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.

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    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

2 Answers 2


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.

  • I was reading a book on botanical Latin years ago, and, if I remember aright, it said the rule used by botanical authorities was to use i when connecting Latin roots, and o when connecticting Greek roots. FWIW.
    – Figulus
    Sep 1, 2023 at 0:50

Many Latin's lovers across the world would like use the Latin in the today's life, but they cannot find Latin names for the things of our time. Answering to your question is not easy. First, we need to know if a name for that (or similar) thing already is documented somewhere. Please note that the Latin has been actively used in scientific and technical texts until about the 18th century. It is a difficult hunt: we need to be able Latin reading, to know a bit the argument and where to seek. For example, about electricity I would give a look to the Latin works of Alessandro Volta.

Whether you have more than one choice, the names masculine and feminine of the 1st and 2nd declension are the best ones because, differently from neuters names, their accusative and nominative cases are different. This is useful when you have to explain how a machine works and one parts of the machine acts on another, allowing to do clearer sentences. Example:

"terebra, terebrae" 1st feminine and "terebrum, terebri" 2nd neuter, both mean drill. We can say:

"terebra foramen facit" "drill makes a hole" is a right sentence.

instead in this sentence:

"terebrum foramen facit"
there is no way to recognize what the sentence's subject is, it could be said:

"(ego) terebro foramen facio" "I make a hole by drill".

whether your hunt to the words in the books has not been lucky, we could take the Italian (or also Spanish, French, Romanian) word of common use for that thing and, by knowing how over the time the Latin words has been modified, apply to it the reverse transformation. A good false is better than nothing. Example:

the Italian word "televisione" that means television could be reversed back to "televisio, televisionis" feminine of 3rd declension, whose ablative is just televisione.

Moreover, in addition to the names proposed by the Vatican, by the web you can find many collections of Latin neologisms, the most remarkable I know are:

The Morgan-Owens Neo-Latin Lexicon (English)

Lexicon Latinum hodiernum (German )

Don't forget to visit the Latin version of wikipedia

  • Your remark on television reminds me of when I had an etymology class I taught read this article and try to come up with a better word using only Latin or only Greek roots.
    – cmw
    Aug 30, 2023 at 17:54
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    I agree with you. The word "television" is horrible. Unfortunately, the language is not made up only by etymology, but also by usage. The word "televisio" is just an example of latinization of an Italian word. I have no idea about a substituting word for English. Perhaps you would like the Latin "remotaevisio", remotaevisionis 3rd decl. Feminine, which could correspond to the Italian word "remotavisione"
    – Marcus
    Aug 30, 2023 at 19:51
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    I liked the suggestion of telopticy (from the article) personally. I wish I could remember other words my students had come up with.
    – cmw
    Aug 30, 2023 at 21:43

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