A replacement proverb
(in Klingon: qa'meH vIttlhegh
) is said when one feels he or she has lost some honor and is trying to regain it.
If the proverb is offered with appropriate sincerity and accepted, then the person's honor is restored and nothing further is spoken of the incident which caused the loss of honor. By "sincerity," what is meant is that the proverb must be "convincing." Replacement proverbs are ritualized ways to shift the blame of some gaffe off of oneself. One would never say a replacement proverb meekly or apologetically, for example. For instance, one replacement proverb is HIvqa' veqlargh "The Fek'lhr strikes again."
This places the blame of the error on a figure of Klingon mythology, the Fek'lhr.
Several other replacement proverbs were given on the audio tape Power Klingon
DopDaq qul yIchenmoH QobDI' ghu'
Set fire on the side when there is danger.
jagh DajeymeH nIteb yISuvrup
To defeat the enemy, be ready to fight alone.
reH Suvrup SuvwI''a'
A great warrior is always prepared.
reH latlh qabDaq qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS
The fire is always hotter on someone else's face.
Hagh qoHpu' neH HeghtaHvIS SuvwI'pu'
Only fools laugh while warriors die.
At the 21st qep'a'
, there was a competition where one new replacement proverb (also one secrecy proverb
) has been chosen by Marc Okrand
from dozens of suggestions, submitted by the attendees. The winning proverb was suggested by Captain Krankor
Focus on the enemy.