Paterson's Primer on Sector Slang and Other Unseemly Phrases is a free, open-source collectivist work encompassing the linguistic patterns of every known planet in human space. And now, for the first time ever, Paterson's Primer crosses that boundary with the inclusion of recognized* Jensai idioms!

Table of Contents


  • Apple Trade, The (n): The undocumented exchange of goods between the Republic and Spartan navies. We loaded up on cantaloupes and wet-holos when we hit Harbin. By the time we got back across the border the Apple Trade had packed my locker with Sparty gin.


  • Bark (v): Steal, esp. quickly or without provocation.
  • Belter boss (n): The on-site head of an asteroid-mining crew.
  • Betsy (n): An archaic spacer term for an unreliable or poorly-constructed Jump-capable ship. In modern days, the term is often applied as a derisive term for any shoddy machine (usually a vehicle). The Regal Cutlass was a betsy even before the botched hull-job.
  • Bidi (n): The black market, specifically the trafficking and sale of non-felonious contraband. It wasn't long before Tina St. Cloud's bedside holo found its way to the bidi.
  • Biox (n): Abbreviation of biological oxidization area. A densely packed botanical area that functions as part of an oxygen-generating system. They are frequently used in high-density living blocks.
  • Bosha hamad (exp): Jensai expletive. Literally translated, "return to your egg", but more broadly used as an intense rebuke, esp. "Fuck off!"
  • Bloody Mary (n): A bounty hunter term for a bounty that's a female murderer.
  • Blue Lagoon (n): A bounty hunter term for pirate bounties. Generally accompanied with plenty of pirate jokes and Arrrs.
  • Blunt (n): Slur of Mirandolan origin. A baseline human incapable of pooling with Mirandolan cliques. Used in most cases without intent to cause offense.


  • Comatin (n): Tablet that induces quick short-term loss of consciousness. Used to avoid the disorienting and nauseating effects of jump up-transition. A genericized trademark following the expiration of BGK's patent in 2270.I can't stand going into a Jump without taking comatin.
  • Champagne (n): A bounty hunter term for a bounty that requires a soft touch - high profile targets mostly.




  • Fuke (n): A distilled beverage of Kanbei provenance. Usually cooked from raw starch packages, especially those found in Kanbei Cartel fast food franchise vending machines such as Fiesta-To-Go! machines.


  • Gear-grinder (n): A jump or other long-term starship operation performed with poorly maintained equipment. I spent three weeks cleaning up the J-drive after that gear-grinder!
    • Also gear-grinding (v), to perform such acts. We'll be gear-grinding it to Curion if we don't stop for repairs.
  • Giraffe (n): Jensai individual, referring to their long necks which resemble the extinct Earth animal. See also ostrich.


  • Hard (adj): Satisfactory, pleasing. Often used as an ellipted exclamatory. "Did you hear they opened the admission to non-citizens?" "Hard."
  • Hardcopy (n): usu. paper, particularly inexpensive synthetic paper made from denatured protein. I'll believe the news when I get it in hardcopy.
  • Hodge (n): Mirandolan individual, referring to their 'impure' genetic structure, especially by those who consider such a 'hodge-podge'.


  • Jabou (n): A term that can either be a badge of honor or derogative, depending on who uses it - refers to a number of people with large interest in Jensai technology and society, up to the point of wishing to migrate there in some cases.


  • Legal (n): A lawyer or other advocate. The legal they stuck me with couldn't argue his way out of a traffic ticket.


  • Moonshine (n): A bounty hunter term for bounties that have run out to the Frontier worlds, namely Siren and Tengu sectors. I've got a good case of Moonshine set aside for me - gotta head out to Tengu to pick it up.
  • Mran (n): A melee weapon of Jensai design. Plural mranhi. Frequently described as a machete. Typical dimensions are five centimeters broad by eighty centimeters long, straight and single-edged with a chisel-type tip. Typically carved to a monomolecular edge from a single piece of super-dense composite. Has attained mythical status among Jabous since being disclosed in the Holman Incident of 2498, and inferior copies have become prevalent among these enthusiasts.
  • Muckamech (n): An engineer or mechanic responsible for designing or maintaining often confusing or nonstandard engineering and drive systems aboard starships. Those Mira muckamechs always cause backups at the repair yard.
  • Mysterious Voice (n): Intuition or gut feeling, generally expressed aloud for reassurance and in solitude to avoid implications of talking to oneself. OK, Mysterious Voice, I'm going through the door. This better not get me killed.


  • Nebraska (n): A plate of sushi and corn, traditionally served for breakfast. Malik woke up and ordered a Nebraska from the curbside vendor.


  • Ophie (n): Someone who sympathizes with or emulates the Skaald. The Ophies had their teeth filed even though it raises their Threat Index by seventy points.
  • Ostrich (n): Jensai individual, referring to their long necks and avianoid heredity which recall the extinct Earth animal. See also giraffe.
  • Ouzo (n): A bounty hunter term for bounties relating to the Spartans; comes from an alcoholic drink of the same name from Greece.


  • Peeb (n): Member of the Penitent Brotherhood. The Peebs have the best starport tracts.
  • Polykey (n): A combination tool used to defeat mechanical, electronic and biometric locks without leaving access records.
  • Posh (n): Lower-class term used to refer to upper-class members, especially when the latter are well dressed. Vacc off back to the Beltway, posh.
  • Pot shop (n): Idiom specific to Beacon Station. Euphemism for extremely low cost eateries serving stewlike concoction. Widely believed to contain 'disappeared' people in them.


  • Rocket, rockets (adj): Outdated or ineffective. The computer was pretty rocket, but it could still display flatpics.


  • Sake (n): A bounty hunter term for a bounty dealing with the Kanbei Cartel. Hot Sake is a bounty where the Cartel does not like the disturbance; Cold Sake means they're indifferent.
  • Screwdriver (n): A bounty hunter term for bounties dealing with psychopaths.
  • Shirley Temple (n): A bounty hunter term for bounties dealing with underage fugitives.
  • Shock (id): Expression of amazement, incredulity, or derision. Oh, shock!
  • Skudder (n): Idiom specific to Beacon Station. A single-person, streamlined vehicle, not unlike a motorcycle, with miniaturized gravity repulsors providing sufficient lift and propulsion to fly over 800kph at a height of 5-10m in 1.0g gravity. Occasionally seen on planets, but more popular on space stations as a means of transport in main corridors and along external surfaces. Can be equipped with life support apparatus and usually has sufficient add-on storage to carry toolboxes or other items of similar size and mass.
  • Slab
    • 1: (n): A brick or uniform sectioned piece of assembled protein, commonly served in large-scale institutions like prisons and military ships. It is notable for its unpleasant texture.
    • 2: (n): A section of ground-level pavement, used derisively by people who live higher up. Get back on your slab, downtowner!
    • 3: (n): A cheap hotel bed, usually found in a room the size of the mattress.
  • Slag (v): To melt or overheat an engine system into a non-functioning state. One hit from the big fusion gun and our M-drive was slagged.
  • Spart or Sparty (n): Member of the Spartan Brigade. Keep an eye out for those Sparties at the bar.
  • Squid (n): A member of the CSRN. If there were any more squids in that briefing room, it'd be an aquarium!
  • Stat (n): Semi-derisive term for a member of a society's nobility, or nobility in general. You can't expect a Stat to know how to load a dishwasher.
  • Surf's Up (v): Military and mercenary slang referring to times of high action; "Grab your guns, boys! Surf's up!"


  • Tequila (n): A bounty hunter term for bounties dealing with serial killers. Comes from the rhyme One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor.
  • Trash hauler (n): Any vessel used as a freighter or transport, esp. such military vessels. One more stunt like that and you'll be piloting a trash hauler 'til Judgement Day!


  • Vacc (v): Commonly, to throw something or someone out an airlock into vacuum. We had to vacc the cargo.
    • Also used by spacers, through extension of this meaning, as an obscenity. Go vacc yourself.


  • Wet-holo (n): Slang term for a pornographic holo.
  • Whiskey (n): A bounty hunter term for bounties dealing with claim jumpers.
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