Macall B. Polay/HBO
Macall B. Polay/HBO

20 Fierce Dothraki Terms to Know for Game of Thrones

Macall B. Polay/HBO
Macall B. Polay/HBO
Daenerys Targaryen is back with the Dothraki this season on Game of Thrones. What better time to brush up on your favorite conlang east of Westeros? Start with these 20 fierce terms and soon you'll be to ready to vasterat with Khaleesi, Khal Moro, and the rest of the horselord gang.


As a nomadic horse people, it makes sense that their name comes from a word that means “to ride a horse." (Dothraki literally means “men who ride.”) A related term is addothralat, which means to transport someone by horse. (Dothrlalat, by the way, also means “to have an erection.”


Hrazef is Dothraki for “horse.” A hrazef chafi is a feral horse that was once tame, while hrazefeser refers to a herd of wild horses, the Dothraki version of “traffic.”


Fredri is a great Dothraki “untranslatable” that means the sound of a horse’s hooves on dirt. It probably comes from fredrilat, “to run."


fredrik is an overly talkative person, imitative of the sound of horse’s hooves.


Slang for an annoying woman, vikeesi might be related to vik, “chin,” perhaps with the idea of too much chin-wagging.


Chiftik is another gibe that means “cricket man”—in other words, someone who's small, weak, and noisy. Chifti, which might be imitative in origin, is a cricket, while a chiftikh is a lame blow with a sword.


While translated as “a respectful person” when used to refer to another Dothraki, chomak is considered an insult. Not surprising for a language in which there’s no word for “thank you.”


Oh, those crazy Dothrakis. Dozgosor is used to refer to an enemy khalasar, but can jokingly mean one’s own horde. Dozgo means “enemy” and dozgikh means “animal carcass.”


Vezhof, or the Great Stallion, is the horse god that’s central to Dothraki religion. The Vezhof's khalasar is believed to be the stars in the night sky.


While the Vezhof is the horse god, a veshak is a horse lord, another term for a Dothraki warrior. Vezh translates as “stallion” and might also give us vezhven, “great”; athvezhvenar, an exclamation expressing greatness; ivezh, “wild”; ivezho, “beast”; and ivezholat, “to grow fierce.”

11., 12., AND 13. HOSH, SOROH, AND AFFA

Hosh, soroh, and affa are all horse commands. Hosh is the equivalent of "giddyup" while soroh means “halt.” Affa means “whoa!” but is also used to calm a fitful horse or a fitful child.


To javrathat a horse means to rein it in. Javrath translates as “reins.”


To break a horse or domesticate an animal is vishaferat. The word also refers to making a first kill with a new weapon.


These terms describe horse gaits of varying speeds, with each gait corresponding to a degree of distance. Onqothat means to walk while an onqotha equals approximately one-eighth of a mile. Irvosat is to trot while irvosa is a quarter of a mile.

To canter is chetirat. A chetira is half a mile. Finally, karlinat means to gallop. A karilna is one mile, or the distance traveled in a leshitof, which is about two minutes. So the length of a karlina may differ depending on the speed and size of the horse and rider.


Karlinqoyi means to gallop at lightning speed—fast enough to kill a horse.

Reference: The Dothraki Language Dictionary

Why Do Americans Call It ‘Soccer’ Instead of ‘Football’?

While more Americans than ever are embracing soccer, they can't even get the sport's name right, according to some purists. For most of the world, including the vast majority of Europe and South America, it’s football, fútbol, or some other variation. In the United States, Canada, Japan, and a few other stragglers, it’s firmly known as soccer, much to the annoyance of those who can't understand how a sport played with feet and a ball can be called anything else. So why the conflict?

According to a paper [PDF] by University of Michigan professor Stefan Szymanski, it all began in England in the early 1800s, when a version of the sport of football—based on a game played by “common people” in the Middle Ages—found its way into the recreational scene of some of the country’s most privileged schools. To give uniformity to the competitions between these schools and clubs, a set of standard rules was drafted by students in Cambridge in 1848. These rules would become further solidified when they were adopted by the more organized Football Association in 1863.

It wasn't long before variations of the sport began to splinter off—in 1871, the Rugby Football Union was founded, using Rugby School rules from the 1830s that allowed a player to run with the ball in their hands. This new take on the sport would be known as rugby football, or rugger, to separate itself from association football, the traditional feet-only version of the sport. From there, association football would get the nickname assoccer, leading eventually to just soccer. The addition of an "er" at the end of a word was something of a trend at the time, which is why we get the awkward transformation of association into assoccer and soccer.

The first recorded American football game was between the colleges of Rutgers and Princeton in 1869 and used unique rules derived from those in both association and rugby football. Though this new, evolving game would just be called football in the U.S., elsewhere it would become known as gridiron football or American football, much in the way Gaelic football and Australian football have their own distinctions. Eventually in England, rugby football was shortened to just rugby, while association football simply became known as football. Which meant that now there were two footballs, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and neither side would budge. And Americans would begin referring to England's football by the previous nickname, soccer.

Despite the confusion nowadays, soccer was still a colloquial term used in England well into the 20th century—it rose in popularity following World War II before falling out of favor in the 1970s and ‘80s, according to Szymanski. In more recent years, it’s mostly been used in England in a strictly American context, like when publications and the media refer to U.S. leagues like Major League Soccer (MLS). Currently, soccer is mostly used in countries that have their own competing version of football—including the United States, Canada, and Australia.

While it boils the blood of certain traditionalists, soccer is by no means an Americanism—like the sport itself, this is purely an English export.

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YouTube, Hélio Surdos
How a Deaf-Blind Person Watches the World Cup
YouTube, Hélio Surdos
YouTube, Hélio Surdos

Brazilian Sign Language interpreter Hélio Fonseca de Araújo woke up on the day before the opening of the World Cup in 2014 thinking about how he could help his friend Carlos, who is deaf and blind, get access to all the excitement. So he hit the hardware store, rigged up a tabletop model of the field, and enlisted his friend Regiane to provide extra interpretation for all the complex information that needs to come through in a game. He recently brought the setup out again for this World Cup.

Here you can see Carlos watching the Brazil vs. Croatia match live, while Hélio provides Brazilian Sign Language interpretation (which Carlos follows by feeling it with his own hands—this is called tactile signing), and Regiane relays information about fouls, cards, times, and player jersey numbers with social-haptic communication on Carlos’s back.

This is the moment in the second half when it appeared that Brazil had scored a goal, but a foul was called. Hélio later makes sure Carlos can see how Neymar covered his face with his shirt.

And here is Coutinho’s game-turning goal for Brazil.

If you're wondering why Carlos occasionally looks at the screen, many deaf blind people have some residual sight (or hearing). Many deaf-blind people become fluent in sign language as deaf people, before they begin to lose their sight.

See the entire video at Hélio’s YouTube channel here.

A version of this story ran in 2014.


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