?

Male Witches or Warlocks?

  1. Witch

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  2. Warlock

    7 vote(s)
    41.2%
  3. Mixed usage

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
  1. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Male Witches or Warlocks?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by DK3654, Aug 2, 2018.

    So my WIP is an urban fantasy featuring among other things, witches.
    Witches here are one three different kinds of sorcerer, alongside druids and oracles, depending on the source and nature of their powers.
    But what should I call male witches? I could simply use witch for both genders, or I could use the term warlock as it is often used this way.
    Witch might feel more representative of the original folklore, and have an interesting air about it.
    Whereas warlock might feel more appropriate in a modern setting.
    Alternatively, I could also do both, where witch can be used for both but warlock is used only for males.
     
  2. Night Herald

    Night Herald Crisp, minty chap Supporter Contributor

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    I would go with warlock (or mixed usage) simply because I think warlock is a damned cool word.

    Apparently, warlock originally means "oathbreaker" or "deceiver". I don't know if this is applicable to your story, but you could perhaps use warlock in reference to a particular faction of witches, who perhaps use a slightly different form of magic. Perhaps a forbidden kind... There are certainly precedents for using warlock as a gender-neutral term.
     
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  3. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    It is a very cool word.

    I have considered doing something like this. I'd need to find room for it though because I have a fairly developed group system.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  4. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Active Member

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    I'd also support the use of the less commonly used word of "Warlock". Its damn cool.
     
  5. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    I think either option would work, but I agree that going with both genders are just called "witches" would give it a more folklore-ish vibe.
    And if you go with this, I think it would make more sense to do the opposite. Usually its the masculine form that is also for the general usage, with a few exception.

    Both genders are actors, but female actors are actresses. Same with waiters, and most other professions that has different words for the genders. The only word I can think of for the opposite is "cow". A male cow is called a bull, but cow is also the name that can cover both male and female cows. More officially they both have there own names (heifer and steer) but in conversation people rarely say that.
     
  6. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Do you think it would be overall more interesting as a result?

    But the history of male terms being general and female terms being specific is arguably due to sexism (regardless of whether it is in fact), so I'm not sure that precedent is actually a good thing to follow, even though of course there is the argument of realism despite negative elements.
     
  7. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    A reminder that by presenting sexism you are not innately sexist. You could simply use a mix and match approach in your narration while having characters be more specific.
     
  8. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    Yeah, I did think about that when I wrote the suggestion, but I figured sexism might also be a thing in the fictional universe. I would get not wanting to promote it though.

    Also, I don't think it would affect the overall interesting-ness much.
     
  9. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Of course. That is what I was getting at with 'realism despite negative elements'. Which is to say, doing it because it's realistic even though it's bad.
     
  10. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    There were a fair number of men accused of being witches during periods of witch hunting hysteria, so I think a mixed usage would be fine. Warlock is probably less jarring to a general audience, though.

    People in general rarely say those terms because they refer to more than sex. A heifer is a young female that hasn't had a calf yet, and a steer is a male castrated before sexual maturity.
     
  11. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Yeah, that's the thing with warlock for me. It's generally a nice option- it sounds cool- and it's more comfortable in a modern setting because of pop culture trends.
     
  12. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

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    'Warlock' applies only to malevolent magic-users, mind you. I doubt any friendly potion-mixer is going to appreciate being labelled that way.

    You've got 'wizard', of course, but that rather implies a more structured and formal sort of magic- what's generally termed 'High Magic' by those of an occult bent- than the sort of 'hedge magic' and kitchen sink spagyrics that spring to mind with 'witches'.
     
  13. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    There are other types of magic users here, but witches/warlock use darker more dangerous magic- though they aren't at all necessarily malevolent.
     
  14. ChloeT

    ChloeT New Member

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    If your druids and oracles don't have different terms for different genders, it could seem odd if you do that for witches. I think "witch" is supposed to be non-gender specific, so I'd opt for that over warlock.
     
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  15. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    True, but real systems are often inconsistent also.
     
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  16. ChloeT

    ChloeT New Member

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    That's also true. There are actors and actresses but there's just a director, no directress. (Okay, apparently that's a word but I've never heard anyone use it before.)

    It could be a cool place to add some interesting history as to why there's a gender divide in that particular kind of sorcerer.

    I've come across a few sites that say modern day male witch (Wiccan) think that being called a warlock is a derogatory term and prefer being called a witch. I realize that this wouldn't have to apply to your magic system, but it could be something to keep in mind. Here's one of the sites I came across.
     
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  17. Zakle

    Zakle Member

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    Like ChloeT has already said, some male witches prefer to be called witches rather than warlock because they view it as an insult towards themselves. The term warlock can mean many things, one of which was that it was aimed for someone who served the devil. It gives a false impression on what they do, which is why the majority call themselves witches.

    As for wizard, there are some men who use it, but not as much as witch in my experience. They find it to be tacky or, because it's used so often in fictional stories, that what they do isn't real.

    I understand it's a fantasy and it's also your world so you have the final say. Just know that some male practitioners despise the term in reality.
     
  18. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    I'm sure some people would prefer warlock though as well. Which is a bigger thing?
     
  19. Zakle

    Zakle Member

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    Witch is used by the majority. Some don't consider it derogatory and will use it to refer to themselves but they appear to be in the minority. It would depend on character on whether they use it.
     
  20. RahnyJae

    RahnyJae Member

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    I've always had the reverse impression, that the word witch sounds fit for modern/urban fantasy, while warlock sounds more old folklore/high fantasy to me. I write urban fantasy, as well, and apply witch/witchen to males and females, even the manly or malevolent ones. :cool: lol In one series, witchen is a kind of being and what kind of witchen you are depends on an elemental powersource. In another, just about any human could train in the arts, so the term witch describes the power level of those who do as a user of the 'dark or light' arts because in their world, there are also sorcerers (or sorces for short because they're cool city folk :p) who are the masters of both dark and light arts.

    You could have it that both terms 'witch and warlock' exist in your world and then make it up to individual characters whether they want to be called a witch or a warlock for whatever personal reasons or biases. One guy could think witches are weaklings and so proudly calls himself a warlock, some other guy could believe warlocks are tools of evil and so righteously calls himself a witch, anything around those lines really. That way whatever the relevant male characters in the story call themselves and the kind of magic users they associate with could also serve as a reflection of some deeper characters bits. :geek:
     
  21. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    That's interesting, because my (brief) research suggest that witch is a genuine old folklore term, but warlock has sketchy uncertain roots and it's use as a term for dark sorcerers is as much an invention of modern fiction as folklore.

    Sounds similar to my system.

    I could definitely make use of that.
     
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  22. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya Senior Member

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    Historically "male witches" were simply "witches". Many, if not half or more, historical witch-burnings involved male-witches so there's no reason to hold back on using it like a "gender neutral" term and besides: the connotations of "witch" and "warlock" are very different: the first sounds like an alchemist with a big cauldron, the second sounds like a demon out of Hell.
     
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