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Inventing a Word

I am having trouble flogging my brain into creating a word for a story I'm working on, and I thought I'd involve the hive-mind for help. :)

There may already be a word out there for it, but if possible I'm trying to avoid using words that are too closely associated with, say, Harry Potter or Dungeons and Dragons.

I need to be able to refer to animals and plants with magical properties or powers in general. Such as gryphons, salamanders (the kind that set fires, not the amphibians), cockatrices, etc. Or wolfsbane.

I could only come up with the extremely unwieldy "thaumatofauna" and "thaumatoflora." I think I can speak for everyone when I say: Pee-yew.

But I kind of like how plankton is divided into phytoplankton (plants) or zooplankton (animals). So I'd like the words to be something along those lines. phyto<something> and zoo<something>.

The other format of <something>fauna and <something>flora would be okay, too. But for some reason I am having a low-creativity day. :)

So, what say you, hive mind?

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( 5 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Aug. 15th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
How about extra-, magi-, or crypto-?
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 15th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
It looks like "magi-" is the most appropriate prefix, though it seems a little generic. "Thauma-" has a connotation of "miracle" or "wonder", which seems like an unusual descriptor for a culture that has codified their magic to the point where they need the sort of word you're trying to craft. Maybe there's some cultural refernce you can make to something specific to your world's magic. Say, if magical beasts were first created by the Red Empire, they might be known as "rubrifauna", or "astrofauna" if they came from the stars.
Aug. 15th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
parafauna and paraflora would be my choices. deriving from usage like parapsychology and paranormal.
Aug. 15th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)

Some contrary remarks:

Do you really need to refer to them separately? If your characters live in a world where these things exist, they're just animals and plants. We only think gryphons and owlbears are special because we don't have them. Actual wolfsbane might ward off lycanthropes, and we just don't have a way to test it. (Do you see any werewolves? Obviously it works!) Who's to say cabbage and yellow pine aren't also magical?

What's the opposite of thaumatoflora as a subcategory of flora? Or are they both subcategories of some more general term? Either way, you need two new words for plants, not one.

It may also be the case in such a world that it's not binary: there may be plants that just sit there and quietly photosynthesize, and plants that attack, and plants that have some aura that repels certain animals (regardless of whether they're within sight or smell). You'd need three new words, not two, but you open up the realm of established prefixes. Don't throw out D&D—they've put a lot of effort into finding every possible word for magic (and over-misusing it).

Alternately, if there's some situation where there really is some meaningful distinction (they're all invasive species starting 150 years ago, so everyone's used to them existing but they're still special), they might simply be called magical plants and animals. That name worked well enough for the Harry Potter series.

( 5 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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