I'm making a fantasy game, where one of the character classes is supposed to be called a "Arrow Imbuer". Yet it is marked with a red line on my PC, so I guess I'm writing a word incorrectly.

A short description of what an "Arrow Imbuer" does: a character that can imbue an arrow head with magical powers to deal extra damage.

Is there a word for someone who imbues something?

  • If you want to use imbuer, use imbuer. It is a logical word-formation. – Anonym Jul 5 '14 at 2:52
  • @Anonym I hesitated because it's marked as incorrect and english isn't my first language, so I wanted to check with people who know not to be ignorant. If you believe that "imbuer" is correct please post it as an answer! :) – Creative Magic Jul 5 '14 at 2:54
  • 2
    Spelling an agentive form for imbue would be a problem, since the -er agentive suffix wants to attach to a consonant to form another syllable. So intrusive consonants are common; after all, the original Latin and P-I-E suffix was *-ter; since the original form was imbutus, I'd imagine imbutor would be correct. Or correct Latin, at least; the word is rare enough in English to make any formation from it pretty risky unless you're sure your audience is familiar with it. – John Lawler Jul 5 '14 at 3:01
  • To be understood at all, you will need to find a suitable synonym for imbue and use the agentive form of that word instead. ('agentive' is red-lined right here! that's another issue, of limited capabilities of spell-checkers.) – Kris Jul 5 '14 at 6:53

The agentive suffix -er can be applied to almost any verb to make an agent noun. Even if the agent noun has not been invented yet, any native speaker will understand it if he knows the corresponding verb. Currently existing examples include the following:

to fight + -er = fighter 'one who fights'

to play + -er = player 'one who plays'

to work + -er = worker 'one who works'

Your invention, imbuer, also fits into this paradigm. In fact, people have probably already been using the word for some time, albeit not enough for it to be included in every spell-checker's dictionary.

to imbue + -er = imbuer 'one who imbues'

If you want to use it, use it! Invention is the heart of language.

  • 'Invention' too needs to follow logic. – Kris Jul 5 '14 at 6:57
  • 2
    @Kris: no, invention doesn't need to follow logic any more than any other aspect of language formation needs to. In terms of language formation invention just has to be cunning enough to not set off the alarm bells in the reader's or hearer's grammaticality-assessing apparatus. – High Performance Mark Jul 5 '14 at 9:40
  • 2
    @HighPerformanceMark With that being said, invention usually does follow logic - a common pattern, a custom - of some kind. Without that logic, no one could understand language at all. – Anonym Jul 6 '14 at 20:52

Consider endower

Endow means

to furnish, as with some talent, faculty, or quality; equip: Nature has endowed her with great ability.

  • Close. However, it brings that financial/ monetary connotation with it, unlike imbue's fluid infusion. – Kris Jul 5 '14 at 6:59
  • @Kris The framers of the Declaration of Independence apparently didn't think so: they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. (Yes, I get it. And yes, that was 240 years ago) – bib Jul 5 '14 at 11:41
  • You might want to check out the new meta question about attributions. – tchrist Jul 7 '14 at 22:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.