[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: 'etlh

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Thu Dec 3 13:16:01 PST 2020

Klingon Word of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2020

Klingon word: 'etlh
Part of speech: noun
Definition: sword, blade

yIntaHvIS qeylIS'e' lIjlaHbe'bogh vay' batlh 'etlhvam chenmoHlu'pu' 
this sword of honor descends from the time of Kahless the Unforgettable. (S8)

wa' jaj 'etlh 'uchchoHlaH tlhIngan puqloD; jajvetlh loD nen moj 
The son of a Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade. (TKW)

'etlh QorghHa'lu'chugh ragh 'etlh nIvqu' 'ej jejHa'choH 
Even the best blade will rust and grow dull unless it is cared for. (TKW)

naQjej 'etlh taj je 
spear, sword, and knife  (KGT)

tagha' pawpu' meb 'ach pumDI' 'etlh Heghpu' qagh 
The guest finally arrived, but by then the gagh had died. (st.k 11/1999)

qab yon Da'agh. qablIj yon yI'aghHa' 'aghHa'pa' 'etlhwIj. 
Scrape that smug look from your face before my blade does
 it for you. (STConst p.259)

nuch ghaH moratlh'e' […] 'etlhDaj tlha' 
Morath the coward jumped after his sword (PB)

qaStaHvIS wej rep pan qeylIS betleH 'ej jach molor 'etlh Hom 
And they battle, for three hours, Kahless's bat'leth sparks, and
 Molor's mighty sword roars. (PB)

QIStaq qul bIQtIqHomDaq 'etlhDaj vo' nuch 
The coward threw his sword into the fire streams of Kri'stak  (PB)

tIqDu'Daj DuQqu'meH qeylIS ma'veq cha' 'etlhmey jop 
Kahless impaled his hearts with the two blades of the mevak. (PB)

chay' 'etlh DoQ nuch | QongtaHbogh qup 'etlh nIH 
How does a coward claim a sword? By taking it from his
 sleeping father. (PB)

'etlh DoQDI' meQchu'pu' che'rupbogh 
his promised kingdom will be ash by the time he claims the sword (PB)

'urwI' HoHmeH ghopDu'Daj neH lo'meH qeylIS 'etlhDaj chagh 
And Kahless dropped his sword to kill the traitor with bare hands (PB)

qeylIS 'etlh Datlhapqa' 'e' DaQapbe' 
Fail to retrieve the Sword of Kahless.  (MKE)

(KGT 60f.):   The word 'etlh is used for sword in general, but it really means blade of any kind. The 'etlh, then, is a component of a knife and could be part of a spear as well. Another word normally translated sword, yan, is more specific, referring to swords (that is, weapons with long blades) only. There is also the verb yan, which means wield or manipulate (a sword). A swordfighter, then, would be a yanwI', literally a "sword wielder"); the word for the specific type of sword may be, but need not be, included. It is thus proper to say betleH yanwI' ("bat'leth wielder") or betleH yan ("He/she wields a bat'leth"). A 'etlh, even if primarily a weapon, may be used in other activities as well, such as hunting and even sculpting. Indeed, to restrict the use of a 'etlh to combat is to minimize the flexibility of its design. By the same token, a blade not designed as a weapon may be used as a weapon if need be, though to be attacked by a warrior wielding something that is normally classified as a tool is considered by some to be an insult to one's honor. 

(KGT 80):  In addition to the specialized tools, any blade ('etlh), even if designed for other purposes, may be used as a sculpting tool. Kahless himself is said to have used his bat'leth, the original "Sword of Honor," to carve a statue for the woman he loved, presumably Lukara.

(KGT 61f.):   The qutluch ... has a serrated blade (Ho' 'etlh [literally, tooth blade]), so it is particularly lethal.

(KGT 59):   Kahless created the name betleH, meaning "sword of honor." The word betleH is actually an archaic form. In contemporary Klingon, "sword of honor" would be batlh 'etlh, though this phrase is used almost exclusively as a translation or explanation of the older word, betleH.

(KGT 121f.):   The idiom bIQ'a'Daq 'oHtaH 'etlh'e' ("The sword is in the ocean") is used to mean that something has ended, that it is impossible to return to a prior condition, just as Kahless and Morath never spoke to each other again. The expression might be used, for example, in reference to a treaty that was just signed, suggesting that a former state of antagonism has ended forever. Of course, simply saying that something will last forever does not make it so. If an alliance ends, the phrase is equally apt: the era of peace has ended, and the sword is in the ocean--there is no going back.

(KGT 146f.):   this word [bochmoHwI'] is all that remains of an earlier expression,'etlh bochmoHwI' (blade shiner). It was originally used to refer to someone who shined somebody else's blade, as opposed to one's own, suggesting the idea of flattering a superior rather than simply doing one's own work. A nonslang equivalent might be naDwI' (one who praises), though this lacks the overtones of "self-serving".

(KGT 164):   [{SIj}] literally means slash, slit (with a blade). When used in its slang sense, it does not take an object…

(KGT 19):  [In the Krotmag Region] a sword is often termed yan 'etlh (or even 'etlh yan)--literally, "sword sword." 

cha’’etlh DaSwI’ 	tweezer (n)
cha''etlh pe'wI' 		scissors (n)
ghop 'etlh 		[a gutting tool] (n) KCD
Ho' 'etlh 		serrated blade (n)

tajHom 			"side blades" [i.e. of a {Daqtagh}] (n)

[Feel free to mention any relevant vocabulary or usage notes from
 the last year or so. I’ve fallen woefully behind in updating my notes.]
Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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