Not 'Ice Magic'. Ice is just frozen water and fire magic goes beyond water. But, for the sake of explaining in this question, let's go with "Ice Magic".

In a world where these two magics are two utilizations of wider Thermal Magic. The term 'Fire Magic' is also used beyond its scope. Fire is rapid exothermal oxidation. While Fire Magic often used to burn things, many times it isn't. Heating up water does not resonate with the words 'Fire Magic'. But that's the widely used term, so that's what I will go with.

However, "Ice Magic" is where I draw the line. People are scientific in this world. They understand the nature of Magic very well. So, while I can pass 'Fire Magic' by the readers without breaking immersion. It isn't unheard of for well-educated humans to use misguided terms for legacy reasons. However, usage of term "Ice Magic" by a Doctor of Thermal Studies would ruin his entire character. It is just too dumb for smart people to continue using it for centuries. In case of 'Fire Magic', at least, the common usage somewhat matches with the scientific meaning. You use Fire to heat things up. 'Fire Magic' heats things up. But Ice is a substance. Applications of "Ice Magic" go way beyond making ice.

So, what should I as antithesis for 'Fire Magic'. 'Freeze Magic'? 'Cool Magic'? 'Cold Magic'? 'Chill Magic'?

  • 'Freeze Magic' has the problem that there may not be any freezing in the process.
  • 'Cool Magic' sounds great but then again, all magic is cool.
  • 'Cold Magic' and 'Chill Magic' are mostly unused but may work if not for the alternative meanings of the words 'Cold', 'Chill', and 'Cool'.

Or, what other combinations could work? 'Heat Magic-Cool Magic'? 'Heat Magic-Chill Magic'? 'Warm Magic-Chill Magic'?

Edit: I am asking for different combinations of opposing heat-cold magic you may have used or heard about. Any suggestions or thoughts on combinations that I have mentioned are also welcome.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there a reason you need there to be two different labels, instead of just a single label for both positive and negative uses? (That would open up the possibilities of, eg, Temperature Magic, Thermal Magic, Energy Magic, Enthalpy Magic, etc...) $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Commented May 12 at 5:42
  • 16
    $\begingroup$ In that case, seeing that scientific lingo is apparently acceptable in your context, perhaps "Exothermic Magic" for heating and "Endothermic Magic" for chilling would be the simplest subcategorizations? (Even "Exo Magic" and "Endo Magic", in short form, if helpful) $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Commented May 12 at 5:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Commented May 12 at 6:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you're going for realism (though not necessarily verisimilitude), if magic has been around for basically forever, there will be names so old nobody remembers what they mean, common (but technically misleading) names, possibly from when they were less disciplined in their understanding of processes, AND technical names reflecting how things actually work. $\endgroup$
    – Jedediah
    Commented May 13 at 13:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your question isn't clear enough about how your magic systems works to get decent answers. Fire and heat are two different things, and you're not clear if you want opposite-of-fire or opposite-of-heat (or opposite of something else you don't specify). You also put what you reject in the forefront, to the detriment of a clear explanation of what you do want. -- How would an in-universe person understand what you're trying to name? What characteristics would be the most salient to them? What's the history of your world and how would the people who first discovered it think of it? $\endgroup$
    – R.M.
    Commented May 13 at 14:56

11 Answers 11


'Fire Magic' and 'Ice Magic' are what the ignorant masses call it. You can't expect an ignoramus to call a thing by its correct term.

At least in English, a properly educated student of magic would call this Thermokinesis if it involves moving heat around or Thermurgy if it involves working with heat in other ways. Using magic to divine the thermal properties of places, people, or objects would be Thermomancy.

Have a look at this.

Fundamentally, in the English language (and many others), there is a disconnect between the concepts of Heat (thermal kinetic energy), Hot (having higher than ambient thermal kinetic energy), Fire (gases that have been heated to the point of incandescence), Cold (objects with lower than ambient thermal kinetic energy) and Ice (water that is cold enough to have entered its solid state), though they all deal with thermal kinetic energy in different ways.

However, it is up to you as the developer of your magic system if the language surrounding your magic uses terms such as hot, cold, fire, or ice, or if it uses a more physics-based set of terminology that correctly describes thermal kinetic energy and the effects of adding, removing, moving or enumerating it.

So, making things hotter might be Attractive Thermokinesis if the heat is coming from elsewhere, or Additive Thermurgy if the heat is being created on the spot. Likewise, making things colder could be Repulsive Thermokinesis if the heat is going elsewhere, or Subtractive Thermurgy if heat is being destroyed. Magically finding where the hot and/or cold spots are would be Thermomancy.

  • $\begingroup$ My main issue arises from the other prevalent meaning of terms like 'cool', 'hot', 'chill', 'cold'. 'Cool Magic' works so well if we go by classical meaning of the word 'Cool'. But anyone hearing it would immediately assume the (relatively) newer meaning. $\endgroup$
    – EMS
    Commented May 12 at 9:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @EMS Those could be vernacular terms. The magicians may need to be very much more precise. You could think of them like scientists using language that laypeople barely understand. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented May 12 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ So, two terms, one for the oblivious users, and one for those who understand such things? In that case, what scientific terms would you recommend? $\endgroup$
    – EMS
    Commented May 12 at 10:13
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    $\begingroup$ It could be a fun point of comic of repetition that the vernacular terms are "fire magic" and "ice magic", and that thermal magic specialists like the term "fire magic" and use it themselves, but hate the term "ice magic". $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Commented May 13 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe "ice magic" is an ambiguous term, and is a name given to two unrelated kinds of magic, one dealing with heat and the other dealing with water. Which would be one more reason why it annoys the specialists. Maybe thermal magic is difficult and water magic is easy, so thermal magicians dislike the term "ice magic" because it seemingly puts thermal magicians and water magicians in the same class. $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Commented May 13 at 12:51

Thermomagic and cryomagic

These are the Greek-derived prefixes used to refer to heat and cold in scientific words like thermodynamics and cryogenics, so I can easily see them being used by educated people, and they roll off the tongue pretty well, so I can see them being used by the masses.

The fact that "thermal magic" and "thermomagic" share a root is accurate and relatively inevitable both scientifically and etymologically. Alternatively, maybe "fire magic" stayed in popular use alongside "cryomagic"; it's not like things always come in neat pairs naturally.

  • $\begingroup$ -1: Thermo- means temperature not just heat. Cold and Hot are aspects of thermo. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented May 15 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish It means both. They're the same word in Ancient Greek, that's what I'm saying. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/θερμο- $\endgroup$ Commented May 15 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ Cryo is a subfield of Thermo. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented May 15 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish It's literally listed as an antonym on the page I just linked. $\endgroup$ Commented May 15 at 9:11

Entropy magic

In fact, what you're depicting as "fire magic", is magic of adding energy to system, therefore its opposite should be "magic of removing energy from the system". But, normally you are using the same energy-based magic to do this kind of things (like, you're initiating a fridge-type cooling of a given volume, using energy magic to conduct the heat transfer - it's not something opposite, it's the same fire magic), therefore the thing you're trying to manipulate must be not energy but its "side effect" - entropy.

Or ignore

Just call it "negative aspect of fire magic", or a branch of it, as it'll be looking as it's not fire, but it would use all concepts of fire magic "under the hood".

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was going to go with Entropy Magic - so upvoted. $\endgroup$ Commented May 12 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer the best so far, since it really feels like the heart of the problem that made the distinction problematic in the first place. Gotta remember that energy is energy, and it isn't gone, only moves someplace else (unless that's what the magic does... and then good luck on creating a new set of definitions for phenomena that don't exist in reality). $\endgroup$ Commented May 13 at 10:34

I like Monte Wild's answer of the term "Fire Magic" being the layman's term, and there being a scientific term. In comments, you asked what the terms might be, and I feel that turns into an answer in its own right.

Before the kinetic theory of heat that we now know today, there was Caloric theory. Caloric theory postulated that there was a "self-repulsive fluid" named caloric that was responsible for heat. Count Rumford, a physicist and inventor of the time, argued for a corresponding fluid, "frigoric," was responsible for cold. Thus caloric-magic and frigoric-magic would be very reasonable scientific names for the magics.


To elaborate upon @Philipp's answer of calling it "Endothermic" and "Exothermic", I would propose the following terms:

For the magic scholars:

Mana (or something similar) is the force used to manipulate matter, energy, thought, etc.

Endothermic spells or magic would use mana to draw heat energy out of a system.

Exothermic spells or magic would use mana to add heat to a system.

Pyromancy is the ability to use exothermic magic with sufficient mana to ionize air into plasma (fire). This usually causes things that come in contact with it to burn by oxidation.

Cryomancy is the ability to use endothermic magic with sufficient mana to cause water to freeze.

Thermomancers would mages that are skilled in both.

At the core though, these are fundamentally different types of magic. Exothermic magic would convert mana into heat. Endothermic magic would use mana to extract heat from the environment. Both require mana - but endothermic magic would have to deal with the problem of what to do with that heat.

For example, a skilled cryomancer could possibly convert heat back into mana - recharging some of the mana used to produce the effect. A mage without sufficient skill could possibly absorb the energy, either burning them or causing other harmful effects to themselves.

A skilled thermomancer could extract heat with one hand, freezing the target, while transferring that heat directly to the other hand to be released as heat at another target, burning it. This would be a relatively efficient process.

Note though that all forms of thermal magic require input of mana; some mana can be recovered in some cases, but not all mana can.

For the Laypeople

To the ordinary person this would simply be Fire Magic and Frost/Cold/Ice Magic. They just see burning and freezing things, not the technical jargon.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Fire and Frost Magic do have a ring to them that laypeople might find appealing. $\endgroup$
    – EMS
    Commented May 16 at 3:54

I didn't feel like voting to close your question today. Asking the best name for anything is off-topic on this site. Names are just window dressing. They're meaningless.... Besides, trying to think up the name before thinking up your actual magic system is putting the cart before the horse. So, let's talk about magic instead! Maybe that will help you come up with a name.

1. Vibration-based magic

Considered outside of what's causing the heat, heat is just an increase in the energy state of a molecule. One simple way of looking at this is that it's vibrational frequency has increased. "Fire magic" is therefore the ability to do things by increasing that frequency. It's effects would range from dissolving things (breaking molecular bonds, but not atomic bonds... well... unless you want magic users capable of nuclear fission) to burning things.

From this perspective, the opposite magic would would be vibrational dampening magic. Yes, this would lead to making things colder, but it would (I think) also lead to making things more solid, to a degree strengthening molecular bonds.

2. Generic Energy States

Another way of changing the energy state of a molecule is to add electrons. Now, I'm horrifically simplifying things — but don't let that stop you! One side of the magic increases the energy state (adds electrons). The other side of the magic decreases it (by decreasing electrons... which has a side effect of where all those electrons go!). It's not that much of a stretch to believe that one can only master one of those magical disciplines. From this perspective, increasing energy states can indeed lead to heat. But it can also lead to a greater electrical state, meaning creating electrical charge. Some cool random stuff can be written about from that perspective.

The other side decreases the energy state, which means it can be used as an electrical sink and a heat sink.

3. Oxidation

Pure oxygen under pressure can lead to spontaneous combustion! Your fire magic increases combustibility, which in my suggestion means it's increasing the partial pressure of oxygen at or near the target. This means it can also be used to help people breathe! But it can also rust the snot out of things.

The opposite magic has a wide variety of possibilities... such as increasing the partial pressure of nitrogen, which would decrease combustibility. It would also turn plants incredibly green! (High nitrogen fertilizers are used to make your lawn green.)

Of course, magic that can increase the partial pressure of helium would lead to lots of balloons and everybody talking like Alvin and the Chipmunks, but we'll politely let that one pass.

So, what is the opposite of "fire magic?"

In some cases ice might be a byproduct of the opposing magic, but you need to stop thinking about the titles and think more about what your magic is actually doing. And with that I'll leave you with my final thought:

4. The opposite of using an oven is refrigeration

Your "fire magic" create fire! It creates heat! It's a great way to make S'mores! So what's the opposing magic?

Thermal transfer.

Your opposing magic creates the magical form of a heat sink. It draws thermal energy away from one place and shunts it to another. It has the effect of cooling things, but only at the expense of heating something else up. You could just dump the heat into the atmosphere, raising the regional ambient a tenth of a degree to put out the raging flames caused by your enemy... or you could grab the solar-generated heat from a large area and focus it on a steel door to melt it. From a certain point of view, both sets of magic can manipulate heat, but where one can only create the flame, the other can douse the flame and move it somewhere else.

The Bard taught that a rose by any other name is still a rose. Opposition can take many forms. You need to figure out if you have a rose... or a dandelion... After that you can work out what of any number of equally good names will make sense.

  • $\begingroup$ Is magic bound by conservation of energy? Maybe it's possible to cool something without heating something else? Or maybe that's an unanswered question in this world and the expert magicians are still trying to achieve that? $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Commented May 13 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Stef That's a good question. But I don't belive the OP has defined their magic system well enough to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented May 13 at 18:45

A physicist discovering magic might use the terms "Endothermic" and "Exothermic" magic.

In physics, an exothermic reaction is one that creates heat (makes things hot), while an endothermic reaction is one that extracts heat from the environment (makes things cold).


The first question is, what is 'Fire Magic'. Most people have addressed it as if it is 'Heat Magic', but it could also be 'Combustion Magic', which can be viewed as a destructive and randomizing force.

In this case, the opposite would be something that takes combustion byproducts and produces something complex and perhaps useful from them. Thus, ashes, water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen could be turned into wood, plants, or even animals. Rust could be turned into iron and oxygen. Rust and CO2 could make steel and oxygen. How well you could form the result might depend on ones skill -- living creatures and swords are harder than wood and ingots.

As for what to call it? How about 'Creative Magic'?


Scientists prefer Latin when trying to sound precise, but are still prone to speak in the vernacular.

I agree with other answers that Fire Magic and Ice Magic should be the preferred terms in lay speak, but when it comes to technical terminology: Latin is the preferred language of Scientists because it is a well known dead language which makes technical precision much easier to nail down and stay nailed down. That said, a biologist has no problem using the vulgar term "cat" in everyday speech, even though they know that a house cat and a lion can both be thus described. Likewise, your wizards should not be offended by these imprecise terms when used in every day speech. But, just like a biologist will prefer to say Felis silvestris catus when they need to distinguish between a house cat and a lion, your mages should have a similar Latin Nomenclature for when precision is important.

Fire Magic, as you've described it, is not just about chemical reactions, but the actual application of heat to a system which may or may not start a fire. And Ice Magic is not about ice, but the removal of heat from a system which may or may not cause the formation of ice. So what you need is two latin terms which mean Heating Magic and Cooling Magic as opposed to Fire Magic and Ice Magic; so, I'd suggest: Calefacio and Refrigero respectively.

Infact, if you want your pompous professor of the magic arts to really sound smart, you should come up with a full and proper nomenclature for your magic which starts of with a high level concept and works its way down. So instead of {Domain > Kingdom > ... > Genus > Species}, Wizards might use a nomenclature that looks like {School > Discipline > Affect > Spell}

Since heating magic and cooling magic are both concepts of temperature, you could make them both Disciplines of the School Temperio. You could then add a third term that describes the Affect, or what you do with the spell, so terms like invocatio for invocation, voco for summoning, or divinatio for divination could be added after the Discipline . Finally, you could have a 4th distinction that names the actual spell. So when your professor is out drinking with his wizard buddies, he might say "I'm gonna use just a little bit of ice magic to cool this drink down" because he is clearly speaking in an informal context. But in the classroom he might say, "Now open your Temperio Calefacio books to Chapter 4. Today we will be learning the spell Invocatio Ignissphera, or 'fireball' as it is more commonly known."


Order Magic / Ordered Magic

Similar to In Hoc Signo's suggestion. The opposite of disorder is order. The opposite of the thermal, disordering properties of fire/heat/vibration is the calming, sorting, stabilising force of order.


Stasis Magic

In the end, fire is a rapid exothermic chemical reaction. Therefore, the opposite is a lack of reaction.


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