A rich sense of culture seems to span across the various settings of Star Wars, introducing fans to new species and worlds at almost every turn. With culture comes the unique languages spoken throughout the galaxy, and while “Basic” is the most widely-spoken language in some regions, it’s hard to deny the flair and intrigue of the languages created for the various films, books, games, and other branches of the ongoing saga. Depending on where you are, certain words are used more often than others, and native dialect proudly permeates throughout all of the galaxy’s inhabitants. Those languages, much like our own, contain their own colorful expressions for certain less-than-kind phrases — and while the encyclopedia of language continues to grow, it’s good to keep up with the latest in galactic slang.
With that in mind: it’s time to cover your younglings’ ears, gills, and other assorted methods of hearing. Here’s a refresher (and perhaps an introduction) to some of the newest and most creative alien phrases and Basic slang terms ever spoken, from the halls of the Death Star to the alleyways of Lothal. Whether you apply the terms to your daily cycle is up to you, but some of them are pretty great replacements for words that may have worn themselves out over time.
There are plenty of ways to call people a jerk, but this one is probably the most hilarious. This particular phrase might be heard in any underworld bar, but it seems most popular within the Outer Rim. Uttered most memorably by Anakin Skywalker in response to Sebulba’s taunts before their historic podrace, this term has been part of quite a few insults in its time. Along with being tons of fun to say, “sleemo” narrows down the meaning of the phrase to a specific kind of jerk: a slimeball. Save this one for the most untrustworthy of scoundrels.
Most popular among travelers and certain Imperials, this term is almost akin to the way Mafia films use “whacked.” Ultimately, whoever is spaced is dead, but the term is interesting thanks to the way it seems to bridge the gap between the common terms of an underworld sleemo and the jargon of an Imperial soldier.
3. Nerf herder
A timeless insult first uttered by Princess Leia in response to Han Solo’s cockiness, nerf herder is a fairly common insult that, at its core, had even more insulting roots. In actuality, nerf herders took care of nerf creatures for a living. It’s an insult to the occupation — essentially hinting at bad hygiene and idiocy — but it isn’t the only one out there. Han Solo himself used the term “moof milker” in The Force Awakens, and while the term is an insult to someone’s intelligence, it also refers to an actual occupation within the story.
Most notably used by Zeb Orrelios, this Lasat expression is often used to express frustration or surprise in dire situations. With the depletion of the Lasat, the phrase isn’t as commonly used throughout the galaxy, which is likely why high-ranking Imperials like Agent Kallus and others from worlds closer to the core may not recognize it. Outside of Zeb, his crewmates have adopted the word, but none more heavily than Ezra Bridger. Its use isn’t limited to moments where a hyperspace jump leads you directly into an Imperial blockade, either — try it next time you stub your toe, and see if hearing yourself say it out loud makes you feel any better.
Leave it to the Hutts to create terms as childishly hilarious as “peedunky” and “poodoo.” The latter is used much more often, and mostly as a swear word, which makes the definition of peedunky — which is a way to say “punk” — seem tame in comparison.
Now, this is swearing. “Kriffing” means almost exactly what it sounds like, and has been used in popular phrases such as “You’re crooked as a kriffing Hutt!” in stories such as Servants of the Empire. While the word shouldn’t take much explaining, its roots are planted firmly in Legends, created by Timothy Zahn himself. Long-time readers might remember this word from an array of stories following that, so it’s interesting to see this little piece of vulgarity from the past has founds its place again.
7. E chu ta
This phrase was first uttered to C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back by another protocol droid who, for lack of a better expression, didn’t give a kriff about what ol’ Goldenrod had to say. What’s interesting about it is that it has no actual definition as of yet. “E chu ta” might very well be such a rude, vile expression that no one has ever been proud enough to openly define it, though it’s not too hard to discern if you think about it.
There are plenty of other terms, all ranging from pretty tame (like Kitster’s legendary use of “wizard” in The Phantom Menace) to completely disgusting (such as “choobies,” which — you can go ahead and just google that one, really) that fans can find dotted throughout various Star Wars stories. While the words get even more ruthless as you head into the outer rim, exploring the way language is used throughout the galaxy gives us a better look at the cultures that shape the story itself.
What are some of your favorite expressions used in the Star Wars films and stories? Let us know the comments below!
Catrina Dennis is a writer and Star Wars die-hard. In her spare time, she tells stories, yells very loudly about soccer, and hosts a few very cool podcasts. Catch up with her on Twitter @ohcatrina.