In a world were living toys exist and are known (like Toy Story but with their sentience been common knowledge), what would be the Latin scientific name for a toy? In a similar way of how homo sapiens means 'human that thinks'. I guess it should have the "sapiens" part but what would be the correct word in Latin for toy, because with Google Translate I'm seeing many options (crepundia, ludibrium, pupa) and not sure which one really represents the meaning of toy.

3 Answers 3


crepundia refers to a child's rattle

ludibrium means mockery or wantonness

pupa can mean a little girl, but also a doll or a puppet - the male equivalent is pupus

there are also the diminutive versions pupula and pupulus with similar meaning, except that pupula can also mean the pupil of an eye

I think that 'doll' would be a good description of some of the toys in Toy Story, though you might not want the confusion with 'boy', 'girl' and 'pupil'

  • And there's no word in latin for let say every object considered a toy? Like a generic term that encompases dolls, toy cars, teddy bears etc?
    – Daniel
    Jan 10, 2022 at 14:50
  • The romans didn't have a word for "yes" so it's possible their language just doesn't work that way.
    – Nickimite
    Jan 11, 2022 at 4:09
  • But isn't true that modern latin is constantly updated with words because the Vatican uses it?
    – Daniel
    Jan 14, 2022 at 12:16

In the name homo sapiens, homo is the genus and sapiens the species. So using sapiens for a toy would imply that there are other species of toys that would not be intelligent, but would still have a binomial name.

So the answer depends on the rest of the universe,

  • if there are living toys that are not intelligent, using pupus sapiens is fine,
  • or else, sapiens would probably be a part of the genus, for example sapipupus (sapiens + pupus, compound nouns are common for this kind of use) and the second part would be different for each type of toy.
  • Well, all toys in the setting are sentient. Of course they might consider each different kind of toy (dolls, cars, stuffed animals) different species of the same genus but that's a level of detail that I doubt I or the reader would want to know. The problem with ''pupus'' is that it sound to similar to a bad word in the language this book will be. Is there any alternative?
    – Daniel
    Jan 10, 2022 at 14:48
  • While pupus sapiens also seems fine to me, sapipupus would look monstrous even in a gag. Jan 22, 2022 at 14:48

An inanimate object that walks and talks like a human is the Graeco-Latin "automaton".

  • That could work
    – Daniel
    Jan 14, 2022 at 12:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.