What are some good, reliable English–Latin dictionary of Neolatin and contemporary Latin.

The best one I've found so far is Morgan's Lexcon of Neo-Latin and Contemporary Latin Usage on the Paideia Institute website, but I do not know the difference between the Silva and the Adumbratio. There is also the Lexicon Recentis Latinitas from the Vatican. There is the online excerpt here, and I know there is a book. The excerpt is, however, Latin–Italian, and I do not know Italian. Although I could ctrl+f search the online excerpt, I do not know if there is a vernacular–Latin section of the book. There is Vicipaedia, Latin Wikipedia – which, although having many useful terms, does not contain everything one might want to translate. Cassell Latin Dictionary has a good English–Latin section with some New Latin vocabulary, but I do not believe there are many modern words. The Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary by Traupman has an English–Latin section that seems to have many modern words. Similarly, Traupuman's Conversational Latin has what seems to be a quite comprehensive English–Latin general vocabulary and an appendix containing computer terms. It does not, however, give sources, and I have heard that some of the terms are Traupman's invention and others are taken from general usage.

Any guidance is appreciated.

  • I don't think there is a difference between Silva and Adumbria, both were just abandoned projects. So one was the start of a project, then they got a better format and tried to put everything in the new format, then they gave up on that project too. There really isn't a good neo-latin dictionary out there.
    – bobsmith76
    Mar 27, 2022 at 15:31
  • Hi Vtex. We typically make resource request CW threads, since you can't really have a "right answer" for most of them. See this meta thread for the process (we'll skip it this time!) and this thread for an example.
    – cmw
    Mar 29, 2022 at 2:56

4 Answers 4

  • Adumbratio ("the draft") is certainly the go-to dictionary of modern Latin, and besides offers a lot of generally useful timeless vocabulary. It's very well-researched, draws on most of the sources you may want to consult and usefully provides extended quotations. The project is being maintained and developed, with a focus on creating a better (than no) interface. There have been several mirrors over the years, but the developed version is neolatinlexicon.org. Unlike the one at Paideia, the search isn't full-text but by lemma; however this is still in development. To use full-text search, open the plaintext "old" page and ctrl+F.
  • Silva ("the forest > source material collection") is not a dictionary in the same sense, being rather a translation notepad where you can find ideas for rendering words that didn't pass the muster to make it into Adumbratio, but also many neologisms and importations of very questionable Latinity (cf. the preface). It's not being updated, and its use obviously requires a fluent speaker's judgement.
  • Here's a short history of the project up to 2017 by its current editor-in-chief, Patrick Owens.

Probably not exactly what you are looking for, but maybe interesting in general: A very good German - Latin (hardcover-)book, entitled "Lexicon Auxiliare", was issued (as 3rd edition) in 1991. Christian Helfer was named as the (main) author. Its purpose was to list only words that are too rarely used for common lexica, including a lot of neo-Latin words.

  • If one is open to using a German-Latin dictionary, I heartily recommend Lexicon Hodiernum, which is (a) available online and for free and (b) incorporates coinages from the Lexicon Auxiliare which you mention, from the German translation of the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis (Neues Latein-Lexikon) and various others. Mar 28, 2022 at 18:07
  • More information on German resources of this sort (including a rather lukewarm review of the Lexicon Auxiliare) can be found here (German only; the author, Wilfried Stroh, is one of the more proficient Latin speakers of our time). Mar 28, 2022 at 18:13

Alternative options:

  • Latinitas Recens (Speculum) and by letter by Numen, The Latin Lexicon, is another plaintext collection which draws on a decent number of sources (which it cites) but doesn't overload the user with the number of suggestions.
  • Lexicon Recentioris Latinitatis by Blasius Amata - gloriously cloned from GeoCities. Has fun stuff like 1001 Computer Words with equivalents in English and Italian by Anthony Stanley, as well as some Christian terminology and abreviations.
  • Glosbe.com is a translation equivalence database that can be surprisingly useful even for Latin provided the user pays attention to the translation's source and can spot all the made-up and vicipaedic Latin (this caveat also applies to the other languages they offer).
  • Diccionario auxiliar Español-Latino para el uso moderno del Latín, mirror by José Juan Del Col is what I use when I don't use Adumbratio. Handy and comprehensive, despite the lack of sources or quotations, and only occasional collocations. The latter fact places the job of quality control entirely on the user, so I would only recommend it to fluent Latinists. Doesn't require much proficiency in Spanish.
  • Vivae Latinitatis Voces Locutionesque, by the same author, is a collection of modern Latin vocabulary from Vatican sources, translated likewise into Spanish.

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.