One of the requests by a winner
of the missing--line
contest was for the word (or phrase)
for "bodily function." The request
was accompanied by a rather
lengthy list of different body parts
along with associated activities and
byproducts in order to give Maltz an
idea of what the requester was after.
Maltz was familiar with the
scientific study of bodily functions,
or porghQeD, but he didn't
consider himself terribly well versed
in the field. The closest he could
come to "bodily function" was porgh mIw, literally "body process,"
but he had a hard time thinking of
an everyday sentence containing
that phrase. He said that Klingons
don't talk all that much about
bodily functions as a group, but they
certainly do talk about specific
So he decided to take them up
piece by piece, or body part by body
part (or, perhaps more accurately,
body region by body region), rather
than tackling them all at once.
He chose to begin with the head
(though he meandered a bit).
The head has a number of
organs through which substances
enter and exit the body, and there is
vocabulary for the bodily functions
involved in this movement of
substances. Air, for example, comes
in and out of the nose or mouth.
The word for "breath" is tlhuH, and
that for "breathe" is also tlhuH. To
breathe in, or "inhale," is pur; to
breathe out, or "exhale," is rech. To
breathe noisily, or "wheeze," is jev.
(This is also the verb "storm,"
though Maltz couldn't decide
whether this was meaningful or just
a coincidence.) To breathe even
more noisily, or "snore," is wuD.
When air (or gas) from the
stomach works it's way up and
comes out of the mouth (often
noisily), one is said to ruq "belch."
Maltz said it is acceptable to refer to
this gas as SIp, a general word for
gas of any kind, but that gas
produced within the body is known
as Qep'It. When, rather than gas,
undigested or partially digested food
comes up, one is said to 'em
"vomit," and the matter being
vomited, that is, "vomit," is called quy'Ip. (Maltz was quite amused
whet he realized that Klingon word rech "exhale" sounded like the
English word "retch" -- that is,
"vomit" -- but he couldn't explain
why he thought it was so funny.)
The verb for "hiccup" is bur. The
verb meaning "gurgle," specifically
applied to one's stomach gurgling or
talking, is bor.
In addition to air (and gas),
various fluids (or near-fluids) may
come into or out of the mouth and
(at least by natural means) out of the
nose. If one were to chuy "sneeze,"
one would likely eject 'IqnaH
"mucus" (or sometimes 'IqnaH QaD
"dry mucus"). If one were to tuS
"cough," one might produce qo'qaD
If tlhepQe' "saliva" is produced,
one is said to tIl "salivate." If the tlhepQe' involuntarily escapes one's
lips and dribbles down one's chin,
one is said to bol "drool." To
intentionally eject the tlhepQe'
from one's mouth is to tuy' "spit."
Maltz pointed out that a similar
verb, tlhIS "spit out," is used to refer
to spitting out things other than
saliva, such as parts of food that are
not swallowed or teeth. If what one
spits out is basically liquid, such as
a mixture of saliva and mucus, tuy'
would be used; for spitting out a
mixture of saliva and something
that is basically solid, tlhIS would be
Remaining on the head are eyes
For Klingons, even though there
is a word for "cry" (SaQ), there is no
word for "tear" or "tears,"
undoubtedly because Klingons have
no tear ducts. The only thing Maltz
could think of that eyes do from
time to time is "redden" (DoqchoH,
literally "become red" or "change to
Ears (at least healthy ones)
produce no byproducts other than
earwax (Serrum), which is said to
somehow just vI' "accumulate" in
Maltz stopped at this point,
saying, with a strange grin, that he'd
return to below-the-neck bodily
functions at another time.