In the cinematic universe, people often throw around the phrase "gifted." For people born with powers, the word mutant is often used. What I'm asking is, is there a general word or phrase used to refer to any and all people with superhuman abilities?

Edit: I am looking for answers about both the cinematic universe and the comics, to clarify.

  • 4
    “For people born with powers, the word mutant is often used.” — Not in the MCU it’s not! Dec 8, 2015 at 22:06
  • Out of universe, "metahuman" is the super-general term I usually hear to cover mutants, mutates, etc. No idea what the in-universe terminology is though.
    – Ixrec
    Dec 8, 2015 at 22:16
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    colloquially, they're often referred to as "them" or "freaks", per various episodes of jessica jones.
    – phantom42
    Dec 8, 2015 at 23:19
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    Exclusively in the MCU they are referred to as 'Enhanced' if their powers if their powers are technologically engineered such as Captain America, Quicksilver or the Scarlet Witch were. If you got your powers due to Terregenesis (which at the moment appears to be most of the metas that SHIELD deals with) you are an Inhuman and are thus termed 'Gifted.' In canon comics there is no one catch-all word normal people use. And rightly so, because each person's overall understanding of how people became superhuman is fragmented and distorted by media. Words like: them, freaks, and mutants apply. Dec 9, 2015 at 15:22
  • To truly understand this question, you need to realize the legal ramifications of using the term Mutant. "Mutants" in the Marvel universe are legally owned by FOX. So, Mutants are extremely specifically used. Instead of creating new mutant characters, they now create new Inhuman characters. However, even Inhumans are called Mutants by John Doe on the street. Neither Inhumans nor Mutants are born with powers, they need to be activated. Quiksilver and Scarlet Witch have always been mutants but Marvel changed their backstory to make them non Mutants so they could be in Age of Ultron.
    – Adam Yoshi
    Dec 9, 2015 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


The MCU:

This is actually discussed in-universe.

From the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode One of Us:

Coulson: What do you mean, "other"?
Simmons: [sighs] "Gifted" is both insufficient and too broad. I believe there are two categories we're dealing with. Um, "enhanced" is what I would suggest we call people like David Angar, Mike Peterson ... people whose gifts were man-made.

Enhanced refers to be whose powers were made, such as Captain America and Deathlok. Gifted is used both to refer to people who were born with powers, such as the Inhumans, and as a blanket term for all superpowered individuals.

Given what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D., "enhanced" never gained common-usage.

So no, there is no commonly used term to describe all super-powered individuals beyond "gifted."

The Comics:

In the comics, it's a little less clear. Various terms are used for the sub-groups, including but not limited to "Mutant," "Inhuman," "Super-Soldier," and many others. Due to the sheer number of comics and authors, no catch-all term is used significantly more than others. In the end, "Superhuman" is probably the best term, due to accuracy and how often it's used. It's also the term Marvel's U.S. government used in an important official act.

  • 1
    Is Iron Man considered either of these?
    – Ghostship
    Dec 8, 2015 at 22:49
  • @Ghostship It isn't stated, but I would hazard a guess no, as without his fully removable suit, he is a completely normal person.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Dec 8, 2015 at 22:56
  • @Ghostship He is "enhanced". He has a freaking world changing generater built into his chest. Following that he has the extremis virus injected into him which gave him other enhanced abilities in non-MCU (yet) media.
    – kaine
    Dec 8, 2015 at 22:59
  • "Gifted" is also used to describe those with powers in Jessica Jones, and none of them were born with their powers.
    – phantom42
    Dec 8, 2015 at 23:56
  • @phantom42 I have not yet seen Jessica Jones, but I will try to edit my answer to reflect this.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Dec 8, 2015 at 23:58

For the MCU:

In Marvel: Agents of SHIELD They refer to people as gifted (born), enhanced (created), and for people who have undergone a change via Terrigenesis are referred to as Inhumans. People from other planets who have powers are simply referred to as aliens.

In Avengers: Age of Ultron Captain America refers to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch as enhanced, without knowing the origin of their powers.

In Jessica Jones those with powers are referred to both as gifted and as freaks (by the haters in New York).

These doesn't yet appear to be a consistent term for these types of people.

For the Comics:

You have Mutants, who are carriers of the X-gene (Homo Sapien Superior). You also have Eternals, Deviants, Inhumans, Subterraneans, and Homo Mermanus (mer-people). These are the terms for people who are born with powers or the potential to have powers.

Additionally there are people who have been artificially enhanced. These are called Super-Soliders and include Captain Amerca, Luke Cage, Frank Simpson, Peter Parker, and Bruce Banner. That page lists a subcategory for how a Super-Solider was created (Gamma Rays, Weapon X, Oz Formula, Extremis, etc).

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