Eldraeic Word of the Day: Zakhrehs

(I realized upon using the word in a comment thread here that I’d never actually given the full definition, so…)

zakhrehs: “barbarians”; specifically those sophonts who are alien to the Imperial ethical and moral traditions, in re libertism, negentropy, and gentlesophly behavior.

It should be noted that this term does not refer to those who merely come from foreign lands/strangers (Eldraeic qildaráv, “persons-from-yonder”), or those who do not knowingly subscribe to the Fundamental Contract (Eldraeic ulvaledar, “unbound-people”); rather, it refers to those who reject the core precepts of the Imperial ethical and moral traditions, whether or not they are aware of them in the first place. In particular, it does not carry any implication of primitivity or undevelopedness.

Anyone, regardless of species or ethnicity, who lives by the core rules of these traditions is “civilized”, and will be treated well. Even an honest effort by the ignorant will be looked upon favorably. In the areas within the Empire’s sphere of influence, autochthones who adopt Imperial ways — or seem to – will be treated with respect, perhaps to the annoyance of their neighbors. Intentional rejection of the core Imperial traditions, however, is nearly equivalent to declaring oneself a barbarian.

It is neither a direct cognate for any of the classic Imperial insults – i.e., “Defaulter”, “choiceless”, “slaver”, “parasite”, “dullist”, “cacophile”, or “entropic” – nor a direct reference to foundational concepts such as the Fundamental Contract, the Code of Alphas, the Nine Excellences, the Five Noble Precepts, etc. Rather, it is a general implication that the referenced person or society, while not technically and to-a-legal-standard provably guilty of specific and enumerated acts of coercionism, infiduciarity, theft, mooching, razorwalking, willful culture-lack, destructionism, disharmony, and chaos, is nevertheless in the speaker’s opinion a repulsive, nauseating mass of all, or at least many, of those things, and deserves to be treated accordingly.

It is no less insulting for all its generality and implicitness.


Author’s Note: Bad, Bad Word

As a side note, that cautionary dictionary entry, if anything, understates just how spectacularly insulting uljíra is, adjective-wise. But then, it was written by a non-native speaker of Eldraeic, even if a native speaker of the Trade dialect.

Its literal meaning is “choiceless1” – and not so due to external forces. Jír, recall, is the root of jírileth, with its important literal meaning.

That’s right up there with “Defaulter” in terms of Things To Say To An Imperial That Will Result In The Coroner Declaring Your Ensuing Death A Suicide.

1. And you can consider that in the context of that certain old saying daráv xíjirár; jaqef vigínár: a sophont chooses, a servile complies.

Trope-a-Day: Insistent Terminology

Insistent Terminology: Happens fairly often, because nomenclature (among other things) is Serious Business, and one therefore – when dealing with people – should know that people earned those attributions, dammit, and that therefore not using them (or misusing them) amounts to a deliberate insult.  They would not, after all, presume to insult you by believing that you’re that socially incompetent.

And even when dealing with people’s property/inventions/jobs/works, while they do prefer to avoid euphemisms – because “refuse collector” is a perfectly honorable job that needs no excuses made for it, and the guy doing the SecDef’s job is the straight-out “Warlord of the Empire” even if his primary title is “First Lord of the Admiralty”, and “differently abled” is best avoided unless you want to experience the “what special powers did you think I got from losing a leg, you moron?” rant – a good politeness tip is to avoid all diminutives period.  Don’t use them on other people, because they’ll be interpreted as insults (and there’s no such thing as a friendly insult); don’t use them on yourself, because if it’s anything, it’s a weird species of self-hating fraud.

The ur-example of this, of course, is that while the runér will tolerate the name of their darëssef being misglossed as “noble” (after all, it’s a quality of character, as well as a feudal class), neither they nor the Senators or local Assemblymen or anyone else involved in government at any level will tolerate being referred to as a “politician”.  While that’s not a strict cognate to korásan either, it’s close enough – and with plenty of other undesirable and rather slimy overtones – to qualify as a fighting-words level insult and almost certainly a verbal Berserk Button.

The Empire doesn’t have politicians.  It has harmonizers, coordinators, synarchists, and maybe even managers, but no politicians.  Do not forget this.