or You Kiss Your Mama With a Mouth Like That?

The ‘Verse is a bad place. It’s hard to get through it without gettin’ angry, and sometimes as an Earth-That-Was author said, “When angry count four; when very angry, swear.” The most colorful terms are in Mandarin Chinese.

Basic Bad Language

  • Gorram as in “Run! It’s the gorram law!”
  • Ruttin’ as in “It’s gettin’ too ruttin’ hot in here!”
  • Humped as in “He’s got a gun on us; we’re humped.”

Fightin’ Words

  • Browncoat—a member of the Independents (lots of Browncoats had their coats destroyed or dyed after the war, wanting to forget the past.)
  • Browncoat Medals—scars from battles fought during the war.
  • Purple Bellys—Alliance troppers (so called for their purple colored armor
  • Feds, Federals—Alliance member, troops, workers

Frontier Life

  • Awful, dreadful, mighty, plum, powerful—adjectives for emphasis "It’s gettin’ awful crowded in here.
  • Bang-up—great “They did a bang-up job!”
  • Git—go away (also British slang for f-er “You’re a total git!”
  • Ornery—stubborn, not passive
  • Preacher—anyone religious
  • Shindig—a party, usually with dancin’
  • Shiny—good or valuable


  • Atmo—atmosphere
  • The Black—space
  • Go to Blackout—shut down the power on a ship
  • The Rim—frontier planets, not in the Core
  • The ’Verse—inhabited space or the universe
  • Bein’ Buzzed—getting scanned from another ship
  • Berk—equivalent to Land-Lubber. Used as a term of condescension from spacers toward grounders.
  • Nutriplex: A nutrient drink, good for needed vitamins and minerals but tastes like gos se. Common on spaceships.
  • Quik-ment: the wonderful fix-all for hull holes.
  • Throwbacks: People of the ’Verse who reject technology beyond basic firearms and combustion vehicles
  • Vultures: Salvage ships


  • Doxy—prostitute
  • Drops—illegal, addictive narcotic drugs
  • Bushwack—ambush


  • Advocate—lawyer
  • Cortex—information network
  • Wave—communication: text, audio, video, or holographic

A pretty complete guide to Firefly cussin’.

  • Some highlights:
    • Ta ma de.= “Dammit.”
    • Aiya! = “Damn!”
    • Bizui. = “Shut up.”
    • Shi = “Affirmative”
    • Hwai = “S—t.”
    • Ni ta ma de. Tianxia suoyoude ren. Dou gaisi. = “Everyone under the heavens ought to die.”
    • Ta ma de! Nimen de bizui! = “Everybody shut the hell up!”
    • Oh, juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean jan… = “Oh, this is a happy development…”
    • Dong ma = “understand?”
    • Go tsao de = “dog humping”
    • Wuh de ma. = “Mother of god.”
    • Tzao gao. = “Crap.”
    • Da-shiang bao-tza shr duh lah doo-tze = “The explosive diarrhea of an elephant”
    • Hwun dan = “bastard”
    • Guay = “hell”
    • Wuh duh ma huh tah duh fong kwong duh wai shung = “Holy mother of god and all her wacky nephews”
    • Ching-wah TSAO duh liou mahng = “frog-humping sonofab—”
    • Tai-kong suo-yo duh shing-chiou sai-jin wuh duh pee-goo = “All the planets in space flushed into my butt”

Much of this was taken from the Serenity RPG from Margret Weis Productions.
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