About Alien's xenomorphs

Xenomorph is just another word for “alien.”

Has anyone connected to the Alien canon come up with the official name for the species?

Referred to as ‘Internecivus raptus’ in some sources but in general it’s just ‘xenomorph’. ‘Other Form’ does sum it up pretty well.


And what’s up with extraterrestrials calling us ‘Terrans’? Terran is just another word for Earthling! (And ‘extraterrestrial’ is just another word for alien!)

If only the original Alien could have appeared in a Roadrunner cartoon - its scientific name would have been informative.

At least it tells them that we’re from a planet we call “Terra” or “Earth”. “Xenomorph” doesn’t tell us anything except that they’re not like us.

Do they use the term in the first movie? The scene with the marines would suggest that it’s not specific to any particular species.

I don’t consider “xenomorph” to be exactly the same as “alien” - namely, in my mind it excludes humanoids, because the “morph” implies shape. So since the Aliens in Alien do not have the shape of an existing Earth being they are xenomorph, but the Engineers and Predators are not since they are humanoids.

No. In the series, it first shows up in Aliens, and appears to be a general descriptive term for extraterrestrial creatures (“alien shape”), rather than a particular term for that type, as you say.

Cal, I’ve hestitated to mention this, because it’s not an unimpeachable improvement, but…

“Blue, Navy Blue, he’s as blue as he can be;
Because mi amour said “Avatar!” and joined the Na’avi.”

In The Master’s article about names for other countries, Cecil says

(ellipses mine) which is pretty much what applies here, just on an interplanetary scale.

I don’t think they ever specifically refer to the “aliens” in the films as anything other than “aliens”, “creatures”, “bugs”, or “dumb animals”. Reminds me of that scene from Dragonheart:
“So instead of calling me “dragon” in your tongue, you’ll call me “dragon” in some other tongue?”

“Terran” sounds less “Marvin the Martian”.

I can see how in an interstellar civilization, we might use Sol and Luna to specifically refer to Earth’s sun and moon. But it does seem like it could get awkward as the word “earth” is used in a number of contexts that don’t specifically refer to the planet. Like “spread a bucket full of earth over the space garden” or “have Bravo company build some earthworks to defend against the Earthlings”. Sure, these terms all have various synonyms, but I think it might a pain in the ass for those of us who grew up with Earth as the only habitable planet.

I’m with Johnny: “terra”, “sol”, and “luna” are quite the same as “earth”, “sun”, and “moon”, except in Latin. So at least Marvin the Martian doesn’t pretend he is not speaking a Germanic language. Now there’s a brainy little guy. Probably get ahead on the Moon.

But that’s precisely why we use the Latin terms like Sol, Luna, and Terra. If you’re living on a planet orbiting tau Ceti, you can still watch the sun rise in the morning and go out to break up the earth on your farm. But you’re still 12 lightyears away from Sol and Terra.

And yes, those are just words for the same thing in a different language. Nobody ever said that etymology was logical. But it works.

It’s all good.

For reference.

Homer: Welcome to Earth!
Kodos: “Dirt”? You call your world “Dirt”??
Homer: Yup! Good ol’ Terra Firma!