Idioms and Maledicta

Pernese Idioms

Feel free to make up your own! Players are by no means restricted to these; consider this a short list of sample terms to get you started.

  • A warm day between Something that will never happen.
  • Betting against a Bitran Something that is destined to fail. Odds are stacked against you.
  • Born under the Red Star Someone who is bad-tempered, disliked, or generally unlucky.
  • For the love of little green dragons Everyone says this. No one knows why.
  • Harper tales Pern equivalent of fairy tales.
  • Harpertrue Honest, trustworthy.
  • Has a dragon's two stomachs An insatiable appetite.
  • Hidebound/Holdbound Someone who is set in their ways, especially of a conservative or traditional mindset.
  • Left/staked out for Thread A traditional execution method, involving tying someone up and letting Thread eat them alive. Very nasty.
  • Loyal Bitran Mercenary, or just a hired thug. Recent term, originated around the start of the war.
  • Smooth as Benden (wine) Slick, charming (someone) or of extremely high quality (something).
  • Taking a short trip on dragonback Euphemism for ending a pregnancy.
  • Through Fall, fog, and fire Under any circumstance, steadfast.
  • Useful as a wher at noon Not very useful at all, in short.

How to Cuss Like the Pernese

Remember that there is no religion on Pern! This eliminates many of the common Earth curse words: a Pernese man would not use "goddamn" or "Hell," for instance. Damn on its own has persisted in its non-religious context (e.g. "this is damning evidence"). On the other hand, the… let's call them bodily-function-based expletives have survived. Shit, fuck, crap, piss, and their derivatives are all fair game.

There are also some uniquely Pernese alternatives:

  • Begreened Originated during Threadfall, when green (foliage) was a sign of lackadaisical management and disregard. These days, mostly used by a particular type of old school bronzerider to disparage greenriders - or just to start a fight.
  • Bend a tailfork To defecate. Used exclusively by riders.
  • Between Pernese equivalent to "hell." If you threaten to take someone between, it's implied they're not coming back from the trip.
  • By Faranth's Egg/By the First Egg See Faranth, below.
  • Crackdust An expression of disbelief, roughly equivalent to "bullshit."
  • Dimglow/Deadglow An idiot, more or less.
  • Faranth The name of the first gold dragon, and the closest the Pernese have to a religious figure. Faranth may be invoked for luck, sworn by, or sworn about, depending on circumstance.
  • Fardles General expletive.
  • Forsk Ever heard someone use "frick" or "fudge?" Yeah, it's like that.
  • Fly Used exclusively by riders, rude euphemism for sex. (For instance, "I'd fly her" or "go fly yourself.")
  • Jays! Originally a corruption of "Jesus!" Now a nonsense word, but still an expression of surprise or frustration.
  • Scorch it! Expletive indicating anger or frustration, roughly equivalent to "dammit!"
  • Shards General expletive.
  • Shells General expletive.
  • Wherryteeth Wherries don't have teeth. Thus, a lie or something unbelievable.
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