tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue May 08 07:19:36 2007

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Re: Klingon WOTD: ghob (noun)

Steven Boozer (

>This is the Klingon Word Of The Day for Tuesday, May 8, 2007.
>Klingon word:   ghob
>Part of Speech: noun
>Definition:     ethics, virtue
>Additional Notes:
>KGT adds the meaning of "virtue."

Used in canon:

   qorDu' SaHlu'chugh 'ej matlhlu'chugh vaj wa' tlhIngan ghob potlhqu'
   devotion and loyalty to family is one of the most important Klingon 
virtues. S13

   tlhIngan ghobmey paq
   Klingon Book of Virtues
   [i.e. original title of TKW according to MARC-CIP (Library of Congress)]

   pop 'oH ghob'e'
   Virtue is the reward.
   ["This proverb does not mean 'Virtue is honor'. The use of the word {pop}
    suggests that virtue is the honor bestowed as a result of acting in a
    manner respectful of society's values, not simply advocating them." 
(TKW 47)]

   ghob tIvnISbe'lu'
   One need not enjoy virtue. TKW

Idiom:  {ghob yIpab} "be virtuous":

   batlh ghob yIpab
   Adhere to virtue honorably.
   ["The Klingon verb in the expression, {pab}, is here translated 'adhere',
   but it is also used to mean 'follow', in the sense of following rules,
   suggesting perhaps that, though not officially laws, virtues should be
   followed as if they were." (TKW 47)]

Cultural notes:

"A 'virtue' is a particularly valued quality or a form of behavior that 
exemplifies moral correctness, as defined by a society... Indeed, the 
Klingon word {ghob} may be translated as 'ethics' or 'virtue', linguistic 
evidence that the concept is not unknown or never discussed among the 
Klingons themselves. It is probably significant that the Klingon word for 
'do battle', or 'wage war' is likewise {ghob}. Though some, perhaps many, 
of a society's virtues are represented in its legal codes, a virtue is not 
a law. A violation of a virtue need not carry with it any legal sanction. A 
virtue does not even have to be followed all the time to still be 
considered a virtue. What is important is that members of the society agree 
that the virtue represents what should be done, even if it is not done. 
When a virtue is ignored, all recognize the transgression, even if there 
are no immediate consequences." (TKW vii)

"those who violate the rules of their own cultures and do not observe their 
own virtues are acting dishonorably and are not to be trusted." (TKW 189)

"Virtue is a relative term, Doctor." (Spock to McCoy, TOS "Friday's Child")

Related nouns:

{tIgh} custom; {potlh} a value; {lalDan} religion

See also _The Ethics of Star Trek_ by Judith Barad & Ed Robinson (NY: 
HarperCollins, 2000)

>     ghob (verb) - fight, battle, do battle, wage war

Used in canon:

   'ang'eghQo' quv Hutlhbogh jagh neH ghobtaHvIS ghaH
   Only an enemy without honor refuses to show himself in battle. TKW

   noH ghoblu'DI' yay quv law' Hoch quv puS
   In war there is nothing more honorable than victory. TKW

   ghobchuq loDnI'pu'
   "The Brothers Battle One Another" KCD
   (i.e. the famous statue of the brothers Kahless and Morath)

   ghob tlhIngan SuvwI'pu'
   Klingon warriors wage war. KGT

   wa'leS maghob.  ghIq malop.
   Tomorrow we will do battle. Then (after that) we'll celebrate. (HQ 8.3)

"Similarly, there are several verbs for 'fight', 'battle', and the like. 
Most broadly, 'do battle' or 'wage war'--that is, actually engage in a 
conflict in which a number of combatants are involved--is {ghob}. The 
notion of 'make war' in the general sense, referring to the *idea* of war 
and not a *specific* war, is {Qoj}. The verb for 'fight', whether in a war 
or a one-on-one confrontation, is {Suv}. In short, the nouns {veS} ('war, 
warfare') and {vIq} ('combat') and the verb {Qoj} ('wage war') all are used 
to refer to the ideas of warfare, combat, and making war, while the nouns 
{noH} ('war') and {may'} ('battle') and the verbs {ghob} ('make war, do 
battle') and {Suv} ('fight') are used when referring to specific, concrete 
instances of war, battle, and fighting. Thus it is possible to say {noH 
ghob} or {noH Suv}, both meaning 'He/she fights a war', or {may' ghob} or 
{may' Suv}, meaning 'He/she fights a battle', but it is not normally 
acceptable to say {veS ghob} ('He/she fights a warfare') or {vIq Suv} 
('He/she fights a combat')." (KGT 47)

Related verbs:

{vID} "be belligerant"

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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