Swearing, Insults, and Slang in the Wheel of Time

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Author: Kytheria al'Shea


Most Commonly Used Simple Curses/Expressions

- Bloody: A swear word on its own, "bloody" is also commonly used as an enhancer to make an expression more vehement or potent (see "blood and bloody ashes") or as a precursor to another word to illustrate anger, annoyance, etc. (e.g. "Bloody women!" or "Bloody fools!")

- Flaming: A swear word on its own, "flaming" is also commonly used in preface to another word to make a potent expression of anger/annoyance/etc. (e.g. "Flaming Aes Sedai!)

- Blasted: A curse used in conjunction with another word(s); meaning similar to "damned" (e.g. "Blasted Seanchan!")

- Light: Called upon in times of need or astonishment ("Light help us...") or used as a mild oath/exclamation.



Other Curses and Insults

- Addle-brained lummox: One of many ways to call someone an idiot

- Be bloodied: a different way to use "bloody", e.g. "(insert noun) be bloodied!" or "That fool man be bloodied!"

- Blood and ashes: Common swear expression, often intensified to "blood and bloody ashes"; used to express disgust, anger, other negative emotions.

- Bloody buttered onions: Often used in conjunction with "sheep swallop" ("Sheep swallop and bloody buttered onions!")

- Bloody ox of a thimble-brained man: Combination of lots of insults (essentially, a big man with a small brain); one of many ways to call someone an idiot.

- Bilge stone: Seafolk insult, referring to the waste on board a ship.

- Boneheaded: Idiotic (adjective).

- Bull-goose fool: One of many terms used to call someone an idiot.

- Burn (me, you, other person/group/object): Epithet similar to "Damn you!"; sometimes said in response to bad news (examples also include: "Burn my bones!" and "Burn your soul for a craven heart!" (-Mat)).

- Crackbrain: One of many ways to call someone an idiot; also crazy.

- Daughter/Son of the sands: A dire insult among the Seafolk (Atha'an Miere). Practically guaranteed to instigate violence.

- Farmboy: When used as an insult, it is to show the supposed simplicity or ignorance of the person who comes from this background (so is usually said by someone of noble blood); variants include sheepherder, goatherder, blacksmith (simple professions).

- Goose-brain: One of many ways to call someone an idiot; also flighty, silly.

- Goat-fathered: Calls paternity into question (insults both the father and the target person); suggests unsavory, inhuman qualities (goats are supposed to be dumb, stubborn, mean, etc.)

- Hairy lummox: One of many insults Faile uses on Perrin; a big, hairy lump of a man, in other words.

- Jackdaw: Refers to cronies/accomplices or loud, untrustworthy rabble; literally a loud, raucous bird with a propensity for stealing small shiny objects (related to crows and magpies).

- Kiss a goat: Usually said to someone who has suggested something insulting or ridiculous; also "goat-kissing fool" and "pig-kissing fool", indicating one who commits ridiculous acts

- Light-blinded fool: A righteous, ignorant/misguided/stupid person; a term usually used by Darkfriends/Forsaken in reference to those not sworn to the Shadow.

- Light-forsaken: One who is hopelessly evil, wrong, unfortunate.

- Lightskirt: An "easy" woman; one who possesses little virtue; a slut.

- Milk-faced vixen: Insult directed at a female; one who uses her beauty to tempt men; variants include "milk-faced chit" where "chit" is a derogatory term for "girl".

- Milk-hearted: One who is too soft or cowardly.

- Mule: One who is stubborn (usually used in conjunction with wool-headed, bloody, or other epithets).

- Mother's milk in a cup: Expression of disgust, anger.

- Muscle-brained cretin: Big, stupid man (one who thinks with his muscles).

- Peace: Shienaran exclamation of surprise (or other emotion).

- Prancing she-goat: An insult directed at a woman who is mean, stubborn, and yet shows herself off (Faile calls Berelain this, for example).

- Sheep swallop: A nasty phrase, often used in conjunction with "bloody buttered onions".

- Silverpike: Tairen/fisherman's expression, in reference to a piranha-like fish; can mean persistent, immediate trouble; a swarm of small troubles that together create one big one; and various other negative meanings.

- Sneaking sow: A maliciously sneaky woman (Faile in reference to Berelain, for example).

- Sniffer: One with an ability to track enemies by the "scent" of their violence.

- Spit in your mother’s milk: One of various terms referring to the insulting act of spitting, and also incorporating the "mother's milk" epithet (see "Mother's milk in a cup").

- Spit/spit at feet: Physical act of derision/insult toward someone.

- Summer ham: Coarse insult (Elayne uses it once and shocks Lan).

- Thieving fisher-bird: Tairen fisherman's expression for a sneaky thief.

- Thumb an ear: Physical act of derision/insult toward someone.

- Tinkers: Common, slightly derogatory term for the Tuatha'an; used in conversation to indicate that someone is flamboyantly dressed or untrustworthy.

- Treekillers: Aiel epithet for Cairhienin.

- White-livered sons of goats: Cowardly men; not even fit to be called men (suggested animal parentage).

- Witches/Tar Valon witches: Epithet used to refer to Aes Sedai (usually used by Whitecloaks).

- Wooden-headed buffoon: One of many ways to call someone an idiot.

- Wool-brained idiot: One of many ways to call someone an idiot, referencing one whose brains are slow and "woolen" (esp. relevant to Rand, a former shepherd).

- Woolen-headed buffoon: One of many ways to call someone an idiot (see above).

- Woolhead: Stupid or dense person; can be used as adjective (e.g. "Are you completely woolheaded?").



Slang, WOT-specific terms, Expressions

- Chosen: the name the Forsaken use for themselves (rather than "Forsaken").

- Dance: "Dancing" is a term used in several cultures to refer to the act of battle; "dance the spears" is an Aiel-specific version.

- Dark One's own luck: Uncanny good luck (suggestive of evil means or cheating to win).

- Darkfriend: Common term for a human sworn to serve the Dark One.

- Dragon's Fang: Term for the black half of the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai; marked on the doors of those suspected to be Darkfriends; extreme negative connotations.

- Dragonsworn: Term referring to those who have sworn service to the Dragon Reborn, led by the Prophet Masema.

- Dreamer: Aes Sedai term for one who enters Tel'aran'rhiod vividly, without aid of a ter'angreal or other object/person.

- Exotics: Seanchan term for their unique, rare, and trained animals (e.g. grolm, raken).

- Fade: Common term for Myrddraal; also Eyeless, Halfman.

- False Dragon: A man who falsely claims to be the Dragon Reborn (and thus, to have the ability to channel).

- Fortune prick me: Illianer expression used by Bayle Domon to illustrate surprise, dismay.

- Game of Houses/The Great Game: Common terms for Daes Dae’mar.

- Gray Man: also called Soulless; those who have sold their souls to the Dark One to be his assassins; have enhanced abilities to move unseen, etc.

- Heron-marked blade: the sword of a blademaster, made long before the present time in the series; the fine steel of the blade is etched with herons.

- Hunter (for the Horn): Term for those who took a common oath to search for the Horn of Valere.

- I will have your guts for a saddle girth: Obvious threat (gutting someone and using said guts as a leather strap for holding the saddle on a horse's back).

- I will have your hide for a saddlecloth: Similar to above threat.

- Jack o' the wisps: Similar to our "will o' the wisps"; an illusion, misperception, mirage; mischievous and misleading spirits.

- Leg: To "make a leg" is to bow, usually floridly.

- Let's see how the shoe nails onto your hoof: Expression (of blacksmiths especially) meaning something like "let's see how this role suits you" or "see how well you do in this position".

- May you find shade: Traditional Aiel parting expression; hope that the other party will experience good things.

- My water is yours: Traditional Aiel expression of courtesy to a guest or friend.

- Neverborn: Wolf term for Myrddraal.

- Ogier's oath: A binding oath, referencing Ogier trustworthiness.

- Old Blood: Someone who displays close ties to ancient heritage (e.g. Matand his knowledge of the Old Tongue; memories of Manetheren and other times/places).

- Pull your bacon off the coals: Get you out of trouble.

- Reader/Wise Woman/Wisdom: Terms for herbalists/healing women (various terms used in various cultures).

- Redarm: Enforcers/policing officers in Mat's Band of the Red Hand.

- Shadowspawn: Common term for any unnatural creatures in the employ of the Dark One (e.g. Trollocs).

- The Dark One's eyes: Term used in some dice games for a roll resulting in all five dice showing 1 pip (a losing roll, when this term is used).

- The Light send it so: similar to "pray it turns out that way"; expression of hope/prayer.

- The look of the Eyeless is fear: A saying of the Borderlands, referring to the fear generated in a person when he looks upon the face of a Myrddraal (or when a Myrddraal turns his eyeless gaze upon a person).

- The Shadow take your souls: Vehement expression of damnation.

- The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills: Expression used to refer to the idea of fate or events controlled by the powers that be.

- Thief-taker/thief-catcher: One who tracks and catches thieves to turn them in to the authorities and collect a reward (a profession; Juilin Sandar for example).

- Three-fold Land: Aiel term for the Waste.

- To dance with the Dark One: To take a risk.

- True Blood: One who exhibits characteristics typical of an ancestral culture (e.g. the courage and battle prowess of Mat and Perrin (also Rand), typical of their Manetheren ancestors).

- Twisted Ones: Wolf term for Trollocs.

- Water oaths: Binding Aiel oaths, sworn over the precious commodity of water.

- Wetlanders: Aiel name for non-Aiel (those who live outside the dry Waste).

- Whitecloaks: Common term for the Children of the Light.

- Wind in a bucket: Rumor, possibly unfounded.

- Wolfkin: Term for humans who have wolflike abilities and characteristics (e.g. Perrin, Elyas Machera).

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