View Full Version : Seeking Latin words for magical effects

Dale Emery
05-19-2008, 10:44 AM
I'm seeking advice on Latin names for the schools of magic I've devised for my fantasy world. Here are my initial names for the schools and the nature of the spells in each:

Magicus Sensorius (Sensory Magic): Increases or decreases the target's awareness of sensory stimuli.

Magicus Cognitus (Cognition Magic): Increases or decreases the target's awareness of or attention to her own thoughts and emotions.

Magicus Articulus (Articulation Magic): Increases or decreases the target's desire to say what he is thinking or feeling.

Magicus Motivus (Motivation Magic): Increases or decreases the intensity of the target's desires, or her awareness of or clarity about what she wants.

Magicus Salvus (Safety Magic or Risk Magic): Increases or decreases the target's awareness, credulity, or empathy for threats to his own needs or the needs of people around him.

I don't know a durned thing about Latin, so I have a bunch of questions:

Is Magicus the right noun, given the English titles?

Is "us" the appropriate suffix for an adjective that identifies the name of a school of magic?

Is Magus the right title for a mage of each school? (e.g. "Tiffany is a Magus Articulus.")

Are there Latin words (adjectives) that better convey the magical effect of each school?

What other questions should I be asking?

05-19-2008, 12:44 PM
uh, how about will the reader know what you're talking about without a glossary? :}

http://www.freedict.com/onldict/lat.html might help
maybe contact someone in a HS or college who teaches Latin so you can get the grammar correct

05-19-2008, 01:58 PM
You need to contact Danger Jane, who just finished her Latin exams.


05-19-2008, 05:32 PM
Best not convert your questions to multiple choice format though. Just sayin' ;)

05-19-2008, 05:52 PM
Do what Pratchett does, just make up something that sounds latinish.

When the latin word is well known enough, he uses that. But if it isn't, he makes a latin sounding word that an english speaker can understand.

05-19-2008, 08:42 PM
If you want to do something a little different, but don't mind putting a little more effort into it, you could look at the World Tree RPG magic system. It's based off 12 nouns and 7 verbs, and how they interact. For example, if you wanted to cast a fireball, it's "creoc pyrador" (create fire). To teleport, it's "mutoc locador" (change location). And so on....


05-19-2008, 08:51 PM
try this:


I don't have a problem with bastardized Latin for magical terms--I use correct Latin in Asphodel but I'm familiar with the language. The examples you cite Dale would work very well for me because they're easy enough to decipher the motivation behind the terms.

It's the 'languages' with words that have sixty consonants and one vowel that bother me.

05-19-2008, 09:50 PM
Cool. This helps me too. Haven't quite figured out if I'm going to have spell verbals per se in my story. Since some of the stuff I'm working with is based on grimores (Key of Solomon, off the top of my head), I might need to use these links. The two MC's know some basic Latin, though. (Ended up with them taking Latin classes in HS instead of Spanish, cause they thought it was cool.)

Danger Jane
05-20-2008, 01:10 AM
So from the Latin Scholar comes a massive post that is probably more than you need to know, but hey, exhaustive is good, right...?

Magicus is a Latinate word, but it's not Latin as far as I know. Magus is an adjective meaning "magical", and if you want it to be feminine or neuter respectively, "maga" or "magum".

Instead of calling your magicians "magus" you might want to consider magister/magistra (masculine/feminine, respectively), meaning simply "master".

"Sensorius": Probably the best word is sensus, sense, feeling. Pretty clear derivative, so pretty easily recognizable.

"Cognitus": Sententia means opinion, thought, purpose, which is probably closest, and the derivative is sentience.

"Articulus": One word you might want is lingua, meaning tongue, language, or speech. Another is rhetoricus, which means rhetorical. Eloquentia means eloquence, fluency of speech, and oratio means speech. Lots of options here...the Romans were very fond of voicing their thoughts.

"Motivus": You might consider cupido (desire, yearning) or else cupiditas (ambition, avarice, eager desire). The derivative is "cupidity", but I don't know how familiar your readers would be with the word. Then again, since Cupid is the god of desire...

"Salvus": I'm not 100% sure what you meant for this one, so if you want to clarify that's cool, but periculosus means "dangerous" (like perilous) and auxilium means "help, aid". Servans means "saving" and it's a participle.

I tried to find the best words for each of these, based on the differences in meaning and what would be most easily recognizable to readers. If you need any more help, or if you want to change the words into possessives so you can say "Master of ______", just let me know.

Hope this helps!

05-20-2008, 06:23 PM
Do what Pratchett does, just make up something that sounds latinish.

When the latin word is well known enough, he uses that. But if it isn't, he makes a latin sounding word that an english speaker can understand.
But Pratchett's are often (always?) chosen for comedic effect. My favourite being 'Fabricate diem, punk'. :D

05-20-2008, 06:26 PM
;) I was lucky; my office is right next to the Latin/Italian teacher's room. Signora did my translations for me.

05-20-2008, 06:56 PM
Of course they are. Why can't you use the same thing for dramatic effect? As Mel Brooks said; 'If I get a paper cut, thats tragedy, if you fall down a manhole and die, thats comedy.'

And maybe there's just something comical about 'magic words.'