), and was deliberately chosen to mirror the classification in science fiction fandom.[7]
  • In the scope of the software communities of free and open-source software some proponents[citation needed] of the respective movements classify those that do not know enough about their views as "mundanes".
  • In Vampire lifestyle circles the word "mundane" means "non-sanguinarian", although some consider it derogatory.
  • Mundane science fiction is science fiction that does not make use of interstellar travel or other common tropes of the genre.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "brown, rich". Dr. Gafia's Fan Terms.
  2. ^ Coppa, Francesca (2006). "A Brief History of Media Fandom". In Hellekson, Karen; Busse, Kristina (eds.). Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 41–59. ISBN 978-0-7864-2640-9.
  3. ^ "Merriam- Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus". Merriam- Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Simo". The New Furry's Dictionary.
  5. ^ "The Fanfiction Glossary". 22 August 2008. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008.
  6. ^ Cherryh, C. J. "FIAWOL and All That".
  7. ^ "Message by J. Michael Straczynski on Byron's attitude towards "mundanes" in Babylon 5". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007.
  8. ^ "Geoff Ryman: The Mundane Fantastic: Interview excerpts". Locus. January 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2007.