Firefly: Speechifying in the 'Verse
- 1 Basic Rim World Speech
- 2 Slang: Frontier Life
- 3 Slang: Spacefaring
- 4 Slang: Underworld
- 5 Slang: Technical
- 6 Slang: Chinese
- 7 Return to Main Page
Basic Rim World Speech
Truncate the "g" for "ing" words. ("Schoolin'")
Pepper with slang adjectives.
Double negatives. ("It don't mean nothin' out here.")
Using odd words and word forms in phrases.
Use "don't" instead of "doesn't".
Odd words: druther, yonder, dang, plumb, right smart.
Prefixing on "-ing" ("a-runnin'")
No -ly pn adverbs. ("She described the plan real simple. That job's awful hard to do.")
Subject and Verb don't match. ("We was goin' there. He got none of that.")
Malformed verbs. ("He growed up real good. He come by her last night. I seen it with my own eyes. He done run off again.")
A Few Examples
- --"Looks like we got us some imminent violence."
- --"We got no short of ugly ridin' in on us."
- --"I'm just feeling kind of truthsome right now."
- --"We're in some peril here."
- --"We just need a small crew, them as feel the need to be free."
- --"This here's a recipe for unpleasantness."
- --"I'm shocked my own self."
- --"We'll be there directly."
- --"But she does have an oddness to her."
Slang: Frontier Life
- All-fired - completely. (ex. "Where'd she go gettin' all-fired jealous 'bout this?")
- Awful, Dreadful, Mighty, Plumb, Powerful - very, really, or other adjectives for emphasis (ex. "Gettin' awful crowded in my sky.")
- Bang-up - great. (ex. "They did a bang-up job.")
- Bughouse - a mental hospital.
- Git - go away.
- Peck - A large amount.
- Preacher - anyone religious.
- Ornery - stubborn, not passive.
- Run afoul - to get into trouble.
- Shindig - a party, usually with dancing.
- Shiny - good or valuable. (can also be used as an exclamation. For example, "That's just shiny!")
- Size someone up - judge how tough they are or what their intentions might be.
- Tetchy - sensitive or complaining.
- Atmo - atmosphere, as in to "leave atmo."
- The black - space
- Clean your housing - to give a thorough beating (as in a spaceship's engine housing)
- Feds, Federals - Members of the Alliance, its military, law enforcement, or functionaries.
- Go to blackout - shut down power on the ship to avoid detection.
- On the drift - in space without fuel, unable to travel.
- Reavers - madmen who live on the edges of civilized space, flying dangerous ships and preying on other space vessels.
- The Rim - frontier planets, not the core.
- The 'Verse - inhabited space or the universe.
- Being buzzed - sensors from another ship are actively sweeping you.
- Doxy - prostitute.
- Drops - illegal, addictive, narcotic drugs.
- Second story job - breaking and entering robbery.
- Scratch - valuables.
- The goods - loot.
- Went south - problems appeared, the plan fell apart.
- Tonic - amateur or illegal alcoholic drink.
- Bushwhack - ambush.
- Footpad - pickpocket thief in a town.
- Hornswoggle - to trick someone.
- On the dodge - wanted by the police.
- Advocate - a lawyer.
- Cortex - wide-spread information network.
- Genseed - genetically engineered crop seeds used on freshly terraformed worlds.
- Skyplex - orbital city or space station.
- Wave - a communication: text, audio, video, or holographic.
- A knot of self-indulgent lunacy: Fang zong feng kuang de jie
- A real bastard!: Ge zhen de hun dan!
- A switch to those girls' backsides is just good enough: Bian da ta men de bei jiu gou le
- Abracadabra-alakazam: Tian-ling-ling, di-ling-ling
- Accusing someone of lying, a ridiculous notion, or talking out of the posterior: Fang pi, literally "to break wind"
- Act blindly: Bi se yan jing zhuo ma que, literally "try to catch sparrows with one's eyes blindfolded"
- Agitate someone out of hiding: Da chow jing ser, literally, "beating the grass to startle the snake"
- Aah!: Ai ya!
- Alas: Zao gao, literally "spoiled cake"
- All talk: Da chong wu dan, literally "big gun, no bullet"
- All that is proper: Suo you de dou shi dang
- All the planets in space shoved up my butt: Tai kong suo you de xing qiu sai jin wo de pi gu
- Alliance: Tong meng
- An absolute genius: Zhen de shi tian cai
- Are we clear?: Dong le ma
- As far as the eye can see: Yi wang wu ji, literally "look afar no bound"
- Ass-kicking killer: Xiong can sha shou
- Attributing an unfortunate longshot occurrence: Yeh lu jwo duo luh jwohn whei jian gui, literally "do enough nighttime travels and one will eventually see a ghost"; also a warning of future retribution.
- Awesome: Gao gan, literally "high pole"
- AWOL: Kai xiao chai
- Baboon's arse: Fei fei pi gu
- Baboon's arse crack: Fei fei de pi yan
- Bastard: Hun dan, literally "rotten egg"
- Boss or operator of a business: Lao ban; Lao ban ni'un for a female boss or proprietor's wife. Also informal appellation for acquaintances.
- Big Brother, Older Brother: Ge or Ge-Ge, the former is more intimate and connotes a blood relation.
- Big stupid pile of stinking meat: Yi dwei da buen chuo roh
- Big Sister, Older Sister: Jie or Jei-Jei
- Blessing on you: Zhu fu ni
- Blindside or conspire against someone secretly: Fahn leong jian, literally "shoot a cold arrow"
- Bon Appetit!: Nin chi hao
- Boss: Lao ban. Also informal appellation for acquaintances.
- Boss (Female): Lao ban ni'un. Also informal appellation for acquaintances.
- Bottoms up: Gan bei, literally "dry cup"
- Brilliant: Jing cai
- Browncoat: Zong yi
- Cheap floozy: Jian huo
- Check it out, inspect: Jian cha
- Check at once: Ma shang jian cha
- Cheering or urging someone on: Jia you, literally "add fuel", equivalent of "go (name)!" in English.
- Cheers: Gan bei, literally "dry cup"
- Chinese/Mandarin language: Jwohn Guo Hua
- Cool: Ku
- Come in, enter: Qing jin
- Commit blunder of great magnitude: Bie wu long
- Complete disarray or sheer pandemonium: Tian fuhn di fu, literally "sky tumbles while earth turns over"
- Completely useless: Tian di wu yong
- Congratulations: Gong xi
- Conniving or scheming person: Gui tou gui nao, literally "ghost head ghost brain"
- Consistently useless: Jing-chang mei yong de
- Cow Dung: Niu shi
- Cow Poop: Niu fen
- Cow sucking: Xi niu
- Crap: Gou shi
- Crap: Zao gao, literally "spoiled cake"
- Crazy dog in love with its own feces: Ai chr jze se duh fohn diang gou
- Cursing: Ma jung hwa, literally "chastise with dirty words"
- Cute: Ke ai ,ass hold
- Damn, my god: Ai ya
- Damn it: Zao gao, literally "spoiled cake"
- Danger/Dangerous: Wei xian
- Dangerous person or animal: Wei xian dong wu
- Darling: Bao bei
- Daydream or wishful thinking: Bai ri meng
- Deserving of bad consequence or fate: Hwo gai
- Despicable: Kuh wu
- Do something for nothing in return, or wasted endeavor without a payoff: Yee yan, literally "a charity show".
- Done for: Wan dan, literally "finished (cooked) egg"
- Don't worry: Fang xin
- Dumbass: Chun, descriptive literally "retarded"
- Earthshaking: Jing tian dwohn di, literally "startle the sky and shake the earth"
- Empty Threat: Da chong wu dan, literally "big gun, no bullet"
- Engage a monkey in a feces-hurling contest: Gen hou zi bi diu shi
- Enough of this nonsense: Gou huang tang
- Everyone shut up!: Ni men dou bi zui!
- Everything under the sky: Tian shia, can be used to allude to the world or the universe
- Excrement: Mi tian gong
- Explosive diarrhea of an elephant: Da xiang bao zha shi de la du zi
- Extraordinarily clever: Gao gan, literally "high pole"
- Extraordinarily impatient Buddha: Zhen mei nai xing de Fo zu
- Fear nothing but (fill in the blank): Tian bu pa, di bu pa, tze pa...
- Fellow: Ja hwo
- Female companion or girlfriend: Ma tze, a somewhat derogatory slang; add Dow in front for "looking for a girlfriend"
- Filthy fornicators of livestock: He chu-sheng za-jiao de zang-huo!
- Fire!: Kai huo (as in shooting), fen huo (as in starting)
- Fire at will or terminate with extreme prejudice: Da kai sa jeh, meaning "breaking the Buddhist vow against killing"
- Flat-chested: Hur bao dan, slang, literally "eggs cooked sunny-side up"
- Foiled or ruined at the last moment: Soh ya fei tian, expression, literally "a cooked duck flies away"
- Fool: Sha gua, literally "stupid melonhead", or ben dan, literally "stupid egg"
- Friend, pal, buddy: Peng you
- Frog-humping son of a bitch: Qing wa cao de liu mang
- Fuck!: Ta ma de! (vulgar term)
- Gang, crew, or confederate of diehards: Se duhng
- Gang or faction leader: Da gher ga for male, da jeh da for female, slang
- Garbage: Le se
- Get bold or audacious: Fang dan, literally "release courage"
- Get lost: Kwai jio kai
- Go all out, hold nothing back: Ping ming, literally "fight for one's life"
- Go away: Kuai qu hen yuan de di fang, literally "go far away very fast"
- Go die: Chui se
- Go to hell: Chui se, literally "go die"
- God knows what / name of all that's sacred: Tian xiao de
- Goddamn monsters: Tian sha de e mo
- Good: Hao
- Good-for-nothing: Bu lang bu you
- Good journey or bon voyage: Yi lu shun feng, or yi lu ping an
- Good luck: Ju hao yun
- Great: Da bian hua, literally "big change"
- Greetings: Nihao
- Handsome: Shuai
- Happy development or fortuitous turn of event: How shi sung chung, literally "a good show's about to start", can be used sarcastically
- Have desires above one's social/financial position, or beyond one's ability to realize: Lai huh ma shi yong tze tian e zoh, literally "for a toad to think of eating a swan"
- Hell: Gui, literally "ghost"
- Hell, underworld: Di yu
- Hello: Nihao
- Hey!: Wei
- Holy testicle (exclamation): Shen sheng de gao wan
- Home wrecking tramp: Hu li jing, literally "fox spirit"
- Horrible old tyrant: Ke-wu de lao bao jun
- Hurry or make haste: Gan mang
- I don't believe my eyes!: Wo bu shin wo dah yan jing
- I neither see nor hear you: Wo dui ni bu wen bu jian
- I'm sorry: Dui bu qi
- Idiot: Ben dan, literally "stupid egg", or chun zhu, literally "retarded pig"
- Imminent Doom: Wan dan, literally "finished (cooked) egg"
- Impossible: Bu ke neng
- Impressive display or visage but no substance: Da chong wu dan, literally "big gun, no bullet"
- In the doghouse: Leng gong, literally "a cold palace," which is where an emperor confines those concubines who have fallen out of favor
- In that case, nevermind: Na mei guan xi
- Jerk: Hun dan, literally "rotten egg"
- Junk: Fei wu
- Just our luck: Zhen dao mei
- Kick me in the butt: Ti wo de pi gu
- Leader of a criminal operation: She tou, literally "snakehead", derogatory.
- Leave one to his own fate: Tze sh'un tze mieh
- Let me repeat myself: Wuo jai jeong yi chi
- Let's take a deep breath: Yi qi shen hu xi
- Life support failure: Shuhn ming shi t'wohn gu jong
- Like hell/In your dreams: Jian ta de gui, literally "see his ghost", or jian gui which likely means "seeing ghosts"
- Little Brother: Di or Di-Di
- Little Sister: Mei or Mei-Mei
- Long time no see: Hao joh bu jian
- Loopy in the head: Feng le, literally "insane"
- Male companion or boyfriend: Kai tze, also a somewhat derogatory slang
- Make a big mistake: Bie wu long
- Make an example of someone: Sha ji gei hou kan, literally "kill a chicken in front of a monkey"
- Merciful Buddha protect us: Ren ci de Fo zu qing bao you wo men
- Merciful God, please take me away: Ren ci de shang di, qing dai wo zou
- Merciless Bastard: Leng xue za zhong, literally "cold-blooded mixed-breed"
- Merciless Hell: Ai ya tian a!
- Mind your own business: Guan ni ziji de shi
- Miss: xiao jie, literally "little lady." Follows a name when addressing a known person, so River Tam would be addressed as Tam River xiao jie, or simply Tam xiao jie.
- Mister: xian sheng, literally "born before me." Follows a name when addressing a known person, so Simon Tam would be addressed as Tam Simon xian sheng, or simply Tam xian sheng.
- Monkey raping: Qiang bao hou-zi de
- Monkey's butt: Hou-zi de pi-gu
- Moron: Ben dan, literally "stupid egg", or chun zhu, literally "retarded pig"
- Mother of God: Wo de ma
- Mother of God and all her crazy nephews: Wo de ma he ta de fen kuang de wai sheng dou
- Motherless goat of all motherless goats: Gao yang zhong de gu yang
- Muddled, Mixed-up, Confused: Wu tou wu nao, literally "without a head or a brain"
- No problem: Mei wen ti
- No way: Cai bu shi
- (a) Nobody: Wu ming shao zu, literally "nameless little footsoldier"
- Nonsense, rubbish, superfluous words: Fei hua
- Not advised: Quan gao bu yi
- Not enough: Bu gou, or Hai bu gou for "not enough yet"
- Not good: Zao gao, literally "spoiled cake"
- Not keeping a rendezvous: Fang ge zi, literally "release a pigeon" but insinuating not picking up the bird at the destination.
- Not much of a choice between the two: Ban jin ba liang
- Nothing ventured, nothing gained: Bu ru hu xue yan de hu zi, literally "how can you catch tiger cubs without entering the tiger's lair"
- Now, immediately: Ma shang
- Nuts: Shiang Jing Ping, or just Shiang Jing; Fah Shiang Jing for "going nuts"
- Nuts: Kuang zhe de, literally "crazy"
- Oddball or Goof: Chai Neow
- Of course: Dang ran
- Oh, this is a happy development: O, zhe zhen shi ge kuai le de jin zhan
- Oh God, no: Lao tian, bu
- Oh my God: Wo de tian a
- Okay: Hao
- Old: Lao
- Old friend: Lao peng you
- Old man / husband: Lao gong
- Old lady / wife: Lao po
- One must be ruthless to be great: Wu du bu zhong fu, literally "a person without poison is not a great man"
- Out of touch with reality: Bi mu se ting, "shut one's eyes and stop up one's ears"
- Outdo someone or doing one better: Dao-gao-yee-chi moh-gao-yee-juhn, expression, literally "the solution advances a yard, the problem advances a mile"
- Over my dead body: Chu fei wo si le
- Pal: Lao xiong, "old chap", between male friends
- Panda urine: Xiong mao niao
- Paranoid, extremely suspicious: Bei gong she ying, literally "mistaking the reflection of a bow in the cup for a snake"
- Pathetic wretch: Bei bi xiao ren, literally "shameless little dirty person"
- Peon: Wu ming shao zu, literally "nameless little footsoldier"
- Petty: Suo xi
- Prehistoric: Lao Diu Ya, literally "so old as to lose all teeth"
- Pig's Sty: Zhu fuen chse
- Pile of sun-baked dog poo: Ri shao gou shi bing
- Plain, bland, bare: Yong chwen mien, slang taken from the namesake generic, flavorless noodle dish.
- Please be quiet: Qing an jing yi dien
- Pool of Excrement: F'n Zse
- Pool of pig droppings: Zhu fuen chse
- Posterior, bottom, butt: Pi gu
- Precious: Bao bei
- Real man, manly man, gentleman: Nan zi han
- Really Dangerous: Wei xian, more poetic, wo hu chung long, which is "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" and expression for something dangerous.
- Remorseless harridan: Bu hui hen de po fu
- Retreat, run away: Jio weh sung chiuh, phrase summarizing the last of the Chinese "36 Stratagems", which extols the virtue of fleeing to fight another day.
- Ridiculously strange, illogical or nonsensical: Mo ming qi miao, literally "not understanding the peculiarity"
- Ruined, finished: Wan dan le
- Ruthless or savage beast of a person: Ching soh
- Scoundrel: Huai dan, literally "bad egg"
- Screw him/her running: Gun ta jwo lu
- Screw you: Qu ni de
- Shameless Hussy: Meh lian duh jyah ji, literally "faceless bastard prostitute"
- Shiny, awesome, fantastic: Jahn!
- Shit on my head! (or another expletive): Ai ya, huai le!
- Shut up: Bi zui
- Shut up (as in, 'Get out' or 'yeah right'): Hu che
- Shut up, all of you!: Ni men dou bi zui!
- Shut up and make us wealthy: Bi zui, rong wo men fa cai
- Shut up, you inconsiderate schoolboys!: Bi zui, nin hen bu ti tie de nan sheng!
- Sir: Da yeh. When used as a nobility, Nuhn Jwei, following the name.
- Small fry: Wu ming shao zu, literally "nameless little footsoldier"
- Smelled a fart: Wen guo pi
- So guilty as to deserve a thousand deaths: Jwei gai wang se
- SOB: Wang ba dan, or gou neong yung de for a more literal and vicious translation.
- Speak now and quickly: Yo hua kuai so
- Speaking without a clue: Xia hua, literally "blind talk"
- Splendid: Jing cai
- Stop talking: Ju kou
- Stubborn disciplinarian: Pian zhi de jie cha yuan
- Stupid: Yu ben de
- Stupid son of a drooling whore and monkey: Liu kou shui de biao zi he hou zi de ben er zi
- Stupid inbred sack of meat: Ben tian sheng de yi dui rou
- Sweetheart: Bao bei
- Swindle: Guai
- Suicidal idea: Zu sha zhu yi
- Surrender, give up: Tou xiang
- Take care, stay healthy: Bao zhong, literally "maintain weight"
- Talk nonsense: Shia suo
- Teacher: Lao shi
- Thanks: Xie xie
- There's nothing in this plan that isn't horrific: Zhe ge ji hua zhen ke pa
- Things never go smooth: Hao yun bu lai, huai yun bu jwo, literally "good luck don't come, bad luck don't leave"
- Time out!: Yi qi shen hu xi, literally "Let's take a deep breath"
- To throw in a monkey wrench: Gwai ma jiao, literally "twist a horse's legs (while it's galloping)"
- Too bad: Zao gao, literally "spoiled cake"
- Trouble, problem, complication: Ma fan
- Troublemaker: Wan nao
- Tyrant, iron-fisted ruler: Ba wang
- Ugly or perverted person: Zhu Bajie, insult taken from the name of the hoggish, lecherous character in the popular Chinese folktale, "Journey to the West"
- Understand: Dong, dong ma for "understand?" dong le ma for "are we clear here?"
- Unnecessarily complicating something, or overdoing it: Hua she tian zu, literally "draw a snake and add feet to it"
- Urine-soaked demons (or something to the effect): Niao shi de du-gui
- Very: Fei chang
- Violent lunatic: Xiong meng de kuang ren
- Vixen: Hu li jing, literally "fox spirit"
- Wah!: Wa, an exclamation. (Does NOT mean the sound of vomiting, as some have suggested.)
- Wait/hold on a second: Deng yi miao
- Warning someone against doing things 'the hard way': Jing zhou bu chi chi fa zhou, literally "choosing to sip the wine of penalty over that of respect"
- Watch your back: Zhen ta ma yao ming. Zhu yi. Literally "this is pretty damned dangerous. Pay attention"
- Water: Shui
- We will enjoy your silence now: Bai tuo, an jing yi dian
- We're in big trouble: Ai ya wo men wan le
- Weak-ass sauce: Lan dan jiang, literally "rotten egg sauce"
- What?: Shen me
- What is that?: Na shi shen me?
- What is this?: Zhe shi shen me?
- What a mess: Zao gao, literally "spoiled cake"
- What is this garbage?: Zhe shi shen me lan dong xi?
- Whores in hell!: Ta shi suo you di yu de diao zi de ma!, literally "she is the mother of all prostitutes in hell"
- Whores of SOBs: Wang ba dan de biao zi
- Wonderful!: Pai an jiao jue, literally "slap the table and shout with praise"
- Why don't you tell the cow about its beautiful eyes?: Ni gao su na niu ta you shuang mei-mu?
- Yes, affirmative: Shi a
- You don't deserve it: Ni bu ying de zhe ge, or Ni bu gou ge
- You fink/wretch/etc: Ni hun qiu
- You want a bullet right in your throat?: Ni yao wo kai qiang
- You wanna die?: Ni zhao si ma?
- You're all idiots: Ni men dou shi sha gua, literally "all of you are foolish"
- Young one: Nian qing de, or ying chi, slang for underaged (literally "infant teeth")