This is a glossary of terms for mostly plural terms, but also a few other things relevant to the website and forum.
These are all open terms, as many of them are very difficult to define. They are not exclusive definitions and are subjective.
The words in [ ] brackets after some definitions are words similar to those in the definition.
Age Slider – A headmate or person who changes age or identifies with different ages at different times. How much control they have over the process, the age ranges involved, and all other aspects of agesliding vary widely between and even within systems. [Age Shifter]
Alter – The term used to refer to the headmate of a person with DID/MPD. This is used by psychiatry and is generally considered derogatory to members of the plural community as it implies being one-dimensional, or an ‘alter’ of someone. It is, however, still used by some. [Fragment, Aspect, Personality]
Big – An adult in a plural system.
Blurring – A loss of identity at the front. It can be caused by too many people being at the front, being co-concious, or having new members in the system.
Co-conscious – A state of being when two or more members of a system are experiencing the world at the same time. Being co-conscious does not mean you can always tell the other person is there. However, thoughts and feelings may become mixed. Being co-conscious is considered a goal in the plural community: it allows for easier communication. [Co-present]
Co-fronting – When two or more members of a system are controlling the body at one time. [Co-running, Co-driving]
Covert Switch – When headmates switch fronters without being noticed.
Cycling – When headmates switch fronters several times in a short amount of time.
Dissociative Identity Disorder – The ‘official’ diagnosis for plurality. This applies to some plurals but not all. It is a state in which a person’s mind ‘dissociates’ and becomes several different minds. Sometimes this is caused by trauma, sometimes not. Psychology believes this is the only cause for plurality, but most plurals beg to differ. Symptoms include extreme memory loss and losing time. Formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder. You can find an official definition in the DSM-IV. [Multiple Personality Disorder]
Empowered Plurals – Plurals who do not take a victim stance, or who believe they can live a healthy life without psychotherapy or treatment. This can apply to both natural and trauma-based plurals.
Factive – A headmate who is believed to be a person from the ‘real world’, such an ancestor or historical figure. [After-lifer]
Factkin – A person who identifies as or believes they are, spiritually or psychologically, a person from the ‘real world’, such as an ancestor or historical figure. [After-lifer]
Fictionkin – A person who identifies as or believes they are, spiritually or psychologically, a person, creature, or race from fiction. They may believe they are a specific character or a non-canon character of the same race or world. [Mediakin, Otakukin/Otakin] Note: Otakukin/Otakin are usually considered derogatory.
Fictive – A headmate who identifies with or believes they are, spiritually or psychologically, a person, creature, or race from fiction. They may believe they are a specific character or a non-canon character of the same race or world. [Mediakin, Otakukin/Otakin] Note: Otakukin/Otakin are usually considered derogatory.
Front – The body’s view of the world. When someone is in the control of the body, they are said to ‘be at the front’. [Out]
Fronter – A person who is using the front of the body, or controlling the body. Some systems have ‘main fronters’, or a person who is usually at the front. [Driver, Runner]
Fronting – The act of controlling the body. [Being out, Driving, Running]
Gateway System – A system where it is believed the headspace is another reality/dimension/place, and the headmates use the body to interact with the world/Earth.
Gender Slider – A person whose gender identity changes over time, at will or on its own. [Gender Shifter, Gender Fluid]
Greenkin – An individual that is, feels, and/or believes they are in part or whole (non-physically) one or more plant life forms or beings on an integral and personal level.
Headmate – A member of a plural system. They generally share mental space with the other members. [Systemmate]
Headspace – A place where system members reside. It can be considered a mental space or another realm altogether. Some systems do not have headspaces, while some singlets do. Some people can manipulate their headspace in supernatural ways and some cannot; they vary infinitely. [Innerworld, Soulscape]
Healthy Plurality – Being plural and still having a functional life, regardless whether it’s natural or caused by trauma.
Host – In cases of DID and MPD, the ‘original’ person, from which the other minds broke off. In other cases, used to refer to the main part of a median system. [Core, Center]
Integration – The ultimate goal of psychology when it comes to plurals: to get the system members to merge into one person. This works rarely and when it does, often does not stick. Most of the time it makes things worse, and is generally undesired by plurals, as it’s equated with dying or murder. [Merging]
Little – A child in a plural system.
Losing Time – The experience of blacking out when headmates front, not remembering anything that they did. This does not happen to all plurals. [Timeloss, Blacking out]
Machinekin – An individual that is, feels, and/or believes they are in part or whole (non-physically) one or more mechanical objects or beings on an integral and personal level.
Median – A plural that is in-between singlet and multiple. Can be defined as when the system is dependent on one certain member as a sole fronter or when there is more gray-area between members’ identities.
Mid-continuum – A person who is in the process of going from singlet to plural.
Multiple – A plural whose members are separate people or minds sharing one body.
Natural Plural – A person who was born plural, or became plural without trauma.
Otherkin – An individual that is, feels, and/or believes they are in part or whole (non-physically) one or more nonhuman creatures or beings on an integral and personal level.
Outsider – Someone who is outside a plural’s system, like a friend or relative.
Presenting Self – An image created by a system to appear like a single person to outsiders.
Plural – An umbrella term for when more than one person shares the same physical body with others. In general, plurals fall on a scale of infinite variation from singlet to median to multiple along a spectrum. There are many personal theories as to the cause.
Self Image – The image of how one sees oneself. It may or may not match the physical body. [Body Image, Self Identity]
Singlet – A person who is the only occupant in a body.
Splitting – The act of one person becoming more than one person as described by the psychological theory behind DID. [Dissociating]
Soulbond – Forming a strong connection with a fictional character or other person. May result in the soulbond becoming a headmate. [Muse, Introject]
Switching – The act of changing who is in control of the body.
System – A term commonly used to mean the group of people in a plural’s body. [Group]
Therianthrope – An individual that is, feels, and/or believes they are in part or whole (non-physically) one or more nonhuman Earthly animals or beings on an integral and personal level. [Therian, Therianthropy, Were]
Thoughtform – A created entity that is part of a person, though its exact nature or dependence varies depending on exactly what kind it is. [Tupla, Mental Construct, Daemon]
Transgender – Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex.
Trauma-based Plural – A plural that became plural due to a traumatic or multiple traumatic experiences.
Vampire – A person who must feed on some form of energy in order to remain healthy. Has nothing to do with fictional vampirism. Some vampires feed on psychic energy (psychic vampires), some feed on blood (blood vampires) and some feed on other sources. [Psi Vampire, Psychic Vampire, Real Vampire, Blood Vampire]
Walk-in – An entity/person who was not born into the body but rather came into the body some time during life. [Possession, Channeling]
Links to other glossaries:
Astraeas Web Glossary on plurals:
Silhouettes Glossary on plurals, fictives, and other:
Atlanta Vampire Alliance’s Glossary on vampires:
Therian-Wildnerness’ Glossary on Therianthropy and Otherkin:
Let us know if you see a good glossary to add here!
Written by: Faith Formation and House of Chimeras, edited by Nsashaell