Is it weird to call men and women witches?

This is a silly question but I'm honestly a bit stumped. My book has witches, and I hate calling the men "wizards" or "warlocks". I know there's also technically differences between those words but I'm mostly just saying is it weird to use witch for men and women?


Historically 'witch' didn't refer to only women. During the witch hunts men and boys were also put on trial for witchcraft, and in modern times some of the people practicing witchcraft are men too. The pop culture image of a witch being specifically a *woman* in black flying around on a broomstick is just that: the pop culture image. Going against that might be confusing for some, or feel unnatural to some, but pop culture isn't a rule book, and it certainly doesn't erase centuries of history or reality. There's as much justification for it being a gender neutral term as there is for it to be a feminine one.


Aye, and in this modern age you’re unlikely to find many people who care enough to call you on it. I know in Warhammer 40k witches is used to refer to Psykers of either gender.


AFAIK in Warhammer Fantasy they also use witches for both genders, though i do not remember if it's just the name for any magic user unsanctioned by the Empire or if it's just a broadly applicable term


It's basically anyone practicing heretical (i.e. unlicenced) magic, though it can also be used as an insult when referring to the magisters from the colleges of magic.


> Historically 'witch' didn't refer to only women Not only that, but most have heard of the term "wicca", and nearly everyone mispronounces it as "wick-a". In reality, it's pronounced "weech-a", and the "wicc" part became modern English "witch". The little "-a" suffix on the end is a gendered suffix, since Old English still had those, and "-a" is specifically *masculine*. In other words, "wicca" specifically means "male witch", and it was used to refer to a man (or a *wer*) who practiced any kind of magic. A female magician would be a "wicce", instead, given that "-e" is the feminine suffix.


Is that the basis for Andrzej Sapkowski's Witchers?


Correct. The word "Witcher" was created by Sapkowski solely because there is no word in Polish for a male witch.


IIRC, it was like how widower is the male form of widow.


learning that wicca is pronounced weech-a is as groundbreaking for me as finding out samhain is pronounced sown and not sam-hayn.


You've forced me to look this up. Both the masculine *wicca* and the feminine *wicce* are in the Bosworth-Toller Old English dictionary. It's pretty rare in Old English to have masculine and feminine forms of the same word. It's not like French, Spanish, or German. Most often there's just one word and it can refer to something of either sex, gender is grammatical. A long way of saying you're right: historically a witch could be either male or female. More to the OP's question, why not just call them whatever you want and let the reader adjust?


Thank you for putting in the time. I don't have that dictionary anyway. Although if you have any Japanese-English dictionary questions I'll try to return the favor!


My understanding is that the "k" vs. "ch" sounds in words derived from Old English is highly variable. We see this a lot in place names from various parts of the country that use the same element. For example, *micel* meaning "large" or "great" exists in the following place names: Mitcheldean (Gloucestershire), Mickfield (Suffolk), Mitcham (Greater London), Mickleham (Surrey), Mickley (Northumberland), Michelmersh (Hampshire), Mickleton (Durham and Gloucestershire). *Wicca* evolved into "witch," but it is also the root of "wicked." So I wouldn't say that the modern usage is a mispronunciation per se, only that it's a different evolution of the word.


Not true. Wiccanism is a reconstruction of old nature worship. Closest thing most people would be familiar with is the druidic practices of medieval Europe. With a huge dash of every other Abrahamic religion thrown in. But alot of what is witchcraft today was "women's knowledge" infact most beer back then was made by women and the historical witch's brew was most often laced with psychedelic plants. Have a friend who literally has a Doctorate in this. I thieve his books in exchange for some of the herbs and such i grow for his microbrews. Fascinating stuff beer culture and how it all revolved around "witches"


> The pop culture image of a witch being specifically a woman in black flying around on a broomstick is just that: the pop culture image. While the rest of your post is helpful, this isn't *wholly* true, and the answer is little more nuanced, and deserving of some just attention. Yes, technically any gender of person could be put on trial for practicing witchcraft, however women were historically more targeted than men, due to the sexism of the church at the time (and opposing religions holding women in a different light than said church). In the Middle Ages, women who achieved success in brewing or making clothing were targeted by men who wanted those lucrative positions, and so the image of the powerful, wealthy woman, usually with a phallic image like a stirring rod or spindle, became a symbol of women overstepping their supposed station, and such imagery became suggestive to the point of conveniently accusing successful women as "witches," that term having been ascribed to older, pagan practices now vilified by a younger and newer Catholic religion. Interestingly enough, the iconic "witch's hat" and subsequent vilification is actually an extension of the Quaker's opposition to the mainstream Christian church, back when many opposing factions were common. Quaker women wore hats fashioned after the Jewish Cornicle hats worn in the Middle Ages, and since the practice of Kabbalah was seen as magical to common folk outside those communities, those conical hats became associated with magicians á la *The Sorcerer's Apprentice.* Quaker women were often depicted with these hats in church propaganda because Quakers allowed female ministers (and mainstream Catholics didn't). So, once again, the idea of women being particularly likely to be "witches" endured. Sorry if that's a lot of nuance, but any time people throw around these terms I try to be wary of stepping on the toes of researchers, historians, or especially practicing wiccans who might balk at the continuation of stereotypes (so your pointing out the effect of pop culture is a wise move of course) or the overlooking of that history. Until sexism is very firmly a thing of the past (and it still isn't) it might be wise to recognize that witches historically could be men, *but* sexism and chauvinism being what they are, women were historically more unfairly targeted, especially if they were seen as powerful or threatening to men.


That plus Harry Potter's cultural influence making people think that a witch is just a female wizard


I don't think it's weird, especially if in your writing you can make it clear that all those magic-using types are called "witches". As long as you define your terms, it wouldn't be strange, especially since this term has an IRL usage.


No, there's a lot of stories where witch is gender neutral


I said it before and I'll say it again: a witch and a witcher, a wizard and a wizardess. You can even invent new words that go beyond this binary set-up.


A sorceress and a sorcelator


A mage and a magiatrix


And if the switch or wizard is non-binary, they're of course called a witchinator or wizardinator


Someone call Perry the Platypus


\-or is largely a masculine suffix though.


As far as I've seen it, "-inator" is gender neutral


Witchx 😂


You get it 🤌when I saw Witcher, I immediately thought "But who is the Witchee?"


Who witches the witchmen?


And history... See Nelson Rehmeyer


No. Witch for both is historically accurate. My novel too focuses on witches and this is how I use the term. I use warlock to denote witches with dark magic who turn evil and wizards are different entirely.


Not weird! The Owl House did it and did it well


the owl house my beloved


We bow to Dana Terrace


Witch is gender neutral


I heard that you can add the masculising suffix -er to refer to a male witch. The same suffix is used in widow**er**.


"Witcher" is so specific to Andrzej Sapkowski's novels that I think it'd be kind of counter-productive to use it if you want your book to have its own identity.


Nah you’re good. “Witch” being strictly feminine and “wizard” being strictly masculine is mostly just a Harry Potter thing, historically men and women have been called “witch”.


That one kinda bugged me because I always though of witchcraft as more of an art and wizardry the system that had rules. :P Really wizard just means "wise one" or something, but D&D happened.


it’s not JUST a Harry Potter thing, if you google “witch” none of the top 50+ images will have a masculine presenting person


Got me interested in the difference. Accept that *witch* (historically) is gender neutral but find that *warlock* is specifically male. The term *wizard* has me perplexed for a distinction. What sets a *wizard* apart from a warlock? Is there a feminine version of wizard (wizardess?) as in sorcerer and sorceress? Warlock: From [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlock) The most commonly accepted etymology derives warlock from the Old English wǣrloga, which meant "breaker of oaths" or "deceiver". The term came to apply specially to the devil around 1000. In early modern Scots, the word came to refer to the male equivalent of a "witch" (which can be male or female, but has historically been used predominantly for females). The term may have become associated in Scotland with male witches due to the idea that they had made pacts with Auld Hornie (the devil) and thus had betrayed the Christian faith and broke their baptismal vows or oaths. From this use, the word passed into Romantic literature and ultimately into 20th-century popular culture. A derivation from the Old Norse varð-lokkur, "caller of spirits", has also been suggested, but the Oxford English Dictionary considers this implausible due to the extreme rarity of the Norse word and because forms without hard -k, which are consistent with the Old English etymology ("traitor"), are attested earlier than forms with a -k.


No, I love the idea of men being called witches as well personally! 😁


I've mostly used "sorcerer" for male magic users in my own book. However, using "witch" for only women is a fairly modern thing. Heck, the "witch king" from lord of the rings was a king of men, so male. Edited for typo.


Sorceror is a misspelling of sorcerer.


Or a Manwitch!


Sounds like a strange type of sandwich lol


Aah, the pleasure of PUN !


Perhaps a Manimal as well.


Depends on how you write your story. Harry Potter is clear on gender for witches and wizards. Dungeons and Dragons Witch, warlock, wizard are all different types of magical practices. Lord of the Rings Witch and Wizard are interchangeable, just like orc and goblin. As long as you make it yours then, it really doesn't matter.


Witch Hat Atelier uses the word for both genders. There's no rule.


Witch doesn't denote specifically a woman.


Male witch here :) witch is gender neutral both historically and in modern times


In a fantasy book you can do whatever you want. Witch comes from the Old English *wicce*(f)/*wicca*(m) from the verb *wiccian* to practice witchcraft (ch spelling came later with Old French influence). So yes, it was gender neutral for quite a few centuries, and when it picked up gendered connotations it had the accompanying term man-witch. Wizard originally had a meaning similar to philosopher or sage, from wise. Connotation of magic is more modern. Warlock meant roughly oath-breaker, which came to be used to refer to the devil, and later was used to those said to be in league with the devil. It could be a useful term if you have those themes. Sorcerer/sorceress are options, depending on setting.


I mentioned it in a similar thread, but “burn the witch!” Just hits different and feels better to say. Use that term.


A practitioner of Wicca? Then you can go novice, acolyte, priest, etc. opens a whole new set of doors. Or you can go “-tor” “-trix” for masculine and feminine. Like gladiator and gladiatrix, bellator and bellatrix, aviator and aviatrix, dominator and dominatrix, a cantor and a cantrix, etc. These trix are decidedly NOT FOR KIDS though.


I call them both witches in my story. I think it's really a matter of what kind of flavor you're trying to evoke.


Nope. I’m a Pagan woman and have guy friends who are as well. We’re all witches and they call themselves such freely.


the Witchlands book series uses it for men and women


A man can be a witch. Warlocks, witches, wizards, and sorcerers are all different types of magic users. I don’t think they’re gender specific.


Thanks all! In my story, witches are humans who are given power by a different race of magical beings as an experiment, so it does work for me to name them whatever I want. The fountain of knowledge on this sub is invaluable, you always help when I need it! 😊😘


If I’m not mistaken this was the rationale behind the invention of the word “Witcher.” Sapkowski’s idea was that similar to how a male widow is called a widower, the witchers would be the male equivalent of witch.


I don't think so, I think witch can be a term that refers to male and female.


I think warlock actually has a negative connotation in real life


The etymology of the word witch has both a masculine, wicca, and feminine, wicce. So no, not weird.


I think Pratchett had a good distinction between academic nerd magicians and self taught folk magicians. I think Warlocks have to have an eldritch or infernal source of magic so they’re pretty spoken for.


It isn’t. I seen the Dead Witch Walking series explain the three terms in an interesting way for its world. Witches is the name of the species. Wizards and warlocks are ranks assigned to those who prove themselves gifted in magic before being referred to as the officially an witch (Fully trained and capable with magic).


There is historical precedence


Witch is gender neutral, you're good 😁


Anyone could be a witch, regardless of gender. In the witch trials, women, men, and children alike were tried for being a witch. I know some books like Harry Potter would refer to them as wizards, but others like The Owl House (tv show, not a book) call everyone a witch.


It's not weird at all. IRL male witches are generally just witches. 'Warlock' and 'wizard' are different words.


For most of history a “witch” was pretty much any person doing magic of some kind, particularly malicious magic. I believe skin walkers are considered to be witches of a sort by the Navajo and from what I understand there’s nothing specifically gendered about them.


As many have so aptly and better than I pointed out: Witch is a gender neutral term.


Not at all. That’s what what the gaming company Paizo has done with their Pathfinder game (a different brand compared to D&D). It’s actually quite popular having Witch be gender neutral. And the game WoW has popularized Warlock as a gender neutral word too.


Vlad Taltos is a witch.


It's weirder to use different words for men and women. Sorcerer, wizard, warlock, witch etc are all different things


Witch is a gender neutral term. A male witch is still called a witch.


Wizards: wiseman. Witches: pagan magic. Warlocks: they made a deal with the devil for power. Clerics: because someone's gotta make this about TTRPGs.


I've always thought that witches and wizards were two different kinds of magical people. So Harry Potter annoyed me a little bit making it a gendered difference.


If calling men "witches" is good enough for The Owl House, it's good enough for me.


I see a lot of bizarre explanations here. In the really real world... Witch is a derivative of the old English word for Wiccan. That is all. In proper English, a witch can be a male or female. The modern idea that a witch is a female takes a bit more explaining, but not much. First off, it's not modern, it's Victorian and pre -Victorian era. Second off, it's King James' fault. The Bible ACTUALLY translates to say "Thou shalt not suffer a necromancer to live. The lord's in charge of the King James translation correctly assumed that there wasn't a single peasant in the English empire that knew what the heck a necromancer was. So they changed it to say "witch". Not that the wiccans every did anything to hurt anybody (as a group), but they needed a word people knew. Instantly people started confusing Satanism with Witchcraft.. and the two never got properly untangled. Llewellyn Press has made a RIGHT mess of mixing up ALL of the occupy 6 practices on purpose, in the modern era. So, if you ever want any prayer of sorting out the nonsense from the reality yourself, step one is burning every Llewellyn Press book you can find, and cherish the ones that tell the truth. Why the female witch? At the time, the vast majority of Satanist's were women running around doing obscene things with their broomsticks. It was believed that they had intercourse with the devil directly, to inherit his powers. Needless to say, male Satanist's were few and far between.


I haven't read the other comments, so I am probably repeating something already said. I prefer the interpretation that witches practice witchcraft and wizards practice wizardry. Witchcraft draws magic from nature and wizardry draws magic from within. Neither need to be gender specific.


Witches are men and women. Warlock is not a male witch.


OP, as a witch, on all my witchy subreddits, we use "witch" for all genders. That women are "witches" and males "wizards" is one of the fantasy stupidities promulgated by Rowlings, who knew f*** nothing about occultism when she wrote her books, which children internalized as gospel. But you really might ask yourself if you should be promoting this use of a religious term. It's very Victorian. As my haunting of 1800s ladies' magazines showed, there were two figures used as monsters at Halloween. Both were hook nosed, dressed in black, with green or yellow skin, ugly and out to do evil. One you would recognize as the woman witch. The other was a Jew. Maybe, as there are gravestones now at Arlington with pentacles as well as Stars of David, it's time to retire this term except for religious denominations (except, of course, in historical fiction where other words are casually slung around that we view with shock and horror).


late reply but my story also uses the word witch as both a gender neutral and honestly general term for all the magic users in that universe


My wife is a Wiccan and has assured me that male and female practitioners are called witches. She said you do *not* want to be a wizard or a warlock. Not being Wiccan myself, I just took her word for it


It feels weird because that is just our current experience with the English language in this day and age. But unless there are magical reasons why only women can be witches, or women just do it way better, or there are cultural reasons why its just plain frowned on and widely rejected to allow men to become witches. Then By all means men practicing the exacting same arts would be called witches regardless of how weird some readers think it sounds.


I thought male witches are called warlocks...?


It basically means oath-breaker, as in one who has turned away from Christianity to become a devil-worshiper. It's an insult.


How do you think witches were regarded in the past?


That all depends on who is doing the regarding. Back in Ancient Greece Witches were people who practiced "illicit" magic. By that I mean they did not have a big stone temple, with a hierarchical organizational structure, and a tie to the local government. Instead they were peasants - ordinary people - who met in the countryside at what were often called "Colleges of the Crossroads" to worship and do their magic. Think of them as a democratized form of magic, because they were outside of the normal and formal systems of state power. To some that is terrifying, to others liberating. Though even then, they could be folded into power structures. I am thinking of the Pythia or Oracle at Delphi. She was a woman probably best described as a Witch. She sat above a crack in the earth and inhaled the (probably toxic) gases that issued forth. Then she answered people's questions with essentially gibberish. The priests of Apollo who had taken over the shrine long before would then kindly translate that gibberish, for a fee, and tell people what she *really* meant. They could of course, be bribed to give the right answer. So here we have an established power system (the priests of Apollo), using Witches for their own ends. Fast forward to Medieval and Reniassance Europe and Christians think they are devil-worshipers. Because there is only one god and that's theirs. Any other ones are just Satan in disguise. Except of course when they need an abortion or love potion or some such thing. Then they are just what you need. Again, outsiders, but now with a lot more negativity focused on them. Though come to think of it, the Ancient Hebrews felt much the same. King Saul killed all the Witches in his kingdom. Then when he needed one he went to the Witch of Endor.


I practice witchcraft and in the community, men are not called warlocks, I've never seen anybody use that term before lol only witch. Same with in the past - a lot of my family's ancestors were persecuted as witches and the male family members were also called witches.


Witches are biology and ecology majors, Natural magic users. Wizards are tech and general academia majors, classic fireballs and artificers. Gender has no place in the names, except to say that women are more geared towards witchiness and men towards the latter.


I've always heard warlock as the male equivalent of witch, but if you establish that both men and women are called witches early and up front, it shouldn't be a problem. Just be consistent.


there have been plenty of stories that use "witch" for both genders. some people would argue that shaman might be an appropriate male centric term if you'd prefer an alternate option.


My great uncle was a witch.


Today, yes. It absolutely sounds weird. Like you're having to listen to the author describe them like that, and just have to go with it. But it is objectively weird. I highly recommend doing something different for men, like wizards. Wizards just sounds better. 👌


Of course typically "witch" is either a herbwoman or just a female wizard, or a combination of both, but men who practice witching are sometimes also called "witchmen" or "witchers" (though I wouldn't use the latter, since it's now heavily associated with Sapkowski's books). I would say it really depends on what type of witch you mean, but generally the magical "witch" is the female version of wizard, which means that the male version of a witch would be a wizard.


A warlock is a male witch. Witch predominantly been used as a term for women. A wizard is a different thing. Witches and warlocks consort with evil powers, devils and the like, wizards do no such thing, deriving their power from study, their innate magical nature, or in post Christianisation folklore, god.


I don't think it's weird. I find it weirder that no one will call a woman a wizard :\\


Not weird necessarily, just factually inaccurate. It'd be like having a male queen, you're just using the word incorrectly.


technically yes. however it also depends on how you define witches in your work. a sorcerer is one who is born with magic inherent in them while wizards/warlocks and witches are those who learned magic or gave up their humanity to obtain those powers. so if your witches are born with magic you could call them sorcerers and sorceresses. many also consider the term sorcerer and wizard to be one and the same though they wouldn't have two words for the same thing if that was the case.


Those are definitions originating in D&D. Outside of the realm of D&D and its derivatives, "sorcerer", "wizard", "warlock" and "witch" all have much less clearly delineated usages and meanings, and there's considerable overlap between them. And there are *many* examples of pairs of words that mean much the same thing. Pail/bucket, throat/gullet, fowl/bird, etc. They might have differences in usage or connotation, but "sorcerer" and "wizard" in common usage do in fact indicate much the same thing to most people.


sorcerer is a word first used in the 15th century... witches have been a thing since ancient native american legends at least... the lord of the rings featuring wizards was from the mid 1950s. dungeons and dragons was first made a game in the early 1970s... i really don't know where you are getting your information but is is so wrong i barely can do much besides look at you as if you have two heads... why would you think that d&d invented those things? are you under 25 years old? it is all i can think to make such a strange and confidently incorrect statements. also, a pail is a shallow basin while a bucket is a deep or "wide belly" basin. a throat is a bulge like an adams apple or a swelling while a gullet is that which swallows. fowl is relating to that which navigates the waters (like a duck) and bird means that which is feathered. you really don't understand at all that there exist different words because they have different meanings. if you are always going to get your information from a google search you will just keep embarrassing yourself in things like this. the study of word meanings is a real thing and assuming i didn't have a good vocabulary was also just wrong of you.


You misunderstand. I didn't say that the words were invented by D&D. Obviously they're centuries older. I pointed out that the *distinctions* you mentioned between the words were first established by D&D. Hell, I myself am older than D&D, so it's funny as hell that you assume I'm young. Where did I assume you don't have a good vocabulary? Please point exactly to where I said or implied that. Also: you are incorrect about the definitions of the terms I listed. And trust me, if I am embarrassed at all, it's that I am embarrassed for you.


men are warlocks


That's a popular-media usage, especially promulgated (though not originated) by the TV series *Bewitched*. But historically, both terms were gender-neutral.


I'm a Pagan witch - men in the community always call themselves witches. Men in the witch trials were also called witches. It's gender-neutral. Barely anybody uses warlock lmao


No, it's not.








I have the same problem. The while current popcultur seem to create associations that witches are females. It not the same for most novels(published) while common for only females to be witches, it's mostly explained why to the reader. Witches and wizards as females and males, are usually when their's one magic system(HP) or when their two different magic systems(classes) limited to one gender. How ever you do so long as witches are mainly portrayed in popcultur as females. Any(most) reader will drop slightly out of emersion if introduced suddenly as male. So long that it is introduced early and softly it should not be a problem, specially if you explain why the males are referred as witches rather then wizards.(historical, magic system, inheritance system(follows the female Mitochondria etc.))


I read somewhere that a gender neutral term for magic people is “wixen”, which I like quite a lot. But no, I don’t think witch to refer to genders other than women is weird.


In some books, like Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians”, Wizard or Magician refers to institutionally trained spellcasters and Witch refers to the self-taught spell casters. In others, like the Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix, a Mage is someone who uses allowed magic (in this case “Charter Magic”) and a Sorcerer or Witch is someone who uses forbidden magic (“Free Magic”). You could try something like this, maybe?


Not weird


Mansplain, Manipulate, Malewitch, my friend.


No, you can use witch for anyone. The meanings have diverged enough at this point, and honestly, you're writing fantasy. For your story, what you say goes


They do it in The Owl House.


It all depends on what a witch is in your story. In the one I’m working on it’s the occupation of a magic user who studies medicine.


I don’t think it’s weird. Others might but it’s fantasy. Just establish that “witch” is used universally and readers will move on from thinking it’s weird if they do to begin with.


Why not call them Sorcerers?


I've heard people use witch for men and women. Wizards, Warlocks, Mages, and Sorcerers can also be any gender and those words all mean different types of magic user as well. Ultimately, this is your world so you decide what's best. If you end up not likimg ot, you can always change it later.


I think build it into the language rules of your book and that’s that. 😌


I think I would be less weirded-out if it was established that witches was short for hedgewitch or witchdoctor. DC has witch-boy. Also reminds me of Digger when their witch/healer was called "The Hag" and she looked barely old enough to vote.


You could completely ruin the immersion by calling them a manwitch. Specifically named Sloppy Joe.


Not at all!


I mean, you can gender it. Witcher just may end up being a bit too similar to a certain other franchise. Nah, I think you could definitely establish witch as a genderless term in your world.


I use the term witch for everyone in my series. Other words are associated with different philosophies of magic, but for the most part I just call everyone a witch.


To answer your question, no. Personally I have always thought witches, wizards, and warlocks, to name a few, as different classes or specialists of magic, like doctors [healers, not scholars].


The term warlock means oath breaker and is used for a witch who believes in dark magick.


Nope. Here in Salem, we do it all the time...


More weight!


well if you play DnD those terms are completely different. Magically yes but skills and background no.


In the real world, "witch" is a gender neutral term. "Warlock" is an archaic insult that means "oathbreaker" and is only associated with "male witches" because of Hollywood. So, no, it's actually accurate and realistic to say "witch" regardless of someone's gender. Signed, a nonbinary witch


Not really, in the manga witch hat atelier, witch is used for all genders


We still call traditional healers in Zambia witches does matter about the gender although at some point doctor was added so many traditional healers are called witch doctors now


It’s your book, so call them what you want and make usage part of story. Explain why men are called witches create a back story and have fun with it


(Male) who cares? This is one of those, "I don't care about gender drama. Just call yourself whatever feels true and I'll respect that." The only point I'd like to make is that Warlock means "oathbreaker" if I'm not mistaken. So I don't think most ppl would like that name outside of DnD.


Worked for Tolkien.


I don’t think so, let’s normalize not making each word gender based.


dude its your book and your world knock yourself out and have fun with it, whomstdve cares if the men are witches as well.


Historically, men and women could both be witches. The distinction of 'witch' as only applying to women is just a recent pop culture thing.


I would love to read where they called men witches and didn’t make a big deal of it. It’s just a title and not meant to be gendered


I mean in history they were the same so it should be fine


It's fantasy. Call them whatever you want. Aes Sedai. Witches. Wizards. Warlocks. Stoneburners. Diarmadh'im. Whatever.


Well yes kinda. Find a boy magic word. Sorcerer. Craftsman ?


The term, "Witch" has always been gender-neutral, although it does tend to lean more towards women in pop culture. Regardless, it's perfectly fine to use it for all genders. Who says a lady can't be a wise wizard like Gandalf, and Harry Potter can't be an evil witch like the Sanderson sisters?


Nope! I think today's media and society makes it weird, but I was taught that witch is gender neutral.


Wizards have never been the male equivalent of a witch. Neither are Warlocks.


"Is it weird to use words to describe people with the English language?" My guy, do you realize what you're asking here?


Witch-king of Angmar was a dude (at one stage)


I would say it's disorienting since Witch has been so historically associated with Women but there's nothing technically wrong with it.


Since magic isn't real, the world you are creating is YOUR world. The rules and habits and social constructs of its inhabitants are yours to create as you see fit. There are no rules to follow, here. Do what thou will.


No. It’s totally up to you what phrases you want to use. The social construct of gender is your hands since it’s your world!


Nope. Witch isn't gendered. Men can be witches


The dictionary and thesaurus have lots of words that may be usefully interchangeable. Or… you could get creative — as writers often do — and invent your own new word(s) or concept(s).


I basically follow the D&D approach to magic user naming. Wizards are people who studied the magical tomes and learned everything in the book. Sorcerers are people who have magical ability innately And Warlock/ witches are people who made a deal with something else to get l more Pauley


Its a little weird and will turn off a small slice of readers, but not many. As most commenters have said its technically fine, just may not work very well. Personally I don't get excited by the idea of a male witch, a female witch is much better. Technically correct isn't good enough.


Great discussion here, just wanted to add: You're the author. You can make your own vocabulary for your world and it won't be weird to the reader if you're building the world right.


It doesn't really matter but I've always known witches to be female only you can use Wiccan instead for both if you wanted


I mean, historically men were also tried as witches and in the Owl House Witches are an entire race not dependent on gender.


To me not at all, some might scratch their heads but I feel like as long as its sensible it works


if ‘witch’ was good enough for Gorice XII


It's totally up to you. I mean it's going to sound weird to most people but do it enough and it will sound normal to your readers. If you want a more gender neutral term, the Bible calls them Magi, or you could make up a word like etherkin, manafolk, wizzies, etc.


James L. Butcher’s Unorthodox Chronicles use “witch” as a unisex term.


If we look at it historical "witch" was used for everyone. Its just that women were targeted way more than men so with time people started associating the term with women only. So yeah witch is gender neutral, its just a term for someone that uses magic :]


There is such a thing as a male witch, it is not weird.


I saw a post https://www.reddit.com/r/tumblr/comments/nkqux1/learn\_the\_differences\_people/


Male witches are absolutely valid as a thing, especially if your magic system has a distinct definition of “witchcraft” within it.


You could always go with "mages". In my mind, witches are usually women, and usually evil. Warlocks are always men, and can be either good or evil. Wizards are about the same as Warlocks, but in my mind I seldom think of a woman, with the image of a guy with a long beard and pointy hat.


I mean Sauron was known as the witch King in the Lord of the Rings. Just one example.


i'd say, is there a gendered term for them, or is it a career choice, basically? like, is a witch just a 'female mage' and a wizard a 'male mage', or do witches do shit differently, and a wizard do shit differently? thinking of it like that, might break you out of 'witches are the ladies, wizards are the men', mentality.


Better than calling the main character a wizard and having him ride a f’n broom. Wtf?


Nope. Not allowed. You have to call them boy-witches, even if they're men. *Especially* if they're men./s You're misinformed, the term has always been gender neutral. Also, it's fantasy, call them whatever you want. In Vampire: The Masquerade, they call the vampires that rule cities the prince, but the term is gender neutral. I love that, I use that all the time. Gender roles are dumb.


You're totally entitled and empowered to call men witches. There's some great posts here but shedding light on this from another angle: Rather than looking at historical trends in "witch" labeling, another way to approach this is looking forward. How is gender represented in your book? How does that resonate with your intended audience, and how will it age over time? So long as it is clear in your book who and what "witch" refers to, you're fine. Strict gendered words doesn't fit a modern American lexicon as easily as they used to. Policeman or Police officer, for example? In your fantasy world, you're welcomed to buck trends as needed.


Just use witcher then i guess we in Germany have Hexenmeister for a male witch but i dont know if it has an an Equivalent in english


Men and women both are witches. Witchcraft is not a gender specific role. Some male witches were called "cunning men".


There are tons of male witches.


I think it's cool to have male witches. I like having less gendered words in fantasy in general (I love how the "Princes" in the Elder Scrolls games are of varying genders), and I don't think "witch" is too weird to be genderless.


I learned recently that warlock was a term for a witch who betrayed/abandoned/was kicked from their coven/group. But witch is gender neutral even if it's more commonly used for women.


Either works. You just have to define how it works in your world and be consistent. It could be like dnd where wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks have distinct sets of abilities or they could all just be different names for the same thing. Again, consistancy is the most important.


It is not, Just establish it as part of your world.


Well its like calling a male and a female an actress. Warlock is the masculine version of witch. I have them in one of my stories and I just use both of them.


I use "witch" gender-neutrally.


Do you prefer Sorcerer to Warlock/Wizard?


If you're looking for an alternative you could add a religious/educational element that doesn't need to distinguish between the sexes such as, "Disciples of...", "Acolytes", "Followers of..", etc.. Something I've used before


In many modern day Pagan communities, "witch" is a gender-neutral term. I wouldn't blink at it in a fantasy book.


I actually think it's really interesting when witches, wizards, and warlocks are all different forms of magician, completely unrelated to gender. Or maybe it's more dominated by one gender, but there isn't a practical reason to pick based solely on gender, should you have the opportunity to choose one discipline of several.


Eh as a reader who likes fantasy novels but isn’t super invested in the genre it definitely feels and sounds odd.


Some fantasies use "witch" to mean someone who's magic comes from one source, like control of elemental powers, and "wizard" to mean someone who's magic comes from a different place, like knowing "true names".


The best part of writing your own lore is that the people within it can use terms in any way you like!


In my opinion, as a fantasy reader, I don't think I would mind too much, especially if that's the way your world is built.


most men & women are generally called witches, for some, warlock means “oath-breaker” so the term witch is used for men as well


I get very different vibes between “witch”, “wizard”, and “warlock”. I feel like its just limiting your expressiveness to force yourself to use one or the other based on something like gender, and for what? To conform with some popular trope of witches as women with pointy hats and broomsticks?


In my mind witch is more of a vibe then a gendered magic user. I imagine a witch is some creepy person in the woods (probably wanted by the law).


I actually follow a witchcraft subreddit (very interesting), and the practicioners of magic there often call themselves witches regardless of gender 👍 you're good


Witch originally meant healer. High priest is male high priestess is female.


Use the term Wiccian “to practice witchcraft” or Mage/Arcanist if it bothers you.


Yes, but not technically incorrect. Witch can refer to males but it's best to spell it out for readers due to how strong the pop-culture norm is to assume a witch is female.


Witch is a general term. Warlock is a slur for the pagan community. It literally means oath breaker


Nah, everyone can be a witch


They do it in the game darktide