What English words are there for "the supernatural ability to travel instantly between locations" besides "teleportation"?
March 24, 2010 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Is there an English word for "the supernatural ability to travel instantly between locations?" without the technological connotations of "teleportation"?

Translating an article, and I've gotten stuck on finding an equivalent English word. I know there must be a term this, but can't seem to come up with it!

The word should connote instantaneous travel (ideally through divinely-granted powers) without having any technological, sci fi, or modern connotations. It should be a term that one could use to speak about the powers of a 17th century prophet.
posted by aether516 to Writing & Language (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think that the word "teleportation" implies technology.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:25 PM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


J. K. Rowling (in the Harry Potter books) uses "apparate" and "disapparate". Even if she invented it, it might fit, although it might also connote "apparition" as in a projection of an image rather than actually commuting the object.

Instant commuting or commutation is another idea, but I'm not sure they fit.
posted by amtho at 6:25 PM on March 24, 2010


I think it's a neologism from Harry Potter, but "apparation"?
posted by strangecargo at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2010


I'm looking for a word that could be used to translate a 17th century text. Unfortunately, "teleportation" seems far too modern for this text, as does "apparate" (the Harry Potter connotations are just too overpowering). Any other ideas?
posted by aether516 at 6:28 PM on March 24, 2010


The word bilocation is often used for this king, particularly in regards to saints/prophets.
posted by Alabaster at 6:32 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Apport" is an older word than teleport.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:33 PM on March 24, 2010


I've heard of bi-location, but that's not exactly it.

Wikipedia has some more terms, including apport which is maybe where Rowling got her term?
posted by dubitable at 6:35 PM on March 24, 2010


Ha...double jinx...that's spooky!
posted by dubitable at 6:36 PM on March 24, 2010


I'm not sure, but this question reminded me of a passage from P. G. Wodehouse:

"Sir?" said Jeeves, kind of manifesting himself. One of the rummy
things about Jeeves is that, unless you watch like a hawk, you very
seldom see him come into a room. He's like one of those weird chappies
in India who dissolve themselves into thin air and nip through space in
a sort of disembodied way and assemble the parts again just where they
want them. I've got a cousin who's what they call a Theosophist, and he
says he's often nearly worked the thing himself, but couldn't quite
bring it off, probably owing to having fed in his boyhood on the flesh
of animals slain in anger and pie.
posted by Spacelegoman at 6:37 PM on March 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


If bi-location means being in two places at once, trans-location would mean moving from one place to another.
posted by embrangled at 6:37 PM on March 24, 2010


if I had to come up with something I'd use 'powers of instantaneous transportation" - too clunky probably, but does that get the idea across?
posted by heyforfour at 6:41 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Translocation is a bit general, but I've seen it used in sci-fi/fantasy from time to time in about that context. Technically it could describe just about any shift from one place to another, from taking being pushed on a dolly from point a to point b to disintegrating and being reconstuted 5 lightyears away/in another universe.
posted by Ys at 6:47 PM on March 24, 2010


"Divinely transported" perhaps?
posted by aheckler at 6:56 PM on March 24, 2010


In a religious context, omnipresence is more often invoked than this property.

But if you're looking for the religious term for teleportation, you're looking for Kefitzat Haderech.
posted by tmcw at 7:19 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can you tell us what the word is in the source language? That might help us come up with something that has a similar feeling.

[By way of comparison, the term clairvoyance derives from an experience reported by Saint Claire. One year, much to her sorrow, she was too sick to attend Christmas Mass. As she lay in bed, she was transported in the spirit to the chapel where the Mass was being held, and was able to observe it in all its glory. This is the reason that Claire was made the Patron Saint of Television by Pope Pius XII in 1958.]
posted by alms at 7:20 PM on March 24, 2010


ubiquitous
posted by hortense at 7:35 PM on March 24, 2010


Kefitzat Haderech is the term, in fact! Any more ideas for an appropriate English word?

Thanks to all for your help!
posted by aether516 at 7:39 PM on March 24, 2010


Assuming "Kefitzat Haderech" is commonly translated as "teleportation", which seems to be the case, I believe you could either go with that or use a phrase to explain the event or process.

"To apport" would seem to be fine however if you can assume your target audience to understand this word.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:51 PM on March 24, 2010


From my own vantage point, it seems that "Kefitzat Haderech" is probably well-known enough that you can leave it untranslated. YMMV, and of course consider your audience.
posted by Electrius at 8:26 PM on March 24, 2010


I would think a 17th century prophet was more concerned with traveling in the spiritual sense than physically dislocating his atoms, so how about through astral projection?
posted by Juicy Avenger at 8:44 PM on March 24, 2010


instantaneous divine displacement.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:31 PM on March 24, 2010


"instantly transported to..."
posted by darkstar at 9:54 PM on March 24, 2010


I think you used one of the best words in the question itself: translate. It's a little old-fashioned now, but to me it has just the connotation you are looking for--the divine power that could move a prophet from one place to another.

From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
Pronunciation: \tran(t)s-ˈlāt, tranz-; ˈtran(t)s-ˌlāt, ˈtranz-\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): trans·lat·ed; trans·lat·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French translater, from Latin translatus (past participle of transferre to transfer, translate), from trans- + latus, past participle of ferre to carry — more at tolerate, bear
Date: 14th century

transitive verb 1 a : to bear, remove, or change from one place, state, form, or appearance to another : transfer, transform b : to convey to heaven or to a nontemporal condition without death c : to transfer (a bishop) from one see to another

Examples from the King James Bible:

Colossians 1:13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

And this I know I've seen the miraculous transportation of Philip in Acts chapter 8 called a translation. This webpage is just one of many examples:

After the eunuch’s baptism, the Spirit of the Lord translated Philip to Azotus, which was 30 to 40 miles away. The eunuch went on his way rejoicing because he thought he had seen an angel.

posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:58 PM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Fold space
posted by euphorb at 10:27 PM on March 24, 2010


Well, if Wikipedia is correct in saying that "kefitzat haderech" translates to "jumping of the path/road/way," why not just use "jump"? Context should make it clear what's meant. Plus, it's an old word that also happens to mean "teleport" in lots of sci-fi (thinking of Battlestar Galactica for some reason), so readers should be able to gather its meaning pretty easily.
posted by washburn at 10:58 PM on March 24, 2010


What about something like "corporeal translocation"? I thought I was being very clever and made up a new term, but Google shows me that the Jedi Masters discovered it first! On the bright side, unless your audience is familiar with Star Wars based role-playing games, you should be ok.
posted by platinum at 12:25 AM on March 25, 2010


What about "project". I think you more often see it in the sense of "astral projection" but I think if you said "he can instantly project himself to another place" it would make sense to people.

Anecdata: I'd never heard the term "Kefitzat Haderech" before in this context, and seeing it I immediately thought of Dune, which is probably not what you'd want.
posted by crocomancer at 5:22 AM on March 25, 2010


I thought "manifested", from the PG Wodehouse quote above was most appropriate. It has a bit of a magical sound to it, for some I reason.

Or perhaps "vanished and manifested"
posted by molecicco at 6:21 AM on March 25, 2010


Atheric projection (astral refers to the soul or mind leaving the body, aetheric refers to physical projection).
posted by Pollomacho at 6:55 AM on March 25, 2010


Sorry AETHERIC or ETHERIC
posted by Pollomacho at 6:56 AM on March 25, 2010


"Kefitzat Haderech" (in Hebrew) literally means "folding the path." To be pedantic, it's not actually teleportation so much as space folding (in a higher dimension) in such a way that you can, e.g., take one step and go what would have been a much farther distance but is now (temporarily) actually only one step.

I think teleportation is the word, and if you want to distinguish it from technological teleportation, you can just call it magical teleportation or something.
posted by callmejay at 7:19 AM on March 25, 2010


"Kefitzat Haderech" (in Hebrew) literally means "folding the path." To be pedantic, it's not actually teleportation so much as space folding (in a higher dimension) in such a way that you can, e.g., take one step and go what would have been a much farther distance but is now (temporarily) actually only one step.

To be pedantic, I know the Kabbalists were pretty ahead of their time, but for exactly how long were we aware of the idea of higher dimensions? So aware of it that they would have a commonly used phrase to describe this phenomenon? I don't think so.

Wikipedia says it means, verbatim, "jumping of the path/road/way", a Hebrew equivalent of the English expression "short cut". So the connotation would seem to be more "he jumped from one path to another" rather than space time folding itself.

FWIW Wikipedia says Teleportation was a term coined in 1931, so I'd agree it may seem too modern for the context.

I suspect that you won't find such a term because, in English, such a term didn't exist. If I try to think of accounts of this sort of thing, it would always be in narrative form "and then he appeared before them, even though they knew he was a thousand miles way..."

You may have to resort to the same - adding a little verbiage rather than trying to find a single word. "His body was transported instantaneously (if "instantaneously" isn't also too modern a word - perhaps "immediately") to..."
posted by MesoFilter at 8:04 AM on March 25, 2010


"Kefitzat Haderech" (in Hebrew) literally means "folding the path."

Maybe you could verb "tesseract" then.
posted by kindall at 8:06 AM on March 25, 2010


Tessering.
posted by SassHat at 8:54 AM on March 25, 2010


In Bester's The Stars My Destination, he used the term jaunte to describe the ability for a person to learn how to teleport through pure mental will. It's not a common word and it is unlikely a non-scifi reader will understand it immediately, though.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:03 AM on March 25, 2010


Wikipedia says it means, verbatim, "jumping of the path/road/way", a Hebrew equivalent of the English expression "short cut".

Oops! My mistake. It does mean jumping, not folding. My memory must have been confused by Madame L'Engle.
posted by callmejay at 9:07 AM on March 25, 2010


The British YA series "The Tomorrow People" used 'jaunting,' which has obviously stuck with me.

OT: "Kefitzat Haderech" (in Hebrew) literally means "folding the path?" Kwisatz Haderach? Am I the last person on earth to get that?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:23 PM on March 25, 2010


I'd vote "instantly transported". I think the problem with manifest is that it doesn't suggest the de-manifested part clearly enough.
posted by ranglin at 6:51 PM on March 26, 2010


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