In various scientific fields, there is a notion of sources and sinks for describing some kinds of flows or circulations. For instance, carbon dioxide is emitted by carbon sources (combustion, cement production) and sequestrated in carbon sinks (forest, oceans). Similarily, an electric field is represented with lines oriented from sources (positive charges) to sinks (negative charges).

Source translates easily as fonto. But what about sink?

In German, carbon sink is Kohlenstoffsenke (Senke means a geological depression). In French, it is puits de carbone (puits = well). In each case a water/hydrological metaphor is used.

My proposition is elfluejo (and accordingly karbonelfluejo), which retains the metaphor.

Any better idea?

2 Answers 2


I think malfonto is quite natural here. You can use it for flows of liquids, for global circulation of carbon, for electric and other fields in physics or for vector fields in pure mathematics.

Elfluejo could be both source and sink depending on your point of view. Maybe forfluejo would be more unambiguous.

  • What about alfluejo? Would it work? Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 8:32
  • To me alfluejo would be at least equally ambiguous, even implying source rather than sink. Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 9:05
  • Indeed, malfonto is easily understandable and makes the symmetry clear.
    – Sambuko
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 9:33

I don't have enough knowledge in this field to evaluate what would be relevant. In computer science, specialy in the compiler domain, one may use fonto/celo to transalte "source/target", for example in this Internaciigo de komputilaj programoj course.

I tend to prefer to avoid analogical vocabulary when I'm inspired with a terminology which offer broader genericity. For example one may use "origin" rather than "source", to avoid the "conceit trap". You may then use "termination" or whatever antonym you may like with possibility to add "pre-" "post-" and other lexemes of generic progression. I guess in esperanto it's even far easier with all the standard affixes.

Now, more specicaly, here are my trials:

  • carbon sources: karbonaj fontoj/generantoj/emisiantoj/elasanto
  • carbon sinks: karbonaj sorbantoj/retenantoj

Thus said, the proposed *elfluejo, forfluejo, and malfonto* all seems good to me.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.