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Old August 25th, 2019, 04:43 PM
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Default Traveller slang

A few ideas for slang or sayings form the traveller universe that you or your players could use as flavour or for immersion. suggestions and additions are of course welcome:

Mods, if you feel this isn't the right forum, then please feel free to move it.

Starless: someone who is starless is a person who was born in jumpspace. the term originated with the church of Stellar Divinity (who consider the sacred link between a person and "their" star to be the core tenant of the faith), but has since spread beyond the church into general usage. given the ability of Stellar tech level medicine to predict and control pregnancy and childbirth, starless children are very rare, but the sheer numbers of people moving around the Imperium still mean that their are millions of "starless" people born in the imperium.

GROPOS: "Ground Pounder". originally a Terran term for ground forces, it has since changed meaning to refer to anyone who has never left their home planet and been to space or travelled the stars. Implies a level of naivety and/or ignorance to the reality of interstellar life, and is thus mildly insulting.

Scarred Hands: A person with scarred hands is a boastful but cowardly being, quick to make threats but just as quick to fold them in the face of actual opposition. the expression originates from the Sword Worlds, and is attested to at least the 1st Frontier war. At that time, their was a tradition on some of the Sword Worlds of "blood knives", combat knives that, once drawn, must taste blood before they can honourably be sheathed. If a man drew his blood knife for a fight, but then backed down, he would have to cut his own hand in order to satisfy honour. Thus, a man with many scars on his hands was a man who often threatened with his knife, but just as often had to feed his knife his own blood.


Ka’tai: trokh expression, meaning "It is fitting", and ritual response to many formal requests. Gained traction as loan word in the Spinward marches and the Trojan Reach, where it is as a general affirmative expression (similar to "yes" or "OK").

Alkhalikoi-ko: Trokh word, literally translating to "Alkhalikoi himself", and meaning "the head of clan Alkhalikoi". Used by some more traditional Aslan to refer to the Emperor, normally those with the least experience of the imperium itself, who are projecting Aslan cultural norms onto the Imperium, and seeing it as just another clan, albeit a extremely large one. The use of the -ko suffix to indicate the head of the family is carried on down to the rest of the nobility (with at least one aslan diplomat reffering to Duke Norris as Aledon-ko)

Father: the Security services and law enforcement in general, but specifically the Port Authority Police Arm (PAPA). The term has historically been associated with the Solomani, and it use is often seen as an affection by those not of solomani descent.


As sincere as a Aslan vegetarian: completely untrustworthy. While the Aslan are biologically capable of deriving substance from some forms of fruit, nuts and such, the strong cultural concept that the only proper food for a Aslan is meat, the fresher the better, and still alive if possible, mean that the idea of a Aslan willingly choosing to forgoe meat is almost comically unbelievable.

Vargr freindship: a Vargr friendship is one that lasts only as long as it is beneficial for both parties. As soon as it become apparent that one of the friends is about to face significant hardship with no sign of payoff, the friendship is doomed. However, those in a vargr friendship generally recognise that it is purely an alliance of convenience, and are not surprised or particularly upset when it ends.

Lies like a Zhodani: a extremely bad liar, so bad the only explanation is they grew up inside the Consultate (or at least the pop culture version of the Consulate), where the prevalence of telepaths makes lying an impossible and therefore unknown skill.

Dropping the Hammer: Marine nickname for orbital fire support, especially kinetic railgun strikes. Marine fire support vessel often have radio callsigns that envoke hammers.

Dressed: Marine term for wearing Battle Dress. Several urban legends tell tales of recently graduated officers waking a marine up on exercise or deployment, ordering the marine to "go get dressed", only to find said marine had taken this as a command to don Battle Dress.

Suited and Booted: Imperial Army term of wearing Battle Dress. Less well known than the IMC nickname, but used almost to the exclusion of the marine "Dressed", and is seen as a type of shibboleth to distinguish the Army from the Marines.
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"Tommy", Rudyard Kipling

Last edited by Xerxeskingofking; August 26th, 2019 at 04:07 AM..
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Old August 25th, 2019, 05:31 PM
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Good imagination. Thank you for sharing them.

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Old August 25th, 2019, 09:50 PM
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"Flatlander" - a civilian who has never been off his planet of birth. In use during those eras when "Gropos" still implied members of a military unit. If their home planet is especially human-friendly, the word also implies the person will not know how to react to more dangerous environments.

(Original word shamelessly stolen from Larry Niven's 'Known Space' novels.)
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Old August 25th, 2019, 11:55 PM
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Hilton: Generic name for hotel.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 04:57 AM
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Dirtsider: A sophont who remains on their planet; usually reserved for terrestrial planets with dry land, else ‘swimmer’ is used.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 07:03 AM
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(alredy presented in other threads about similar subjects):

Hijos de perra: despective/insulting word for the Vargr, mostly for enemy ones. Takes from Spanish (being IIRC, the second most influential language in Galanglic, though I cannot remember the exact reference), literal translation would be "sons of a female dog", thoug is usually equivalent to the ENglish SOB.

K9: term used to refer to a Vargr military unit. Initially despective, it has lost this hue with time. Origin uncertain, some claim from a Solomani pre 3I language, though others claim this not to be posible ,as the Solomani didn't have enough contact with the Vargr t odevelop this term before 3I.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 10:14 AM
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Landsman: Alternative for flatlander, dirtsider. Often used to refer to apprentice spacers who weren't born into spacer families. The moniker seldom persists past demonstrable acclimation to shipboard life and micro-G environs.

"That addlepated landsman is right fortunate to berth in an interior compartment... they'd probably try to sleep with an open window, otherwise."

Last edited by wbuthod; August 26th, 2019 at 10:15 AM.. Reason: resolved implicit conflict in definition and example usage
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Old August 26th, 2019, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking View Post
Starless: someone who is starless is a person who was born in jumpspace. the term originated with the church of Stellar Divinity (who consider the sacred link between a person and "their" star to be the core tenant of the faith), but has since spread beyond the church into general usage. given the ability of Stellar tech level medicine to predict and control pregnancy and childbirth, starless children are very rare, but the sheer numbers of people moving around the Imperium still mean that their are millions of "starless" people born in the imperium.
I like the idea, but curious how this is used.

On the one hand, it's nice and symbolic. "How do the astrologists deal with starless people."

On the other, I assume that the child born is born under the flag that the ship flies under.

This opens up the entire can of worm regarding ship registry.

Finally, the child may be born in to the family that they're born to.

So, just curious how this works in practice.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
So, just curious how this works in practice.
IMTU, that's a superstitious thing. Contradictory rumors say that "starless" captains and astrogators are good/bad luck, crazy, possessed, statistically more/less often psionic, etc.

Oh, that reminds me:

Honeymooner: An engineer, particularly a senior one newly assigned to a starship, who spends the first few months living in the engineering spaces with or without the captain's approval. Its a common belief that an engineer thus learns every little hum, squeak, buzz and rumble of the ship, and combined with actual engineering knowledge and ability, facilitates optimal operation and proactive maintenance. This superstitious practice is frowned upon by deck officers in certain, more "rational" services.

"Ignore that rolled up blanket and hammock hidden under the starboard engineering companionway riser in frame 22. If the XO sees it..."

Last edited by wbuthod; August 26th, 2019 at 01:11 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old August 26th, 2019, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
I like the idea, but curious how this is used.

On the one hand, it's nice and symbolic. "How do the astrologists deal with starless people."

On the other, I assume that the child born is born under the flag that the ship flies under.

This opens up the entire can of worm regarding ship registry.

Finally, the child may be born in to the family that they're born to.

So, just curious how this works in practice.
well, taking a page from real life rules about people born in international waters, the child generally assumes the citizenship of the parents, and then the citizenship of the ships registration (if the parents nation has citizenship rules that prohibit the child for some reason).


anyway, more slang:

EVA DIVA: pronounced to rhyme, an EVA diva is someone who is excessively nervous or unwilling to profrom EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity, aka "spacewalks"). Generally, this term is only applied to people who, by the nature of their position and experience, should be quite comfortable in a vacc suit in hard vacuum, but are not.


Wolf grin: the humourless, predatory baring of teeth that a Vargr does when they first meet a potential rival, as a method of intimidation. Also applied to the equivalent human facial expressions used in the same context.
Cubbing: the jostling for position between junior members of a pack or gang, as they argue and posture like a bunch of Vargr cubs.

as soft as an Alell judge: extremely harsh, draconian justice, applied arbitrarily, with no compassion or consideration to extenuating circumstances. Alell (Spinward Marches 1706) has a proverbially strict law enforcement system, and particularly the determination of guilt and sentencing, which is done by hard-coded computerised judge programs that take a purely factual detemination, then assign guilt and punishment, without human intervention. the results are then read out to the involved parties, who have no recourse to appeal the decisions.
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Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

"Tommy", Rudyard Kipling
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