"I'm not planning to sleep," Mary said. She revealed her insomatic scheme to John.

(Meaning Mary revealed her plan to stay up late the whole night to John).

Is this usage correct? If not, what's a better alternative?

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  • 2
    Are you trying to make or find a word related to "insomnia"? I think you left out the "n". You can see common adjectives starting with "insomn-" at Onelook Dictionary Search; the only one is "insomniac". – sumelic Sep 5 '17 at 15:07
  • Even if insomatic were a word (it’s not; as sumelic points out, it’s insomniac), the word is not correctly used. Insomnia is an actual disorder, and a debilitating one at that. It is an inability to sleep. Planning to stay up all night is not insomnia. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 5 '17 at 15:20
  • Somatic does exist but I don't know what insomatic would mean. – Andrew Leach Sep 5 '17 at 15:21
  • Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. // 'Mary revealed to John her plan to stay up all night.' – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '17 at 16:03
  • @Janus I was about to say that there is a broader sense, but I find that only one of the dictionaries I've checked in doesn't require the medical condition. I believe that usage has changed markedly since I first met the term. I'll ask my old friend Rip. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '17 at 16:17

As the comments have said, "insomatic" is not currently a word, but that itself shouldn't stop you using it - neologisms are fine as long as their meaning is (fairly) obvious.

However, the guessed meaning of "insomatic" (for most people) would be "not of the body", since "somatic" means "of the body" (usually meaning "as opposed to the mind") - for example "His blindness isn't somatic - it must be due to a cognitive disorder". The prefix in- usually denotes a removal or lack of something, eg involuntary vs voluntary.

If you're going to invent a neologism meaning "involving insomnia, or a lack of sleep", which I take to be the intended meaning in your sentence, then it should involve a transformation to "insomnia" - perhaps "insomniatic"? I think most people who guessed the meaning would get it right. Technically, insomnia is an inability to sleep, rather than a conscious choice, but I think that would be allowed under a "poetic licence", which one assumes to be applied to all neologisms.

  • Most people wouldn't guess that 'insomatic' might be intended to mean 'not of the body'. At least, most of the ones I've met. ELU is about usage, not the English of 2130 (perhaps). – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '17 at 16:00
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    @Edwin: Max's interpretation certainly crossed my mind! Admittedly I might have been influenced by the fact that I'd noticed my daughter reading Brave New World earlier today, which put me in mind of soma. But I'd also say that dropping the n from insomnia and derivatives seems a bit of a stretch to me. – FumbleFingers Sep 5 '17 at 16:17
  • @FF I think many of the people I've met would think of a type of camera. Mind you, many wouldn't know how 'somatic' is used. I don't meet many linguists. I've asked my wife (BA; French subsidiary) what she thinks 'insomatic' might mean, and she didn't come up with anything like 'not of the body'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '17 at 16:23
  • @EdwinAshworth perhaps "most" was an exaggeration, but we shouldn't make any conclusions based on a one-person survey either. – Max Williams Sep 7 '17 at 15:18
  • I took the precaution of limiting my largely unsupported statement to a 'comment'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 7 '17 at 16:38

Insomniatic is not found in dictionaries, but is seen used:poem

From Sgriobhaiche by Chris Boyd

Sorry, not really an answer, but I think it is interesting anyway.

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