Guardians of the Past
Slang and Curses
Ed Greenwood on a few realms slang terms:
“Kell”: Means ‘try,’ but is only used when whatever is being tried is unfinished, nigh-impossible, tricky or dangerous, or there’s some doubt as to whether whoever’s trying it will ever accomplish it (and “kell” is used unchanged regardless of tense, and sometimes also in place of the word “done,” as in: “You’re not going to kell stealing THAT, are you?” and “Kell such feats often, have you?”). Polite speech sticks to ‘try’ and ‘tried’ and ‘done,’ leaving “kell” for cynical, disbelieving, or openly derisive speech (“Kings always SAY they’ll clean all monsters out of the woods. Oh, and they KELL, too, for a tenday, each of them, sometimes sending more than one knight to do it, too.”)
“Stlarn” and "Stlarning: Are fairly polite equivalents for the f-word, of about the blasphemous strength of ‘darn!’ and see use where we might say “screwing up” (They can’t kell one simple task without stlarning up!) or (for Brits) “bloody alarm clock!” (stlarning time-bells!)
“Codloose winker”: A lecher (derivation: a winking man with a loose or often-removed codpiece)
“Darkblade”: A mercenary (“hiresword”) demonstrably lacking in principles or loyalty to a patron who’s hired him.
“Scorchkettle”: A woman who delivers impressively blistering words to someone in public (usually because she’s quick-tempered)
“Gulletfire”: Bad beer or wine, whereas “throatslake” is any drinkable that takes care of thirst and doesn’t cause illness in doing so, but isn’t particularly pleasant to drink
“Spurnarmor”: Either a woman with a spectacular figure, or a well-endowed man (as in: “If I had those, I’d be a spurnarmor too!” or: “Galad! What a spurnarmor!”)
“Galad!”: The current Heartlands replacement for “Zooks!” or “Zounds!” or any nonsense word used as an “I’m astonished” or “I’m impressed” expression . . . and Elminster probably brought “Gadzooks!” and “Zounds!” into the Realms from his our-real-world visits centuries back, so in the Realms they HAVEN’T developed from “God’s wounds!”
“Glim”: Means “beautiful in an eye-catching way” (flashy)
“Lalandath”: Means agile, sleek, lithe, and is often said of dancers or women whose beauty is accentuated by their movements (so a well-built but sleekly-dancing tavern dancer might be described as: “WHAT a glimmer! A lalandath spurnarmor, glim enough to leave every man in the place rivvim, and my codpiece itching!”)
“Rivvim”: Means “lust” or “lusty” (As in: “I’m fair rivvim when I look upon her.”)
Darburl DAR-burl) Means angry (As in: “I’m right darburl, just now.” or: “He makes me proper darburl, that one.”)
Badaulder BAH-doll-durr, with a lilt in the word) Is the western Heartlands expression for “bullshit!” or “hogwash!” (and its usage is creeping into Cormyr right now, headed for Sembia, the Dales, and the Moonsea)
Haularake! HALL-ah-rake, and said very quickly, as if it has but one syllable) Is the all-faiths, acceptable in polite society equivalent of “God damn it!” (or perhaps “God damn it all, anyway!”)
“Thael”: Means glad, or pleasant, or heart-lifting (As in “I’m always thael to see her,” or “That feast was right thael” or “I always get that moment of thael, when I look down from the ridge and see . . . home.”)
Alae: “Fortunate meeting,” a contraction of an old elven phrase of the same meaning)—a greeting (and reassurance of peaceful intentions) Between travelers in the southern and eastern coastlands around The Sea of Fallen Stars.
Durgos: “Peace”) A corruption of the orcs’ durgreos (see below), used by mongrelmen and some human slavers.
Durgreos: “No quarrel”) A responsive greeting and parting used by orcs of the north.
Hykyath: “Prance!”) A parting used by satyrs. It has been picked up by some poets among the elves and half elves, and even orcs have been heard, in battle, derisively telling their foes and underlings to “look lively” in the few breaths left before they die.
Lammath Drios DREE-ohs: “Fortune find you”) A parting used in Essembra and in the countryside south of it as far as the seacoast, and west as far as the Thunder Peaks. It is not favored within the proud cities of Sembia, where only “bumpkins” and “country dung-carters” are thought to speak so.
Rhambukkya: “Ride high”)—used as both greeting and parting by the nomads of the Shaar.
Sabbas: “Run free”)A parting used by centaurs.
Stettar Voh VOE-hh: “Gods-power [keep you] well”) Formal, peaceful greeting and parting among merchants in The Shining South.
Tantam: “Hello”) Peaceful way-greeting among merchants of the north.
Uluvathae: “[May your] fortune bring you joy”)A friendly, informal greeting and parting used by elves and half-elves to others (of any race) they welcome the company of. Between close friends, its use is an insult, or a neutral “say-nothing-we’re-being-listened-to” warning.
Vlandranna: "Gods grant [approval, or that what is spoken of occurs by their will]) An old, corrupted dwarven word from the region that is today the Vast and Impiltur; now used by all trading races in The Sea of Fallen Stars.
“Hrast, hrammar”: Damn! (hur-RAST, hur-RAM-uh) [“hrammar” is southern]
“Naeth, naed, orbal”: Shit! (NAY-thh, NAYdd, ORR-ball) [“orbal” is southern]
“Tluin!”: Fuck! (tuh-LOOO-in)
“Sabruin”: Fuck off! (sah-BROO-in)
Here’s another set of naughty words (scribes offended by profanity, please avert eyes now). This time, behold the Realms euphemisms for those feminine features politely described as “breasts.” The list hereafter ranges from (listed first) the clinical to the polite through the gently racy and silly to the really raw (listed last), with notes on usage and pronounciation in brackets:
• Alpetan (plural form: singular is “alb”), brighthelms, bells, saebur (this is a singular and plural form, as in “Hsst! Catch the saebur yonder!” or “Feast on THOSE saebur, hey?”), fruit, pillows, ramraths (derived from “ramrath,” a reddish, round melon grown in the Tashalar), roalen (derived from “rollingheads,” from an old and anonymous ballad that compared the bouncing movement of a running woman’s breasts to the bouncings of severed warriors’ heads being rolled down an embankment by orcs after a battle), puffballs, handheavies, bite-loaves, zarrzem, bitebolds, pluckers.
•Of these, a woman speaking to other women might use “bells” when speaking politely of breasts, “pillows” when joking about them, and “bitebolds” when intending to be rude or vicious.
•In addition to the listed endearments, ugly, wrinkled, misshapen breasts are sometimes inevitably referred to as “udders.”
•Nipples are clinically referred to as parlarren (singular: parl) and sometimes called thorns, daggerspikes, or (poetically or more politely, as in one woman to another, or a male noble trying to be daringly gallant when speaking to a female noble) springbuds. When trying to be coarse, speakers usually dub them “teats” or “suckworts.”