Sexuality terms

The Klingon language does not have many terms regarding sexuality. There are some basic terms that consider the topic, but the words for the specific body parts have not appeared until the qepHom 2018.

This is probably due to American puritanism. For various reasons, American mainstream television has decided that violence is okay, but anything sexual is taboo for a "family-friendly" audience. Star Trek, being family-friendly, has therefore tended to shy away from talking too much about that kind of thing. It seems like Marc Okrand has decided to follow that pattern. He has never elaborated why he hasn't talked much about sexual vocabulary, but has talked about why Maltz doesn't talk about sexual vocabulary.


The following vocabulary is focussed on biological terms regarding sexuality. For gender-related terms like "mother", "boy", etc, see gender.
word translation source year
bogh be born The Klingon Dictionary 1985
chI'ID uterus qepHom 2018
DaynguH testicle qepHom 2018
lInchuq have a physical relationship qepHom 2016
ngagh mate with Power Klingon 1994
nga'chuq perform sex HolQeD 1992
qey'Hav vagina qepHom 2018
yatlh be pregnant Klingon for the Galactic Traveler 1997
'InSep penis qepHom 2018


Due to the progress and growing acceptance of sexual diversity, there have been repeated requests on how to express related terms like gay, lesbian, trans, non-binary etc. Unfortunately, none of these have been answered so far. I could be possible that Okrand prefers to remain family-friendly (as mentioned above) but also prefers not to decide too much about Klingon culture. At this point, there is no canon explanation on how Klingons would behave in such situations.

Slang terms

Klingonist John Harness has introduced a word Har'eyngan, literally "inhabitant of the rainbow", which is widely accepted by gay Klingonists.

Maltz about same-sex marriage vocabulary

The only decent move into this direction was the information that the verb tlhogh "marry" can be used generally without making a difference of gender(1), as did the words Saw "marry (husband does this)" and nay "marry (wife does this)".

First of all, Maltz said that Sawchuq and naychuq are perfectly good words and would be understood to refer to same-sex marriage.

But he went on...

Though Saw and nay are defined in terms of male/female and when used in this way everything is fine, the idea is not simply that when men get married they do something that's somehow different from what women do when they get married. The concept is more of a yin-yang thing. That is, there are two people joining together in marriage who are not the same as each other. They complement each other, complete each other – all that kind of stuff people say at weddings. It all goes back to the relationship Kahless and Lukara had. So one of the people getting married brings one set of values, strengths, abilities, etc., to the marriage, and the other brings another (complementary, overlapping, enhancing) set. And vice versa. That's why, when they get married, they're not said to do the same thing.

Now, you may say, if using two words for "marry" is because there are two different but complementary partners, shouldn't the word for "marry" when both people getting married are the same gender also be two different words? If so, Sawchuq and naychuq don't accomplish that.

And, if you said all of that, you would be right. But the association of Saw with "husband" and nay with "wife" has been around for so long, the "complementariness" notion has been lost for many people. That's why Sawchuq and naychuq are easily understandable when used for same-sex marriage.

In addition, though, at least in some places, people are dealing with gender in a way that goes beyond simple "male" and "female." So if one of the people getting married doesn't identify as either "male" or "female" – or if both don't – then what do you do? Theoretically, both use nay or both use Saw or one uses nay and the other uses Saw, but how to choose and which is which? This is particularly tricky because these two words are tangled up with "female" and "male," exactly what those identifying as neither are wanting to not express.

Maltz says that, more and more, he's hearing an older word, tlhogh. (I don't know how he's hearing this – my basement isn't really equipped for extraterrestrial communication – but I certainly believe him.) The noun tlhogh is quite common. It means "marriage," and it can be used for anybody marrying anybody. The verb tlhogh, however, was long considered quaint or archaic. But it's being used with increased frequency. It means "marry" and, like its noun counterpart, it can be used by both partners regardless of sex/gender, so it's used for male-male marriages, female-female marriages, and everything else. Use of this word lacks the yin-yang connotation of Saw and nay, but it's well suited for expressing what the folks getting married are up to. Depending on what you want to say, both tlhogh and tlhoghchuq are heard: B tlhogh A "A marries B"; tlhoghchuq A B je "A and B marry each other." But some Klingons also say Sawchuq and naychuq. The choice seems to be whatever the folks getting married prefer.

(Message from Marc Okrand to Lieven L. Litaer, July 13, 2017, archived  at

See also


1 : qep'a' 2017

Category: Vocabulary    Latest edit: 02 Sep 2020, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 16 Oct 2018 by KlingonTeacher
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