As best as I can tell, a good example is sociopath:

sociopath — from socio- on model of psychopath

socio- — combining form of [Latin] socius

pathos — from [Greek] pathos

Hence, sociopath is a word coined from roots found in two different languages. Is there a good term that describes this?


3 Answers 3


I came across the term "hybrid word" when I was researching quadraphonic (which is one). This phrase would work for your situation.

Plus, "sociopath" is listed as an example of a hybrid word in the linked page.

  • Although accurate, this term is not particularly useful, since it relies on context to clarify its meaning.
    – Urbycoz
    Jun 8, 2011 at 13:45
  • @Urbycoz What other meanings would "hybrid word" have? I can't think of any.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jun 8, 2011 at 13:47
  • @Kit I'm not saying it doesn't make sense. It just doesn't seem to be immediately obvious what it would mean.
    – Urbycoz
    Jun 8, 2011 at 14:15
  • @Urbycoz You mean it's not really common usage, not that it means different things? I guess I agree with that.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jun 8, 2011 at 14:17
  • @Kit, I like the article, but one of the issues with it is that it lists a single source zuckermann.org/pdf/Hybridity_versus_Revivability.pdf ; in which the term "hybrid word" is actually not mentioned (I could not find it).
    – Unreason
    Jun 8, 2011 at 14:38

I don't know that there is an accepted single term for words of this sort. I suggest that we coin the self-describing term heteroradical.

  • 3
    +1 for a bold proposition. But does that make the rest of our words homoradical? Just curious.
    – Robusto
    Jun 8, 2011 at 13:31
  • I reject this new term on the grounds that it is too-clever-by-half.
    – Urbycoz
    Jun 8, 2011 at 13:36
  • 3
    @Robusto, naturally words from a single source are homoradical, or if you prefer, unirhizoid. Jun 8, 2011 at 13:38
  • Maybe heterolingual compound is better? Polylingual?
    – Unreason
    Jun 8, 2011 at 14:51
  • I would +1 you for the pun, but I must confine my support to Kit for hybrid. Jun 8, 2011 at 17:39

'Multilingually derived' though two separate words, avoids neologisms and says what it means.

  • That's ambiguous; it could refer to a word that has been borrowed under the influence of multiple languages. Consider the several English words influenced by both Spanish and Portuguese. Oct 11, 2011 at 3:29
  • @Mechanical snail: can you give some examples? A couple which are so influenced and explain how?
    – Mitch
    Oct 11, 2011 at 11:51
  • A class of examples are from artificial languages like Esperanto, where morphemes are often intentionally chosen to be cognate to words in many languages. Examples in English: the morpheme -ado, from Spanish and Portuguese; incommunicado, word from Spanish but spelling from English (ultimately from Latin). Oct 11, 2011 at 18:16
  • @Mechanical snail: oh, that sounds exactly like what the OP is talking about, any kind of word with roots or influences from distinct parent languages. Anyway, 'hybrid' is a succinct word for the situation (i.e. it's better than mine).
    – Mitch
    Oct 11, 2011 at 20:17
  • I think he was talking about words containing one morpheme from one language and another morpheme from another. Oct 11, 2011 at 22:50

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