Names for the human species
|An adult human male (left) and female (right) from the Akha tribe in Northern Thailand|
In addition to the generally accepted taxonomic name Homo sapiens (Latin: "sapient human", Linnaeus 1758), other Latin-based names for the human species have been created to refer to various aspects of the human character.
In the world's languages
|Look up human_being#Translations in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
The Indo-European languages have a number of inherited terms for mankind. The etymon of man is found in the Germanic languages, and is cognate with Manu, the name of the human progenitor in Hindu mythology, and found in Indic terms for "man" (manuṣya, manush, manava etc.).
Latin homo is derived from an Indo-European root dʰǵʰm- "earth", as it were "earthling". It has cognates in Baltic (Old Prussian zmūi), Germanic (Gothic guma) and Celtic (Old Irish duine). This is comparable to the explanation given in the Genesis narrative to the Hebrew Adam (אָדָם) "man", derived from a word for "red, reddish-brown". Etymologically, it may be an ethnic or racial classification (after "reddish" skin colour contrasting with both "white" and "black"), but Genesis takes it to refer to the reddish colour of earth, as in the narrative the first man is formed from earth.
Other Indo-European languages name man for his mortality, *mr̥tós meaning "mortal", so in Armenian mard, Persian mard, Sanskrit marta and Greek βροτός meaning "mortal; human". This is comparable to the Semitic word for "man", represented by Arabic insan إنسان (cognate with Hebrew ʼenōš אֱנוֹשׁ), from a root for "sick, mortal". The Arabic word has been influential in the Islamic world, and was adopted in many Turkic languages. The native Turkic word is kiši (from a Proto-Altaic *k`i̯uĺe).
The Chinese character used in East Asian languages is 人, originating as a pictogram of a human being. The reconstructed Old Chinese pronunciation of the Chinese word is /ni[ŋ]/. A Proto-Sino-Tibetan r-mi(j)-n gives rise to Old Chinese /*miŋ/, modern Chinese 民 mín "people" and to Tibetan མི mi "person, human being".
In some tribal or band societies, the local endonym is indistinguishable from the word for "men, human beings". Examples include Ainu: ainu, Inuktitut: inuk, Bantu: bantu, Khoekhoe: khoe-khoe (etc.), possibly in Uralic: Hungarian magyar, Mansi mäńćī, mańśi, from a Proto-Ugric *mańć- "man, person".
The mixture of serious and tongue-in-cheek self-designation originates with Plato, who on one hand defined man as it were taxonomically as "featherless biped" and on the other as ζῷον πολιτικόν zōon politikon, as "political" or "state-building animal" (Aristotle's term, based on Plato's Statesman).
Harking back to Plato's zōon politikon are a number of later descriptions of man as an animal with a certain characteristic. Notably animal rationabile "animal capable of rationality", a term used in medieval scholasticism (with reference to Aristotle), and also used by Carl von Linné (1760) and Immanuel Kant (1798). Based on the same pattern is animal sociale or "social animal"[according to whom?][year needed] animal laborans "laboring animal" (Hannah Arendt 1958) and animal symbolicum "symbolizing animal" (Ernst Cassirer 1944).
The binomial name Homo sapiens was coined by Carl Linnaeus (1758). Names for other human species were introduced beginning in the second half of the 19th century (Homo neanderthalensis 1864, Homo erectus 1892).
There is no consensus on the taxonomic delineation between human species, human subspecies and the human races. On the one hand, there is the proposal that H. sapiens idaltu (2003) is not distinctive enough to warrant classification as a subspecies. On the other, there is the position that genetic variation in the extant human population is large enough to justify its division into several subspecies. Linneaeus (1758) proposed division into five subspecies, H. sapiens europaeus alongside H. s. afer, H. s. americanus and H. s. asiaticus for Europeans, Africans, Americans and Asians. This convention remained commonly observed until the mid-20th century, sometimes with variations or additions such as H. s. tasmanianus for Australians. The conventional division of extant human populations into taxonomic subspecies was gradually abandoned beginning in the 1970s. Similarly, there are proposals to classify Neanderthals and Homo rhodesiensis as subspecies of H. sapiens, although it remains more common to treat these last two as separate species within the genus Homo rather than as subspecies within H. sapiens.
Jared Diamond in The Third Chimpanzee (1991), and Morris Goodman (2003) argued that Homo is not sufficiently removed from Pan to warrant the definition of a separate genus. Based on the Principle of Priority, this would result in chimpanzees being reclassified as members of the genus Homo, e.g. Homo paniscus, Homo sylvestris, or Homo arboreus. An alternative philosophy suggests that the term Homo sapiens is the misnomer and that humans should be reclassified as Pan sapiens. In either case, a name change of the genus would have implications on the taxonomy of extinct species closely related to humans, including Australopithecus. A taxonomic name given to the species of the last common ancestors of humans and chimpanzees is Pan prior.
List of binomial names
The following names mimick binomial nomenclature, mostly consisting of Homo followed by a Latin adjective characterizing human nature. Most of them were coined since the mid 20th century in imitation of Homo sapiens in order to make some philosophical point (either serious or ironic), but some go back to the 18th to 19th century, as in Homo aestheticus vs. Homo oeconomicus; Homo loquens is a serious suggestion by Herder, taking the human species as defined by the use of language; Homo creator is medieval, coined by Nicolaus Cusanus in reference to man as imago Dei.
|Homo absconditus||"man the inscrutable"||Soloveitchik 1965 Lonely Man of Faith|
|Homo absurdus||“absurd man”||Giovanni Patriarca Homo Economicus, Absurdus, or Viator? 2014|
|Homo adaptabilis||“adaptable man”||Giovanni Patriarca Homo Economicus, Absurdus, or Viator? 2014|
|Homo adorans||"worshipping man"||Man as a worshipping agent, a servant of God or gods.|
|Homo aestheticus||"aesthetic man"||in Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, the main antagonist of Homo oeconomicus in the internal conflict tormenting the philosopher. Homo aestheticus is "man the aristocrat" in feelings and emotions.|
|Homo amans||"loving man"||man as a loving agent; Humberto Maturana 2008|
|Homo animalis||"man with a soul"||Man as in possession of an animus sive mens (a soul or mind), Heidegger (1975).|
|Homo apathetikos||“apathetic man”||Used by Abraham Joshua Heschel in his book The Prophets to refer to the Stoic notion of the ideal human being, one who has attained apatheia.|
|Homo avarus||"man the greedy"||used for Man "activated by greed" by Barnett (1977).|
|Homo combinans||"combining man"||man as the only species that performs the unbounded combinatorial operations that underlie syntax and possibly other cognitive capacities; Cedric Boeckx 2009.|
|Homo contaminatus||"contaminated man"||suggested by Romeo (1979) alongside Homo inquinatus ("polluted man") "to designate contemporary Man polluted by his own technological advances".|
|Homo creator||"creator man"||due to Nicolaus Cusanus in reference to man as imago Dei; expanded to Homo alter deus by K.-O. Apel (1955).|
|Homo degeneratus||"degenerative man"||a man or the mankind as a whole if they undergo any regressive development (devolution); Andrej Poleev 2013|
|Homo demens||"mad man"||man as the only being with irrational delusions. Edgar Morin 1973 [The Lost Paradigm: Human Nature]|
|Homo deus||"human god"||Man as god, endowed with supernatural abilities such as eternal life as outlined in Yuval Noah Harari's 2015 book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow|
|Homo discens||"learning man"||human capability to learn and adapt, Heinrich Roth, Theodor Wilhelm[year needed]|
|Homo documentator||"documenting man"||human need and propensity to document and organize knowledge, Suzanne Briet in What Is Documentation?, 1951|
|Homo domesticus||"domestic man"||a human conditioned by the built environment; Oscar Carvajal 2005 Derrick Jensen 2006|
|Homo donans et recipiens||"giving and receiving (hu)man"||a human conditioned by free gifting and receiving; Genevieve Vaughan 2021|
|Homo duplex||"double man"||Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon 1754. Honoré de Balzac 1846. Joseph Conrad 1903. The idea of the double or divided man is developed by Émile Durkheim (1912) to figure the interaction of man's animal and social tendencies.|
|Homo economicus||"economic man"||man as a rational and self-interested agent (19th century).|
|Homo educandus||"to be educated"||human need of education before reaching maturity, Heinrich Roth 1966|
|Homo ethicus||"ethical man"||Man as an ethical agent.|
|Homo excentricus||"not self-centered"||human capability for objectivity, human self-reflection, theory of mind, Helmuth Plessner 1928|
|Homo faber||"toolmaker man"
|Karl Marx, Kenneth Oakley 1949, Max Frisch 1957, Hannah Arendt.|
|Homo ferox||"ferocious man"||T.H. White 1958|
|Homo generosus||"generous man"||Tor Nørretranders, Generous Man (2005)|
|Homo geographicus||"man in place"||Robert D. Sack, Homo Geographicus (1997)|
|Homo grammaticus||"grammatical man"||human use of grammar, language, Frank Palmer 1971|
|Homo hierarchicus||"hierarchical man"||Louis Dumont 1966|
|Homo humanus||"human man"||used as a term for mankind considered as human in the cultural sense, as opposed to homo biologicus, man considered as a biological species (and thus synonymous with Homo sapiens); the distinction was made in these terms by John N. Deely (1973).|
|Homo hypocritus||"hypocritical man"||Robin Hanson (2010); also called "man the sly rule bender"|
|Homo imitans||"imitating man"||human capability of learning and adapting by imitation, Andrew N. Meltzoff 1988, Jürgen Lethmate 1992|
|Homo inermis||"helpless man"||man as defenseless, unprotected, devoid of animal instincts. J. F. Blumenbach 1779, J. G. Herder 1784–1791, Arnold Gehlen 1940|
|Homo interrogans||“questioning man”||The human is a questioning / inquiring being, a being who not only asks questions but capable of questioning/questing without there being an object referent for the inquiry itself and capable of ever-asking. Abraham Joshua Heschel discussed this idea in his 1965 book Who is Man? but John Bruin coined the term in his 2001 book Homo Interrogans: Questioning and the Intentional Structure of Cognition|
|Homo ignorans||"ignorant man"||antonym to sciens (Bazán 1972, Romeo 1979:64)|
|Homo interreticulatus||"buried-within-the-rectangle man"||used by philosopher David Bentley Hart to describe humanity lost within the screens of computers and other devices |
|Homo investigans||"investigating man"||human curiosity and capability to learn by deduction, Werner Luck 1976|
|Homo juridicus||"juridical man"||Homo juridicus identifies normative primacy of law, Alain Supiot, 2007.|
|Homo laborans||"working man"||human capability for division of labour, specialization and expertise in craftsmanship and, Theodor Litt 1948|
|Homo liturgicus||"the man who participates with others in rituals that recognize and enact meaning"||Philosopher James K. A. Smith uses this terms to describe a basic way in which humans dwell together with habitual practices that both embody and reorient us toward shared higher goods.|
|Homo logicus||"the man who wants to understand"||Homo logicus are driven by an irresistible desire to understand how things work. By contrast, Homo sapiens have a strong desire for success. Alan Cooper 1999|
|Homo loquens||"talking man"||man as the only animal capable of language, J. G. Herder 1772, J. F. Blumenbach 1779.|
|Homo loquax||"chattering man"||parody variation of Homo loquens, used by Henri Bergson (1943), Tom Wolfe (2006), also in A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960).|
|Homo ludens||"playing man"||Friedrich Schiller 1795; Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens (1938); Hideo Kojima (2016). The characterization of human culture as essentially bearing the character of play.|
|Homo mendax||"lying man"||man with the ability to tell lies. Fernando Vallejo|
|Homo metaphysicus||"metaphysical man"||Arthur Schopenhauer 1819|
|Homo narrans||"storytelling man"||man not only as an intelligent species, but also as the only one who tells stories, used by Walter Fisher in 1984. Also Pan narrans "storytelling ape" in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen|
|Homo necans||"killing man"||Walter Burkert 1972|
|Homo neophilus and Homo neophobus||"Novelty-loving man" and "Novelty-fearing man", respectively||coined by characters in the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson to describe two distinct types of human being: one which seeks out and embraces new ideas and situations (neophilus), and another which clings to habit and fears the new (neophobus).|
|Homo otiosus||“slacker man”||The 11th Edition of The Encyclopædia Britannica defines man as “a seeker after the greatest degree of comfort for the least necessary expenditure of energy”. In The Restless Compendium Michael Greaney credits Sociologist Robert Stebbins with coining the term “homo otiosus” to refer to the privileged economic class of “persons of leisure”, asserting that a distinctiveness of humans is that they (unlike other animals and machines) are capable of intentional laziness.|
|Homo patiens||"suffering man"||human capability for suffering, Viktor Frankl 1988|
|Homo viator||"man the pilgrim"||man as on his way towards finding God, Gabriel Marcel 1945|
|Homo perniciosius||"Destructive man"||Coined by Safron2442 on the platform, Instagram.|
|Homo pictor||"depicting man", "man the artist"||human sense of aesthetics, Hans Jonas 1961|
|Homo poetica||"man the poet", "man the meaning maker"||Ernest Becker, in The Structure of Evil: An Essay on the Unification of the Science of Man (1968).|
|Homo religiosus||"religious man"||Alister Hardy[year needed]|
|Homo ridens||"laughing man"||G.B. Milner 1969|
|Homo reciprocans||"reciprocal man"||man as a cooperative actor who is motivated by improving his environment and wellbeing; Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis 1997|
|Homo sacer||"the sacred man" or "the accursed man"||in Roman law, a person who is banned and may be killed by anybody, but may not be sacrificed in a religious ritual. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben takes the concept as the starting point of his main work Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1998)|
|Homo sanguinis||"bloody man"||A comment on human foreign relations and the increasing ability of man to wage war by anatomist W. M. Cobb in the Journal of the National Medical Association in 1969 and 1975.|
|Homo sciens||"knowing man"||used by Siger of Brabant, noted as a precedent of Homo sapiens by Bazán (1972) (Romeo 1979:128)|
|Homo sentimentalis||"sentimental man"||man born to a civilization of sentiment, who has raised feelings to a category of value; the human ability to empathize, but also to idealize emotions and make them servants of ideas. Milan Kundera in Immortality (1990), Eugene Halton in Bereft of Reason: On the Decline of Social Thought and Prospects for Its Renewal (1995).|
|Homo socius||"social man"||man as a social being. Inherent to humans as long as they have not lived entirely in isolation. Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (1966).|
|Homo sociologicus||"sociological man"||parody term; the human species as prone to sociology, Ralf Dahrendorf.[year needed]|
|Homo superior||“superior man”||Coined by the titular character in Olaf Stapledon's novel Odd John (1935) to refer to superpowered mutants like himself. Also occurs in Marvel Comics' The X-Men (1963-present), the BBC series The Tomorrow People (1973-1979), and David Bowie's song “Oh! You Pretty Things” 1971.|
|Homo sympathetikos||“sympathetic man”||The term used by Abraham Joshua Heschel in his book The Prophets to refer to the prophetic ideal for humans: sympathetic feeling or sharing in the concerns of others, the highest expression of which is sharing in God’s concern / feeling / pathos.|
|Homo technologicus||"technological man"||Yves Gingras 2005, similar to homo faber, in a sense of man creating technology as an antithesis to nature.|
|Jocko Homo||“ape-man”||Coined and defined by Bertram Henry Shadduck in his 1924 tract Jocko-Homo Heavenbound the phrase gained prominence via the release DEVO’s 1977 song Jocko Homo.|
In fiction, specifically science fiction and fantasy, occasionally names for the human species are introduced reflecting the fictional situation of humans existing alongside other, non-human civilizations. In science fiction, Earthling (also "Terran", "Earther", and "Gaian") is frequently used, as it were naming humanity by its planet of origin. Incidentally, this situation parallels the naming motive of ancient terms for humanity, including "human" (homo, humanus) itself, derived from a word for "earth" to contrast humans as earth-bound with celestial beings (i.e. deities) in mythology.
|Look up featherless biped in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
- Strong's Concordance
- Strong's Concordance H852, H605.
- Starostin, Sergei; Dybo, Anna; Mudrak, Oleg (2003), *k`i̯uĺe in: Etymological dictionary of the Altaic languages (Handbuch der Orientalistik; VIII.8), Leiden, New York, Köln: E.J. Brill (starling.rinet.ru).
- Romain Garnier proposed another etymology in his 2007 article « Nouvelles réflexions étymologiques autour du grec ἄνθρωπος », deriving it from Proto-Indo-European *n̥dʰreh₃kʷó- ("that which is below"), hence "earthly, human".
- its first element čelo- may be cognate with Sanskrit kula- "family, sept; herd"; the second element -věkъ may be cognate with Latvian vaiks, Lithuanian vaĩkas "boy, child". Max Vasmer, Russisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch (1950–58).
- Baxter-Sagart reconstruction of Old Chinese (Version 1.1, 20 September 2014)
- Plato defined a human as a featherless, biped animal and was applauded. Diogenes of Sinope plucked a chicken and brought it into the lecture hall, saying: "Here is Plato's human!", Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of Philosophers 6.40
- Hannah Arendt. The Human Condition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958
- Linné, Carl von (1758). Systema naturæ. Regnum animale (10 ed.). pp. 18, 20. Retrieved 19 November 2012.. Note: In 1959, Linnaeus was designated as the lectotype for Homo sapiens (Stearn, W. T. 1959. "The background of Linnaeus's contributions to the nomenclature and methods of systematic biology", Systematic Zoology 8 (1): 4-22, p. 4) which means that following the nomenclatural rules, Homo sapiens was validly defined as the animal species to which Linnaeus belonged.
- "Human evolution: Out of Ethiopia". Macmillan Publishers Limited. June 12, 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2016. "Herto skulls (Homo sapiens idaltu)". talkorigins org. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- See e.g. John Wendell Bailey, The Mammals of Virginia (1946), p. 356.; Journal of Mammalogy 26-27 (1945), p. 359.; J. Desmond Clark (ed.), The Cambridge History of Africa, Cambridge University Press (1982), p. 141 (with references).
- e.g. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Volume 11, p. 55.
- Hublin, J. J. (2009). "The origin of Neandertals". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106 (38): 16022–7. Bibcode:2009PNAS..10616022H. doi:10.1073/pnas.0904119106. JSTOR 40485013. PMC 2752594. PMID 19805257. Harvati, K.; Frost, S.R.; McNulty, K.P. (2004). "Neanderthal taxonomy reconsidered: implications of 3D primate models of intra- and interspecific differences". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 101 (5): 1147–52. Bibcode:2004PNAS..101.1147H. doi:10.1073/pnas.0308085100. PMC 337021. PMID 14745010.
- "Homo neanderthalensis King, 1864". Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. 2013. pp. 328–331.
- Hecht, Jeff (19 May 2003). "Chimps are human, gene study implies". New Scientist. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- Compare alalus "incapable of speech" as the species name given to Java Man fossil, at the time (1895) taken to reflect a pre-human stage of "ape-man" (Pithecanthropus). Herder's Homo loquens was parodied by Henri Bergson (1943) as Homo loquax i.e. Man as chattering or overly talkative.
- Alexander Schmemann in 1973, in his book For the Life of the World. This theme is picked up by Dr. James Jordan at the Biblical Horizon Institute, and Dr. Peter Leithart in New Saint Andrews College.
- Romeo (1979), p. 4.
- Humberto Maturana, Metadesign, part III August 1, 1997
- while in classical Latin, homo avarus means simply "someone greedy" Romeo (1979), p. 15.
- Language in Cognition: Uncovering Mental Structures and the Rules Behind Them, Wiley Blackwell (ISBN 978-1-4051-5882-4)
- Romeo (1979), p. 29; both homo contaminatus and homo inquinatus are found in Cicero as descriptions of individuals.
- Romeo (1979), p. 8.
- Homo sapiens contra Homo degeneratus.
- Homo Domesticus Theory, http://www.slideshare.net/carvajaladames/homo-domesticus-theory.
- Endgame, Volume 2: Resistance, Seven Stories Press (ISBN 1-58322-724-5).
- The Unilateral Gift Economy Conjecture , https://www.arpejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/01/V16n1-The-unilateral-gift-economy-conjecture.pdf.
- Deely and Nogar (1973), pages 149 and 312, cited after Romeo (1979), p. 18.
- "Homo Hypocritus". Overcoming bias.
- Hart, David Bentley. (2021). Roland in Moonlight. Angelico. Page 231.
- Supiot, Alain. (2007). Homo Juridicus: On the Anthropological Function of the Law. Verso.
- Smith, James K. A. Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. 2016. Pages 57-59 (among other places).
- Tom Wolfe, "The Human Beast," 2006 Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Walter R. Fisher, 'Narration as a Human Communication paradigm: The Case of Public Moral Argument', Communication Monographs, 51 (1984), 1-20 doi:10.1080/03637758409390180 [repr. in Contemporary Rhetorical Theory: A Reader, ed. by John Louis Lucaites, Celeste Michelle Condit, and Sally Caudill (New York: The Guilford Press, 1999) pp. 265-87 (p. 270)].
- Milner, G. B. (1972). "Homo Ridens. Towards a Semiotic Theory of Humour and Laughter". Semiotica. 5 (1): 1–30. doi:10.1515/semi.19126.96.36.199. S2CID 170413096.
-  Homo reciprocans: A Research Initiative on the Origins, Dimensions, and Policy Implications of Reciprocal Fairness
- "Homo Sanguinis Versus Homo Sapiens: Mankind's Present Dilemma". Journal of the National Medical Association. 61 (5): 437–439. 1969. PMC 2611676.
- Cobb, W. M. (May 1975). "An anatomist's view of human relations. Homo sanguinis versus Homo sapiens--mankind's present dilemma". J Natl Med Assoc. 67 (3): 187–95, 232. PMC 2609302. PMID 1142453.
- Gingras, Yves (2005). Éloge de l'homo techno-logicus. Saint-Laurent, QC: Les Editions Fides. ISBN 2-7621-2630-4.
- Warwick, Kevin (2016). "Homo Technologicus: Threat or Opportunity?". Philosophies. 1 (3): 199–208. doi:10.3390/philosophies1030199.
- Luigi Romeo, Ecce Homo!: A Lexicon of Man, John Benjamins Publishing, 1979.