For the sake of this question, I'm going to be using this definition of neologism, "A newly coined word or phrase." From my understanding, the loose etymology of this word is the French neo plus Greek logos into the French néologisme, and that into neologism. Supposedly that would make néologisme a "hybrid word", a word combining more than one language. (there is also mention of "neo" being from the Greek and it thus not being a hybrid word).

As I was researching this question, it became a bit of a self answer, so see below. I'm sure there are things I'm missing, though, so further answers would be great.
I will probably do a follow up on methods of neologism creation and any potential applications to Latin I can find, which I would prefer to focus on in that future post for the most part.

  • I haven't been able to read Hans Helander's On Neologisms in Neo-Latin at this time, but it's something I'm hoping to draw from as well as Helge Niska's Explorations in translational creativity: Strategies for interpreting neologisms
    – Lulah
    Jun 10, 2020 at 0:47

1 Answer 1


Some common rules seem to emerge: avoid hybrid words, use connecting vowels in compounding, chose the specifically appropriate word(s) to adapt, there seems to be a preference for compounding (unsure about this), and the Vatican seems to prefer phrases to compounds as do others.

It seems that hybrid words may not be preferable in Greek and Latin neologisms, at least those that are created for use within those languages.

There are connecting vowels for compunding:

The connecting vowel is an element of word structure that is found in words of mostly Latin and often Greek origin. For example, the second in is a connecting vowel between the two bases and .

The vowel letters , , and can all function as connecting vowels.

Words of Greek origin almost exclusively use the connecting vowel <−o−>.

Connecting vowels are structural in origin and have an etymological source. They also often reflect in spelling how words have developed their current spoken English form.

Connecting vowels often replace a final silent in the preceding base or stem.

I've also seen "i" given as the preferred connecting vowel for Latin.

There is also being specific in the word choice:

The phrase “world wide” means something specific in English: across the entire world. There is a phrase for that in Latin: totius terra. The word “web” could also be translated many ways, but the best choice turns out to be tela. Thus, we get tela totius terrae as “web of the entire world.”

Compounding is the combination of two words, often an adjective followed by a noun (not a hard rule). This is just anecdotal observation on my part - I'm not sure how to demonstrate a solid preference for it.

The Vatican publishes the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis, their take on ways to refer to things not described Latin. While many of the above words are from the Italian, you can see some loan words such as:

Original word: vodka
Latin phrase: válida pótio Slávica

And so on. I'm sure there's more out there on this, though.

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