The Etymology of “Telestial”

I often get the question of where “telestial” comes from. I thought it would be fun to put up here as much as I’ve been able to figure out/find on the subject, and then let the collective wisdom of the Bloggernacle add to it, so as to create a permanent record for future reference.

Telestial is a neologism (a “new word”) that was coined as part of the revelation of D&C 76.

Celestial and terrestrial are both derived from Latin. The word caelum means “sky, heaven”; turned into an adjective, that form becomes caelestis “heavenly”; and apparently that ending was extended with another Latin adjectival ending, -(i)alis, to get the form caelestialus. The Latin ending -us was dropped when the word was anglicized (and the ae diphthong was reduced), giving us “celestial.”

Terrestrial underwent a similar evolution. Terra means “earth”; terrestris is the adjectival form, “of or relating to the earth”; and terrestrialus would be an extended adjectival form, with the -us ending being dropped in English, for terrestrial.

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