Word: martyr



In seems odd for a martial culture that glorifies death in battle not to have a specific word for a warrior who nobly sacrifices themself. The word for sacrifice, 'anmoH, which might be used for this purpose, seems freighted with negative connotations ("to waste")..

Comment below with feedback and suggestions.


  1. While I suspect there may be many words to describe honorably fallen warriors, it may be difficult to determine who should be described with which one.

    After all, in an expansionist warrior culture that glorifies death, there are going to be a lot of dead soldiers. We've also heard a lot of dialogue in the various shows talking about death in battle, but I don't believe they've ever been described as martyrs; just as having "died well" or "died with honor" or "going to Sto-Vo-Kor".

    We do have the wods HIvneS and HubneS, which can describe some of the ideas we commonly associate with martyrdom. Presumably one could stick a –wI' or a –bogh on there if one wants a noun or noun phrase. I wonder if you'd use –ta', even if the attack/defense was ultimately unsuccessful.

    1. -neS encodes the speaker's attitude toward the listener(s), so HIvneS and HubneS mean Your honor, they're attacking or They will defend, your majesty etc. It does not encode the speaker's attitude towards the action or the agent, so it does not mean do X with honor.

      1. I was surprised to learn this myself, but yes indeed, according to boQwI', -neS added to HIv or Hub does impart the meaning of suicide attack or suicidal defense; presumably this is a concept that evolved post TKD. And so I quite like Felix's notion of adding -wI' to these to create an equivalent of martyr, one who honorably lays down their life in battle.

        1. Ah, I forgot about those exceptions, you're right. Though a martyr is a broader concept than someone who gives their life in battle. They can be executed for political activities or loyalties, for instance.

          1. That's a great point, which hadn't occurred to me. Very helpful, thanks – it demonstrates that a new word could still be useful!

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