I asked this at another language Stack Exchange but was directed to here instead. I wasn't too sure how best to phrase the title of this question, so hope I can better explain it in this body.

For those who are perhaps unaware, 'misogynoir' is a term coined by queer Black feminist Moya Bailey to describe an intersectional form of misogyny directed at Black women. I definitely support the acknowledgement and existence of such a term. What bothers me about it, though, is its lexical construction. It is essentially a portmanteau of two words with totally different roots: misogyny (from Greek) and noir (French [black]).

If one was to refashion it in Greek root form – like other 'hate' terms like misogyny itself as well as misandry [hatred of men], misogamy [hatred of marriage], etc. – does anybody know what it would be? I've considered misomelanogyny (miso [hate] + melano [black] + gyny [women]) but am not convinced it's proper. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated and I thank all in advance for their input.


The Greek word for a Black man is Αἰθίοψ, -οπος, and for a Black woman Αἰθιοπίς, -ίδος. So what about “misoaethiopidy”, with stress on the antepaenultima?

  • 1
    Since “Aithiop-” starts with a vowel, wouldn’t it be possible for “mis-“ to be used instead of “miso-“? (“misaethiopidy”, like “misanthropy” and “misandry”) – Asteroides Feb 23 '18 at 1:34
  • @sumelic. Good point. – fdb Feb 23 '18 at 10:14

I would suggest that your first choice is almost right - just get rid of the connecting vowel -o-, in other words: misomelangyny. (Typically, the combining form of μελας is μελαν‐ .)

  • Is it wrong to use a connecting vowel? I checked the OED entry for English "melano-", and it says "ancient Greek μελανο-, combining form (in e.g. μελανοδέρματος dark-skinned) of μελαν-, μέλας black [...] Ancient Greek also has an athematic combining form μελαν-, without the thematic vowel -ο- [...], as in μελάνδετος bound or mounted with black (and note the existence of both μελάγχροος and μελανόχροος dark-skinned). This occurs in the forms μελαμ- before β, π, ϕ, and ψ (as in Hellenistic Greek μελάμπυρον melampyre n.) and μελαγ- before γ, κ, and χ (as in μελαγχολία melancholy n.1)." – Asteroides Jul 3 '17 at 3:49
  • 1
    I'll have to admit, leafing around L&S, I found more words beginning μελανο‐ than I anticipated, though still outnumbered by those in μελαν/μ/γ‐. So, I can't say the ‐μελανο‐ is wrong, exactly, but I still think the one without the -ο‐ is more natural, for reasons that I will explain in another comment. – varro Jul 3 '17 at 17:43
  • 1
    In English, when we see such forms as "philosophy", we are likely to analyse it as phil-o-sophy, with a connecting vowel -o-, but it really should be analysed philo-sophy (φιλο‐σοφία) the o is actually part of the stem of the first element. The stem of μέλας is μελαν‐, not μελανο‐, hence my reasoning. Apparently the Greeks did sometimes add the omicron by analogy, though, so we even have both μελάγχροος and μελανόχροος. – varro Jul 3 '17 at 17:44
  • 1
    It is actually quite common for the first member of a Greek compound to be thematicised, that is: to take the suffix -o-. – fdb Feb 22 '18 at 11:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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