Does hospitalo exist, or is malsanulejo the only word that Esperantists use?

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    I wonder about this kind of thing a lot as well. Just yesterday, I read a short story about a shoemaker and in the story, three different words were used for "shoemaker." They were "sxufaristo", "sxuisto", and "sxulaboristo." While they are all pretty easy to figure out just seeing them, I thought it was strange that three different words were used. Although, I guess maybe the same thing occurs in other languages and it's a matter of experience knowing which one to use. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


Both of these words have been used since the very early years of Esperanto, with precisely the same meaning. In the meantime, many other similar pairs of words, one based on an international word and the other based on Esperanto work formation, have appeared (e.g. "egoismo" vs. "memismo", "ornitologio" vs. "birdoscienco", "kardiologo" vs. "korkuracisto", "glaĉero" vs. "glacirivero" or "glaciejo"), and in the case of some of them, one has managed to push the other out of usage (e.g. "komputilo" has pushed "komputoro" and "komputero" out of usage), but "malsanulejo" and "hospitalo" continue to strive in parallel for more than a century, without one managing to push the other one out of usage.

I personally prefer to use compound words in case of doubt, as many of the purportedly international words are not widely known to speakers of non-European languages, so avoiding them can decrease their disadvantage when learning Esperanto a little bit.


According to the vortaro.net, the word "hospitalo" exists : http://vortaro.net/#hospitalo

But I've never seen it before today :-)

It's not a good idea to use new roots because some non-european learners will have more difficulties to learn Esperanto and to understand you.

  • It is in my 1977 edition of JC Wells' Esperanto Dictionary. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 8:48
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    The word is used in the book ‘Ili Kaptis Elzan’. (I agree, malsanulejo should be preferred.) Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 9:46
  • I agree. I think although it make completely sense in daily usage, one should avoid it, since it came from the time when Esperanto absorbed too many vocabularies from early European learners into its lexicon.
    – leoelazio
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 23:58

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