Friday, 15 November 2013

Venerian Or Cyntherean?

I am glad that Poul Anderson acknowledges that "Venusian" is a barbarism although he himself sometimes uses this barbarism in his fiction:

"The common adjective "Venusian" is a barbarism, and 'Venereal' or 'Venerean' have unhappy connotations, so 'Cyntherean' is preferred by many astronomers."

- Poul Anderson, Is There Life On Other Worlds? (New York, 1963), p. 69, footnote.

Is it? "Venereal" has an unhappy denotation but "Venerean" or "Venerian", the latter used by Wells, Stapledon Lewis and (I think) Heinlein, need not.

In Latin, the genitive of "Mars" is "Martis" so the root is "Mart-", hence, in English, "martial" and "Martian".
The genitive of "Venus" is "Veneris", so the root is "Vener-", hence, in English, "venereal", "venerate", "venerable" and "Venerian".
The genitive of "Jupiter" is "Jovis", so the root is "Jov-", hence, in English, "jovial" and "Jovian".

I saw one comic strip that used "Venutian", presumably derived from "Martian"!

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