I am pretty confident that there is a term describing the phenomenon of a compound which is created from words of different languages, e.g.:

  • “eigenvalue” – made from German “eigen” and English “value”, or

  • “aqualite” – made from Latin “aqua” and Greek “λῖϑος”

Does anyone know what that term is? Also do you have other examples for this phenomenon? I’m especially interested in Greek/Latin.

2 Answers 2


These are so called hybrid words. And indeed, in English the majority of such words is of mixed Greek-Latin origin, so there exists a separate term for members of such subset - a Classical compound.

  • Thanks! I could have sworn that I once knew another term for this which isn’t that obvious.
    – k.stm
    Apr 29, 2013 at 12:27
  • you are very welcome, if you'll recall what is the other term, just let a comment or answer here )
    – shabunc
    Apr 29, 2013 at 14:33
  • 1
    Macaronic is used of verse which mixes languages: I wouldn't be surprised if it had also been applied to such compounds.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 29, 2013 at 17:31

I would say that "eigenvalue" is a semi-translation of "Eigenwert". There is no such word as "aqualite".

  • "There is no such word as "aqualite"" because the OP should have written "aqualithe", as the greek theta "ϑ" is usually transliterated into "th". And it seems that the word is French ... since my search engine responds in French when I look for it on the web.
    – babou
    Feb 20, 2014 at 23:49
  • It is the brand name of a French company, not however a French word.
    – fdb
    Feb 20, 2014 at 23:53
  • You are right. Actually it has been used to name a kind of stone in fantasy games too (which mislead me). Whatever the case, it is still an example, as it was clearly chosen to be meaningful. But I certainly will not make an issue of it. It is the bad transliteration I was interested in.
    – babou
    Feb 20, 2014 at 23:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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