I am writing an article and I am having trouble finding a word for "to create out of nothing." The following are slightly different forms to show you the general 'feel' of the word that I am looking for.

"to obtain without [any] effort" "to create without any input" "producing something effortlessly or from nothing"

A Latin word for this that I was thinking of is Ex Nihilo but I was hoping for more ideas.

  • What is with this question?
    – Camebridge
    Mar 13, 2013 at 14:53

9 Answers 9


There’s always spontaneous generation, which sounds a bit wacky until someone starts chatting you up about vacuum energy with particle pairs blinking into existence and quickly annihilating each other back into the nothingness whence they came.

Ok fine, so it still sounds wacky.


The English idiom that may come closest to ex nihilo is out of thin air. But we'd need more context to decide whether it fits your purpose.

  • "out of thin air" works... but I would prefer using one to two words.
    – Camebridge
    Mar 13, 2013 at 14:36

There really is nothing wrong with using ex nihilo. It is as much a part of English as et cetera is.

out of nothing:
he went on to create a paradise ex nihilo

While I was hoping that there would be a word incorporating genesis, it does not appear to exist. Other less ideal candidates that you can consider are conjure and magick.

  • If I had 15 I'd +1 you. I didn't before consider magic[k].
    – Camebridge
    Mar 12, 2013 at 19:07

"Creatio ex nihilo" is the Latin phrase from Genesis connoting God's labors in creating heaven and earth from the void.

Spanish speakers use the phrase "de la nada," invoking the idea of generating something from nothing.


"to obtain without [any] effort" "to create without any input" "producing something effortlessly or from nothing"

how about "Whipped up"

(invent or invention. also maybe fabricate)


My best one-word answer would be fiat, as in "fiat money", meaning money created simply by the act of it being printed; ergo 'out of nothing'.
From Merriam-Webster:

fiat: A command or act of will that creates something without or as if without further effort; An authoritative determination : dictate "a fiat of conscience"; An authoritative or arbitrary order : decree "government by fiat"

The origin of the word is from the Latin, as described in the Online Etymology Dictionary:

fiat n. "authoritative sanction," 1630s, from Latin fiat "let it be done" (also used in the opening of Medieval Latin proclamations and commands), third person singular present subjunctive of fieri, used as passive of facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Also sometimes a reference to fiat lux "let there be light" in the Book of Genesis.


Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 11 Nov. 2015. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fiat]

  • Wow, I just realized how old this question is. I just saw it in the list on the right and thought to add my two cents. Oh well, hope someone finds it useful...
    – hpp3
    Nov 11, 2015 at 22:28

What about "eternal," meaning "without beginning or end"? Perhaps this word encompasses more than what you're looking for; but consider that anything without a beginning was never created and, hence, required nothing for it's creation (though it actually had no point of creation).

I know this isn't a completely satisfactory answer, but it's the most intriguing of today's posts. I'll keep working on it.

Oh, I just noticed you're actually looking for a verb: "to create out of nothing." My answer is based on the post title "created out of nothing," so I was looking for an adjective.


You could also use materialize, although it's intransitive.


One other option is "manifest." To imply some sort of mystical or divine influence being used to create the object.

I think Jim Carrey's character in Bruce Almighty used his divine power to manifest some coffee (to include Juan Valdez).

  • 1
    Cite a definition here (with a link, just for completion) and I'll upvote this. If not, it's OK but not great. Aug 26, 2014 at 14:20

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