AskDefine | Define humanoid

Dictionary Definition

humanoid n : an automaton that resembles a human being [syn: android, mechanical man]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Having the appearance or characteristics of a human.



  1. A being having the appearance or characteristics of a human.

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Extensive Definition

The term "humanoid" refers to any being whose body structure resembles that of a human. In this sense, the term indeed describes primates, as well as mythological creatures and artificial organisms (robots), especially in the context of science fiction and fantasy fiction. An android or gynoid is a humanoid robot designed to look like a specific gender, although the words are, in principle, synonymous.
Usually, a fictional humanoid species has the same basic body outline as a human, being bipedal with hands which include fingers and opposable thumbs, but differs in details such as number of digits, coloring, ear form, presence of hair, average height and weight, size of nose, form of skin, "extras" such as horns, plates, claws, tails or multiple appendages, limb structure (such as having digitigrade legs) and taxonomic lineage (being descended from reptiles, fish, rodents, marsupials, or a phylum not evolved on Earth, perhaps, instead of primates). Reptilian humanoids are a common concept.
Most of the aliens in television and movies are humanoid, since it is easier for a fictional character to be a disguised human actor. However, there are various methods for presenting non-humanoid characters, for example computer graphics, creative costuming, and puppetry, as seen in shows like Farscape and the new series of Doctor Who. Many aliens and robots often call humans humanoids, although this probably has more to do with translating alien languages, as the word human would appear to be limited to Earth's population only.
Some people find it unlikely to have a universe populated by unrelated creatures that all look human, while others (including some biologists) believe that a species would naturally drift towards bipedalism when achieving sapience as we know it (e.g. Russell's hypothetical troodon-descended sapient, the Dinosauroid). Occasionally, shows present a reason for this to be the case. For example, the episode "The Chase" of Star Trek: The Next Generation explained the humanoid denizens of the Star Trek universe by advancing the story of a primordial humanoid civilization, the Ancient humanoids, that seeded the galaxy with genetically-engineered cells that guide evolution toward humanoid life (see panspermia). In Stargate SG-1, many if not all of the aliens encountered are human, and this is explained by them having traveled from Earth in the distant past (See Children of the Gods). In most cases, like the classic Doctor Who serials, the reason for the similarity is not explained, and it is regarded simply as a dramatic convention or artistic license, requiring suspension of disbelief.
humanoid in Czech: Humanoid
humanoid in German: Humanoid
humanoid in Estonian: Humanoid
humanoid in Spanish: Humanoide
humanoid in Esperanto: Humanoido
humanoid in French: Humanoïde
humanoid in Croatian: Humanoid
humanoid in Italian: Umanoide
humanoid in Dutch: Humanoïde
humanoid in Norwegian: Humanoid
humanoid in Polish: Humanoid
humanoid in Portuguese: Humanóide
humanoid in Russian: Гуманоид
humanoid in Serbian: Хуманоид
humanoid in Finnish: Humanoidi
humanoid in Swedish: Humanoid
humanoid in Chinese: 類人類

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