This is a list of terminology used in the fictional Dune universe created by Frank Herbert, the primary source being "Terminology of the Imperium," the glossary contained in the novel Dune (1965).
Dune word construction could be classified into three domains of vocabulary, each marked with its own neology: the names and terms related to the politics and culture of the Galactic Empire, the names and terms characteristic of the mystic sodality of the Bene Gesserit, and the barely displaced Arabic of the Fremen language. Fremen share vocabulary for Arrakeen phenomena with the Empire, but use completely different vocabulary for Bene Gesserit-implanted messianic religion.
Akarso – "Plant native to Sikun (of 70 Ophiuchi A) characterized by almost oblong leaves. Its green and white stripes indicate the constant multiple, condition of parallel active and dormant chlorophyll regions."
Al-Lat – "Mankind's original sun; by usage: any planet's primary."
Ampoliros – "Legendary 'Flying Dutchman' of space;"Lady Jessica refers to the pre-Guild legend in Dune: "Like the men of the lost star-searcher, Ampoliros – sick at their guns – forever seeking, forever prepared and forever unready."
Amtal (or Amtal Rule) – "Common rule on primitive worlds under which something is tested to determine its limits or defects. Commonly: testing to destruction." "To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen. – The Amtal Rule."
Assassin's Handbook – "Third-century compilation of poisons commonly used in a War of Assassins. Later expanded to include those deadly devices permitted under the Guild Peace and Great Convention."
Baraka – "A living holy man of magical powers."
Bashar – Military rank, slightly above a traditional Colonel and primarily used for military leader of a planetary subdistrict; alternately, Colonel Bashar, or Supreme Bashar for a military's most senior commander.
Caid – "Sardaukar officer rank given to a military official whose duties call mostly for dealings with civilians; A military governorship over a full planetary district; Above the rank of Bashar but not equal to a Burseg."
Carryall – Aircraft used on Arrakis to "transport large spice mining, hunting and refining equipment."
CHOAM (Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles) – the "universal development corporation controlled by the Emperor and Great Houses with the Guild and Bene Gesserit as silent partners." This corporation essentially controls the economy of the known universe, with shares and directorships determining each House's income and financial leverage.
Cogitor – One of several ancient philosophers whose brains are transplanted into fluid-filled canisters so that they can analyze the universe indefinitely.
Cone of silence – Sound-deadening "field of a distorter that limits the carrying power of the voice or any other vibrator by damping the vibrations with an image-vibration 180 degrees out of phase." Used for privacy, the field does not visually obscure lip movement.
Coriolis storm – Sandstorms on Arrakis in which "winds across the open flatlands are amplified by the planet's own revolutionary motion to reach speeds up to 700 kilometres per hour."
D-wolves – Guardians of the Sareer on Arrakis in the time of Leto Atreides II; ferocious wolves descended from Gaze Hounds and ordinary wolves, "noted for their keen eyesight."
Damper, Ixian – Portable device which hides words from anyone without the proper coded translator, and projects distortions that hide the precise movements of lips and the sounds of voices. It is described as a "black disc" buoyed midair by suspensors.
Deathstill – Fremen device used to extract all moisture from a living or dead human or creature. This is traditionally done to reclaim precious water from the dead, who no longer require it; but in Children of Dune the device is used as a method of execution.
Elacca drug – Narcotic produced from the "blood-grained" elacca wood of Ecaz; users' skin shows a characteristic carrot color. The drug's effect is to remove most of the will to self-preservation; commonly used to prepare slave gladiators for the ring.
Gom jabbar – "Specific poison needle tipped with meta-cyanide used by Bene Gesserit Proctors in their death-alternative test of human awareness."
Great Convention – "Universal truce enforced under the power balance maintained by the Guild, the Great Houses, and the Imperium. Its chief rule prohibits the use of atomic weapons against human targets."
Hunter-seeker – "Ravening sliver of suspensor-buoyed metal guided as a weapon by a nearby control console; common assassination device." Floating in mid-air, it kills by entering the body and following nerve pathways to vital organs. A hunter-seeker is employed in Dune in an assassination attempt on Paul Atreides.
Inkvine – "Creeping plant native to Giedi Prime and frequently used as a whip in its slave pens. Victims are marked by beet-colored tattoos that cause residual pain for many years."
Ixian damper – Portable device which hides words from anyone without the proper coded translator, and projects distortions that hide the precise movements of lips and the sounds of voices. It is described as a "black disc" buoyed midair by suspensors.
Ixian Probe – Device used to capture the thoughts of a person (living or dead) for analysis; can be blocked by the substance shere.
Jihad, Butlerian – Mankind's "crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots."
Judge of the Change – "An official appointed by the Landsraad High Council and the Emperor to monitor a change of fief, a kanly negotiation, or formal battle in a War of Assassins. The Judge's arbitral authority may be challenged only before the High Council with the Emperor present."
Kralizec – Long-foretold "Typhoon Struggle" or final "battle at the end of the universe."
Krimskell fiber/Krimskell rope – "The 'claw fiber' woven from strands of the hufuf vine from Ecaz. Knots tied in krimskell will claw tighter and tighter to preset limits when the knot-lines are pulled."
Kwisatz Haderach – "The Shortening of the Way" or "The one who can be two places simultaneously". Bene Gesserit label applied to "the unknown for which they sought a genetic solution: a male Bene Gesserit whose organic mental powers would bridge space and time."
Lasgun – Handheld energy weapon, technically a "continuous-wave laser projector;" also lasegun.
Laza tiger – A breed of tiger brought to Salusa Secundus "almost eight thousand years" before the events of Children of Dune. "Genetic manipulation of the ancient Terran stock had erased some of the original tiger features and refined other elements. The fangs remained long. Their faces were wide, eyes alert and intelligent. The paws were enlarged to give them support on uneven terrain and their sheathed claws could extend some ten centimeters, sharpened at the ends into razor tips by abrasive compression of the sheath. Their coats were a flat and even tan which made them almost invisible against sand."
Mahdi – "In the Fremen messianic legend, 'The One Who Will Lead Us to Paradise;'" applied to Paul Atreides by the Fremen when they determine that he is their messiah. The term is the same as that used in Islam for a messianic figure who will appear shortly before the Day of Judgment in Islamic eschatology.
Maker hooks – "The hooks used for capturing, mounting, and steering a sandworm of Arrakis."
Maula pistol – "Spring-loaded gun for firing poison darts; range about 40 metres."
Melange – Known colloquially as "the spice", a highly-addictive drug essential to space travel, extended life, and therefore to the survival of the universe.
Mentats – Individuals trained as "human computers," their minds developed to staggering heights of cognitive and analytical ability.
Missionaria Protectiva – An arm of the Bene Gesserit charged with spreading contrived myths, prophecies and superstition on primitive worlds so that the Bene Gesserit may later exploit those regions.
Muad'Dib – "The adapted kangaroo mouse of Arrakis, a creature associated in the Fremen earth-spirit mythology with a design visible on the planet's second moon. This creature is admired by Fremen for its ability to survive in the open desert." In Dune, Paul Atreides takes "Muad'Dib" as his Fremen name, which takes on greater significance when he is perceived as a messiah.
na-Baron – Noble title given to a Baron's heir-apparent.
No-chamber – Construct that hides anything inside from prescient and ocular vision, as well as other methods of detection.
No-ship – No-chamber in spaceship form, with enough limited prescience to be capable of interstellar travel without a Guild Navigator.
Nullentropy – Technology akin to the science fiction concept of stasis, in which the natural processes of time, such as decomposition, are ceased. In this way, perishable matter such as food and even human cells may be stored for millennia and remain undamaged.
Plasteel – Extremely tough form of steel, "stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal structure."
Plaz (or windowplaz) – Synthetic glass, used for windows (especially in aircraft and spaceships) due to its superior strength.
Poison snooper – "Radiation analyzer within the olfactory spectrum and keyed to detect poisonous substances."
Powindah – Tleilaxu term for all outsiders, whom they consider "unclean" sinners and heretics.
Prana-bindu – Training providing a Bene Gesserit with complete muscle control (Prana nervature relates to nervous system control).
Pre-spice mass – The "stage of fungusoid wild growth achieved when water is flooded into the excretions of Little Makers. At this stage, the spice of Arrakis forms a characteristic 'blow,' exchanging the material from deep underground for the matter on the surface above it. This mass, after exposure to sun and air, becomes melange."
Probe, Ixian – Device used to capture the thoughts of a person (living or dead) for analysis; can be blocked by the substance shere.
Probe, T – Device used to capture the thoughts of a person (living or dead) for analysis; unlike an Ixian Probe, it cannot be blocked by the substance shere.
Pundi rice – "A mutated rice whose grains, high in natural sugar, achieve lengths up to four centimeters; chief export of Caladan."
Residual poison – "Innovation attributed to the Mentat Piter De Vries whereby the body is impregnated with a substance for which repeated antidotes must be administered; withdrawal of the antidote at any time brings death."
Reverend Mother – Bene Gesserit who has survived a ritual wherein she consciously transforms a toxic dose of melange into a non-poisonous substance at the molecular level, thereby raising herself to a higher level of awareness and enabling her to access Other Memory.
Sayyadina – Among the Fremen, the Sayyadina ("Friend of God" in Chakobsa) is a priestess who has not yet passed within to become a Reverend Mother. When a Sayyadina undergoes the spice agony, another is then consecrated into the Sayyadina to continue the line of succession.
Scattering, The – Event after the reign of Leto II in which trillions of people left the settled worlds of the Old Empire, striking off into unknown space.
Semuta – "Second narcotic derivative (by crystal extraction) from the burned residue of elacca wood [from Ecaz]. The effect (described as timeless, sustained ecstasy) is elicited by certain atonal vibrations referred to as semuta music."
Shere – Significant presence of this substance in the body will block the use of an Ixian Probe, but not a T-Probe from recovering memories.
Shigawire – "Metallic extrusion of a ground vine (Narvi narviium) grown only on Salusa Secundus and III Delta Kaising. It is noted for extreme tensile strength" and is used as a recording medium as well as a garrote weapon.
Sietch – Cave warren inhabited by a Fremen tribal community; in the Fremen language, "Place of assembly in time of danger."
Sietch orgy (or sietch tau orgy) – Fremen ritual of unrestrained sexual indulgence which takes place after a Reverend Mother shares the changed Water of Life with her community.
Stillsuit – "Body-enclosing garment" of Fremen design which performs the "functions of heat dissipation and filtering bodily wastes," as well as retaining and reclaiming moisture.
Stilltent – "Small, scalable enclosure of micro-sandwich fabric designed to reclaim as potable water the ambient moisture discharged within it by the breath of its occupants."
Stone burner – Atomic weapon, the explosion and radiation of which can be precisely adjusted depending on the desired effect. A stone burner with sufficient fuel can burn through the crust of a planet to the mantle or core, potentially causing a release of energy destroying the surface of the planet on which the weapon is deployed. Stone burners emit "J-Rays," a form of radiation that has an affinity for destroying the eyes of anyone surviving the initial radiation blast.
Suk School – Prominent medical school whose doctors are the universe's most competent and trusted; those who have received the "Suk Imperial Conditioning" bear a diamond tattoo on their foreheads, wear their hair in a special silver ring, and are incapable of inflicting harm. However, the fallibility of Suk training is proven in Dune (1965) when Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his twisted Mentat Piter De Vries manage to subvert this conditioning and coerce Suk Dr. Wellington Yueh into helping him in his attempt to destroy House Atreides.
Suspensor – Any of a number of 'hovering' devices which utilize the "secondary (low-drain) phase of a Holtzman field generator" to nullify gravity "within certain limits prescribed by relative mass and energy consumption." In Dune, the obese Baron Harkonnen uses suspensors to support his massive weight. Hunter-seekers also use suspensor fields for propulsion, which make them slippery and hard to grasp.
T-Probe – Device used to capture the thoughts of a person (living or dead) for analysis. Shere only prevents the T-Probe from recovering memories directly (as it does for the Ixian Probe) and does not impede any of the other features. The model created by the operation of this probe can be interrogated to give an idea of how the person would have reacted to a set of stimuli, possibly giving insight into a shere-loaded prisoner.
War of Assassins – Regulated form of warfare between noble houses, intended to "reduce involvement of innocent bystanders." The rules require "formal declarations of intent and restrict permissible weapons."
Water of Life – Toxic liquid exhalation of a drowning sandworm, used by Fremen Reverend Mothers in the spice agony.
Windowplaz (or simply plaz) – Synthetic glass, used for windows (especially in aircraft and spaceships) due to its superior strength.
Windtrap – Type of air well "placed in the path of a prevailing wind and capable of precipitating moisture from the air caught within it, usually by a sharp and distinct drop in temperature within the trap."