mu'qaD veS - Curse Warfare

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No discussion of tlhIngan Hol would be complete without a discussion of its famous verbal game, mu'qaD veS curse warfare; one of the Klingon Empire's most enjoyable pastimes.

mu'qaD veS is more than just a couple of sparring partners slinging verbal abuse at one another: mu'qaD veS is a test of great skill in Klingon of Shakespearean proportions. The verbal play of full-blown mu'qaD veS is a thing of awe.

Consider the following classic Klingon mu'qaD veS insults, which are venerable old favourites:-

Dejpu'bogh Hov rur qablIjYour face looks like a collapsed star!
HoS lI' Dalo'Ha'chu'You are a total waste of good energy!
ghe'torDaq luSpet 'oH DaqlIj'e'You belong in a black hole in the Netherworld!
Hab SoSlI' QuchYour mother has a smooth forehead!

Those four are classic insults, particularly the last comment - to the point where any mu'qaD veS session is effectively considered to be won by the Klingon who utters it.

Coming up with new insults is considered the truest mark of honour among those who can use the Klingon language for more than merely to give commands in battle. In order to develop your own style in mu'qaD veS, here are a few pointers.

Insult Your Opponent's Appearance and Physiology

Despite what non-Klingons think, Klingons are as proud of their appearance as any other race. Their standards of beauty, however, are a tad different.

Klingon warriors value long beards and hair as a mark of courage - long hair and beards can be grabbed in battle, but the truly courageous warrior who wears his hair and beard long is showing that he doesn't care about the potential tactical disadvantage that entails.

Klingons also value their foreheads, and prefer them to be gloriously and elaborately ridged. A smooth forehead is a throwback to a black period in recent Klingon history, one which Klingons are reluctant to discuss - it is tlhIngan Soj a Klingon matter. It doesn't stop Klingons from using it as an insult, though.

Lastly, Klingons value their noses as much as their foreheads, and consider a shiny nose to be a mark of gullibility. To "shine a Klingon's nose" is to call them, in effect, lacking in some vital spark in the spirit that makes one a Klingon, to the point where some Klingons are known to warn non-Klingons against attempts at deception with the phrase ghIchwIj DabochmoHchugh ghIchlIj qanob If you shine my nose, I will give you your nose.

Try some of the following insults.

ghIch DaHutlhmo' ghIchlIj bochmoHlaH paghNobody can shine your nose ... because you don't have a nose!
rol Hutlhbogh SuSDeqYou beardless windbag!
qablIjDaq Huy'Du' bIH'a' ghewmey bIH'a'Are those eyebrows on your face or caterpillars?
rollIjDaq SeptaH ghIlab ghewmeyYour beard is a nesting place for glob flies!

Insult Your Opponent's Behaviour and Preferences

It is important here to remember that to insult a Klingon's behaviour and quirks is one thing: to impugn his honour and willingness to put up a physical fight is something else. Insult a Klingon's honour and you cross the line from mu'qaD veS into veS war.

With that in mind, what quirks could you bring up to insult a Klingon's behaviours and preferences?

Klingons like their bloodwine warm, their toasts forceful, their food unburnt, they would prefer to drink weak anything, even root beer, to water and - most of all - they value aggressiveness, decisiveness, accuracy, straightforwardness and strength in all things. And they disdain their opposite qualities - mercy, docility, indecisiveness, indirectness, inefficiency, vagueness and a tendency to talk about nothing in particular.

bIr HIvje'lIj Daq 'Iw HIqThe bloodwine in your glass is cold!
tuj qIvonlIj 'ej bIr 'IwlIjYour kivon is hot and your blood is running cold!
ghu bol bIH mu'meylIj'e'Your words are baby drool!
'awje' DamaSYou prefer root beer!
qagh DaSopDI' qagh Hegh DamaSYou prefer your gagh to be dead!
Soj meQta'bogh yISopEat some burnt food!
DoS DachIltaHYou keep missing the target!
bIQ DareghYou bleed water!
vogh bIQ yIQalGo and swim in some water somewhere!
bIQ'a'Daq 'oH DaqlIj'e'You belong in the sea!

Insult Your Opponent's Physique and Physiology

Klingons detest tribbles (yIH tribble) and even to mention tribbles in a conversation can produce expressions of distaste and disdain amongst Klingons, who consider them lI'be' useless, lamqu' filthy and 'up disgusting.

The qualities tribbles exhibit - softness, fluffiness - are disagreeable in the extreme to Klingons. How better to insult the living qivon out of them, then, than to disparage them accordingly?

tunqu' jIblIjYour head hair is very soft.
bIjatlhDI' yIH ghogh vIQoyYour voice is like a tribble's purr!
tIqlIjDaq yIH tu'lu'You have a tribble where your heart is!

A Final Riposte

Most readers of this blog are likely to have smooth foreheads - those who do not, have no need to read this blog.

To have the insult Your mother has a smooth forehead thrown at you, in this case, would really not be an insult at all to you - it is a fact. However, if you are the recipient of the insult Hab SoSlI' Quch, as Terrans you uniquely qualify for access to one final riposte which you can launch at your opponent, even as he is gearing up to celebrate his mu'qaD veS victory, and it is this.

mutIch Quch Habbogh vavwI', vavwI' po' law' SoH po' puSMy mother with a smooth forehead can throw better insults than you!

With this parting shot, you can turn the most hard-earned mu'qaD veS yay' Curse warfare victory into a Pyrrhic one.

bach Qav Parting Shot

Armed with this knowledge of Klingon, you are now ready - if not to win a bout of mu'qaD veS - then certainly to hold your own in verbal battle. Qapla'!

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