Having flown quite a bit over the last few months, the vocabulary is fresh in my mind — but only in English. How can I say "my mobile phone is in airplane mode" in Latin?

There are a couple of issues with translating this:

  • What is a mobile phone? I prefer telephonulum, but telephonum mobile makes sense too. This puzzles me far less than the next two points.
  • Is there a good adjective to translate "airplane"? Perhaps aeroplanarius? There might be other reasonable derivatives and stems one could use.
  • What is a good word for "mode"? Despite the obvious etymological connection, modus does not look like a good translation to me. The best word I could think of is status. Is this a good translation, or should I use something else?

My attempt is this: Telephonulum meum in statu aeroplanario est. How would you go about translating this, and why so?


This question is old, and I think that nobody has answered it until now because there are no strong opinions about it. Telephonulum and status are good choices. My only objection is aeroplanarius.

I am not an expert, but as far as I can gather from Vicipaedia, Ebbe Vilborg and David Morgan, the best proposers of Latin terms for modern stuff, were careful in distinguishing Greek words like aeroplanum, where they kept the connecting -o-, from purely Latin words, aeriportus and aerinavis, where they preferred the connecting -i- required by apophonia Latina. Following the same line of thought, I’d rather use a Greek suffix for a Greek word, and say status aeroplanicus instead of aeroplanarius. (Symmetrically, I’d say aerinavalis.) Αεροπλανικός exists in Modern Greek. However, it is not used in this context, because the set phrase is λειτουργία πτήσης “flight mode”. I will definitely not propose status volitatorius.

Romance languages have no such adjectives: they use a simple noun after “mode”: modo avión (Sp.), mode avion (Fr.), modo aereo (It.)... and cannot be used as examples.

  • Also modo avión (m., airplane, also a noun) in Spanish
    – Rafael
    Apr 15 '18 at 23:17
  • Hmm, I can see the argument for using -i- instead of -o- for compounds where both parts are from Latin, but even though "planus/-um/-a" is Latin, isn't the word "aer" originally a loanword from Greek?
    – Asteroides
    Apr 16 '18 at 2:35
  • 1
    @Rafael thank you very much. Answer corrected.
    – Dario
    Apr 16 '18 at 4:46

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