Important Terms to Know While Watching ‘Dune’

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Our guide of the most important ‘Dune’ terms to know.

Bene Gesserit: A religious and political matriarchal order. The members, including Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, possess extraordinary physical and mental powers. Many in the Imperium refer to them as “witches” since they have the gift of foresight and longer lifespans. Their primary goal is to gain additional authority and influence the world to help guide it towards civilized paths with the arrival of the Kwisatz Haderach.

Crysknife: A knife with a blade made from the tooth of a dead sandworm. The Fremen use it as their weapon of choice. Its tip is laced in quick-acting poison near the nerve. A crysknife can be withdrawn by an opponent and no one can surrender, so someone must die.

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Fremen: Humans who consider the desert planet Arrakis their home. They are proud of their fight for survival and have developed combat knowledge that makes them worthy warriors. They live in sietches that are found within the rocky formations at Arrakis.

Javier Bardem as Stilgar in 'Dune'

Source: Warner Bros.

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Water plays a vital role in Fremen culture. Fremen use stillsuits to absorb body moisture. This helps reduce water loss. Fremen also have a vibrant spice melange that is an integral part of their daily lives. Due to their extreme use of the drug, their eyes are entirely blue.

Gom Jabbar: A meta-cyanide poisoned needle that the Bene Gesserit use in the Gom Jabbar Test of Humanity, which examines if an individual’s awareness is more active than their instincts. Their perception of the Gom Jabbar’s presence will be strong enough to allow them to ignore the need to withdraw from the test. This involves a burning sensation in the right hand. At the beginning of Dune, Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam uses this method against Paul Atreides.

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Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam uses the Gom Jabbar Test of Humanity against Paul in 'Dune'

Source: Warner Bros.

Kwisatz Haderach: A term primarily used by the Bene Gesserit, who initiated a long-term genetic breeding program to yield a male with powers unattainable to females, such as the ability to bridge space and time. He would have male and female Other Memory as well as the ability to be the Reverend, Mother, Mentat and Guild Navigator. After the appearance of one Paul Atreides, the term understood its meaning as “The one who can be many places at once” and became interchangeable with Paul.

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Lisan al Gaib: A term used by the Fremen to describe their messiah. It is “The Voice from the Outer World” and translates to the “Giver of Water.” This is one of the names the Fremen give to Paul later in the story, which will play a crucial role in the potential sequel. However, it is thrown around a bit in the 2021 film adaptation.

Lady Jessica and Paul Atreides in Fremen territory in 'Dune'

Source: Warner Bros.

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Melange: Commonly referred to as the spice, and is a naturally harvested drug found on Arrakis. The Spice Melange is the rarest and most valuable product in the universe. It offers many benefits to those who take it, such as extended lifespans, expanded sensory perceptions, mind reading and control, and prescience. As we said before with the Fremen, constant use of the spice led to the discoloration of the entire human eye, staining them blue.

Ornithopter: Also known as thopters, and are the most popular mode of transportation in the Imperium. They typically seat six passengers, but you can squeeze in an extra three if the back seats are gone.

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Full look at the stillsuits in 'Dune'

Source: Warner Bros.

Stillsuit: A full body suit worn in the open desert of the planet Arrakis. The stillsuit was designed to preserve the body’s moisture, such as sweat, tears, and urine, and sift out the filth to produce drinkable water that will flow to catchpockets. The individual can then drink the recycled water from a tube inside the mask. If a stillsuit is kept in working condition and sustained well, the wearer can survive for weeks.

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Voice: An auto-neuro mechanism that authorizes the manipulation of a person through mind control. The Bene Gesserit have perfected this method and often use it on a person to do something awful or discover the truth from an uncooperative subject. Some are resistant to the Voice, including Paul Atreides.

Well, there you have it! Now you’re an expert of all things Dune and can show off your knowledge to your friends and family.

Be sure to watch Dune in theaters now and on HBO Max for a limited time.

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