I vaguely recall an instance where a Fremen insults someone by indicating that they are so terrible it would be no loss if that person died and their body's water was not reclaimed. I've only read Dune and Dune Messiah, so I imagine the insult was found in one of those, but I don't have a copy of either accessible and can't find any evidence of such a quote online. This has led me to believe that I may have just come up with the insult myself and forgotten it was never in the books.

The version of this insult floating around my head is "I hope your water is wasted," but the actual quote (if it exists) may be nothing like that.

Was there any instance of a Fremen using such an insult in Dune or Dune Messiah? If not, did any character use that insult in those books, or anywhere else in the Dune saga?

  • pretty sure this insult was thrown around a few times, ill have to look in my books for a quote for ya, but im 99% sure this happened lol.
    – Himarm
    Aug 25, 2015 at 21:11
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    “He won’t give up to the desert,” Idaho said. “He’s blind, but he won’t give up. He’s a man of honor and principle. He was Atreides-trained.” “And his water will be poured on the sand,” Stilgar said. “Come.” He pulled gently at Idaho’s arm. “Alia is back and is asking for you.”
    – Valorum
    Aug 25, 2015 at 21:20
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    I very clearly remember the line 'You are water to be wasted", and I am fairly confident that something like that is in Dune. I even want to say that it is a line that an Atreides says to a Harkonnen. But I need to go hunt up my copy to confirm this. Aug 26, 2015 at 1:22

2 Answers 2


The insult you are referring to did indeed occur in Dune Messiah.

He obviously sensed the tensions building between Paul and Stilgar and was disturbed by them.

Stilgar shook his head from side to side. Pulse-synchronizer? Why would Paul wish him to use a mnemonic flutter-system on a shigawire projector? Why scan for specific data in histories? This was mentat work! As usual, Stilgar found he couldn’t escape a deep suspicion at the thought of using a projector and attachments. The thing always immersed him in disturbing sensations, an overwhelming shower of data which his mind sorted out later, surprising him with information he had not known he possessed.

“Sire, I came with the Zabulon computations”, Stilgar said.

“Dehydrate the Zabulon computations!” Paul snapped, using the obscene Fremen term which meant that here was moisture no man could demean himself by touching.


“Stilgar”, Paul said, “you urgently need a sense of balance which can come only from an understanding of long-term effects. What little information we have about the old times, the pittance of data which the Butlerians left us, Korba has brought it for you. Start with the Genghis Khan.”

* Emphasis added

Apparently the word dehydrate is a real no-no on a planet where everyone has to drink their own body-juices to stay alive.

  • Worded differently than I recalled, but as this is from Dune Messiah this has got to be it. Oct 22, 2015 at 18:57

Could it be from Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson - Dune House Harkonnen?

The other body had already been packed in the rear of the patrol 'thopter to be taken to the deathstills. "This doesn't pay back a tenth part of the suffering."

Going to his blood-brother's side, Warrick made a face of disgust. "Such is my scorn that I don't even want to take their water for our tribe."

Stilgar glowered at him as if he had spoken sacrilege. "You would prefer to let them mummify in the sands, to let their water go wasted into the air? It would be an insult to Shai-Hulud."

Warrick bowed his head. "It was only my anger speaking, Stil. I did not mean it."

  • While the wording is about right, this can't be the exact situation I was remembering because I never read DHH. +1 for the right type of insult though. Aug 26, 2015 at 14:00

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