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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 cultureEdit

Some western cultural examples:

  • In science fiction fandom, some fans classify all non-fans as "mundanes."[4]
  • In historical reenactment groups such as the Society for Creative Anachronism (which originated in science fiction fandom):
    • some participants classify all non-participants as "mundanes".
    • Similarly, one's "mundane" name is the legal name one goes by in the outside world.
    • Further, "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]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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 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 furry fandom, it is used to describe non-furries, or "humans".[7]
  • In Vampire lifestyle circles the word "mundane" means "non sanguinarian", although some consider it derogatory.
  • 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".
  • Mundane science fiction is science fiction that does not make use of interstellar travel or other common tropes of the genre.[8]
  • Within 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", signifying their normalcy, their lack of being beyond the regular users of computers.

See alsoEdit


  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 Dec 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Cherryh, C. J. "FIAWOL and All That".
  5. ^ "The Fanfiction Glossary"
  6. ^ Message by J. Michael Straczynski on Byron's attitude towards "mundanes" in Babylon 5 Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Simo, "The New Furry's Dictionary"
  8. ^ "Geoff Ryman: The Mundane Fantastic: Interview excerpts". Locus. January 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-23.