Appendix 5:

Planetary Linguistics

Names of the Planets

English is generally recognized as the international language for professional astronomy. However, the various languages often also have their own words which are used in everyday speech.
  English    Sun       Mercury      Venus     Earth          Moon     Mars     Jupiter   Saturn     Uranus       Neptune      Pluto 
  Latin      Sol       Mercurius    Venus     Terra          Luna     Mars     Jupiter   Saturnus   Uranus       Neptunus     Pluto
  French     Soleil    Mercure      Vénus     Terre          Lune     Mars     Jupiter   Saturne    Uranus       Neptune      Pluton
  Italian    Sole      Mercurio     Venere    Terra          Luna     Marte    Giove     Saturno    Urano        Nettuno      Plutone
  Spanish    Sol       Mercurio     Venus     Tierra         Luna     Marte    Júpiter   Saturno    Urano        Neptuno      Plutón
  Galacian   Sol       Mercurio     Venus     Terra          Lúa      Marte    Xúpiter   Saturno    Urano        Neptuno      Plutón
  Catalan    Sol       Mercuri      Venus     Terra          Lluna    Mart     Júpiter   Saturn     Ura          Neptú        Plutó
  Romanian   Soare     Mercur       Venus     Pamint         Luna     Marte    Jupiter   Saturn     Uranus       Neptun       Pluto
  Portuguese Sol       Mercúrio     Vénus     Terra          Lua      Marte    Júpiter   Saturno    Urano        Neptuno      Plutão
  Esperanto  Suno      Merkuro      Venuso    Tero           Luno     Marso    Jupitero  Saturno    Urano        Neptuno      Plutono
  German     Sonne     Merkur       Venus     Erde           Mond     Mars     Jupiter   Saturn     Uranus       Neptun       Pluto
  Dutch      Zon       Mercurius    Venus     Aarde          Maan     Mars     Jupiter   Saturnus   Uranus       Neptunus     Pluto
  Swedish    Solen     Merkurius    Venus     Jorden         Månen    Mars     Jupiter   Saturnus   Uranus       Neptunus     Pluto
  Norwegian  Sola      Merkur       Venus     Jorda          Månen    Mars     Jupiter   Saturn     Uranus       Neptun       Pluto
  Danish     Solen     Merkur       Venus     Jorden         Månen    Mars     Jupiter   Saturn     Uranus       Neptun       Pluto
  Finnish    Aurinko   Merkurius    Venus     Maa            Kuu      Mars     Jupiter   Saturnus   Uranus       Neptunus     Pluto
  Estonian   Päike     Merkuur      Veenus    Maa            Kuu      Mars     Jupiter   Saturnus   Uraanus      Neptun       Pluuto
  Latvian    Saule     Merkurs      Vene'ra   Zeme           Me'ness  Marss    Jupiters  Saturns    Ura'ns       Neptu'ns     Pluto
  Hungarian  Nap       Merkùr       Vénusz    Föld           Hold     Mars     Jupiter   Szaturnusz Uránusz      Neptunusz    Plútó
  Czech      Slunce    Merkur       Venuse    Zeme           Mesíc    Mars     Jupiter   Saturn     Uran         Neptun       Pluto
  old Czech  Slunce    Dobropan     Krasopani Zeme           Mesic    Smrtonos Kralomoc  Hladolet   Nebestanka   Vodopan      Pluto
  Slovenian  Sonce     Merkur       Venera    Zemlja         Mesec    Mars     Jupiter   Saturn     Uran         Neptun       Pluton
  Polish     Slonce    Merkury      Wenus     Ziemia         Ksiezyc  Mars     Jowisz    Saturn     Uran         Neptun       Pluton
  Russian    Solnce    Merkurij     Venera    Zemlja         Luna     Mars     Yupiter   Saturn     Uran         Neptun       Pluton
  Greek      Helios    Hermes       Aphrodite Gea            Selene   Ares     Zeus      Kronos     Uranos       Poseidon     Pluton  
  Irish      Grian     Mearcair     Véineas   An Domhan      Gealach  Mars     Iúpatar   Satarn     Uránas       Neiptiún     Plútón
  Turkish    Günes     Merkür       C,ulpan   Yer            Ay       Merih    Erendiz   Sekendiz   Uranus       Neptün       Plüton
  Uzbek      Quyosh    Utorid       Zuhra     Yer            Oy       Mirrikh  Mushtarij Zuhal      ?            ?            ?
  Farsi      Khorshid  Tir          Zhore     Zamin          Mah      Merrikh  Moshtari  Kayvon     Oranos       Nepton       Pluton
  Arabic     Shams     Otaared      Zuhra     Ard            Quamar   Merrikh  Mushtarie Zuhal      Uraanus      Niptuun      Plutoon
  Hebrew     Shemesh   Kokhav Khama Nogah     Kadur Ha'Aretz Yareakh  Ma'adim  Tzedek    Shabtay    Uranus       Neptune      Pluto
  Chinese    Brightest Water        Metal     Ground         "moon"   Fire     Wood      Soil       Heaven       Ocean        Hell
  Cantonese  Taiyeung  Suising      Gumsing   Deiqao         Yueqao   Fuosing  Moqsing   Tousing    Tinwongsing  Huoiwongsing Mengwongsing
  Mandarin   Taiyang   Shuixing     Jinxing   Diqiou         Yueliang Huoxing  Muxing    Tuxing     Tianwangxing Haiwangxing  Mingwangxing
  Korean     Taeyang   Soosung      Kumsung   Jeegoo         Dahl     Hwasung  Moksung   Tosung     Chunwangsung Haewangsung  Myungwangsung
  Japanese   Taiyou    Suisei       Kinsei    Chikyu         Tsuki    Kasei    Mokusei   Dosei      Tennousei    Kaiousei     Meiousei
  1. For brevity's sake I've omitted the articles commonly used in some languages.
  2. The Chinese line gives the meanings of the Chinese words; abbreviated from "The Brightest; Star of Water; Star of Metal; Sphere of Ground (Earth); Star of Fire; Star of Wood; Star of Soil (Dirt); Star of the King of Heaven; Star of the King of the Ocean; Star of the King of Hell". The Korean, Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese lines are pronounications.
  3. When they are written in Chinese characters the Korean words have almost the same meanings as those listed in the row for Chinese.
  4. The Chinese characters at the top of the page are the names of the solar system bodies in the same order as the table. The second set of characters at the top of the page is Hindi. Here they are in Arabic script: (3k gif).
  5. The apostrophe character in the Latvian line is a diacritical mark for a long vowel, which is a straight line over the letter.
  6. Much of this was taken from the ASTROLANGUAGE mini dictionary of 300 astronomical terms compiled by Veikko Makela. The remainder was compiled from responses to a query on the Net. Thanks to those who replied.
  7. I would appreciate any additions or corrections to this table.


The English adjectives relating to the planets do not always derive simply from the noun forms:
   Noun        Adjectival form
   ------      ---------------
   Sun         Solar
   Mercury     Mercurial
   Venus       Cytherean, Venerian
   Earth       Terrestrial, Telluric
   Moon        Lunar
   Mars        Martian, Arean
   Jupiter     Jovian
   Saturn      Saturnian
   Uranus      Uranian
   Neptune     Neptunian
   Pluto       Plutonian, Hadean

Days of the Week

The seven-day system we use is based on the ancient astrological notion that the seven known celestial bodies influence what happens on Earth and that each of these celestial bodies controls the first hour of the day named after it. This system was brought into Hellenistic Egypt from Mesopotamia, where astrology had been practiced for millenniums and where seven had always been a propitious number. In A.D. 321 the Emperor Constantine the Great grafted this astrological system onto the Roman calendar, made the first day of this new week a day of rest and worship for all, and imposed the following sequence and names to the days of the week. This new Roman system was adopted with modifications throughout most of western Europe: in the Germanic languages, such as Old English, the names of four of the Roman gods were converted into those of the corresponding Germanic gods:
    Celestial           Germanic        modern
    Body      Latin     god       English    Italian
    -------   --------  --------  ---------  ----------
    Sun       Solis               Sunday     domenica
    Moon      Lunae               Monday     lunedì
    Mars      Martis    Tiu       Tuesday    martedì
    Mercury   Mercurii  Woden     Wednesday  mercoledì
    Jupiter   Jovis     Thor      Thursday   giovedì
    Venus     Veneris   Frigg     Friday     venerdì
    Saturn    Saturni             Saturday   sabato

The Latin names for the weekdays survive in the modern Romance languages (though the weekend day names have been altered).


Two of the English month names are also have planetary connections: January is named for Janus and March is named for Mars.
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Bill Arnett; last updated: 1996 August 25