I'm running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. There are orcs in this campaign. There's going to be a scene with Orcs where they will speak their native language: Giant. I've decided to use Klingon to represent this language, so I don't have to make it all up. I'm not going to have conversations or anything, I'm just going to have a few key phrases ready-translated.

I'm a fan of Star Trek, but not to the point where I'm familiar with the Klingon language.

The word 'arrow' is going to come up a couple times. The Bing translator doesn't have a translation for 'arrow'. Obviously, I could just make something up, but that kind of ruins the fun. I might just use 'torpedo' ('peng'), as that's at least a projectile.

Is there something better? As fond of warfare as klingons are, I'm surprised if there's no word for 'arrow'.


From the KLV Klingon/Standard Vocabulary

Arrow is translated as puv DuQwI'

It is literally translated as "flying spike".

  • 2
    Just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce that? – Zaenille Aug 4 '15 at 7:26
  • Yes, puv DuQwI' is correct. I'm using vegh DuQwI' myself for spear (e.n. penetrating spike / spike that goes through). – Overmind Aug 4 '15 at 10:41
  • 6
    You're on the right track, but puv DuQwI' actually means "the stabber flies"; it is a statement, rather than an object. In order to make it "the flying stabber", you'll need to use the relative clause suffix -bogh, making it puvbogh DuQwI'. – loghaD Aug 9 '15 at 15:19

I asked this question of some Klingons (actually, some Klingon speakers who are members of the Klingon Language Institute). The top suggestion was naQjejHom, using the word for spear (naQjej) with the diminutive suffix (-Hom). A second suggestion was to use tlhevjaQ (a type of Klingon spear-like weapon which is thrown with the aid of a launcher called a chetvI'). As for bow, either chetvI' (or naQjejHom chetvI' or tlhevjaQ chetvI' to be more specific) or moy'bI' (which means "slingshot") might work.

  • It should be noted that the description of a chetvI' suggests that it is similar to an atlatl. Therefore, I think a chetvI' and a tlhevjaQ could fill the same purpose as a bow and arrow in a story, but I think their physical properties are quite different. Therefore, for the bow in particular, I think moy'bI' is a closer match, since it uses a similar firing mechanism. – loghaD Aug 11 '15 at 17:01
  • +1, Nice research. This is also pretty close to loghaD's suggestion of "small spear". I'm going to leave Thaddeus's answer as the accepted one, as we already played this session and I already used "puv DuQqwl'". – DCShannon Aug 11 '15 at 22:23

There is no canonical Klingon word for "arrow". The closest thing I can think of is a spear, or naQjej (which essentially means "sharp staff"). This includes spears that are thrown by hand and ones that are hurled using specialized tools.

An arrow is essentially a small spear, so in lieu of a canonical expression, I would call it a naQjejHom ("lesser spear") or naQjej mach ("small spear").

  • "Flying spike" seems like it works better than "small spear". There aren't too many other things on the battlefield that might be called flying spikes. There is a very specific group of things I would think of before arrows when referring to small spears: small spears. – DCShannon Aug 10 '15 at 3:28
  • @DCShannon It may be largely a difference in taste, and as dungeon master I think you should go with whatever suits you best. However, as a Klingon-speaker, the phrase puvbogh DuQwI' doesn't really conjure the image of an arrow to me. The word DuQwI' has previously only been used to describe spikes attached to something else: On a glove, on a Daqtagh knife, and on a mace. It could be that the word is broader than that, since it just means "stabber", but then then it could potentially describe any piercing weapon, including a spear. – loghaD Aug 11 '15 at 16:55

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