Middle English mondeyne, from Anglo-French mundain, from Late Latin mundanus, from Latin mundus world. Classical Latin mundānus belonging to the world, earthly, relating to the universe, cosmic (earliest attested 2nd cent. a.d. in Apuleius
- 1: of, relating to, or characteristic of the world
- 2: characterized by the practical, transitory, and ordinary : commonplace <the mundane concerns of day-to-day life>
In subcultural and fictional uses, a mundane is a person who does not belong to a particular group, according to the members of that group; the implication is that such persons, lacking imagination, are concerned solely with the mundane: the quotidian and ordinary. In science fiction fandom and related fandoms the term is used to refer, sometimes deprecatingly, to non-fans; this use of the term antedates 1955.
Prolific F&SF author Piers Anthony took the concept one step further in the late seventies and eighties geographically defining a Mundania, within which magic was virtually unknown in his Xanth series (1977) and employed the concept further in exploring and exploiting the contrast between two duality of reality universes in his 1980 Apprentice Adept book series—where much of the plot is dependent upon tension between a magic world and a machine world (The Mundane) that can hardly be more different.