This question's quite a complex one, so be prepared.

How do I design a consistent naming system, that would have been created by a reigning ultimate authority, who supposedly created the magic in the first place, where the names are memorable, easy to refer to, and the organisations that they belong to?

So there is a magic system in my novel, and I'm struggling to give each power its own name.

Each power is paired with another, and the names must sound similar, only with a twist.

Criteria for a good naming system: Names should be confined to real words (but the meanings can be twisted), or very nearly real words, all being relatively uncommon (preferably with double meanings), it is preferred that each word of a particular magic power should have a name similar to its pair, but distorted in some way.

For example: Locksmiths might perform Locking and Blocking

The names must also sum up the powers well.


  • The act of creating a portal, which either increases the distance, or decreases it, and the act of creating a barrier. (Currently called Locksmiths, Locking and Blocking)
  • The act of bending light to create an illusion, this can either be temporary or permanent, and the act of transforming into a beam of light in order to go through transparent objects, and travel faster.
  • The act of transmuting materials, and the act of changing the shape of materials, provided that it is all made of roughly the same material.
  • The act of trapping and binding a dead mind, and the act of animating a corpse to do your bidding.
  • The act of changing your sight so you see physical objects as they are, without needing light (eliminates glare and shadows), and the act of changing your sight so you can see a person's inner qualities.
  • The act of binding two things of the same material together, so when one is moved, so is the other, and the act of binding two things of the same material so that heat is transferred between them.
  • The act of speeding time up inside of a bubble with the centre being the centre of mass of the person casting it, and the act of slowing time down inside of a bubble with the centre being the centre of mass of the person casting it.
  • The act of turning into an animal, and the act of making one's body take on characteristics of certain materials.
  • The act of conjuring up energy like fire/lightning, and the act of creating or destroying matter, by making an object grow or shrink
  • The act of healing someone by removing poisons and pathogens, and the act of healing wounds and injuries (can also be used to change body shape)
  • The act of creating symbols that perform certain physical functions (like computing, programming, electronics, etc.) and the act of creating symbols that perform mental functions (changing emotions/implanting and removing memories/causing pain and pleasure, etc.)
  • (This one is different: There's only one power) The act of manipulating other powers.

closed as primarily opinion-based by dot_Sp0T, Mołot, a CVn, Joe Bloggs, Anketam Feb 10 '17 at 16:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ You have two "primarily opinion based" close votes. And I don't know if this can be rewritten to be objective. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 10 '17 at 16:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hi Piomicron. Yes, I too think that this is primarily opinion-based, since I don't think answers to this can be rated objectively. If it isn't primarily opinion-based, then it is almost certainly too story-based, since these names don't really affect the abilities of anyone within your world, only how you refer to their abilities. Either way, I think it is off topic for Worldbuilding SE. You might however get some good suggestions in Worldbuilding Chat, which is much more free-form. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 10 '17 at 16:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sadly I've got to agree with Molot. Even with the rhyming restrictions (which do make this an interesting question) there's no way to judge how well an answer will be received... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 10 '17 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ I'll try to make it as objective as possible. $\endgroup$ – Piomicron Feb 10 '17 at 16:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I changed it so that I'm looking for a logical naming system rather than actual names. $\endgroup$ – Piomicron Feb 10 '17 at 19:41