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Word: be enormous, be gigantic, be colossal



To be extraordinarily and perhaps awe-inspiringly large in size. We have similar lexical gradients seen in words for fighting (see KGT), quality (QaQ, Dun, pov, pup), heat (ghun, tuj) and degrees of surprise/shock (yay’ vs Duq). Does a similar intensive series exist for describing physical size?

Comment below with feedback and suggestions.

6 thoughts on “be enormous, be gigantic, be colossal

  1. Rhona Fenwick says:

    This is one of my requests, and in view of the number of downvotes I wanted to post a comment to specifically reassure people that it’s not just for funsies; I believe this is a gap whose filling would make for a more expressive, and more accurate, range of characterisation of size in Klingon. I’m currently translating a complete sci-fi novel (hoping that it’ll develop into a formal publication at some point, but that’s just a hope for the moment), and having completed about 40% of the full novel, tIn has already become extremely repetitive, and tIn and tInqu’ render no less than twelve different English dimensionless size descriptors (i.e. not including more specific size metrics like widetallfatthick…). Given that Klingon has several other arenas in which finer semantic distinctions are happily made, I beg voters to imagine how much less descriptive their favourite sci-fi/fantasy novel would become if every single size descriptor – large, vasthugegrandgiant, enormoustitanic, colossal, gigantic, tremendous, gargantuan, immense – were globally replaced with simply big. I’m not asking for equivalents for all or even most of these terms, but since physical size is one of the most salient and yet most varied physical characteristics of objects in everyday life, I find it difficult to believe that there aren’t finer lexical distinctions made as well.

      • Rhona Fenwick says:

        Yes, I definitely get more of an “outsized, upscaled, abnormally or perhaps pathologically large” vibe from it. For example, if you were publishing a scientific journal article with pictures taken through a microscope, in the caption I’d be perfectly happy with, say, 50logh nu’Ha’moHlu’pu’ “magnified 50x”. Or a monster truck, I might describe as a rutlh nu’Ha’ Duj. But it doesn’t feel right using that term in describing an unusually large island, or a whale or brachiosaur, or gas giant planets as compared to terrestrial planets (e.g. if Mercury is the frame of reference, Earth is tIn, but Jupiter is at a whole other level), or other things that aren’t necessarily extreme or oversized examples of their type (which would be nu’Ha’) but nonetheless are extremely and impressively large within the current frame of reference. I’m not sure I’m expressing myself as clearly as I’d like, but does that make sense?

        (FWIW, it was also the existence of nu’ that made me post this request; it suggests one or more lexical antonyms may exist, especially since Klingons aren’t averse to a bit of hyperbole (cf. ‘Iw HIqvam bIr puS chuch bIr puSHolQeD 13:1). I can definitely imagine a Klingon using a bo’Dagh’a’ and saying “I beat this colossal sabre bear in single combat!” Of course, antonyms for nu’ don’t have to exist, but hey, this is a chabal tetlh, not an “only ideas inexpressible using current vocabulary no matter how verbose the result” tetlh. ☺ )

        • Andrew Miller says:

          I’ve often thought that magnify (optically) deserves its own verb. That might be the best way to handle microscope actually. Since nu’ was used to refer to manufactured objects that are scaled down, nu’Ha’ sounds especially appropriate for something like a monster truck.

          • anDu says:

            I remember you mentioned this when I requested “zoom lens” under the request for “lens”. I’m planning on making “zoom” one of my wishlist words the next time around.

          • Andrew Miller says:

            I just looked up how a zoom lens actually works. It might be more useful to request a verb meaning to focus (optics), since the zoom lens effect is produced by varying the focal length, which would probably be [focus]meH chuq. A zoom lens could then be a [focus]meH chuq [lens].

            That way magnify (optics) could be a separate verb, and we could express all of our target concepts neatly. 🙂

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