In my native language, smartphone is a loanword. In Esperanto, I'd expect a kunmetaĵo. So far, I haven't seen any standard, and this surprises me. I've considered saĝtelefono, ruztelefono and inteligenta telefono. Are any of them right? How should I say smartphone?

  • If the translations would still have been rare, one could have proposed teleilo as generalisation of telefono and shortening (aŭtomobilo/aŭto, aŭtobuso/buso + ~fono -> anything). But there are already too many translations.
    – Joop Eggen
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 8:20

9 Answers 9


Komputiltelefono is a kunmetaĵo built according to normal Esperanto rules and doesn't calque the very specific uses of the English words "smart" and "intelligent". It's easy to understand and some people already use it; Google gives a few hits.

The word is quite long, but keep in mind that in most contexts you can just say telefono. The use of komputiltelefono can be restricted to cases where you need to stress that you are talking only about smartphones and excluding all other phones.


I am not sure if there is a real need (outside marketing) to have a proper word for this, so I would go for poŝtelefono, or moderna poŝtelefono (if the poŝtelefono needs to be recent enough to be able to download an app, for exemple).

  • 1
    I've actually needed it a couple of times. "Mia amiko nur uzas telegramon per la komputilo cxar sxi ne havas ..." or "La onklino pli sxatis sxian malnovan posxtelefonon, cxi tiu ... estis al sxi tro komplika" Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 23:16
  • I think Duolingo teaches students the word posxtelefono.
    – leoelazio
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 18:20

Poŝtelefono. I agree with Vanege - no need to literally translate all marketing terms from any language (unless internationalised already). Computer means any age computing device from main to personal, old/smart...

My 1st 'smart'phone was Siemens from 2001 Java/SD card/PC connectable mobile telephone, which is now dumb compared to recent ones. If we can call mobile telephone a device that does much more than transferring voice, why call smartphone something that in few years becomes dumb for the new generation. To specify non 'smart'phone I would say old mobile = Malnova Poŝtelefono. Same telephones with different version OS cannot run the same programs. Let Esperanto simplify the messy synonyms that English introduces.


ReVo proposes kompufono, among others. It is not really a kunmetaĵo, rather a merge between komputilo and telefono (a new root, in fact). But it conveys well the idea of a phone integrating the capacities of a computer. Saĝtelefono and inteligenta telefono are a bit inappropriate, since the device itself can not be said saĝa / inteligenta, only the people who designed it could be.


Another good, but slang, term that I have heard used is kromcerbo, which literally translates to "spare brain" (built from krom: extra, and cerb: brain).


Opinions differ. I tend to agree with Lee Miller who says that usage here has not stabilized. I just say poŝtelefono. I've also heard saĝtelefono if you're looking for a literal translation from English.

  • 2
    But „saĝa” means „posedanta ĝustan juĝkapablon”. This word is simply wrong. Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 7:20
  • I would tend to agree. (Mi plene konsentas.) That's why I say simply poŝtelefono :-) Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 11:03

Aptelefono. The main difference between these phones and previous types of mobile phones is that it is possible to install apps on the. By now, the neologism apo for "app" is well-established (certainly the language app Amikumu created by Esperantists has contributed to this, as it was advertised as an apo in Esperanto publications). Given that this allows to express the idea of a smartphone very concisely and clearly, I think it is to be preferred over other possible choices.

Of course, in most contexts it is enough to say telefono or, if necessary, poŝtelefono. The more precise term aptelefono should be reserved to context in which this level of precision is really required.


En Monato aperas ankaŭ la termino lerta telefono, kiu laŭ mi pli taŭgas ol saĝa telefono. Saĝa signifas „Posedanta ĝustan juĝkapablon” kaj telefonoj ne tre kapablas juĝi.

Ĝenerale tamen poŝtelefono sufiĉas. Apenaŭ plu ekzistas poŝtelefonoj, kiuj ne estas lertaj.

Aliaj sinonimoj: aptelefono (telefono, kiu uzas apojn, tio estas malgrandaj aplikaĵoj), karestelefono (ĉar la ekranon oni ofte kvazaŭ karesas por iri al alia parto de la menuo).

  • Indas aldoni ĵusan decidon de la redaktoraro de Monato: „Uzu simple „poŝtelefono” por ĉiaj nun modernaj tiaj telefonoj. Se nepre necesas distingi inter malnova poŝtelefono kaj poŝtelefono kun tuŝekrano, oni povas aldoni iun priskribon, kiel „moderna telefono”, „lerta telefono”. La vorton „saĝtelefono” la redaktoraro opinias erara. Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 7:18


As there is some disagreement, why not a neologism smartfono? It is quite understandable internationally - and neologisms are an acceptable way to extend Esperanto.

  • Easy on novices to Esperanto.
  • Evades some discussions on correctness of terms, abbreviations, new roots.
  • Is a more safe solution than betting that one term wins general acceptance - here. On the other hand picking one choice is like voting for it.
  • The term poŝtelefono / telefoneto is more general - so does not fit.

The discussion shows a wish for language purity and in case of kompufono maybe a evasion of an English loanword. However it should not enforce learning more without an aha effect as with for instance the not mentioned komputofono. Having some wrong terms out there, simply falling back to a neologism is worth the effort. It has not done any damage to have both hospitalo and malsanulejo.

  • 1
    Smartfono is not necessarily easy for novices to understand. For example, the Chinese word for smartphone is not an English loanword, so Chinese Esperantists will likely have an easier time understanding kompufono, komputofono or (as I suggested) komputiltelefono, which are built from Esperanto roots.
    – miĥaŭ
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 14:08
  • @miĥaŭ that would be a general argument for logic combinations, like sidilo instead of seĝo (+), or rastrumero instead of pikselo (-). In this case smartfono would probably recognized in the majority of languages. Komputofono is also nice however. The argument is between neologism = easier to learn/recognize & shorter and regular combination = easy to understand/more logical. Saĝtelefono I would call dubious jargon (though not rare). Komputofono is fine, Smartfono is an adequate loanword. IMHO
    – Joop Eggen
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 14:44

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