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While mentally composing some text (in English), I got the idea to insert a modern English idiom translated into a ridiculous made-up Latinate word to express sarcasm.

It should ideally be grammatically (as) correct (as possible) to minimize head-scratching.

The object of the request would be along the lines of the (Greek) "word" λοπαδο­τεμαχο­σελαχο­γαλεο­κρανιο­λειψανο­δριμ­υπο­τριμματο­σιλφιο­καραβο­μελιτο­κατακεχυ­μενο­κιχλ­επι­κοσσυφο­φαττο­περιστερ­αλεκτρυον­οπτο­κεφαλλιο­κιγκλο­πελειο­λαγῳο­σιραιο­βαφη­τραγανο­πτερύγων from Aristophanes' The Assemblywomen but probably does not appear in any known Classical text. (Whether or not the result would be humorous enough to be worth the effort, iudices adhuc deliberent.)

Would such a request be welcome on this SE? If your responses encourage me I'll post the actual question on the main site; otherwise I'll spare you.

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  • Since I'm not allowed to create new tags, I'd be grateful if someone could create a "neologisms" tag. – Spencer May 11 '17 at 0:47
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Certainly!

Here's a sample question from the definition phase of latin.stackexchange.com's proposal:

I just discovered a new species of dust mite. It's found in Peru, is shaped like a shamrock, and makes llamas angry. What’s an appropriate Latin name?

It only got three votes, but I posted it just before the definition phase ended. It illustrates a frequent need in modern Latin: to coin new words.

Latin's role during much of its history was to serve as the language of record, since it has an unbroken written tradition extending back to antiquity—a role that it still performs in the Catholic church and a little bit in biology. A language serving such a role is going to have a constant need for thoughtful neologisms.

Not to mention, if you participate in a conversational group or living-Latin community, or if you work for a Latin news service, or if you're called upon to make a Latin inscription, or if you're writing official documents at the Vatican, you're going to have a need for neologisms. latin.stackexchange.com should be the best place on the Internet to ask for help choosing them judiciously. So, ask away! You won't be the first. Roga!

If you edit the Latin Wikipedia, though, then the rule is Noli fingere.

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First, regarding the tag: We already have the tag . I don't think we need that tag at meta. Your question is whether a certain question type would be fine at the main site, and general tags for that purpose are enough.

You can derive new words in several ways in Latin (and Greek and other languages included here). This can be done systematically, and asking about this system is of course on-topic. For example, I would have nothing against you asking how to make a Latin compound word for something that eats four-legged animals, as long as you share your own thoughts. (My very quick guess is quadripedivorus.) At the very least, look up some relevant words in a Latin dictionary and ask for help in putting them together. If you can find some examples that are close to what you want (but use different words), please give them and explain how you would like to adapt them.

Some might frown upon coining a totally unprecedented Latin word, but that would not be the case here. There is ample precedent in forming compound words, even if the particular one is new.

You can also consider asking for such a word in classical Greek rather than Latin. Greek seems to be more flexible with compound words than Latin, but asking about Latin is of course fine. The answer might be "you can't put that in one word, but here's a way to say it in three instead of eleven", but that's something, too.

Conclusion

Yes, you can ask such a question. Just explain clearly enough what you want and try to do some preliminary research into it yourself. But keep the length reasonable; I hope you are going for something shorter than Aristophanes. And be prepared to get "no" for an answer; sometimes you just can't combine words the way you want into a single one.

(Don't take only my word for this. Let's wait what others think.)

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