Vocabulary of the Orion Arm: The S’s

Last week’s post on the Covenant’s Trade language was short, because this week’s post is long. (Turns out there’s a lot of words that start with S) Click through to get your weekly Trade fix.

  • Sachtefit (chiroptim, term): Literally “beautiful twisting writing”. The chiroptim, term alphabet. A formal writing system used on official documents, memorials, gravestones, and anything else official or important. See also cheshefit.
  • Sabog (valka, slang): Shoe. From Nadsat, derived from sapog (a tall shoe).
  • Sakar (valka, slang): Sugar, candy, junk food. From Nadsat, derived from sakhar (sugar).
  • Sakweth (chiroptim, term): 1. A drop in barometric pressure, especially after a long period of oppressive high temperature. 2. A break in bad weather. 3. A break in any kind of tension 4. A lightening of any kind of burden.
  • Sammy (valka, slang): Generous. From Nadsat, derived from samoye (the most).
  • Scaries (Covenant, slang): The Covenant equivalent of SWAT. If the scaries can’t handle something, the next step is to call in the military. Most Covenant communities don’t have or want scaries – they’re only found on unsafe or colony worlds – and those that do have strict rules on their use and force them to stay in barracks until they are used.
  • Scoteena (valka, slang): 1. Wild animal, uncivilized person. 2. Valka who doesn’t belong to a hive, an exile. From Nadsat, derived from skotina (brute or beast).
  • Scarper (aco, slang): 1. To run off. 2. To escape. From British Polari.
  • Scharda (aco, slang): Shame. From British Polari.
  • Schlumph (aco, slang): Drink. From British Polari.
  • Schmutter (aco, slang): Clothes. From British Polari.
  • Schooner (aco, slang): Bottle. From British Polari.
  • Scotch (aco, slang): Leg. From British Polari.
  • Screech (aco, slang): 1. Mouth. 2. Speak. 3. Narc, snitch. From British Polari.
  • Screeve (aco, slang): Write. From British Polari.
  • Security Blanket (general, slang): A derogatory term for the weapons that predatory species like chiroptim and valka insist on carrying at all times.
  • Sekhkalket (chiroptim, term): 1. Necromancers and other evil magicians. 2. How the Yassam classifies enemies of the state. See also Yassam, The.
  • Sekhket (chiroptim, term): 1. Necromancy, a forbidden and hated magical school among chiroptim. 2. Any forbidden knowledge.
  • Sekhketpech (chiroptim, term): 1. Specially-trained chiroptim trackers and assassins who hunt down necromancers. 2. Covert Special Forces in the Yassam. See also Yassam, The.
  • Semhesam (chiroptim, term): Graveyard or cemetery.
  • Separatist (general, term): Basically freedom fighter acoes. They want to free other acoes from servitude and don’t want anything to do with other species, especially humans.
  • Service Baby (Covenant, slang): Any refugee, who are usually acclimated to the Covenant in service commonwealths.
  • Service (Covenant, slang): Short for “service commonwealth”. Unlike other Covenant commonwealths, service commonwealths are focused on providing a service (i.e., having a large factory or college, acclimating immigrants and refugees, etc.) and are thus not self-sufficient. Instead, they have their needs fulfilled by surrounding commonwealths in exchange for the service that they provide.
  • Setchef (chiroptim, term): Literally “wise mother.” Any woman who has lived more than seventy years. A setchef is considered a wise crone and a fountain of wisdom – and is usually a cranky old woman, too. Setchefen are considerably more common in the Covenant than they were back in the Old World. Also doyen. See also settif.
  • Settif (chiroptim, term): Literally “wise father.” Any man who has lived more than seventy years. A settif is considered a wise crone and a fountain of wisdom – and usually a cranky old man, too. Settifen are considerably more common in the Covenant than they were back in the Old World. Also doyen. See also setchef.
  • Setmachal, The (chiroptim, term): 1. The ruling council of the Yassam. Any chiroptim can vote for members of the Yassam. 2. The local governing council of any chiroptim community or ghetto. The local ovalos are often its unofficial police force. See also ovalos and Yassam, The.
  • Shaghyefil (chiroptim, term): A ritual when chiroptim children feed on and kill their first animal. Victims have included humans in the past – most of them, but not all, criminals of one sort or another – but this practice is banned now. Chiroptim children are considered adults after this ceremony. Also The Rite of the Naked Meal.
  • Shaika (valka, slang): 1. Gang. 2. Squad or company. From Nadsat, derived from shaika (band, as in band of thieves).
  • Sharpy (aco, slang): Policeman. From British Polari.
  • Sharpy Polone (aco, slang): Policewoman. From British Polari.
  • Sharries (valka, slang): Balls. From Nadsat, derived from shariki (marbles).
  • Shekovok (chiroptim, term): Traditional overcoat and wide-brimmed hat worn by chiroptim men. Shekovok were part of the tradition of “hiding the ears” back in the Old World. Men would wear shekovok, while women would wear abaya-like cloaks and hoods (“okalos”), in order to blend into human society and reduce the chances of being targeted by racial prejudice. Chiroptim in this timeline still hide the ears unless they live in the Covenant, where shekovok are considered “traditional garb” and are only really worn by edgy teenagers. See also okalos.
  • Shemp (chiroptim, slang): n. Coward, someone who cuts and runs at the worst possible moment. v. Run away, refuse to face something.
  • Shiyah (valka, slang): Neck. From Nadsat, derived from shyeya (neck).
  • Shiyefsem (chiroptim, term): Choosing to starve to death instead of violating the Machyefshef or feeding Code, such as by killing and feeding on an innocent person. Noble, but still tragic. Chiroptim have an entire genre of stories on shiyefsem called shisemshef, which are used to teach the importance of the Code. See also Machyefshef.
  • Shlapa (valka, slang): Hat, headcovering. From Nadsat, derived from Russian: shlyupa (hat).
  • Shlem (valka, slang): Helmet. From Nadsat, derived from shlem (helmet).
  • Shlemiel (chiroptim, slang): A bungler or clumsy person, someone who can’t get anything right.
  • Shlep (chiroptim, slang): 1. To carry or drag, usually something heavy. 2. To make a long and/or tiresome journey.
  • Shlimazel (chiroptim, slang): An unlucky person, someone who can’t catch a break.
  • Shlock (chiroptim, slang): Something poorly made and often hastily thrown together.
  • Shohaghok (chiroptim, term): Any kind of mourning clothes.
  • Shohechmet (chiroptim, term): Spacers. Literally “black emptiness sailors”.
  • Shoom (valka, slang): Noise. From Nadsat, derived from shum (noise).
  • Shoot (valka, slang): Fool, spoof, fast-talk. From Nadsat, derived from shutit (to fool).
  • Shot (spacer, slang): A spaceship’s trajectory.
  • Show, The (spacer, slang): Dogfight, ship-to-ship fighting.
  • Shush (aco, slang): 1. Steal from a client. 2. Get even, balance the scales. From British Polari.
  • Sidewinder (chiroptim, slang): Someone who has your back; an ally, partner, or wingman.
  • Skazat (valka, slang): Say. From Nadsat, derived from skazat (to say).
  • Skorry (valka, slang): Quick, quickly. From Nadsat, derived from skori (quick).
  • Skvat (valka, slang): Grab. From Nadsat, derived from khvatat (to grab, snatch).
  • Sky Child (slang, thk’kok): Thk’kok term for calerre. Carries a connotation of someone who is flighty or childish.
  • Sladky (valka, slang): Sweet. From Nadsat, derived from sladkiyi (sweet).
  • Slap (aco, slang): Makeup. From British Polari.
  • Sloochat (valka, slang): Happen. From Nadsat, derived from sluchatsya (to happen).
  • Slooshy (valka, slang): To listen, hear. From Nadsat, derived from slushat (to hear).
  • Slovo (valka, slang): Word. From Nadsat, derived from slovo (word).
  • Sludgebilly (music, calerre): A genre born in the bars and roadhouses of Star’s End on Cadelle and inspired by human country, rockabilly, swing, and punk music. Sludgebilly is a high-energy, lo-fi mess of fuzz, sludge, and clipping that’s surprisingly good to dance to. Hot acts include Monstrous Regiment, an all-female, multi-species outfit, as well as Dancehall Beauty, the Denim Jackets, Back Door Betty, and Sam Slimeball and His Sounds of Perversion.
  • Smeck (valka, slang): Laugh. From Nadsat, derived from smekh (a laugh).
  • Sonic Screwdriver (human, slang): Any handheld tool that uses hard light, Lorentzian distorters, or other non-physical means to manipulate objects. The origin of this name has been lost to the sands of time.
  • Smot (valka, slang): To look. From Nadsat, derived from smotret (to look).
  • Sneety (valka, slang): Dream. From Nadsat, derived from snitsya (to dream).
  • Sobirat (valka, slang): Pick up, date. From Nadsat, derived from sobirat (to gather people).
  • Soomka (valka, slang): Woman in estrous, sexually available woman. From Nadsat, derived from sumka (woman).
  • “Soft winds” (calerre, slang): To wish someone good luck.
  • Soviet (valka, slang): 1. Advice 2. Order. From Nadsat, derived from sovyet (advice, council).
  • “Something’s wrong with the wind” (calerre, slang): Something’s off or wrong, but you can’t tell what.
  • Species-Agnostic (general, term): Can be used by any species, regardless of biochemistry.
  • Spat (valka, slang): Sleep. From Nadsat, derived from spat (to sleep). Also spatchka.
  • “Spicy and slightly sweet” (Covenant, slang): A response to mock someone or bring them down a peg.
  • Spinning Up (spacer, slang): Climbing up a gravitational gradient or leaving a gravity well in a spaceship.
  • Spinning Down (spacer, slang): Descending into a gravitational gradient or entering a gravity well in a spaceship.
  • Spoogy (valka, slang): Terrified. From Nadsat, derived from spugivat (to frighten).
  • Straight Shot (spacer, slang): Spaceship trajectory from one point to another without deviation.
  • Starry (valka, slang): Old, ancient. From Nadsat, derived from stariyi (old).
  • Stimps (aco, slang): Legs. From British Polari.
  • Stimpcovers (aco, slang): Stockings, hose. From British Polari.
  • Strides (aco, slang): Trousers. From British Polari.
  • Strillers (aco, slang): Piano. From British Polari.
  • Strack (valka, slang): Horror, fear. From Nadsat, derived from strakh (fear).
  • Straw Dogs (Covenant, slang): Police, soldiers, prison guards, security guards, and anyone else who enforces a system of oppression. Straw dogs are rife with contradictions to a Covenant citizen. They tend to come from the lower classes, yet enforce oppression of the lower classes. They are the loudest cheerleaders of the systems that they enforce, yet gain little from these systems. They are revered and deified, yet thrown under the bus and called “bad apples” whenever they embarrass their masters. The Platonic idea of the straw dog is worshipped, while the sweaty reality is kicked into the dirt and trampled underfoot. In short, the straw dog is capable of being both hot and cold without holding real warmth, and is truly a puzzle.
  • Survivalist (general, term): A human who cares about survival and nothing else. Survivalists are common on the marginal worlds colonized by humans during the Diaspora.
  • Switch (aco, slang): Wig. From British Polari.

See Also:

Note: Some of these terms are original, but the rest are gathered from numerous sources. This is only a partial list of these sources.

Published by radiofreecovenant

A podcast about the science-fiction roleplaying game "Covenant" and the urban fantasy novel "Crossing the Line", soon to be published by Black Opal Books.

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