List of Dune terminology

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Mixed Canonicity: This article or section refers to elements from both Original Dune and Expanded Dune.

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The following is a list of terminology used in the Dune novels and associated work. Terms not formally defined in separate articles are marked in bold; topics requiring more extensive explanation are linked to the appropriate Main articles.


  • Aba ~ Loose, usually black robe worn by Fremen women.
  • Ach ~ is a worm-steersman's term for a left turn.
  • Abomination ~ Bene Gesserit term for one who acquires full consciousness in the womb as a result of being exposed to the spice agony.
  • Adab ~ the demanding memory that comes upon you itself.
  • Ajidamal (or Amal) ~ Disastrously-flawed synthetic spice melange created by the Tleilaxu's Project Amal before the process of producing spice in axlotl tanks was perfected.
  • Akarso ~ a plant native to Sikun ( of 70 Ophiuchi A ) characterized by oblong leaves. Its green and white stripes indicate the constant multiple condition of parallel active and dormant chlorophyll regions.
  • Alam al-Mithal ~ the mystical 'world of similitudes' where all physical limitations are removed.
  • Al-Lat ~ mankind's original sun; by usage: any planet's primary.
  • Ampoliros ~ the legendary "Flying Dutchman" of space.
  • 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.
  • Aql ~ the test of reason. Originally, the "Seven Mystic Questions" beginning: "Who is it that thinks?"
  • Arrakeen ~ the first settlement on Arrakis; long-time seat of planetary government
  • Arrakis ~ the planet known as Dune; third planet of Canopus.
  • Assassin's Handbook ~ third-century compilation of poisons commonly used in a War of Assassins. Later expanded to include those deadly devices permitted under the Guild Peace and the Great Convention.
  • Auliya ~ in the Zensunni Wanderers' religion, the female at the left hand of God; God's handmaiden.
  • Aumas ~ poison administered in food. ( Specifically: poison in solid food. ) In some dialects: Chaumas.
  • Axlotl tank ~ Biological tank in which gholas and melange were be produced, primarily by the Bene Tleilax.
  • Ayat ~ the signs of life. ( See Burhan. )


  • Bakka ~ in Fremen legend, the weeper who mourns for all mankind.
  • Baklawa ~ A type of pastry made with date syrup.
  • Baliset ~ Nine-stringed musical instrument, lineal descendant of the zithra, tuned to the Chusuk scale and played by strumming. A 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.
  • Baraka ~ a living holy man.
  • Bashar ~ (often Colonel Bashar): an officer of the Sardaukar a fractional point above Colonel in the standard military classification. Rank created for military ruler of a planetary subdistrict. ( Bashar of the Corps is a title reserved strictly for military use.)
  • Battle Language ~ any special language if restricted etymology developed for clear-speech communication in warfare.
  • Bela Tegeuse ~ fifth planet of Kuentsing: third stopping place of the Zensunni (Fremen) forced migration.
  • Bene Gesserit ~ the ancient school of mental and physical training established primarily for female students.
  • B.G. ~ idiomatic for Bene Gesserit except when used with a date. With a date it signifies Before Guild and identifies the Imperial Dating system based on the genesis of the Spacing Guild's monopoly.
  • Bene Tleilax (or Tleilaxu) ~ Secretive and powerful patriarchal race known for their genetic manipulation technologies.
  • Bhotani Jib ~ see Chakobsa.
  • Bi-La Kaifa ~ Amen. (Literally: "Nothing further need be explained.")
  • Bindu ~ relating to the human nervous system, especially to nerve training. Often expressed as Bindu-nervature.
  • Bindu Suspension ~ a special form of catalepsis, self-induced.
  • Bled ~ is the flat and open desert.
  • Bourka ~ insulated mantle worn by Fremen in the open desert.
  • Burhan ~ the proofs of life. (Commonly: the ayat and burhan of life.)
  • Burseg ~ Commanding general of the Sardaukar.
  • Butlerian Jihad ~ The epic crusade by mankind against Thinking Machines. Also called The Great Revolt.


  • Caid ~ Sardaukar officer rank given to a military official whose duties call mostly for dealings with civilians. Officers of this rank often commanded as military governors over a full planetary district. The rank was above the rank of Bashar but not equal to a Burseg.
  • Carryall ~ Aircraft used on Arrakis to transport large spice mining, hunting and refining equipment.
  • Chakobsa ~ The Language of the Fremen of Arrakis.
  • Catchpocket ~ Integral part of Stillsuit and Stilltent that used to contain reclaimed water.
  • Chaumas ~ Poison in solid food as distinguished from poison administered in some other way.
  • Chaumurky ~ Poison administered in a drink.
  • CHOAM ~ A corporation which essentially controlled the economy of the Known Universe, with shares and directorships determining each House's income and financial leverage.
  • Cogitor ~ One of several ancient philosophers whose brains were transplanted into fluid-filled canisters so that they could analyze the universe indefinitely.
  • Coriolis storm ~ Sandstorms on Arrakis in which winds across the open flatlands were amplified by the planet's own revolutionary motion to reach speeds up to 700 kilometres per hour.
  • Crysknife ~ Weapon made from the tooth of a sandworm from Arrakis.
  • Cutterray ~ Short-range version of a lasgun, primarily used as a cutting tool.
  • Cymek ~ Type of cyborg, or machine-human hybrid, used during the Butlerian Jihad.


  • Dar-es-Balat ~ Ancient, one of the first, no-chamber which contains the Lost Journey of Leto Atreides II the God-Emperor. Later in Heretics of Dune it became a museum in the care of Priesthood of the Divided God.
  • Deathstill ~ Fremen device used to extract all moisture from a living or dead human or creature.
  • Distrans ~ Device for producing a temporary neural imprint on the nervous system of Chiroptera (bats) or birds. The creature's normal cry then carried the message imprint which could be sorted from that carrier wave by another distrans.
  • D-Wolf ~ Wolf-like creatures bred by God Emperor to guard the Forbidden Forest around his Keep. The creatures were said to be a hybrid of gaze hounds and wolves.


  • Elacca drug ~ Narcotic formed by burning the blood-grained elacca wood of Ecaz. The drug's effect was to remove most of the will to self-preservation; commonly used to prepare slave gladiators for the ring.
  • Evermind ~ Pseudonym of Omnius


  • Face dancers ~ Tleilaxu created creatures able to mimic other humans exactly and go undetected by all known means.
  • Famine Times ~ The centuries following the death of Leto Atreides II, the God Emperor. Marked by chaos and famine on many worlds, and led to The Scattering.
  • Fedaykin ~ Fremen death commandos, personally trained by Paul Atreides; historically: a group formed and pledged to give their lives to right a wrong.
  • Fish Speakers ~ All-female military force created by Leto Atreides II to enforce his rule over the Known Universe.
  • Fogwood ~ Wood native to Ecaz, capable of being shaped in situ by thought alone.
  • Fremen ~ 'Native' inhabitants of Arrakis.
  • Fremkit ~ Desert survival kit of Fremen manufacture.
  • Futar ~ Primitive and fierce artificial humanoid creatures created by the Bene Tleilax, a genetic mix of man and cat.



  • Handlers ~ Humanoid race who bred and trained Futars to hunt Honored Matres.
  • Harvester (also Harvester Factory or Crawler) ~ Large (often 120 metres by 40 metres) spice mining machine with a buglike body on independent tracks.
  • Heighliner ~ Enormous carrier spaceships used by the Spacing Guild for interstellar travel.
  • Holtzman Effect ~ Scientific phenomenon that makes (among other things) instantaneous space travel and defensive force shields possible.
  • Honored Matres ~ Matriarchal order formed in The Scattering, by Bene Gesserit and Female Tleilaxu, who used sexual imprinting and violence to subdue and control their enemies.
  • Hunter-seeker ~ Ravening sliver of suspensor-buoyed metal guided as a weapon by a nearby control console, commonly used for assassination. Floating in mid-air, it kills by entering the body and following nerve pathways to vital organs.


  • Imprinter ~ A Reverend Mother, who achieved to master three hundred steps of orgasmic amplification, assigned to condition any potential or important male via sexual imprinting.
  • Inkvine ~ Creeping plant native to Giedi Prime and frequently used as a whip in its slave pens. Victims were marked by beet-colored tattoos that cause residual pain for many years.
  • Ixian damper ~ Device used to prevents eavesdropping from outside functioning area.
  • Ixian navigator ~ Mechanical substitution for a Guild Navigator. It was used in every no-ships and in some of Guild heighliners.
  • Ixian probe ~ Device used to capture the thoughts of a person (living or dead) for analysis; could be blocked by the substance shere.


  • Jubba - an all-purpose cloak commonly worn over a stillsuit on Arrakis.


  • Kanly ~ Formal feud or vendetta under the rules of the Great Convention carried on according to the strictest limitations. Originally the rules were designed to protect innocent bystanders.
  • Karama ~ A miracle; an action intiated by the spirit world.
  • Khala ~ Traditional invocation to still the angry spirits of a place you mention.
  • Kiswa ~ Any figure or design from Fremen mythology.
  • Kitab Al-Ibar ~ The combined survival handbook/religious manual developed by the Fremen on Arrakis
  • Kralizec ~ Long-foretold final battle or 'typhoon struggle at the end of the universe.'
  • Kwisatz Haderach ~ "The Shortening of the Way." This is the label applied by the Bene Gesserit to the unknown for which the sought a genetic solution: a male Bene Gesserit whose organic mental powers would bridge space and time. After the reign of Leto II, the Tyrant, this label became applied to all persons whom the Bene Gesserit thought to be of unnatural/supernatural power that could drastically change the balance of power in the known universe. ( See also Leto Atreides II, Paul Atreides, Hasimir Fenring, Duncan Idaho, Miles Teg)


  • Landsraad ~ The Assembly of all nobles in the Imperium.
  • Lasgun ~ Energy weapon, technically a continuous-wave laser projector.
  • L-ray ~ The ray emitted from the explosion of stone burner that can cause blindness with direct contact to the eye.
  • Laza tiger ~ Big hybrid feline on Salusa Secundus
  • Life shield blanket ~ Device used to shield life signal inside the shielding area from life tracing.
  • Lost Tleilaxu ~ Offshoot race of the Bene Tleilax, formed in The Scattering.


  • Maula pistol ~ Spring-loaded gun for firing poison darts, with a range of about 40 metres.
  • Melange ~ Drug that was essential to space travel and extended life, and therefore to the survival of the universe.
  • Mentat ~ Individuals trained as human computers, their minds developed to staggering heights of cognitive and analytical ability.
  • Mish-Mish ~ Apricots.
  • Missionaria Protectiva ~ An arm of the Bene Gesserit charged with spreading contrived myths, prophecies and superstition on primitive worlds so that the Bene Gesserit may later exploit those regions.


  • Na-Baron ~ Noble title given to a Baron's heir-apparent.
  • Naib ~ Caretaker and Leader of Sietch. The word means 'Servant of Sietch' in Chakobsa.
  • No-chamber ~ Construct that hid anything inside from prescient and ocular vision, as well as other methods of detection.
  • No-ship ~ No-chamber in spaceship form, with enough limited prescience to be capable of interstellar travel without a Guild Navigator.
  • Nullentropy ~ Technology through which the natural processes of time, such as decomposition, were ceased. In this way, matter such as human cells was stored for millennia without damage.


  • Obliterators ~ Honored Matre weapons of mass destruction. They combusted the atmosphere of a planet and subsequently its surface.
  • Order of Hormu ~ An organization of Honored Matres' playfems.
  • Other Memory ~ The combined ego and memories of all female ancestors that a Bene Gesserit was trained to access.
  • Ornithopter (or 'Thopter) ~ Aircraft capable of sustained wing-beat flight in the manner of birds.


  • Palm lock ~ Lock or seal which could be opened only by contact with the palm of the human hand to which it has been keyed.
  • Panoplia Propheticus ~ Common term for superstitions planted through the Known Universe by Missionaria Protectiva.
  • Phibian ~ Primitive, amphibious humanoid creatures, a genetic mix of man and fish.
  • Plasteel ~ Extremely tough form of steel, stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal structure.
  • Playfem ~ Short for Play Female, a word used to call prostitute.
  • Plaz (or windowplaz) ~ Synthetic glass, used for windows (especially in aircraft and spaceships) due to its superior strength.
  • Poison snooper ~ Radiation analyzer within the olfactory spectrum and keyed to detect poisonous substances.
  • Portyguls ~ Oranges.
  • Prana-bindu ~ Prana for nerve and bindu for fibers. Training that provided a Bene Gesserit with complete muscle control (Prana nervature related to nervous system control), and the basis of the Weirding Way
  • Predator fish ~ Fishes that used to protect qanat from sandtrouts.


  • Qanat ~ Open canal for carrying irrigation water under controlled conditions through a desert.


  • Residual poison ~ Innovation whereby the body was impregnated with a substance for which repeated antidotes must be administered; withdrawal of the antidote at any time brought death.
  • Reverend Mother ~ Female Bene Gesserit who had survived a ritual wherein she consciously transformed a toxic dose of melange to a non-poisonous substance at the molecular level, thereby raising herself to a higher level of awareness and enabling her to access Other Memory.
  • Ridulian Crystal ~ Crystalline substance used to manufacture printing materials at the thickness of one molecule.


  • Salusan bull ~ Fierce and very aggressive creature with multiple horns, used in bullfighting on Caladan and supposedly originating from Salusa Secundus.
  • Sand plankton ~ The first phase of Sandworm's life cycle before a Sandtrout vector. Thought to be Sandworm's food.
  • Sandtrout ~ Premature form of the Sandworm.
  • Sandworm ~ Giant sand-dwelling creatures native to Arrakis, essential to the production of melange. Called Shai-Hulud by the Fremen and worshipped as deities.
  • Sapho ~ High-energy liquid extracted from barrier roots of Ecaz, commonly used by Mentats to amplify their mental powers. Users developed deep ruby stains on mouth and lips.
  • Sardaukar ~ Ferocious soldier-fanatics of the Padishah Emperors, later disbanded by Leto II.
  • Sayyadina ~ Acolytes and candidates for Fremen Reverend Mother.
  • The Scattering ~ Event after the reign of Leto II in which billions of people left the settled worlds of the Old Empire, striking off into unknown space.
  • Semuta ~ Second narcotic derivative (by crystal extraction) from the burned residue of elacca wood from Ecaz. The effect (described as timeless, sustained ecstasy) was elicited by certain atonal vibrations referred to as semuta music.
  • Shaitan ~ Another name of sandworms of Arrakis which means Satan or Evil one.
  • Shai-Hulud ~ Fremen name for the sandworms of Arrakis.
  • Shere ~ Significant presence of this substance in the body blocked the use of an Ixian probe.
  • Shigawire ~ Metal extrusion of a ground vine (Narvi narviium) grown only on Salusa Secundus and III Delta Kaising, noted for extreme tensile strength and used as a recording medium (among other things).
  • Siaynoq ~ God Emperor's greatest ritual, sharing moment with his Fish Speakers, performed every ten years in the Festival City of Onn. In Heretics of Dune, 1500 years after the time of God Emperor, become a ritual dance in the City of Keen.
  • Sietch ~ Cave warren inhabited by a Fremen tribal community.
  • Sietch orgy (or sietch tau orgy) ~ Fremen ritual of unrestrained sexual indulgence which takes place after a Reverend Mother shares the changed Water of Life with her community.
  • Slig ~ Livestock animal, hybrid of a large slug and a pig, bioengineered by the Bene Tleilax.  To many the tender meat is a delicacy, though most consider the animal itself detestful.
  • Solido ~ Three-dimensional image generated from a solido projector using 360-degree reference signals imprinted on a shigawire reel.
  • Soostone ~ Valuable iridescent gem produced on Buzzell by the abraded carapaces of monoped sea creatures called Cholisters, much in the manner of pearls on Old Earth.
  • Spacing Guild ~ Powerful organization which ad a monopoly on space travel and transport due to their Navigators.
  • Spice agony ~ Fremen version of the ritual used by the Bene Gesserit to create Reverend Mothers, using the Water of Life instead of melange.
  • Spice Melange ~ Drug that was essential to space travel and extended life, and therefore to the survival of the universe.
  • Spice essence ~ Water of Life that has been changed to non-toxic form by Reverend Mother.
  • Steersman ~ Title given to Guild Navigators.
  • Stillsuit ~ Body-enclosing garment of Fremen design which performed the functions of heat dissipation and filtering bodily wastes, as well as retaining and reclaiming moisture.
  • Stone burner ~ Atomic weapon, the explosion and radiation of which could be precisely adjusted depending on the desired effect.
  • Sufi ~ Ancient Religious sect. Thought to be long lost but still survive in the form of part of the Great Belief.
  • Suk Inner School ~ Prestigious medical school whose Imperial Conditioning banned the taking of human life; initiates were marked by a diamond tattoo on the forehead and wore a silver Suk ring in their hair.
  • Suspensor ~ Any of a number of 'hovering' devices which utilized the secondary (low-drain) phase of a Holtzman field generator to nullify gravity within certain limits prescribed by relative mass and energy consumption.


  • T-Probe ~ Device used to capture the thoughts of a person (living or dead) for analysis; unlike an Ixian probe it could not be blocked by the substance shere.
  • Tachyon net (or tachyon web) ~ Technology (involving faster-than-light tachyon particles) used by Daniel and Marty in their attempt to track and capture the no-ship Ithaca.
  • Thinking Machines ~ Intelligent and sentient machines, created by humans, who enslaved much of humanity and eventually incited the Butlerian Jihad.
  • Thumper ~ Short stake with a spring-driven clapper at one end, placed in the sand to 'call' sandworms.
  • Titan ~ One of several ancient dictators whose brains were transplanted into fearsome, weaponized machine bodies to achieve immortality.
  • Training male (Bene Gesserit) ~ Males, conditioned by Bene Gesserit to perform sexual acts without expression of their feeling, used to train Bene Gesserit acolytes in sexual training.
  • Truthsayer ~ Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother trained to detect insincerity or falsehood. Naturally, anyone can be Truthsayer.


  • Umma ~ One of the brotherhood of prophets; a term of scorn in the Corrino Imperium, meaning any "wild" person given to fanatical prediction.


  • Verite ~ Will-destroying narcotic from Ecaz that rendered a person incapable of falsehood.
  • Voice ~ Training that allowed the Bene Gesserit to control others merely by selected tone shadings of the voice.


  • Wali ~ the name the Fremen give to an untried youth.
  • War of Assassins ~ Regulated form of conflict between noble Houses.
  • Water of Life ~ Toxic liquid exhalation of a drowning sandworm, used by Fremen Reverend Mothers in the spice agony.
  • Water ring ~ Metal rings wore by Fremen women to indicate their household's possessed water.
  • Weirding Way ~ Specialized martial art component of Bene Gesserit prana-bindu practices.
  • Windowplaz (or plaz) ~ Synthetic glass, used for windows (especially in aircraft and spaceships) due to its superior strength.
  • Wind trap ~ A Facility used on Arrakis to trap moisture from the air, usually conceal in the warren rock.



  • Yali ~ A Fremen's personal quarters within the sietch.
  • Ya Hya Chouhada ~ A rallying cry for the Fremen troops - "long live the fighters!"


  • Zensunni ~ Ancient religious sect, ancestors of the Fremen.

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