How do you translate the adjective ‘pacifist’ into Latin?

‘pacifistus, a, um’ seems incorrect to me since all the words I’ve found with the suffix -ista are nouns, not adjectives.

alchemist: *alchĕmista or alcumista, ae, m.: Erasm.: Bacon. (Smith & Hall)

ēvangĕlista (eua-), ae, m., = εὐαγγελιστής, an evangelist, Prud. Cathem. 6, 77 et saep.; Vulg. Act. 21, 8. (Lewis & Short)


2 Answers 2


Pacifista and pacifismus (both employed by Vicipaedia, by the way) are not exactly the sort of coinage that pleases Latini of the old school in the first place. Too literal, unclassical, would stick out like a sore thumb in a letter of Cicero's.

Now if a revolutionary is novis rebus studens (1 Cat 3), does it not stand to reason that a pacifist is paci studens? This has the advantage that it can be used adjectively as well as substantively.

The downside is that this sort of expression sounds pretty general and does not convey it is referring to a fixed idea. Pacifism is an ideology and a movement (however amorphous) that has a name; being zealous for peace is a character trait. (1) Nevertheless, the adjective pacifist is also often used generically to describe a personal disposition without wanting to make reference to the pacifist movement, and if that is the meaning you are aiming for, you may find paci studens to your liking (or, indeed, you may use other forms of studere).

(1) A particularly egregious example for this issue was the translation for "fascism" I read in a certain book, which was exaggeratum suae gentis studium.

  • I think you're on the right track for a Classical rendition, although I wonder if there is a step missing with 'pacifist' that isn't present with 'fascist' or 'revolutionary.' Namely, a revolutionary is someone who has a positive relationship with revolution, whereas a pacifist is defined more by their unwillingness to participate in war. It's less that they're about peace (studium paci) and more that they refuse to fight (odium belli, or via Horace, who might be called a pacifist of sorts, leti fuga).
    – cmw
    Jul 10, 2022 at 22:41
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    I wouldn’t have thought of this structure, I’ll think about it but it does sound more classical
    – user11274
    Jul 11, 2022 at 8:18
  • I think the book you are talking about is “Sprechen Sie Lateinisch”.
    – user11274
    Jul 11, 2022 at 8:20
  • @Anserin the very same; however, the politics/society chapters, which run quite contrary to the book's original spirit, were a latter addition and lean heavily on Antonio Bacci's Lexicon eorum vocabulorum, quae difficilius latine redduntur (according to the preface of the 13th edition). This and a Google Books hit lead me to assume it was Bacci who came up with that translation. Now Bacci was a Latin writer of the first order, and as an Italian living when he did surely also knew what fascism was; still, it is a problematic translation. Jul 11, 2022 at 18:30

The suffix -isticus seems quite productive in neo-Latin, and even in classical Latin we have sophisticus and syllogisticus. If you aren't looking for something fancier, I'd go with that.

  • 1
    Thank you for your reply, I'll wait and see if there are any other suggestions, but it looks fine to me.
    – user11274
    Jul 10, 2022 at 15:20
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    Do you know if -ismicus is attested? It seems to be a better fit to me
    – user11274
    Jul 10, 2022 at 17:46
  • @Anserin, a search on the suffix -ismicus gets no hits at Perseus, so it does not seem to be classical. And I cannot think of any neo-Latin words ending in -ismicus either, although that means very little.
    – Figulus
    Jul 11, 2022 at 4:42

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