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What is the right way to politely address a dragon?

What do dragons prefer to be called?

Hey everyone!  Modern dragon here.  We’ve only just started to get to know one another (which absolutely makes my scales shine!) and I thought it could be helpful up front to answer some questions you might have wondered about but might have felt uncomfortable asking.  

I’m a modern dragon.  Read here where I did a little introduction.

Don’t worry!  Now that we all know that dragons exist, here’s some info on what to call a dragon when you see one on the street or behind the counter at the bakery.

An orange and green dragon sits up and extends a hand in a friendly manner
Dragons are friendly creatures if you get to know them.

How should we talk about dragons?

A few words on terminology.   The preferred term generally is ”dragon.”  Also acceptable, where reflective of the individual’s own expressed identity, are: drake, hydra, and even serpentine dragon or wyrm if you check first.  I’ll write more about the history of those terms later.  And I’ll also add wyvern here to be inclusive (more on wyverns below). 

But I should warn you:  it is considered extremely disrespectful to refer to a dragon as “serpent.”  Just don’t do it, okay?  It carries certain defamatory Biblical undertones.  

Yes, dragons are in the Bible.  It’s complicated.  I’ll write more on that another time.

A green dragon with blue fan webbing growls
The green dragon has a lot to say, and you had better listen

I know, I know.  I’ve already noted that “serpent” is what the word “dragon” means in ancient Greek.  But if you and any given dragon are chatting on the street and you’re speaking together in a language other than ancient Greek, the most courteous (and safest) thing to do is just say “dragon.”

Oh, and then there’s “monster.”  Watch out for that one.  Some dragons will let you call them “monster,” but only in jest and only if you are already very good friends with them and they have eaten recently.  

Seriously, though.  Don’t mess around here. Historically, if you went up to a dragon and called her a monster, you’d likely get eaten or at least charred. 

A cute little red dragon breathes fire
I am cuddle! Also, danger.

A modern dragon is no less of a dragon.  But I like to think that in these more civilized times (well.  Relatively speaking.) if you call a dragon “monster,” you would get a reproachful glare and the dragon probably wouldn’t say please or thank you, and certainly would not use any exclamation marks when emailing you.

What should you call a dragon?

I should add that like everyone, dragons have names.  So why not introduce yourself and ask the dragon’s name?  Modern dragons can be a little shy, but we warm up fast once we get to know you.  You might even get invited over for tea and scones.

Wyverns are smaller dragon-adjacents with wings and two legs

I sometimes get questions about wyverns.  Wyverns are wonderful, intense people and I encourage everyone to go meet some and become friends with them.  Your mother might not approve but these are modern times.

A wyvern (dragon with two legs) breathes fire
Do not stand directly in front of the wyvern while it breathes fire.

Me, I’m a Western dragon; I have two hind legs, two forelegs, and two wings.   Wyverns, on the other claw, are smaller and have two hind legs and two wings

Say whatever you want about them, but wyverns are exceedingly good at sports.  Being so nimble and aggressive, you would do well to have a wyvern on your football (soccer) team.

Take my friend Mike.  He’s a wyvern and he plays an absolutely mean game of rugby.  This really shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows wyverns, rugby, or Mike.

Got any dragon questions?

Thanks for tuning in!  I’ll have more dragon info for you soon, and you can get automatic updates if you subscribe to my free newsletter.  Meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions.  You can reach me directly by hopping over to the About page and scrolling down.

And if I can challenge you with a thought experiment, what would you prefer to be called, if you were a dragon?

Very truly yours,


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