Glossary of Dune terminology

This is a list of terminology used in the fictional Dune universe created by Frank Herbert, the primary source being "Terminology of the Imperium", the glossary contained in the novel Dune (1965).

Dune word construction could be classified into three domains of vocabulary, each marked with its own neology: the names and terms related to the politics and culture of the Galactic Empire, the names and terms characteristic of the mystic sodality of the Bene Gesserit, and the barely displaced Arabic of the Fremen language.Fremen share vocabulary for Arrakeen phenomena with the Empire, but use completely different vocabulary for Bene Gesserit-implanted messianic religion.[1]

Due to the similarities between some of Herbert's terms and ideas and actual words and concepts in the Arabic and Hebrew languages — as well as the series' "Islamic undertones" and themes — a Middle Eastern influence on Herbert's works has been noted repeatedly.[1][2]

A

  • Aba – A loose, usually black robe worn by Fremen women and Bene Gesserit sisters.[3]
  • Abomination – Bene Gesserit term for one who is pre-born and thus susceptible to being taken over by the ancestral personalities in Other Memory.[4]
  • Ajidamal (or Amal) – Disastrously-flawed synthetic melange created by the Tleilaxu Project Amal before the process of producing spice in axlotl tanks is perfected.[5]
  • Akarso – "Plant native to Sikun (of 70 Ophiuchi A) characterized by almost oblong leaves. Its green and white stripes indicate the constant multiple, condition of parallel active and dormant chlorophyll regions."[3]
  • Al-Lat – "Mankind's original sun; by usage: any planet's primary."[3]
  • Ampoliros – "Legendary 'Flying Dutchman' of space;"[3] Lady Jessica refers to the pre-Guild legend in Dune: "Like the men of the lost star-searcher, Ampoliros – sick at their guns – forever seeking, forever prepared and forever unready."
  • Amtal (or Amtal Rule) – "Common rule on primitive worlds under which something is tested to determine its limits or defects. Commonly: testing to destruction."[3] "To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen. – The Amtal Rule."[6]
  • Arafel – The "cloud-darkness of holy judgment"[7] or "cloud darkness at the end of the universe;"[7][8] the end of mankind (as it was) averted by Leto II's Golden Path.[7]
  • Axlotl tank – Biological tank in which gholas and melange may be produced.[9]
  • Assassin's Handbook – "Third-century compilation of poisons commonly used in a War of Assassins. Later expanded to include those deadly devices permitted under the Guild Peace and Great Convention."[3]
  • Ayat – "The signs of life. (See Burhan.)"[3]