Common Star Wars metaphors similes and figures of speech

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by HaiGan, Feb 24, 2003.

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  1. HaiGan

    HaiGan Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 7, 2000
    An idea that occurred to me, and I thought if I posted something about it then it might be useful for other writers. If anyone knows of a similar thread already in existance, however, let me know and I'll go bump that one up and lock this one.

    Most people are familiar with phrases like 'Letting the cat out of the bag', and 'Don't count your chickens before they hatch', and descriptions like 'dirty rat' and 'Scrooge-like'.

    I wondered what similar common phrases might be heard in the Galaxy Far, Far Away- both those that substitute GFFA words for Earth ones and those that have no Earth equivalent.

    A lot of common (and less common) English phrases are far removed from their origins and can smetimes make no sense if you don't already know what they refer to, yet people know what they mean if not where they came from. Many have very Earthly origins. For example, 'room to swing a cat', 'I don't like the cut of his jib', 'the devil to pay', 'freezing the balls off a brass monkey', 'shake a leg', 'loose canon' and 'son of a gun' are all nautical in origin, from the times when naval vessels had sails and canon. It ought to be possible to extrapolate similar phrases from a star-faring or alien culture, and come up with something logical but definately not of Earth origins. If used in context, readers should then both be able to infer the meaning and be given a real flavour of the setting.

    I know that 'idea' of mine therefore covers everything from one-word insults to culture-rich metaphors! Rather than go into a long essay on the origins of phrases, though, I'll just throw out some examples and suggestions. If someone else wants to write the essay, be my guest, but I am, as ever, short of time.

    Phrases and descriptors I've used myself include:

    That's let the mynocks into the generator

    Took off faster than a smuggler with RepSec on his tail

    A maze of corridors (or perhaps, then, a tricky problem) is more complicated than a sandworm burrow or just a sandworm burrow

    Somebody clumsy is described as Bantha footed

    Someone gives a Wookie-hug, not bear-hug

    Phrases straight from the movies themselves include:

    Strong enough to pull the ears off a Gundark

    Laser-brained idiot

    and (of course)

    Nerf herder

    I've frequently seen people referred to as a Son-of-a-Hutt, and seen Hutt used as a derogatory descriptive term for anyone greedy, grasping and/or unscrupulous.

    Things I've seen other authors use also include data-work instead of paper-work.

    A foolish and dangerous venture that is likely to stir up trouble could be labelled as Rancour-baiting, perhaps, or poking a stick at a Rancour.

    Someone drunk might be several parsecs past the starport

    Someone not quite with-it might be a coil short of a repulsordrive or a chip short of a datapad

    Someone in deep trouble could be considered up the space lane without a navputer or maybe she's facing the wrong end of a stampeding Bantha

    An offensive name for a droid could be Jawa reject

    How about someone fast, or moving fast, being described as blue tailed, in reference to the blue light of a ship's engines?

    To get a little more obscure, perhaps someone who's worn herself out by trying to do too much or not taking care of herself has caked her coils- as an overused or undermaintained repulsorlift drive coil might become caked with carbon deposits.

    Someone who's jumped too quickly into something thinking he could handle it and has consequently been hurt- physically, mentally or financially- in a way that prevents him from easily getting back out might have bent his landing-gear.

    Does anybody else have other phrases they'd like to suggest, even blindingly obvious ones like some of those I've already mentioned?

    No room or Enough room to swing a cat: Whipping with a cat-o-nine-tails (a whip with nine knotted thongs or strings) was a fairly common punishment for crewm
  2. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    Well, for a start I never really thought of SW euphanisums off the top of my head... although I'm sure if I went digging I would find that I've used them more extensively then I realised (comes to mind... in a higher rated telling of one of my tales the 'one character; *cough* thinks to himself how his wife can go from *angel* to Corrilian whore in less than a moment...)

    Thanks for the phrase origin!!
    I LOVE that stuff!
  3. Sarah_K

    Sarah_K Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 10, 2001
    Great idea, HaiGan! I've always liked these, when they're done well. :)

    I can't remember any of my own at the moment (maybe they'll come to me later), but here three of my favorite Zahn ones:

    Slicing the mynock close to the hull when referring to a close call, you stand out like a wookie at a noghri family reunion which is pretty self-explanatory, and ready to spit bulk-head shavings when referring to someone who's irritated.

    I'll have to remember yours in case I go back to SW fanfic writing!

    Sarah >^,,^<
  4. YT-Website

    YT-Website Jedi Youngling star 2

    Mar 20, 2002
    Ive made a few for my Fan Fics:
    What the Nerf???
    Lets take over every Mynock Sucking planet!!!
    Rancor Ridden idiot...
  5. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    How about stop resting on your repulsors and jet for 'get moving!'

    Instead of 'howling like a scalded cat', how about Howling like a Lyran lurker.

    I'm drawing a blank now, and that'd be a good one to remake, but I really can't think of anything more right now. :)
  6. wedgeyboy

    wedgeyboy Jedi Master star 1

    Feb 22, 2002
    Kiss my wookiee!

    Gave him/her a look to suggest they'd just poured paint into the engine of their fighter

    No! No wookies: armpits are useful for dragging bodies to dumping grounds!

    Pull the ears off a Gundark! instead of Go play on the motorway/highway!

    A Bothan walked into a tapcaf with a gournt under his arm....

    He (a wookie) suggested you could be guarenteed combat pay by pulling your legs off and hitting you with them

    They're all the fairly common ones I can think of from the novels, there's probably a lot more, but I can't be bothered to read them all again just to find them.
  7. flying_fishi

    flying_fishi Jedi Knight star 6

    Mar 26, 2002
    I;ve got a ton in the fic in my sig.

    ?It?s like a beacon? like water in the Dune Sea.?

    ?This is worse than crawling through an air duct infested with hawkbats.?

    This is stupider than walking into a Wampa den after it?s just woken from hibernation.?

    ?Shavit! We?ll be blasted into less substance than the digested foodstuffs of a space slug!?

    I?m officially madder than a politician without his daily bribe.?

    ?Annoying twerp. Reminds me of a mynock caught in a trash compactor.?

    We?re not going to botch this up like a Gungan,

    And then some :)
  8. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    This one's pretty Gungan-specific, but could be adapted:

    "Sometimes you eat the narglatch, and sometimes the narglatch eats you." (A narglatch, or as my Gungans call it, nar-gletch, is a large, lion-like predator of the swamps. A very dangerous animal.)

    The Earthen equivalent is "sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you". Kind of an extreme variation on "you win some, you lose some".... :D
  9. YT-Website

    YT-Website Jedi Youngling star 2

    Mar 20, 2002
    One of my faves is from Foundation:
    "Space help me!"
    "Oh, space"
    Or something like that... Ill need to read that again, eh?
  10. the_jedi_princess

    the_jedi_princess Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 26, 2002
    One I've used in my fan fictions, and a popular saying of my Dathomiri characters, is:

    I feel like a herd of Rancors have used me as a doormat.

    I think you know what I'm saying.
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