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See also Fremen Phrases.


Aba: loose robe worn by Fremen women and Bene Gesserit reverend mothers; usually black.
Ach: left turn: a worm steersman's call.
Alam al-mithal: the mystical world of similitudes where all physical limitations are removed.
Almuta: A city fremen undergoing desert training. Almuta and Ha'Muj
Amtal or Amtal rule: a common rule on primitive worlds under which something is tested to determine its limits or defects. Commonly: testing to destruction.


Bakka: in Fremen legend, the weeper who mourns for all mankind.
Baliset: a nine-stringed musical instrument, lineal descendant of the zithra, tuned to the Chusuk scale and played by strumming. Favorite instrument of Imperial troubadours.
Baradye pistol: a static-charge dust gun developed on Arrakis for laying down a large dye marker area on sand.
Bled: flat, open desert.
Bourka: insulated mantle worn by Fremen in the open desert.


Carryall: a very large ornithopter used to transport spice mining, hunting, and refining equipment.
Catchpocket: any stillsuit pocket where filtered water is caught and stored.
Chakobsa: the so-called 'magnetic language' derived in part from the ancient Bhotani (Bhotani Jib–jib meaning dialect). A collection of ancient dialects modified by needs of secrecy, but chiefly the hunting language of the Bhotani, the hired assassins of the first Wars of Assassins.
Chaumas: (Aumas in some dialects): poison in solid food as distinguished from poison administered in some other way.
Chaumurky: (Musky or Murky in some dialects): poison administered in a drink.
Cherem: a brotherhood of hate (usually for revenge).
Cielago: any modified Chiroptera of Arrakis adapted to carry distrans messages.
Coriolis storm: any major sandstorm on Arrakis where winds across the open flatlands are amplified by the planet's own revolutionary motion to reach speeds up to 700 kilometers per hour.
Council Gathering: an assembly of naibs and reverend mothers, to arrive at decisions involving all the tribes of Dune.
Cutteray: short-range version of lasgun used mostly as a cutting tool and surgeon's scalpel.
Crysknife: the sacred knife of the Fremen on Arrakis. It is manufactured in two forms from teeth taken from dead sandworms. The two forms are 'fixed' and 'unfixed.' An unfixed knife requires proximity to a human body's electrical field to prevent disintegration. Fixed knives are treated for storage. All are about 20 centimeters long.


Death tripod: originally, the tripod upon which desert executioners hanged their victims. By usage: the three members of a Cherem sworn to the same revenge.
Derch: right turn, a worm steersman's call.
Dew collectors or Dew precipitators: not to be confused with dew gatherers. Collectors or precipitators are egg-shaped devices about four centimeters on the long axis. They are made of chromoplastic that turns a reflecting white when subjected to light, and reverts to transparency in darkness. The collector forms a markedly cold surface upon which dawn dew will precipitate. They are used by Fremen to line concave planting depressions where they provide a small but reliable source of water.
Dew gatherers: workers who reap dew from the plants of Arrakis, using a scythelike dew reaper.
Distrans: a device for producing a temporary neural imprint on the nervous system of Chiroptera or birds. The creature's normal cry then carries the message imprint which can be sorted from that carrier wave by another distrans.
Doorseal: a portable plastic hermetic seal used for moisture security in Fremen overday cave camps.
Drum sand: impaction of sand in such a way that any sudden blow against its surface produces a distinct drum sound.
Dunemen: idiomatic for open sand workers, spice hunters and the like on Arrakis. Sandworkers. Spiceworkers.
Dust chasm: any deep crevasse or depression on the desert of Arrakis that has been filled with dust not apparently different from the surrounding surface; a deadly trap because human or animal will sink in it and smother.


Ecaz: fourth planet of Alpha Centauri B; the sculptors' paradise, so called because it is the home of fogwood, the plant growth capable of being shaped in situ solely by the power of human thought.
El-sayal: the “rain of sand.” A fall of dust which has been carried to medium altitude (around 2,000 meters) by a coriolis storm. El-sayals frequently bring moisture to ground level.
Erg: an extensive dune area, a sea of sand.


Fai: the water tribute, chief species of tax on Arrakis.
Filt-plug: a nose filter unit worn with a stillsuit to capture moisture from the exhaled breath.
Fire, pillar of: a simple pyrocket for signaling across the open desert.
First moon: the major satellite of Arrakis, first to rise in the night; notable for a distinct human fist pattern on its surface.
Freetraders: idiomatic for smugglers.
Fremen: the free tribes of Arrakis, dwellers in the desert, remnants of the Zensunni Wanderers. ('Sand Pirates' according to the Imperial Dictionary.)
Fremkit: desert survival kit of Fremen manufacture.
Frigate: largest spaceship that can be grounded on a planet and taken off in one piece.


Galach: official language of the Imperium. Hybrid Inglo-Slavic with strong traces of cultural-specialization terms adopted during the long chain of human migrations.
Gathering: distinguished from Council Gathering. It is a formal convocation of Fremen leaders to witness a combat that determines tribal leadership. (A Council Gathering is an assembly to arrive at decisions involving all the tribes.)
Geyrat: straight ahead; a worm steersman's call.
Ghafla: giving oneself up to gadfly distractions. Thus: a changeable person, one not to be trusted.
Ghanima: something acquired in battle or single combat. Commonly, a memento of combat kept only to stir the memory.
Glowglobe: suspensor-buoyed illuminating device, self-powered (usually by melange spice mass; a device of the second stage in spice refining).
Graben: a long geological ditch formed when the ground sinks because of movements in the underlying crustal layers.
Great Mother: the horned goddess, the feminine principle of space (commonly: Mother Space), the feminine face of the male-female-neuter trinity accepted as Supreme Being by many religions within the Imperium.
Gridex plane: a differential-charge separator used to remove sand from the melange spice mass; a device of the second stage in spice refining.
Guild: the Spacing Guild, one leg of the political tripod maintaining the Great Convention. The Guild was the second mental-physical training school (see Bene Gesserit) after the Butlerian Jihad. The Guild monopoly on space travel and transport and upon international banking is taken as the beginning point of the Imperial Calendar.


Haiiiii-yoh!: command to action; worm steersman's call.
Hajj: holy journey.
Hajr: desert journey, migration.
Hajra: journey of seeking.
Hal yawm: “Now! At Last!” a Fremen exclamation.
Ha'Muj: A city fremen that has survived desert training and been accepted into a sietch. Almuta and Ha'Muj
Harvester or Harvester factory: a large (often 120 meters by 40 meters) spice mining machine commonly employed on rich, uncontaminated melange blows. (Often called a 'crawler' because of buglike body on independent tracks.)
Heighliner: major cargo carrier of the Spacing Guild's transportation system.
Hiereg: temporary Fremen desert camp on open sand.
Holtzman effect: the negative repelling effect of a shield generator.
Hookman: Fremen with maker hooks prepared to catch a sandworm.
Hunter-seeker: a ravening sliver of suspensor-buoyed metal guided as a weapon by a nearby control console; common assassination device.


Ibad, eyes of: characteristic effect of a diet high in melange wherein the whites and pupils of the eyes turn a deep blue (indicative of deep melange addiction). The more a person uses melange, the darker the blue. Hence a desert Fremen's eyes will be darker than those of a city Fremen.
Ibn qirtaiba: 'Thus go the holy words …' Formal beginning to Fremen religious incantation (derived from panoplia propheticus).
Ichwan bedwine: the brotherhood of all Fremen on Arrakis.
Ijaz: prophecy that by its very nature cannot be denied; immutable prophecy.
Ikhut-eigh!: cry of the water-seller on Arrakis (etymology uncertain). See Soo-Soo Sook!


Jubba cloak: the all-purpose cloak (it can be set to reflect or admit radiant heat, converts to a hammock or shelter) commonly worn over a stillsuit on Arrakis.


Karama: a miracle; an action initiated by the spirit world.
Kedem: The inner desert
Khala: traditional invocation to still the angry spirits of a place whose name you mention.
Kindjal: double-bladed short sword (or long knife) with about 20 centimeters of slightly curved blade.
Kiswa: any figure or design from Fremen mythology.
Kitab al-ibar: the combined survival handbook/religious manual developed by the Fremen on Arrakis.
Krimskell fiber or Krimskell rope: the 'claw fiber' woven from strands of the hufuf 'vine from Ecaz. Knots tied in krimskell will claw tighter and tighter to preset limits when the knot-lines are pulled. (For a more detailed study, see Holjance Vohnbrook's 'The Strange Vines of Ecaz.')
Kull wahad!: 'I am profoundly stirred!' A sincere exclamation of surprise common in the Imperium. Strict interpretation depends on context.


La, la, la: Fremen cry of grief. (La translates as ultimate denial, a 'no' from which you cannot appeal.)
Lasgun: continuous-wave laser projector. Its use as a weapon is limited in a field-generator-shield culture because of the explosive pyrotechnics (technically, subatomic fusion) created when its beam intersects a shield.
Liban: Fremen liban is spice water infused with yucca flour. Originally a sour milk drink.
Lisan-al-Gaib: 'The Voice from the Outer World.' In Fremen messianic legends, an off-world prophet. Sometimes translated as 'Giver of Water.' (See Mahdi.)
Literjon: a one-liter container for transporting water on Arrakis; made of high-density, shatterproof plastic with positive seal.
Little maker: the half-plant-half-animal deep-sand vector of the Arrakis sandworm. The little maker's excretions form the pre-spice mass.


Mahdi: in the Fremen messianic legend, “The One Who Will Lead Us to Paradise.”
Maker: see Shai-hulud.
Maker hooks: the hooks used for capturing, mounting, and steering a sandworm of Arrakis.
Mantene: underlying wisdom, supporting argument, first principle.
Maula pistol: spring-loaded gun for firing poison darts; range about forty meters.
Melange: the 'spice of spices,' the crop for which Arrakis is the unique source. The spice, chiefly noted for its geriatric qualities, is mildly addictive when taken in small quantities, severely addictive when imbibed in quantities above two grams daily per seventy kilos of body weight. Its price on the Imperial market has ranged as high as 620,000 Solaris the decagram.
Mentat: that class of Imperial citizens trained for supreme accomplishments of logic. 'Human computers.'
Mihna: the season for testing Fremen youths who wish admittance to manhood.
Muad'dib: the adapted kangaroo mouse of Arrakis, a creature associated in the Fremen earth-spirit mythology with a design visible on the planet's second moon. This creature is admired by Fremen for its ability to survive in the open desert.
Mudir Nahya: the Fremen name for Beast Rabban (Count Rabban of Lankiveil), the siridar governor on Arrakis. The name is often translated as 'Demon Ruler.'
Muzein Wallah!: Mu zein literally means 'nothing good,' and wallah is a reflexive terminal exclamation. In this traditional opening for a Fremen curse against an enemy, Wallah turns the emphasis back upon the words Mu zein, producing the meaning: 'Nothing good, never good, good for nothing.'


Naib: one who has sworn never to be taken alive by the enemy; traditional oath of a Fremen leader.
Nezhoni scarf: the scarf-pad worn at the forehead beneath the stillsuit hood by married or 'associated' Fremen women after birth of a son.


Oil lens: hufuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube as part of a magnifying or other light-manipulation system. Because each lens element can be adjusted individually one micron at a time, the oil lens is considered the ultimate in accuracy for manipulating visible light.
Ornithopter: (commonly: 'thopter): any aircraft capable of sustained wing-beat flight in the manner of birds.
Out-freyn: Galach for 'immediately foreign,' that is: not of your immediate community, not of the select.


Pan: on Arrakis, any low-lying region or depression created by the subsiding of the underlying basement complex. (On planets with sufficient water, a pan indicates a region once covered by open water. Arrakis is believed to have at least one such area, although this remains open to argument.)
Paracompass: any compass that determines direction by local magnetic anomaly; used where relevant charts are available and where a planet's total magnetic field is unstable or subject to masking by severe magnetic storms.
Plasteel: steel which has been stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal structure.
Poling the sand: the art of placing plastic and fiber poles in the open desert wastes of Arrakis and reading the patterns etched on the poles by sandstorms as a clue to weather prediction.
Pre-spice mass: the stage of fungusoid wild growth achieved when water is flooded into the excretions of little makers. At this stage, the spice of Arrakis forms a characteristic 'blow,' exchanging the material from deep underground for the matter on the surface above it. This mass, after exposure to sun and air, becomes melange.
Pyons: planet-bound peasants or laborers, one of the base classes under the Faufreluches. Legally: wards of the planet. Used by desert Fremen as a derogotary term for city Fremen.


Qanat: an open canal for carrying irrigation water under controlled conditions through a desert.


Ramadhan: ancient religious period marked by fasting and prayer; traditionally, the ninth month of the solar-lunar calendar. Fremen mark the observance according to the ninth meridian-crossing cycle of the first moon.
Razzia: A raid, usually against Harkonnens.
Recaths: body-function tubes linking the human waste disposal system to the cycling filters of a stillsuit.
Repkit: repair and replacement essentials for a stillsuit.
Reverend mother: originally, a proctor of the Bene Gesserit, one who has transformed an 'illuminating poison' within her body, raising herself to a higher state of awareness. Title adopted by Fremen for their own religious leaders who accomplished a similar 'illumination.'
Rimwall: second upper step of the protecting bluffs on the Shield Wall of Arrakis.
Ruh-spirit: in Fremen belief, that part of the individual which is always rooted in (and capable of sensing) the metaphysical world.


Sadus: judges. The Fremen title refers to holy judges, equivalent to saints.
Sandcrawler: general term for machinery designed to operate on the Arrakis surface in hunting and collecting melange.
Sandmaster: general superintendent of spice operations.
Sandrider: Fremen term for one who is capable of capturing and riding a sandworm.
Sandsnork: breathing device for pumping surface air into a sandcovered stilltent.
Sandtide: idiomatic for a dust tide: the variation in level within certain dust-filled basins on Arrakis due to gravitational effects of sun and satellites.
Sandwalker: any Fremen trained to survive in the open desert.
Sandworm: See Shai-Hulud.
Sarfa: the act of turning away from God.
Sayyadina: feminine acolyte in the Fremen religious hierarchy.
Second moon: the smaller of the two satellites of Arrakis, noteworthy for the kangaroo mouse figure in its surface markings.
Servok: clock-set mechanism to perform simple tasks; one of the limited “automatic” devices permitted after the Butlerian Jihad.
Shadout: well-dipper, a Fremen honourific.
Shai-hulud: Sandworm of Arrakis, the 'Old Man of the Desert,' 'Old Father Eternity,' and 'Grandfather of the Desert.' Significantly, this name, when referred to in a certain tone or written with capital letters, designates the earth deity of Fremen hearth superstitions. Sandworms grow to enormous size (specimens longer than 400 meters have been seen in the deep desert) and live to great age unless slain by one of their fellows or drowned in water, which is poisonous to them. Most of the sand on Arrakis is credited to sandworm action.
Shaitan: Satan. Fremen may refer to sandworms as Shaitan if the worm has angered them.
Shield, defensive: the protective field produced by a Holtzman generator. This field derives from Phase One of the suspensor-nullification effect. A shield will permit entry only to objects moving at slow speeds (depending on setting, this speed ranges from six to nine centimeters per second) and can be shorted out only by a shire-sized electric field.
Shield Wall: a mountainous geographic feature in the northern reaches of Arrakis which protects a small area from the full force of the planet's coriolis storms.
Shigawire: metallic extrusion of a ground vine (Narvi narviium) grown only on Salusa Secundus and III Delta Kaising. It is noted for extreme tensile strength.
Sietch: Fremen: 'Place of assembly in time of danger.' Because the Fremen lived so long in peril, the term came by general usage to designate any cave warren inhabited by one of their tribal communities.
Sihaya: Fremen: the desert springtime with religious overtones implying the time of fruitfulness and 'the paradise to come.'
Sink: a habitable lowland area on Arrakis surrounded by high ground that protects it from the prevailing storms.
Sinkchart: map of the Arrakis surface laid out with reference to the most reliable paracompass routes between places of refuge.
Solari: official monetary unit of the Imperium, its purchasing power set at quatricentennial negotiations between the Guild, the Landsraad, and the Emperor.
Soo-soo sook!: water-seller's cry on Arrakis. Sook is a market place.
Spacing guild: see Guild.
Spice: see Melange.
Spice driver: any Dune man who controls and directs movable machinery on the desert surface of Arrakis.
Spice factory: see Sandcrawler.
Spotter control: the light ornithopter in a spice-hunting group charged with control of watch and protection.
Stillsuit: body-enclosing garment invented on Arrakis. Its fabric is a micro-sandwich performing functions of heat dissipation and filter for bodily wastes. Reclaimed moisture is made available by tube from catchpockets.
Stilltent: small sealable enclosure of micro-sandwich fabric designed to reclaim as potable water the ambient moisture discharged within it by the breath of its occupants.
Stunner: slow-pellet projectile weapon throwing a poison- or drug-tipped dart. Effectiveness limited by variations in shield settings and relative motion between target and projectile.
Subakh ul kuhar: 'Are you well?' a Fremen greeting.
Subakh un nar: 'I am well. And you?' traditional reply.
Suspensor: secondary (low-drain) phase of a Holtzman field generator. It nullifies gravity within certain limits prescribed by relative mass and energy consumption.


Tahaddi al-burhan: an ultimate test from which there can be no appeal (usually because it brings death or destruction).
Tahaddi challenge: Fremen challenge to mortal combat, usually to test some primal issue.
Taqwa: literally: “The price of freedom.” Something of great value. That which a deity demands of a mortal (and the fear provoked by the demand).
Tau, the: in Fremen terminology, that oneness of a sietch community enhanced by spice diet and especially the tau orgy of oneness elicited by drinking the Water of Life.
Test-mashad: any test in which honor (defined as spiritual standing) is at stake.
Thumper: short stake with spring-driven clapper at one end. The purpose: to be driven into the sand and set 'thumping' to summon shai-hulud.
Tidal dust basin: any of the extensive depressions in the surface of Arrakis which have been filled with dust over the centuries and in which actual dust tides (See Sandtides) have been measured.



Voice: that combined training originated by the Bene Gesserit which permits an adept to control others merely by selected tone shadings of the voice.


Wali: an untried Fremen youth.
Water burden: Fremen: a mortal obligation.
Watercounters: metal rings of different size, each designating a specific amount of water payable out of Fremen stores. Water-counters have profound significance (far beyond the idea of money) especially in birth, death, and courtship ritual.
Water discipline: that harsh training which fits the inhabitants of Arrakis for existence there without wasting moisture.
Waterman: a Fremen consecrated for and charged with the ritual duties surrounding water and the Water of Life.
Water of life: an 'illuminating' poison (See Reverend Mother). Specifically, that liquid exhalation of a sandworm produced at the moment of its death from drowning which is changed within the body of a Reverend Mother to become the narcotic used in the sietch tau orgy. An 'awareness spectrum' narcotic.
Watertube: any tube within a stillsuit or stilltent that carries reclaimed water into a catchpocket or from the catchpocket to the wearer.
Weather scanner: a person trained in the special methods of predicting weather on Arrakis, including ability to pole the sand and read the wind patterns.
Weirding: idiomatic: that which partakes of the mystical or of witchcraft.
Windtrap: a device placed in the path of a prevailing wind and capable of precipitating moisture from the air caught within it, usually by a sharp and distinct drop in temperature within the trap.



Yali: a Fremen's personal quarters within the sietch.
Ya! ya! yawm!: Fremen chanting cadence used in time of deep ritual significance. Ya carries the root meaning of 'Now pay attention!' The yawm form is a modified term calling for urgent immediacy. The chant is usually translated as 'Now, hear this!'


dune/dune_sourcebook/10terminology/start.txt · Last modified: 2022/06/06 13:29 by Robin