Latin words for magic spells in a book to be published

By Jodi Nicholls, in 'Fantasy & Sci Fi Projects', Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Jodi Nicholls New Member


    I am writing a book (isn't everyone?!) that uses lots of latin phrases for spells etc. In fact, my book is called Evalesco ('ones with power' - right?!) It's not massively complicated stuff, just a few words for spells. The only thing is, I can't work out if I'm using them in the right context and nothing on Google seems to help!

    For example:
    accendo -cendere -cendi -censum, to kindle, set alight, set on fire. Transf., to fire, inflame, excite.

    I format the spells in my book like: "Dicio, Incendium, Accendo"
    Dicio - A word of power to ignite the magic in their blood.
    Incendium - Their Mage name (Otherwise Fulgor (Lightning), Aqua (Water), Glacies (Ice) and Anima (Air). - If anyone thinks these are wrong, please tell me - also looking for a cooler name for water than 'Aqua'. (LOL!)

    If I wanted to format a spell using the above as an example, could I use: "Dicio, Incendium, Accendo censum"? What would this make the spell?

    Any help would be soooooo appreciated, I am absolutely hopeless but adore latin, and if I had the brain would study it!

    Many thanks,

    Jodi. :no-clue:
  2. Jodi Nicholls New Member

    Also, if a man is doing a spell, would the wording be different if it was a woman saying it?!
  3. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    Give the english version of what you want your spell to say
    Dico incendium accende would mean, "flame, set [something] aflame."
  4. Avarus Active Member

    What does Harry Potter think of what you're doing?? I personally like the word "aqua," and I ask for it often. Why say "water?" It's soo bland. If you'd like to "sex" it up a little, how bout saying "madidus!" -- which means wet (at least that's what it says in my book.) Who cares what it is, just as long as it's weTttt. Don't forget to accentuate the "t." But with "madidus," just shout it. All those Romans should get a kick out of it, or wizards that is, in your world.

    Mane madida feraque! :thumb-up:
  5. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    accendo -cendere -cendi -censum - The 4 parts of the verb are 1st person singular present, infinitive, perfect stem, and past participle.
    accendo = "I set on fire," accendere = "to set on fire," accendi = "I have set on fire" and accensum = "the thing set on fire."
    So your evalesco is "I grow strong." Apparently there is no attested 4th part for this verb. There is a related word, valeo, which has the 4th part of valitus.
    So evalesco, if it had a 4th part, would be evalitus. (for 4th parts, -us = masculine, -um = neuter, -a = feminine. It's a lot more complicated that that but that's the short answer.) So you could possibly get away with evaliti (this would be masculine plural or a mixed group), but it might be safer to use the present participle = evalescentes = "those growing strong." (this one refers to either masculine or feminine plural).

    But you want the ones that already have power, no? The -esco particle is to "grow" or "become," even in English. Consider senescence, convalescence, obsolescence. So maybe potentes? Wait for other opinions.

    Your word dicio = "dominion, sovereignty, authority, rule, sway, power" is a fairly rare word.
  6. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
  7. Nikolaos schmikolaos

    • Censor
    Evalesco probably means "I am recovering very well", or something like that. Just a heads-up :p

    For the title, what kind of power do you want to refer to? Magical power?

    Edit: I didn't see that Scrabulista addressed this. Never mind.
  8. Adrian Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Unfortunately Cinefactus this is what a certain english female writer did while writing her Harry Saga.... the result is obvious to any person who had any experience with latin language.... Expecto Patronum.... I await my Sponsor/Mafia Godfather(1) (BTW more proper would have to be Exspecto, but this is just my opinion)

    (1) Patronus
  9. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Yes, although I would argue that she is consistent and most grammatical in her approach.

    My suggestion to the OP is to first clearly define a syntax for spells in English, and then ask for translations for specific incantations.
    Jodi Nicholls and Adrian like this.
  10. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    I don't see the point in offering all this information when the OP surely won't understand it. But anyway (for your benefit rather than hers), the perfect participles of non-deponent intransitive verbs are rarely to never used, on account of them being passive participles, not active. Hence "fallen" is never *cāsus,-a,-um, but lapsus,-a,-um, from the deponent verb lābor,-ī.

    The fourth principal part of valēre is listed in lexicons merely to supply the supine stem, from which the future active participle is formed (and theoretically the supine, though I doubt it is found with this word). Exceptions occur with a few verbs, usually because the verb is sometimes used transitively, or at one time was used transitively, e.g. adolescere, for which adultus,-a,-um is probably derived from the transitive verb adolēre that originally meant "to magnify" but later had only this meaning in the figurative sense of "to worship". The participles pransus and pōtus are two other examples, both of which can be either active or passive in sense. Sometimes also the neuter PPP occurs to supply the periphrastic forms of the impersonal passive with verbs of motion, e.g. abitum est, but these cannot be used like true participles.
  11. Summus Mus Member


    Here's my suggestions for the watery parts (and by extension any other element) though, cavere, this may complicate matters.

    The Romans viewed the world in a very syncretic way, which was often taken a little farther by the poets. It isn't uncommon for elements to be referred to by their mythological counterparts (e.g. Lympha in lieu of "fresh water"). Now, if you wanted to conjure up ideas of magic alongside the words which you are using to cast any given spell, then this is the route I would take.


    1) These choices have inescapable connotations and you must be familiar with the Padora's box which you are opening.
    2) As these are proper names, grammatical construction will become more tricky (e.g. the awareness of agency in grammatical construction).
  12. Summus Mus Member

    If I were a wizard all my spells would channel Bacchus through the elemental ebrio acino.
    Adrian and Avarus like this.
  13. Adrian Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    And what sort of role model would you be for the kids reading books with you as the good character;)

    I did some google book research on the "arcana occulta", "de occulta philosophia" and some other titles about witchcraft and magic in late medieval and renaissance. What I was able to understand from the medieval and baroque ecclesiastical latin is that the spells had a form of long and boring incantations like "let the pure flames of ... bestow me with...":confused: , "I invoke thy name o godess of the forest, bring forth thy might...":confused: "I summon thy name o lord of the darkness...":eek:

    EDIT: And here is a cherry on top... I will propably be flamed for it...
    Summus Mus likes this.
  14. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    There is some discussion of the principles of magic on another nameless site... The Romans had specific ideas about the requirements for a successful spell, for example Aeneid IV - everything must be perfectly performed, nothing must be bound etc.
    Adrian likes this.
  15. Summus Mus Member

    (Waves arms about in the air) "Hadrianum incendo!" (Adrian has been flamed.)
  16. Adrian Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Nope, I managed to shild myself in time using EXPECTO PATRONUM.
    Jodi Nicholls and Summus Mus like this.
  17. Adrian Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Yes, you are right about the ritual demands Cinefactus. I just took a peek inside this book (I recommend pages 227-244;))
    Daniel Ogden, Magic, witchcraft, and ghosts in the greek and roman worlds university press magic, witchcraft, and ghosts in the greek and roman worlds.pdf
    Contains a lot of information about spells, ghosts, witches and charms in ancient Rome and Greece.
  18. Jodi Nicholls New Member

    Wow, thank-you for all the responses, this is really helpful! :) (Although makes me realise I could never learn Latin... o_O

    I am no J K Rowling, and would never claim to be! The world I've created is very different from hers and much darker. Although of course there are elements that correlate, as there are in His Dark Materials and Sabriel by Garth Nix etc. (We all take our inspiration from somewhere!)

    Anyway, I digress. I guess what I want is a more intelligent way of saying a spell. As correctly pointed out, I've looked at a dictionary and picked words I liked the sound of, then used them to create a consistent way of saying an incantation.

    In English, I guess I want the spell to be formatted like this:

    "Ignite my power - Elemental Clan name - fire or kindle a flame/bolt/whirlwind/tornado/stream of water/ blow a gail/fire a firbolt/strike with lightning... etc.

    Obviously if there is no easy/intelligent way of doing this, then I'll stick with my made up names and hope I can get away with it like JKR!

    Again, thank-you so much for your help, if I could send cookies to you all, I would!

  19. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    omnis advoca vires et artes - "summon all powers and arts" - Seneca, Medea, l. 562-63.

    Peracta vis est omnis - "all power is marshalled." - Ibid., l. 843

    vis (pl. vires) is far more common than dicio.
    More later...wait for other opinions.
  20. Jodi Nicholls New Member


    Obviously I understand a degree of artistic licence needs to be used here, but I’d like to use the right syntax when it comes to the adjective word of my spells.

    Also, as my Mages are elemental Mages, I try and incorporate their unique element/s in their spells. So the following table is what I have in my first book as far as latin words are concerned (not including the first parts of Dicio, [Mage name], ???). Any help to aid their grammatical sense would be fabulous!

    (NB. My series is called ‘The Secret Chronicles.’ The first book is called Evalesco).

    What I have
    What I would like – (An action, relative meaning etc…)
    Release something/someone from a binding/promise.
    Cresco crescere crevi cretum
    Be born, rise up, grow, come into existence…
    Spark/create flame.
    Send away, release into heaven, free a spirit.
    Torqueo torquere torsi tortum
    Violent winds, create a tornado.
    Aqua et igni interdicere homini
    Banish, outlaw.
    Small flame/light, warming presence.
    Deresco, durescere, durui
    What does this even mean?!
    Create a blast of air.
    Lift upwards (perhaps on a gust of air?)
    Bring forth a warm west wind.
    Create a slight nippy wind.
    Rush of air/wind.
    Auster, Concido
    Bring about a south wind to subside an enemy.
    Of fire – here the spell is a rope of fire an Incendium Mage uses as a whip.
    A Mage with the magical properties of Lightning.
    A Mage with magical properties of Ice.
    A Mage with the magical properties of Fire.
    A Mage with the magical properties of Wind/Air.
    A Mage with the magical properties of Water.
    Shield – of fire (an actual shield made of fire).
    Release (to release a spell).
    Engulf in flame.
    Set on fire – (from below).
    One who can control all the elements.
    Mages – ones with power.
    Become/reach potential.
    Ignite/awaken power within.
    Inferus Malus
    Deepest Evil/Devil/etc.
    Wind, fold together.
    Dead, lifeless, low.
    A resurrector/someone who can bring the dead back to life.
Tags: novel

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