Magic in my world is something that isn't explicitly explained but is measured and observed. Magic occurs from a consciousness with a positive or negative "charge" of magical energy. The majority of individuals sit at an equilibrium of magical energy, and magical aptitude is measured by the upper/lower limit of magical charge and the ability to alter one's charge.

In the world of chemistry, there are two terms for chemical reactions in relation to heat exchange:

  • "exothermic" - Describes a reaction that releases heat into the surrounding system.
  • "endothermic" - Describes a reaction that absorbs heat from the surrounding system.

The word exothermic is derived from greek exo- "out, outside" and therme "heat" and the suffix -ic "of", inversely, endo- means "in".

In my world, a magical effect is defined as the way a magical charge is manifested in reality. As such, effects are divided and classified by the polarity of the charge they are associated with. These are the terms that I'm having difficulty coming up with. The terms for these should be similar to the way the terms above are derived, as they both relate to a form of energy exchange.

  • "exo-...(-ic?)" - Describes an effect that is the result of a positive magical charge. (heat, fire, force, creation)
  • "endo-...(-ic?)" - Describes an effect that is the result of a negative magical charge. (freeze, sapping, drain, destruction)

I'm also looking for a term that would make sense for the following and follow a similar scheme:

  • "..." - Describes an effect that is the result of a difference between the magical charge of the target and self. (lightning, magnetism, current)

Additionally, what would be the word for the specialty/practice of casting each relevant effect class?

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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because names are an aesthetic, not a rule or system of the world, and subject to opinion rather than a single, objective right answer. Per the help center, (a) "keep in mind that the goal of the site is to help you build your world, not to tell your story" and (b) "If you are looking for discussion, brainstorming, or an overall process rather than specific questions and answers, the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange might not be a good place for your question." $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Nov 5, 2021 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not voting to close the question but it's worth pointing out that exo- refers to releasing something and endo- refers to absorbing something, so if you use endo- to refer to releasing "negative magical energy", you'll only confuse your readers because that's inconsistent with its meaning. $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2021 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ You might be right, but my aim was to convey the abstract idea that "exo" magic relates to the way reality is effected by the release of magic charge, while "endo" magic relates to the way reality is effected by the apparent absence of charge. $\endgroup$
    – lilzedong
    Nov 5, 2021 at 6:00
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    $\begingroup$ Your idea of exo- and endo-thermic are missing a step. Endothermic means the reaction requires energy to keep going, if you stop supplying energy the reaction stops. An exothermic reaction will keep going by itself unless you remove the fuel/reaction material or conditions that allow it to keep going (like temperature). This makes it a weird combination with the electrial-like workings of your magic, which has a positive and negative rather than rules for reactions. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Nov 5, 2021 at 8:57
  • $\begingroup$ This might be a better question to ask on another SE that deals with English language or something related (is there a Latin SE?) but I hate to admit that if it's only language you're looking for, this isn't really the right spot. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Nov 5, 2021 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


exothaumic / endothaumic, from the same Greek root as thaumaturgy.

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    $\begingroup$ That would be, of course, exotaumatic and endothaumatic. The stem of θαῦμα is θαυματ- (genitive θαύματος, third declension neuter). After all, it is thaumaturgy, not **thaumurgy. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Nov 5, 2021 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ I believe that there are several volumes of scholarly discourse regarding this exact matter, written by the Great Sage Terry Pratchett. He goes to great lengths discussing how a suitably dense Thaumatic field affects the speed of light, probability fields, and generally keeps the universe ignorant about local violations of causality. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Nov 5, 2021 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP -- Etymologically correct, but thaumic is also acceptable and is found in genre literature already. For that matter, exo- & endo- thaumic also exist in use among worldbuilders. Also, one could argue that thaumic derives from a supposed Latin form thauma or even from Greek Thaumas. Both would end up with modern English thaumic. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Nov 5, 2021 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas: No, it is not acceptable. The recognized English combining form is thaumat[o]-. There is no reason to propagate mistakes. Preserving the continuity of culture is a worthy ideal. (And, no, from the name of the father of the rainbow you cannot get **-thaumic. The stem of Thaumas is Thaumant-, genitive Thaumantis, third declension. That would give {endo,exo}thaumantic.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Nov 5, 2021 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP -- I don't concur with prescriptivism. So, yeah, it is acceptable. It is found in the wild, it is found in the literature, languages evolve, we can either tilt at windmills or enjoy the bread. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Nov 6, 2021 at 0:28

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