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I am building a game and trying to give some fancy names to some objectives in my game.

So, I was wondering about the difference between the words pangalactic and transgalactic?

Does any of them mean something that is spawning across multiple galaxies? I am looking for a set of 3 words that go together in the following context, like :

a.  Planetary
b.  Galactic
c.  Inter-Galactic

Can I use "pan-galactic" or "trans-galactic" in place for "inter-galactic"?

[P.S: I tried searching online for the prefixes pan- and tran- but was still not really clear about the usage.]

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Well, only one is like having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. Enjoy! –  TRiG Jul 9 '12 at 17:17
    
Yeah, there is non other like it! :-D .. like the Pan-Galactic Gargle Buster! –  Hari Krishna Ganji Jul 10 '12 at 4:31
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think that all the three words can do well for a video-game, but FWIW here are the slight differences:

  • pangalactic = involving/encompassing all the galaxies

  • inter-galactic = between galaxies

  • trans-galactic = across galaxies

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Got it, Thanks! So, what would you recommend for, say... a Championship? like, pangalactic championship, intergalactic championship or trangalactic championship? Cheers! –  Hari Krishna Ganji Jul 9 '12 at 12:10
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@dostiharise For a championship, I'd use intergalactic to mean that galaxies compete with each other (i.e. a championship between galaxies). For comparison: international championship, interstate championship, etc. –  Armen Ծիրունյան Jul 9 '12 at 12:11
    
Cool. Thanks a ton! –  Hari Krishna Ganji Jul 9 '12 at 12:12
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If you're being picky, pangalactic is ambiguous, because it might mean all the galaxies but it might mean all the galaxy, that is, the whole of our one galaxy. –  Colin Fine Jul 9 '12 at 13:55
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Of terms formed by prefixes trans-, pan-, inter- attached to base galactic, only intergalactic ("Occurring between galaxies") unequivocally denotes involvement of multiple galaxies.

From wiktionary links in previous paragraph, trans- indicates "across, through, over, beyond, to or on the other side of, outside of". One of the most common uses of trans- is to denote "across the whole of", as in transcontinental ("Crossing, spanning a continent") and in the name Trans Global Highway ("a range of proposed highway systems that would link all six of the seven inhabited continents on Earth"). Following those examples, trans-galactic would mean "spanning the galaxy", involving one galaxy rather than several.

Prefix pan- is "A combining form meaning 'all'". For example, Pan-Asian means "Covering or representing all of Asia" and Pan-American "Covering or representing all of the Americas (both North America and South America), particularly with respect to events involving representatives of most or all countries in the Americas". Following those terms I am more inclined to interpret pan-galactic as "all of the galaxy" or "all the stars of the galaxy" rather than as "all the galaxies".

Prefix inter- indicates "among, between, amid, during, within, mutual, reciprocal". Examples include intercontinental ("Taking place between two or more continent") and interstellar ("between the stars" or "among the stars") and intergalactic ("Occurring between galaxies").

Also consider term multi-galactic; prefix multi- indicates "Resembling, pertaining to many or many things".

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Awesome! That was everything I need to know. Thanks a ton, for the detailed explanation! –  Hari Krishna Ganji Jul 10 '12 at 4:27
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