I would like to understand the formation of Latin compound words through the example of the word "helicopter". This obviously has a Greek origin, and I would like redo the construction with two Latin words.

I would translate helix as vertex and pteron as ala. But how do I combine the two analogously to the Greek helico-pteron? I'm not sure what to do with the first word. Can I go with vertici-ala? Or is this a situation where natural compounds are impossible although Latin does allow compound words?


The essence of the 'helicopter' idea is a rotating wing. The only possible words for wing here are ala and aliger, and I can think of two possibilities for introducing the 'rotatory' part. The adjective versatilis suggests the idea of a turning motion, while the noun turbo is used for any violent circular motion.

Accepting that any wing must imply the necessary lifting through the air, and that versatilis has less indication of force than turbo, this all leads me to propose turbinaliger, 'bearer of a fast-spinning wing' — which describes a helicopter quite neatly.

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