Body parts

This article provides some information about body parts, their grammatical usage and a list of the Klingon names for them.



The plural version of body parts is a little different than with other nouns. Instead of -pu' (for people capable of language) or -mey (for other nouns), body parts get the suffix -Du'. (1) This suffix is used for all body parts, those of humans and of animals.

wej qamDu' - three feet

Suffix -mey

If -mey is used with body parts instead of -Du', it means those body parts are "scattered everywhere". This form is more used in a poetical way, as in the title of the KLI's poetic journal jatmey, literally scattered tongues.


When body parts are served as food, they also take the appropriate suffix, as in tIqnagh lemDu' tknag hooves. (2)

Contradicting to this, Alan Anderson wrote in a message on Facebook: (3)
Marc Okrand once commented on the -Du' vs. -mey question for things that used to be body parts, with a parenthetic comparison: "This is kind of like the distinction in English between beef, which is eaten, and cattle, which isn't."

If they have lost the association with the creature that they were part of, and if they are now "raw materials" with which to make something else, they aren't body parts anymore. I'm prepared to consider a plate of disconnected chicken wings as food to be in the non-bodypart category.

In an interview recorded shortly after, during qepHom 2018, Marc Okrand corrected this mis-interpretation. To the question, whether one should not use the suffix -Du' for chicken wings as a dish, he answered:
Why not? They're still wings.

Metaphorical body parts

This is not a canon term, but someone once coined this term for body part words that are not used for real body parts, but are used as a slang term, or for something absolutely different. As a basic understanding, as explained in KGT, these terms should take the appropriate suffix as explained above:
"Grammatically, even as slang, Ho' follows the rules appropriate to its literal meaning. Thus, even though it may refer to a person, its plural is Ho'Du' ("teeth"), making use of the plural suffix for body parts [...] Similarly, it never takes the possessive suffixes associated with beings capable of using language." (4)

Nevertheless, two terms released at qep'a' 2016 (See New words of qep'a' 23) do not follow this apparent rule. These are noq nipple and neb beak/nozzle which take a different plural suffix depending on their meaning. Seeing this, one can assume that this is not a 100-%-rule, and may depend on which noun and what circumstance the plurals are being used.

Klingon Translation Source
Ho'Du' teeth TKD
Ho'Du' idols (slang) KGT
Ho' cog/sprocket teeth qep'a' 25
jIb Ho'Du' comb TalkNow
noqDu' nipples (body part) qep'a' 23
noqmey nipples (on bottles) qep'a' 23
nebDu' beaks (body part) qep'a' 23
nebmey nozzles (on a hose) qep'a' 23

Star Trek

Klingons in Star Trek have multiple redundant body parts: Two livers, one heart with eight chambers, 23 rips, two stomachs and a double pia mater (a layer of connective tissue, engulfing the nerves). This redundancy is called bIraqlul Brak’lul.


Parts of the body

Klingon English Source
chor belly TKD, FederationTravelGuide
Dub back TKD
mong neck TKD
ro torso TKD, KGT
volchaH schoulders TKD

Inner Organs

Klingon English Source
chej liver, also regional: mavje' TKD, KGT
luH guts KGT
tIq heart (also in a symbolic way) TKD, TKW
melchoQ bone marrow KGT

At the feet

Klingon English Source
bem sole of foot KGT
mov arch KGT
yaD toe TKD, HolQeD 10.2, Juni 2001
'uS leg TKD

At the hands

Klingon English Source
chap back of hand TKD
ghIt open, flat hand KGT
ghop hand TKD, KGT
nItlh finger TKD
nItlhpach fingernail Addendum
toch palm TKD


Klingon English Source Note
DeSqIv elbow KGT
qIv knee TKD
yeb wrist KGT slang expression of disapproval

At the head

Klingon English Source
ghIch nose TKD, KGT
Ho' tooth TKD
Hugh throat TKD
Huy' eyebrow TKD
jat tongue TKD
jIb hair of head TKD
loch mustache TKD
nach head TKD
qevpob cheek TKD, KGT
qogh ear conch KGT, HolQeD 2.4, page 17
QoghIj brain KGT
Quch forehead TKD, KGT
rol beard TKD
teS inner ear KGT, HolQeD 2.4, page 17, December 1993
tlhon nostril TKD
woS chin TKD
wuS lips TKD
yab mind TKD


Klingon English Source
DIr skin TKD, stk 1998.03.23
Hom bones TKD
joQ rip KGT
porgh body TKD
qIvon unknown body part KGT, msn 1997.06.29
Somraw muscle TKD
to'waQ band KGT
'aD vein TKD
'I' armpit KGT, Mailing list 1996.08.21, HolQeD 5.3, page 14, September 1996
'Iw blood TKD

Regional terms

Some words have regional expressions.
English Standard regional terms Origin
forehead Quch 'aQlo', boD, Huy'Dung, jargh, mIQ, no''och, tuqvol
nose ghIch ley'

See also


1 : The Klingon Dictionary

2 : Klingon CD

3 : message by Alan Anderson in the Facebook group "Learn Klingon" of 15 October 2018

4 : Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, p. 152

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 23 May 2019, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 12 Dec 2016 by DirkSchlSser
History: r6 < r5 < r4 < r3 - View wiki text
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