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Synonyms: metamorphous
See also: Animagus, Animal Transformation, Bodyswap, Selkie, Were-Animal
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A shapeshifter is a character who has the ability to physically transform their body into other forms at will. It is a trope widely used in works of all types, from visual to written media, and in both original and fannish works.


Shapeshifter (antedating 1939), shapeshifting (antedating 1882), and shapeshift (antedating 1970) are all listed in the Science Fiction Citation project as science fiction terms.

Types of Shapeshifters

Shapeshifter abilities vary between characters and canons. Some shapeshifters are only capable of shifting between different human or humanoid forms. Others can shift into animal forms, sometimes including mythological animal; this ability is called therianthropy.[1] Still others can shapeshift into inanimate objects.

Some shapeshifters can only shift between two forms; for example, werewolves can only be a wolf or a human, and selkies can only be a seal or a human. Others can shift between a wider variety of forms; an example would be the Animorphs.

Shapeshifters use their powers for a variety of purposes, such as impersonation, escape, combat, and so on.

Shifter is an abbreviation often used in Supernatural. They are a species of monster that can take the form of any human being.[2]

Canon Examples

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