I came across the word tantibus while reading this page (as part of a bigger word, amalgotantibus), where it's claimed to be Latin for "nightmare"; a little bit of digging also revealed that it's the basis for the name of a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic character. However, I cannot find this word in Wiktionary or any other online Latin dictionary that I know of (Numen: The Latin Lexicon is my usual go-to), and while googling the word does turn up a lot of results (over 150,000, last time I checked), many of which similarly claim the word is from Latin and means "nightmare", none of them are reliable sources of etymology (e.g. reputable dictionaries like Merriam-Webster, official scientific publications).

Is tantibus really a Latin word, or is this a made-up one (i.e. "neo/pseudo-Latin") that someone somewhere mistakenly believed to be real Classical Latin, and their mistake propagated over time?

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    It's certainly not a word I've ever seen, though it could easily be an incorrect form of tantus "so much". I'll have to poke into it more tomorrow. – Draconis Oct 2 '18 at 5:41
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    Searching Perseus and PackHum for tantibus also turns up nothing. I'm guessing it's a made-up word. – TKR Oct 3 '18 at 1:53
  • No hint of tantibus or thant- etc. for nightmare. Did the Romans have a word for nightmare? Somnium, Sompnium is a dream. – Hugh Oct 3 '18 at 3:04
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    @Hugh: my amateur research into the matter gives me incubus and suppressio, with Witkionary additionally claiming that masca / mascha / mascus can mean "nightmare, ghost". – MarqFJA87 Oct 3 '18 at 13:25

"Tantibus" is not Latin, it is a made-up word, apparently originating in the murky world of computer games. We have been told that it means "nightmare". There is a Latin word for "nightmare", namely incubus (it does not occur in classical Latin, but is used by Christian authors beginning with Augustine). It looks as though someone has simply replaced incu- by tanti-.

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    It's actually tantabus. I should think it's a nonce-word, got from something like tantalus-incubus. – Tom Cotton Oct 4 '18 at 15:45
  • @TomCotton. Yes, very likely. tanta(lus) + (incu)bus = tantabus. – fdb Oct 4 '18 at 16:39
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    @TomCotton, funny you should say that, because the MLP:FIM character that I cited is named "Tantabus", but whose name is said to be a corruption of tantibus. – MarqFJA87 Oct 4 '18 at 20:28
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    @fdb: What is the Classical Latin word for "nightmare", incidentally? – MarqFJA87 Oct 4 '18 at 20:29

Some Romans employed Greek tutors. Greek was useful (Euclid's Geometry), culturally important (Homer and Plato), and provided many technical terms.

Amalgotantibus looks like a loan word from Greek, and it adds scientific gravitas.

Ancient Greek μάλαγμα, málagma, from μαλακός (malakós, “soft”) via French, algama, became the English 'amalgam,' which is the squidgy mixture of mercury and silver, or mercury and zinc that used to be used for repairing teeth. But in Byzantine documents μάλαγμα also specifies very pure, soft gold: see Table 5. (p.189 –page4 in pdf) Malagma.

In combination málagma becomes málagmat- using the '-t-' stem and the latinised form amalgo- adds a '-t-' by epenthesis, in preference to elision or crasis which are alternative ways of sorting out two consecutive vowels.

The second half of the word is now not 'tantibus,' but antibus. αντιβίος –α –ον. (also έναντιοβίος)
αντι means 'against.'
βίος,means 'life.'
antibus, a possible latinised form; 'anti-life.'

I think Amalgotantibus describes the Spider as 'Mixed/ Amalgam hostile to life.' Does that fit?

It has been fun trying to sort out in-universe etymology. And just like in futuristic Biology, it was common for 13th Century alchemists to swap letters around; μάλαγμα and algama are mediaeval and not classical. A discussion of amalgam's origins can be found at 'Word Reference Forum.'

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    I question interpreting amalgo- in any way that deviates from the usual meaning of "amalgam", given that the creature in question is explicitly described in-universe as exhibiting traits from multiple different kinds of spiders. That said, even if one takes αντιβίος as dubious, it's still very fitting, considering how much of a negative impact the Araneo had on the mental state of narrating character Helena (in-universe writer of the creature dossiers). – MarqFJA87 Oct 3 '18 at 1:46
  • The -malagmat- analysis seems a bit dubious because of the use of the spelling -got-. If it were something like amalgamatantibus I would be more convinced that -mat- is relevant – Asteroides Oct 3 '18 at 4:23
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    I am lost. Is there such a word as "Amalgotantibus"? – fdb Oct 3 '18 at 13:48
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    fdb Yes, you yourself have written it (53 minutes ago). Secondly it can be found in print via the link in line .1. Thirdly that link provides a definition and context for the word, which appears to be part of a fantasy game site. The word is formed regularly according to the standards of mediaeval alchemical texts. If the word Amalgama is acceptable to you, a Latin transcript of Arabic Greek, for which there is no evidence before CE1000, then you should find no problem with "Amalgotantibus" although there is no evidence for it before CE2000. I very much hope you can agree. – Hugh Oct 3 '18 at 15:00
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    @fdb: It's almost as if I didn't provide a link in the OP to where I found the word that you're asking about. – MarqFJA87 Oct 4 '18 at 20:31

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