In the movie The Wrath of Khan, Khan says:

Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us 'Revenge is a dish that is best served cold?' It is very cold ...in space.

Khan left Earth in 1996. He had only a few days with the Enterprise before being marooned on Seti Alpha 5. Where did he have an opportunity to learn of a Klingon proverb?

2 Answers 2


Khan reads fast, and they gave him access to the ship's library computers while he was in sickbay. Given his nature, it's likely that in addition to reading about the state of the Federation's science and technology, Khan also reviewed political and military history for the period he was sleeping.

I don't know if it's ever stated, but it's possible that when they dumped Khan and his followers on Ceti Alpha 3 (or 4 or 5 or whatever it was), they gave them some sort of library computer and he might've found the information in there.


It is actually an old human proverb. So it's entirely possible that Khan called it "Klingon" just for kicks.

  • It is actually also an old Klingon proverb. There are instances of Klingons using it too. In canon even.
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 9, 2012 at 13:54
  • 6
    Where would we be today without the hapless, time-travelling Klingons who enriched our culture with their barbaric aphorisms?
    – Kyle Jones
    Dec 9, 2012 at 20:23
  • @KyleJones Or, perhaps Klingons and Humans are more alike than you think and we actually made up those proverbs independently from each other.
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 10, 2012 at 7:53
  • 12
    You haven't experienced Shakespeare until you've read it in the original Klingon!
    – BBlake
    Dec 10, 2012 at 14:16
  • 1
    I prefer "Four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man".
    – Omegacron
    Mar 17, 2015 at 17:58

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