The typical term for an inhabitant of Vulcan is "Vulcan" - but occasionally the term 'Vulcanian' is used (most notably by Harry Mudd in Mudd's Women). Is this term considered (in-universe) to be disparaging or merely old-fashioned (or some option)?


2 Answers 2


It's just a synonym of the word 'Vulcan' -- as in the race, not the planet -- used exclusively during the first season of TOS, before they'd settled on consistent terminology for everything.

The entry for the term on page 266 of Star Trek Concordance reads as follows:

Vulcanian; Obsolete term once used to denote a native of the planet Vulcan. Even Spock has used the term (CML, TA, TSP).

Star Trek Concordance (1969)

As noted above, Spock used the term himself in two episodes, and Kirk did likewise in one of those episodes, as did a Starfleet computer:

KIRK: Timothy, I haven't seen you since the Vulcanian expedition.


COMPUTER: Spock, serial number S179-276SP. Service rank, Lieutenant Commander. Position, First officer, science officer. Current assignment, USS Enterprise. Commendations, Vulcanian Scientific Legion of Honour. Awards of valour. Twice decorated by Starfleet command.


SPOCK: Lieutenant, I am half Vulcanian. Vulcanians do not speculate.

Star Trek: The Original Series - S01E14 - "Court Martial"

SPOCK: Limited telepathic abilities are inherent in Vulcanians, Captain.

Star Trek: The Original Series - S01E23 - "A Taste of Armageddon"

  • 2
    Glad to see this sort of variation between terms also happens in the original English version of Star Trek - not just in the German dubbing, where there is sometimes some confusion between alternative terms like Vulkanier vs. Vulkaner; Romulaner vs. Romulanier; Klingonen vs. Klingonier vs. Klingonesen. Commented May 21, 2023 at 17:43
  • 2
    Vulcans don't speculate? I've got to believe there are times when Spock does so. Commented May 21, 2023 at 20:50
  • But that would just be speculation...
    – Miral
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 1:17
  • @HamSandwich Spock also once claimed that Vulcans don't lie. But he was lying when he said that. I think this was in The Enterprise Incident.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 4:54
  • @Barmar Even if Spock was telling the truth on that occasion it doesn't mean that he specifically cannot lie since he's only half Vulcan. His human side gives him plenty of differences from full Vulcans.
    – Corey
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 7:12

It would seem that Vulcanian is merely a more specific term than Vulcan. Vulcan could either mean "the planet Vulcan" or "of Vulcan", so it would be more precise to say Vulcanian to avoid confusion between communicators. The two words have the same meaning and are interchangeable, neither have a lesser or larger meaning and there seems to be no evidence I could find that it is disparaging, but according to Star Trek wiki, it is old fashioned because the term Vulcan was simpler, so people used it more frequently and eventually stopped using Vulcanian.




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