Latinisation of names  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Latinisation or Latinization is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name (or word) in a Latin style. It is commonly found with historical personal names, with toponyms, and in the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than romanisation, which is the transliteration of a word to the Latin alphabet from another script (e.g. Cyrillic).

This was often done in the classical to emulate Latin authors, or to present a more impressive image.

In a scientific context, the main purpose of Latinisation may be to produce a name which is internationally consistent.

Latinisation may be carried out by:

  • transforming the name into Latin sounds (e.g. Geber for Jabir), or
  • adding Latinate suffixes to the end of a name (e.g. Meibomius for Meibom), or
  • translating a name with a specific meaning into Latin (e.g. Venator for Italian Cacciatore; both mean 'hunter'), or
  • choosing a new name based on some attribute of the person (e.g. Daniel Santbech became Noviomagus, possibly from the Latin (actually Latinised Gaulish for 'new field') name for the town of Nijmegen).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Latinisation of names" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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