Living Tau Xenolexicon

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Drill Shas
Drill Shas
Posts: 2295

Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#1 » Aug 24 2013 01:41

It's about time Advanced Tau Tactica hosted its own compiled xenolexicon. The following is compiled using resources developed by Genmotty (Second Sphere) and Arcani (Dakka Dakka), using additions and discussions by various members throughout the community where the meaning isn't directly specified in the text but can be deduced using context.

Living Tau Xenolexicon

Tau Language
The Tau language is comprised of multiple arrangements of polysyllabic word groups, rendering it difficult for humans to speak. In sound it is a fluid language, deeply lyrical and soft. Many words and meanings are highly dependent on intonation, glottal emphasis, and even posture.

Games Workshop has created many words of Tau language, however many of them are composites that relate to phrases or meanings rather than words in their own right. Hence it is important to break down what is known of the language into its constituent parts.

Before we look at words and their meanings it is important to look at the way the Tau structure their written communication. In the same way us humans write with spaces between our words the Tau do as well. However a ‘space’ in the Tau language is also the equivalent of a full stop or semi-colon, basically separating one meaning(s) from another to aid in the speaking of the language. This is why there is no additional punctuation to the Tau language, such as a full stop symbol.

The apostrophe in Tau Xenolexicon itself relates to the linking of multiple meanings to create a further meaning, in much the same way that when you write descriptively you use adjectives to describe nouns. By so doing you can make the noun appear very much different from what it is. This is most evident in oxymoron’s, a good example would be ‘bitter sweet’ now sweet in itself is a noun to describe a taste sensation in the same way as bitter. However when both are put together at first you would think; “How can something taste both bitter and sweet?” the reality is however that ‘bitter sweet’ itself contains a different meaning to the sum of its parts. Yet at the same time both meanings are held in relevance.

It is in this way that the Tau language is different to our own as the real meaning must be extracted from the word and then applied to what that would mean in English. Hence such literal translations are often poor and it is better to use a metaphor or ‘make like’ to describe an object or action rather than trying to give an exact word or phrase.

This links in with the apostrophe system in Tau Xenolexicon because the Tau language is made up of a series of modular words which can be merged together to create a meaning which serves as a word in the Tau language.

To describe using an actual example the word Mont'ka has the literal meaning of War Strike, coming from Mont; War and ka; To Strike. Together both word segments read as Killing Blow.

The Tau have many ways of referring to one another, and how the Tau refer to and address one another adds additional layers of complexity to their relationships and language.

The first and most important part of their name is the caste they are born into. This forms the first portion of their identity, and the Tau are organized into four main castes that correspond to the four elements, Fire (Shas), Earth (Fio), Air (Kor), and Water (Por), with the Ethereals (Aun) forming the leadership of the Empire.

With the caste of a Tau established, the second portion of their name refers to their rank within society. There is no stigma attached to any rank or profession in Tau society; each role is recognized as being part of a greater whole and a furtherance of the common good. There are five major levels of Tau rank, each with a subtly different meaning dependent on the caste to which it is suffixed, with other lesser ranks which appear to represent impermanent billets. In ascending order of seniority these ranks are as follows:

      'Saal - Cadet
    'La - Warrior, Messenger, Worker, Bureaucrat, Prince
    'Ui - Veteran, Carrier, Senior, Envoy, Prelate
    'Vre - Hero, Pilot, Overseer, Magister, King
      'Yr - Hazard Battlesuit Pilot, lit. Experienced
      Saz'nami - Bodyguard
      'Nel - Fireblade
    'El - Noble/Knight, Captain, Engineer, Diplomat, Holy (?)
    'O - Commander, Admiral, Planner, Ambassador, Highest (?)

Next in a Tau's name is his Sept, which translates as either his extended family or place of birth. This portion of the Tau name is open to the widest interpretations and has many subtle differences in meaning.

Lastly comes a Tau's individual name(s), which are earned in recognition of achievement rather than given at birth. It is possible for some remarkable individuals to accumulate more than one name in their lifetime. In cases where Tau have accumulated many names (in some cases dozens), it is common for these Tau to truncate their full names and be known by a simplified appellation, such as O'Shovah. However, this form of address is primarily popular only with Tau with great accomplishment.

Referring to a Tau by his individual name is often regarded as overly familiar unless the Tau is part of a "ta'lissera". It is considered polite to refer to a Tau by their caste and rank as this acknowledges their place in society, thus recognizing and respecting their role.

Examples of Tau names:
    Aun'o T'au Acaya'va'denta
    Shas'o Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr
    Por'vre Tau'n Cha'caor Is'sia
    Fio'ui Bork'an Ulyr'ra

Tau Timekeeping
The Tau'cyr is an annual cycle on T'au.

A tau'cyr is broken down into 6 kai'rotaa, each of 80 rotaa. Each kai'rotaa is dedicated to a caste with the additional one dedicated to the race as a whole.

A rotaa is is broken down into ten decs, decs are either light-time or dark-time (ol'dec or da'dec). Most tau need only 1-2 decs of sleep per rotaa.

A dec is further broken down into an unknown number of rai'kor (approx. minutes), rai'kan (approx. seconds), dec'taa (approx. seconds), and mor'tek-rai'kan (approx. micro seconds).

The tau'cyr lasts approximately 300 Terran days (297.74 to be precise). A kai'rotaa is therefore about 50 Terran days. A rotaa is approximately 15 Terran hours and a dec is 1.5 Terran hours.

Tau Distance
A Tor'kan is the standard unit of measure for expressing distances between geographical places on land, roughly analogous to a Terran kilometer.

The tor'kan is broken down into an unknown number of tor'lek (approx. meter) and tor'il (approx. centimeter).


A: Meanings; "Below" or "Under" in relation to status.
Ai: Meaning; "Are".
Al: Meanings; "Small".
Aloh: Meanings; "Cold".
An: Meanings; "Location" - in relation to a specific place.
Anuk: Meanings; "Birdlike" or "flying feathered creature".
Ar: Meanings; "High" in social standing or class or "dignified".
Au: Meanings; "Age" or "Era" or "A period of time".
Auk: Meanings; “Impure” – in relation to the physical attributes of an object.
Auk'nan: Composite Word; Meaning; "Impure Sword", "Broken Sword", "Flawed Weapon", etc.1
Aun: Meanings; "Ethereal" or "Celestial" Caste in a personal tone.
Aun'bork'an'retha: Composite Word; Meaning; "Ethereal Council of Bork'an".
Aun'kor'vattra: Composite Word; Meaning; "Ethereal Fleet".
Aun't'au'retha: Composite Word; Meaning; "Ethereal Council of T'au".

B: Meanings; "Shepherd" or "guide" or "basic".
B'kaara: Composite Word; Meaning; "Guiding Picture" or "Map".1
B'kak: Composite Word; Meaning; "Sand Herder" or "Guide of the sands".
B'nim: Composite Word; Meaning; "A basic foodstuff" much like humans would consider bread or pasty food.
Bap: Meanings; “lost”.
Be'gel: Composite Word; Meaning; "Orks" or "Simple creatures" Has no direct translation, or links with other Tau words. It is an anomaly in the Tau language. See also: "bhe'ghaal".
Bentu: Meanings; "Wise" or "Gifted" or "Gracefully intelligent".
Bentu'sin: Composite Word; Meaning; "Wise-gifted ones" this has the meaning of Demiurg in Tau phrases.
Bhe'ghaal: Composite Word; Meaning; "Ork" in different dialect or context. See also: "be'gel".
Bork: Meaning; “Snow” or “Ice”.

Cal: Meaning; “Hard” or “Tough” - as in the physical properties of a material.
Caor: Meanings; “Spinner” or “Creator”.
Cea: Meaning; “Civilised” or “Enlightened” - in reference to those who see that the whole is greater than the one when it comes to society.1
Cha: Meanings; "Purpose" or "Action".
Co: Meanings; A Negative Prefix to a phrase, placement within word denotes what is negative. Eg. Co’cha means "bad purpose".
Co’ge: Composite Word; Meaning; "Not" or "Or".
Co't: Composite Word; Meaning; "But" or "In Contrast To" or "Not Alike To".
Cova: Meanings; "Break", "Shatter", "Dismantle".
Cyr: Meaning; “Time” – in reference to an arbitrary period of.

D: Meanings; "Twin" or "Together".
Da: Meaning; “Darkness” or “Absence (of light)”.
Da'noh: Meaning; "Mystery not yet unraveled by the Earth caste".
D'yi Composite Word; Meaning; "Bottomcheeks".
Dao: Meanings; "To accept" or "To receive" or "Be given".
Dao'ran: Composite Word; Meaning; "To be given Peace", or "Mercy Killing".1
Demlok: Meanings; "Canyon" or "Gorge" or "Cut Waterway".
Doran: Meanings; "Calm" or "Peaceful" or "At peace".
Doran'ro: Composite Word; Meaning; "Calm mind" or "Peaceful mind" a phrase referring to a relaxed state of being.
Du: Meanings: "Position" in relation to a physical place or object.
Du'a: Composite Word; Meaning; "Down" or "Under".
Du'oc: Composite Word; Meaning; "Up" or "Above".
Du’Eio: Composite Word; Meaning; "High" or "Taller".
Dua'vr: Composite Word; Meaning; "Beside" or "Next to".

Ea: Meaning; "The" or "It" or "!" putting emphasis on a phrase. Placement within phrase dictates what is having attention drawn to it.
Eio: Meanings; "Tall" or "Large Vertically".
Eio'kio: Composite Word; Meaning; "Tall Plant" or "Tree".
El: Meanings; "Hero" or "Commander" or "Very Important" – in reference to social standing.
Elan: Meanings; "Strong" or "Sturdy" or "Support".
Elan'gu'cha: Composite Word; Meaning; "Sturdy Frame Action" or "Skeleton" or "Framework" or "Scaffolding". It is a metaphor relating to the way a framework has a contact force action on what opposes it, or allows an action to take place because of it.
Elan'ro: Composite Word; Meaning; "Support Mind" or "Skull" – submeaning "important".1
Eldi: Meaning; "Wing" in reference to a physical limb of a creature. – submeaning "important".
Elro: Meaning; "Have a Voice" or "To Speak" – submeaning "important".
Eoro: Meaning; "To Lead" or "To Guide".
Era: Meaning; Plural suffix to a phrase, placement within word denotes what is plural (eg. Cha'era or "many purposes").
Es: Meaning; “Forceful” or “Domineering” - submeaning “Full of (him/herself)”.

Fa'ta'kn: Composite Word; Meaning; Doesn't directly translate has "soul" as part of the phrase however it is untranslatable of this current time. Reproductive organs? Process of reproduction? The act of reproduction?
Fio: Meaning; "Earth" or "Earth Caste".
Fu'llasso: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Cursed Mind Knot", or "Political mess, to be unscrambled by the Water caste."

Gal: Meaning; “To Explore” or “To Discover”.
Gal'leath: Composite Word; Meaning; “Explorer Ship”.
Ge: Meaning; "And" or "with".
Gharial: Meaning; “Diplomatic Spaceship”?
Grath'im: Composite Word; Meaning; Derogatory insult, associated with "Impetuous".
Gue: Meaning; "Human". Also, "Lowest" in reference to social standing. – submeaning alien.
Gue'la: Composite Word; Meaning; "Lowest Beings" or "Humans" – submeaning Imperial humans or non-pro Tau humans.
Gue'la'sia: Composite Word; Meaning; "Lowest Beings talk" or "Gothic (speech)".
Gue'la’elro: Composite Word; Meaning; "Human Speaker" or "Human Politician".
Gue'ron'sha: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Human Engineered Wind", approx. "Engineered Human Warriors" or "Space Marines".
Gue'vesa: Composite Word; Meaning; "Lowest Helper" or "Human Helpers" – It refers to any human indoctrinated into Tau society or was born as a generations under Tau control.

H: Meaning; "It" or "We" depending on context - aggressive possessive prefix.
H'ai: Composite Word; Meaning; "We are".
He: Meaning; “Unlimited” or “Without Number” or “Infinity”.
Hee: Meaning; "In a [particular]" or "One of Many".
Her'ex: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Mantle", possibly "Cloak", "Envelop", or "Important Role".
Her'ex'vre: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Mantle of Heroes", refers to "Battlesuit" or "Power Armor".
Hesa: Meaning; "Numbers" – in reference to Tau number symbols.
He'ra: Composite Word; Meaning; “Many Wrongs” or “Misled”.
H'esav'geka: Composite Word; Meaning; “We are better than you” – in very general terms. A direct translation does not currently exist.

Io: Meaning; “Food Plant” – in reference to where the food is coming from, rather than prepared food.
Is: Meaning; “Movement” or “(lack of) movement” – submeanings “cold” - in reference to an object's movement rather than that of a creature, which would be defined as action in Tau Xenolexicon. – in reference to the lack of movement meaning an object being "cold".

J: Meaning; "To Reverse" or "To reflect".
Jikita: Meaning; “Kroot”.
J'kaara: Composite Word; Meaning; or “Reflect Image” or “Mirror”.
Juntas: Meaning; "Port" or "Left Side".

Kaara: Meaning; "Image" or "Picture".
Ka: Meaning; “To strike” or “To hit”.
Ka'mesa: Composite Word; Meaning; “Strike Mark” or “Scar”.
Ka'ra: Composite Word; Meaning; “Strike Wrong” or “Exile”.
Kai: Meaning; “Big” in relation to the size of something.
Kais: Meaning; “Skillful” or “Expert” or “Competent”.
Kak: Meaning; “Sand” or “Small sediment”.
Kar: meaning; “Correct”.
Kass: Composite Word; Meaning; “Troops”?
Kass'l: Composite Word; Meaning; “Troop Dropper”? or “Orca”.
Kau: Meaning; “To Rest” or “To Wait” while hunting or during other activities, it can also be used to refer to eating food.
Kau'ui: Composite Word; Meaning; “Hunter Leader/Team” or “Cadre” - not a direct translation.
Kauyon: Composite Word; Meaning; “Hunter that is Patient” or “Patient Hunter” – it refers to a type of Tau strategy and can be used descriptively as a way of conducting plans or a project.
Kavaal: Meaning; "Commune", “Strike Group”, or “Attack Force” in reality this is a grouping of multiple Tau contingents to form a small army.
Ken'rai: Composite Word; Meaning; loose "Cut off the head, the body will die."
Ken'to: Composite Word; Meaning; "Principles (of)", "Code (of)", "Book (of)".
Kir'qath: – non-existent word?
Klkn: Meaning; Negative Prefix, suffix or meaning term on its own. In reference like a Human would curse.1
Kles: Meaning; “Exceptionally” or “More Than Normal”.
Kles'ro: Composite Word; Meaning; "Exceptional Mind" or "Intelligent".
Kles'tak: Composite Word; Meaning; “Intense Explosive” – equivalent of high explosive.
Kna: Meaning; “Silly” or “Stupid”.
Ko: Meaning; “To be Worthy” or “Commendable of”.
Ko'io: Composite Word; Meaning; “Grain” or “Basic Food Plants” or “Plants worthy of being eating” in a literal sense.
Ko'io'nai: Composite Word; Meaning; “Worthy Food Plants (that are) Starchy” or “Cereal”.
Kor: Composite Word; Meaning; “Air Caste” or “Air”.
Korar: Meaning; “Airship”.
Korst'la: Composite Word; “Death being” or “Reaper”.
Kor'vesa: Composite Word; Meaning; “Air Helpers” or “Tau Drones” (Note the translation "Faithful Helper" is inaccurate as it does not follow the rest of the language).
Ko'vash: Composite Word; Meaning; “Worthy Cause” something that is commendable in Tau society.
Kar'tyr: Composite Word; Meaning; “Correct Punishment?” or “Justice”.
Kre: Meaning; “Traitor”.
Kunas: Meaning; “Agile” or “Dexterous”.
Ky: Meaning; “Me” or “I” in reference to self.
Kyse: Meaning; “Belt” in reference to asteroid belts in space.

L: Meaning; “To drop”.
La: Meaning; “being” or “Creature”.
Lar: Meaning; “Valiant” or “Courageous”.
Lar'shi: Composite Word; Meaning; “Valiant Victory” or “Hero” – in reference to a one off act (it seems).
Leath: Meaning; “Deep Space Spaceship"?
Lhas'rhen'na: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Shattered Jade" or euphemism for "Worthy or Noble Sacrifice".
Lissera: Meaning; “Group” or “Team”.
Lisseri: Meaning; “To Accept”.
Li: Wild / natural.
Li'Sun'yi: "Wild Flower".1
Lynu: Meaning; “Steadfast” or “Persistent”.

M: Meaning; An “un-” prefix, not negative meanings however. Used in the same way we might use inverted commas when using a descriptive word which doesn't quite work.
M'yan: Meaning; “Unhappy” or “Not Happy” or “Sad”.
M'yen: Composite Word; Meaning; “Unforeseen” or “Unexpected”.
M'yenshi: Composite Word; Meaning; “Unforeseen victory” or “Unexpected victory”.
Mal: Meaning; “Insect” or “Arthropod”.
Mal'caor: Composite Word; Meaning; “Web Spinner” or “Spider” in reference to insects.
Mal'kor: "Vespid".
Mesa: Meaning; “To Mark” or “To Identify”.
Mesme: Meaning; “To add” or “To combine” or “To Join”.
Mon: Meaning; "Black" or "Grey" – in reference to color (it seems).
Monat: Meaning; lit. "Freedom of One", also "An Individual" or "Individual Freedom" or the name given to a single Tau acting alone.
Mont: Meaning; “War”, “Battle”, or "Death".
Mont'au: Meaning; “War Age”, “Age of War”, or "Age of Death" – submeanings referring to the anarchy of the early Tau castes and hence cane be translated as "The Terror".
Mont’au’gue’la: Composite Word; Meaning; "Terror Humans" or "Chaos humans/cultists".
Mont'da: Composite Word; Meaning; “War Darkness” or “Fog of War”.
Mont'ka: Composite Word; Meaning; “War Strike” or “Killing Blow”.
Mont're: Composite Word; Meaning; “War Strength” or “Warlike”.
Mont'yr: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Blooded", also “War Experienced” or “Veteran”.
Mu: Meaning; "No [more]" or "Cease".
Mu'mont: Composite Word; Meaning; "No [more] War" or "Cease Fire".
Myr: Meaning; “Knife” or “Blade”.

N: Meaning; “Second” In reference to placement rather than time.
Nai: Meaning; “Carbohydrates” or “Starch” in reference to a foods nutritional content.
Nan: Meaning; “Sword” or “Hand Blade”.
Nan'Sha'is: Composite Word; Meaning; “Sword Gas Movement” or “Sword Wind” in reference to a sudden fast change. – submeanings an attack made by Eldar forces.
Nars: Meaning; “Stone” or “Rock”.
Nem: Meaning; “Piercing”.
Nim: Meanings; "Foodstuff" or "Food" or "Staple meal".
Nont: Meaning; "Doubt?"
Nont'ka: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Doubt Strike" or "Stricken with Doubt", the "Time of Questioning".
Nuni: Meaning; "Thank you" or "Thanks" - a gesture of gratitude.
Ny: Meanings; “Fur” or “Hair”.1
Ny'oni: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fur-covered”.1

O: Meaning; "High Commander/Leader" or "Heroic Commander/Leader" this suffix in a Tau name denotes the highest Tau rank one can achieve.
Oi: Meaning; "Shinning" or "Reflecting".
Ol: Meaning; "Bright" in relation to light intensity.
Olku: Meaning; "Decision" or "Choice".
Oni: Meaning; "Covered" or "To Cover".
Or: Meaning; "Compelling" or "Authoritative".
Or'es: Composite Word; Meaning; "Forcefully Compelling" or "Powerful" or "Charismatic".
Or'mon'kor: Composite Word; Meaning; "Authorative Black Air" or "Powerful Black Air" – in reference to the power of pinning the drones possess – submeaning "sniper drone".
Or'sha'is: Composite Word; Meaning; "Powerful Wind (Storm)".1
O'ran: "Courage" – in reference to the act of.
O'res'la: Composite Word; Meaning; “Heroic Barbaric Beings” or “Ork Raiders”.

P: Meaning; "A place" or "There" or "In" or "At" a prefix denoting the physical placement of an object or area.
Por: Meaning; "Water Caste" or "Water/liquids".
Por'hui: Composite Word; Meaning; "Water caste Media", also "Propaganda".
Por'sral: Composite Word; Meaning; "Propaganda Campaign".

R: Meaning; "Long".
Rra: Meaning; "Shadow".
R'myr: Composite Word; Meaning; "Longknife".
Ra: Meaning; “Wrong”.
Raik: Meaning; “Time” – in reference to the passing of and measurement of.
Ray: Meaning; "Walker".
Ray'kaara: Composite Word; Meaning; "Walking Picture", "Movie" or "Hologram".1
Re: Meaning; "Strength".
Ret: Meaning; "To Teach" or "To Instruct" or "To Inform".
Retha: Meaning; "Council", "Temple", or "University".
Res: Meaning; "Barbaric".
Ro: Meaning; "Mind" or "Brain".
Roi: Meaning; "Smell".
Ru: Composite Word; Meaning; "Built" or "Crafted".
Ru'fio: Composite Word; Meaning; "Earth Caste Built".
Ru'ro: Composite Word; Meaning; "Crafted Brain" or "Computer".1
Run: Meaning; “Structure” or “Building” – in reference to buildings in general.
Run'al: Composite Word; Meaning; “Small Building” or “Hidden Building” or “Outpost”.

Sa: Meaning; “Well”.
Sa'cea: Composite Word; Meaning; “Well Civilized”.
Saal: Meaning; “Children” or “Young Adult” or “Trainee”.
Saum'ol: Meaning; “Napalm”.
Sav: Meaning; future prefix.
Sav'cyr: Meaning; “Time to come” or “Future”.
Sav'ge: Meaning; “With” – in reference to something occurring in the future.
Savon: Meaning; “Keen-eyed” or “Good Eyesight”.
Saz'nami: Meaning; lit. "Close Protection Officer".
Se'hen che lel: Composite Phrase; Meaning; "Riding the lightning".
Sha: Meaning; “Gas”.
Sha'is: Composite Word; Meaning; “Gas Movement” or “Wind”.
Shan: Meaning; “Army”?
Shan'al: Composite Word; Meaning; “Army? Small”
Shas: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fire Caste” – not referring to fire as an entity.
Shas'ar'tol: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fire Caste High Command”.
Shas'ka: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fire Caste Strike” or “Star?”.
Shas'ka’demlok: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fire Caste Strike Canyon” or “Canyon of the sun”.
Shas'ken'to: Composite Word; Meaning; "Principles of Combat", probably "Code of Fire", possibly "Book of War".
Shas'len'ra: Composite Word; Meaning; "Cautious Warrior".
Shas'shi: Composite Word; Meaning; “Fire Caste Victory” or “Victorious Warriors”.
Shase: Meaning; "Sun" - referring to a star.
Shi: Meaning; “Victory”.
Shi'mont'ka: Composite Word; Meaning; “Victory War Strike”.
Shi'va: Composite Word; Meaning; “Victory Cause”.
Shisa: Meaning; "Little".
Sho: Meaning; "Energy" - in reference to the creation of and transfer of.
Sho'aun’or'es: Tau word for "Source of Power", generator, engine, drive.
Sho'ka Composite Word; Meaning; “Energy Strike” or “Energy Weapon” or “Plasma Weapons”?
Sho'kara: Composite Word; Meaning; “Energy Image” or “Gate/Portal” - submeaning lens.
Shovah: Meaning; “Farsighted” or “Prophetic”.
Shtlk: Composite Word; Meaning; “Defile” or “Desecrate”.
Siral: Meaning; "Return".
Sin: Meaning; "Ones" or "peoples" or "group".
Sio't: Composite Word; Meaning; “Premeditated Aggression”.
Skether'qan: non-existent word?
Snae'ta: Composite Word; Meaning; Derogatory insult.
Soo: Meaning; "Artful".
Su: Meaning; "Grey".
Suas: Meaning; "Join in" or "Become".
Suam: Meaning; "Fire" or "Combustion (the act of)" – in direct reference to fire and flame, rather than the "Fire Caste" which is different.
Sun'yi: A plant found on Tel'Oshi. It has large, beautiful petals, but only lives for a little over a tau'cyr.1

T: Meaning; “Of” or “To”.
T'auk'cka: Composite Word; Meaning; “Of Impure Stock?” or “Hybrid” or “bastard”.1
T'auk'cka'M'me: Composite Word; Meaning; “Bastardized” or “not of an expected breed, for its kind”.1
T'n'cha: Composite Word; Meaning; “Of Second Purpose” or "On the Other Hand".1
T'koreth: Composite Word; Meaning; “Galaxy”.
T'roi: Composite Word; Meaning; “a smell type of”.
T'suam: Composite Word; Meaning; “Of Fire” – translation of "Belt" is incorrect.
Ta: Meaning; “Soul”.
Ta'uk'me: Composite Word; Meaning; “Soul ___ ___” – submeanings Kroot Hounds.1
Ta'lissera: Composite Word; Meaning; “Marriage” or “Covenant”.
Ta'ro'cha: Composite Word; Meaning; “Soul mind purpose” – The meaning translation reads more as "Three minds, one purpose" and is an anomaly.
Taal: Meaning; “To Preserve”.
Tak: Meaning; “Explosive”.
Tash: Meaning; “Endures”.
Tau: Meaning; "Tau (species)", "Good".
Tau'sia: Composite Word; Meaning; "Tau Speak" or "Language of Tau".
Tau'va: Composite Word; Meaning; "Tau Greater" or "The Greater Good".
Tio've: Composite Word; Meaning; "Contingent" or a "Group of Cadres".
To: Meaning; An exclamation of unbelief.1
To'Tau'va: Composite Word; Meaning; “Tau Greater” or “By the Path!”1
Tol: Meaning; "Office (of)" or "Position (over)" or "Authority (of)".
Tor: Meaning; "Land" or "Distance/Area".
Toroq: Meaning; "Starboard" or "Right Side".
Tor'il: Composite Word; Meaning; "Land Measurement" – roughly translates as "centimeter".
Tol'tor: Composite Word; Meaning; "Authority of the land" or "Position of Power".
Tor'kan: Composite Word; Meaning; "Land Measurement" - roughly translates as "kilometer".
Tor'lek: Composite Word; Meaning; “Land Measurements” - roughly translates as "meter".
Tsua: Meaning; “Extreme Values” – relating to extremes on a scale of numbers.
Tsua'm: Composite Word; Meaning; “Not extreme” or “Middle” or “Normal”.

Uash'O: Tau Regional Command.
Ufa: Meaning; “Breakable” or “Fragile”.
Ui: Meaning; “Team Leader” or “Expert” – in reference to the second lowest Tau rank.
Ui't: Composite Word; Meanings; “Expert of” or “Leader of”, also a species of cub-raising animal on T'au that carries derogatory meaning when used as an insult.
Ukos: Meaning; “Spoon”.
Upt: Meaning; “Mountains”.

Va: Meaning; “Greater” or “Better” or “Improved Upon”.
Va'yan: Meaning; “Happier”.
Vah: Meaning; “Personal”.
Vah'cha: Meaning; “Goal” or “Aim”.
Var: Meaning; “To Raid”, “Raiding”, or "Raider(s)".
Var Sin'da: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Dark Raiding Ones", or "Dark Eldar".
Vash: Meanings; "Between" or "Cause", depending on context and dialect.
Vash'aun'an: Composite Word; Meaning; “Between Celestial Locations” or “Warp Space”.
Vash'ya: Composite Word; Meaning; “Between Worlds (planets)”.
Ves'ron: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Robotic Being", or "Necrons".
Vesa: Meaning; “Helper”, also possibly "Robotic Helper".
Vattra: Meaning; “Fleet” – in reference to spacecraft.
Vior: Meaning; “Aggressive”.
Vior'la: Composite Word; Meaning; "Aggressive Being" or "Hot-Blooded".
Vr: Meanings; "Equal" or "Next to" in terms of social standing.
Vral: Composite Word; Meaning; "Undercut".
Vre: Meaning; lit. "Hero" or “Veteran”.

Xar: Meaning; "Physical".
Xar'vesa: Composite Word; Meaning; "Physical Helper Suit" or "Battlesuit".
Xauk: Meaning; "Create new life?" or "Birth".
Xesa: Meaning; past prefix.

Y: Meaning; "Individual(s)" or "One".
Y'eldi: Composite Word; Meaning; "Individual Wing" or "Winged One".
Y'he: Composite Word; Meaning; "Individuals Without Number", also "Tyranids".
Y'xauk: Composite Word; Meaning; "Individual Create?" or "To Breed" or "Mate".
Ya: Meaning; "World" or "Planet" or "Spheres" - possibly "Entity" when addressing an individual?
Yan: Meaning; "Happy" – submeaning "Mood".
Yi: Meaning; "Cheeks".
Yanoi: Meaning; "Moon".
Yen: Meaning; "To Imagine" or "Foresee".
Yio: Meaning; "To Hear" or "Listen".
Yr: Meaning; "Experienced".

1 - Advanced Tau Tactica created

This is an unfinished living document and will be further updated throughout future releases of tau literature. I hope to eventually catalog all words, terms, and phrases used by Games Workshop, Black Library, and Forge World.

If you find any words that are missing (which is likely, since I haven't yet scrubbed the 6th edition codex or Farsight supplement), post here with the source, page number, and context the word was used in.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#2 » Aug 24 2013 11:28

Codex: Tau Empire pg 26
Da'noh: Mystery not yet unraveled by the Earth caste.
Fu'llasso: Political mess, to be unscrambled by the Water caste (literally 'cursed mind knot')
Gue'ron'sha: Space Marines (literally 'engineered human warriors')
Lhas'rhen'na: Euphemism for a worthy or noble sacrifice (literally 'shattered jade')
Mont'yr: Blooded1
Por'sral: Propaganda campaign
Shas'len'ra: Cautious warrior
Ves'ron: Robotic being2

Shadowsun: The Last of Kiru's Line pg 52

[spoiler=Context for Var Sin'da]"Shas’el Oru’mi was slain by Var Sin’da pirates on the planet Tash’Var."[/spoiler]

1: I assume this is compatible with the existing definition you provided. A different connotation or denotation, perhaps.
2: Reference to Necrons? But it may be a more general term as well.
3: This leads me to believe that Tash'var translates to "Endures Raids/Raiders".

That's all I have for now, sir. I believe Mr. Campbell had a few more, like "Mu'mont," but I will keep my eyes open for the future.

EDIT: Quoted list of words from the codex.
Last edited by ARC'Thunder on Aug 25 2013 11:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Drill Shas
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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#3 » Aug 24 2013 05:11

Thank you for your contribution, they've been added to the list.

I know there are a few others in the Codex that I haven't added yet, as well as many more from Black Library out there, too, so keep looking, folks! :)

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#4 » Aug 24 2013 06:13

I was under the assumption that Shas'ui were capable of being Kor pilots of anything from small fighter craft to anything as large as an Explorer class vessel (Battlefleet Gothic, Tau stuff, pg. 101).

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#5 » Aug 24 2013 06:30

Shas'ui or Kor'ui?

It appears that the ranks are more honorific titles than descriptive of the duties those tau actually perform.

For example, Por can obviously be many more things than envoys, magisters, diplomats, and ambassadors and Fio can be many more things than seniors, overseers, engineers, and planners. I would say that the titles aren't all inclusive.

Also, I'll add the disclaimer that different ranks will probably command vessels of different displacement (lower ranking Kor piloting escorts versus higher ranking Kor piloting capital ships), and that the Battlefleet Gothic fluff hasn't uniformly aged well. :)

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#6 » Aug 25 2013 11:02

Is this xenolexicon going to just be a collection of Tau words taken directly from GW, BL, FW or is it going to have words that are comprised from the list but aren't in any official fluff?
We must master ourselves before mastering our enemy.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#7 » Aug 25 2013 11:47

Long post inbound, and I'm not sure if much of my formatting is "proper" for all of the quotes and alien words I'm referring to. I'm going to apologize for all of that in advance.

I haven't managed to screen through Mr. Fehevari's Fire Caste again, but I have found a few more words from Shadowsun. If we can contact them, our local Lore Shas'uis may be of some use to us here ;) .

Shadowsun: The Last of Kiru's Line
Pg 49 wrote:The halls of the Aun’t’au’retha, the supreme council of Ethereals who presided over the Empire, must have been uncharacteristically lively this day.
This signifies to me that the meaning is "Ethereal Council of T'au" which just so happens to be the Ethereal council in charge of the empire.

The example you have provided above, Aun'bork'an'retha as "Ethereal Bork'an University" may also mean "Ethereal Council of Bork'an". Considering retha can also be translated as "temple" it may be a contextual meaning depending on the caste it's attached to. For example, a fio'retha may be a university dedicated to schooling the Earth caste in architecture, medicine, etc., while a shas'retha is a Fire caste academy for training fire warriors. This is just my speculation though.

Taal Saal'Y
Pg 85 wrote:‘ “To preserve one child”. It’s a policy we have wherein the last surviving member of a family may be excused from dangerous service in order to carry on the line.’
This already corroborates what we know about the words saal, taal and Y.

Pg 120 wrote:‘Colony Twenty-three,’ Sabu’ro answered. ‘I chose it myself. The port is sparsely populated, but multicultural. I thought that you might encounter other humans there from time to time.’
Nuni,’ he said.
‘You might not be so thankful when you get there,’ Shadowsun sneered. ‘It’s the epitome of desolation.'
[/spoiler]Seems to be a form of "thank you" or maybe even just "thanks."

This following blurb gives us shisa, clarifies mu'mont a little more, and may muddy up our understanding of ya:
Pg 44 wrote:‘Mu’mont!’ he screeched.
All the tau froze.
‘Is that right?’ he asked desperately. ‘Mu’mont? Mu’mont. No war, yes?’ He raised his free hand.
The barrels of Shadowsun’s fusion blasters dipped slightly. ‘Ya tau’sia?’
The human grinned with relief. ‘Yes,’ he blurted. ‘Yes. I can speak some of your language. A little. Little? Uh… shisa? Shisa tau’sia?’
[/spoiler]I'm not sure how ya as we know it fits into the above phrase, "world Tau language"? Additionally, when I spoke to Mr. Campbell he told me that mu was useable as a "no" for our language just as dao is "yes".

Speaking of dao, we get the following phrase and its translation around the same time:
Pg 102 wrote:‘Dao,’ she replied at last. ‘H’ai mesme ‘hee vash.’
‘Yes,’ she hissed in translation. ‘We are joined in a purpose.’
It seems that vash in this context refers to "ko'vash" instead of the vash from Vash'ya. Mesme is working within what we already know, but h'ai and 'hee are new as far as I know.

Also, Doombringer, I have noticed a few words are out of alphabetical order:
Doombringer wrote:V
Va: Meaning; “Greater” or “Better” or “Improved Upon”.
Va'yan: Meaning; “Happier”.
Vah: Meaning; “Personal”.
Vah'cha: Meaning; “Goal” or “Aim”.
Vash: Meaning; "Between".
Vash'aun'an: Composite Word; Meaning; “Between Celestial Space” or “Warp Space”.
Vash'ya: Composite Word; Meaning; “Between Worlds (planets)”.
Ves'ron: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Robotic Being", or "Necrons".
Vesa: Meaning; “Helper”, also possibly "Robotic Helper".
Vattra: Meaning; “Fleet” – in reference to spacecraft.
Vior: Meaning; “Aggressive”.
Vior'la: Composite Word; Meaning; “Aggressive Being”.
Vr: Meanings; "Equal" or "Next to" in terms of social standing.
Var: Meaning; “To Raid”, “Raiding”, or "Raider(s)".
Var Sin'da: Composite Word; Meaning; lit. "Dark Raiding Ones", or "Dark Eldar".
Vral: Composite Word; Meaning; “Undercut”.
Vre: Meaning; lit. "Hero" or “Veteran”.
I used green to highlight because I can't use red and I thought it was more visible on our forum colors than yellow.

Also, I'm glad you added my hypothesis that Ves'ron refers to Necrons, but I don't actually know if it does. The words from the 6th Ed. codex I added were sitting in a sidebar with no context short of the definitions I provided (I should have quoted it, honestly. FIXED) so my notes were really just speculation and theorycrafting on my part; I'm sorry if that wasn't more clear.

I have to wonder how the "ron" in Ves'ron and Gue'ron'sha fit together (perhaps "robotic" and "engineered" are related?), and the "sha" conflicts with our definition of "gas" but it looks like it may be a root word for shas. Sha may be the root word for shas which refers to both "warrior" and possibly "fire" (Fire caste) as an extension of "gas." This may help with Shaserra; sha/shas could be the sun reference: a ball of fire (hydrogen gas/plasma? :? ).

I certainly don't have access to the resources of most BL books, the 3rd Ed. codex and whatever else, being fairly new to the hobby myself, so my ideas don't have a lot of history or experience behind them. Ultimately, I trust our local experts to make sense of the words I manage to find. And thanks for putting such hard work into our lexicon.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#8 » Aug 25 2013 01:38


I don't mind adding composite words that fans make. Some of these words (particularly the ones referencing Tel'Oshi and many containing the letter 'X' were inserted by the member Wargamer of Second Sphere based on his cadre's background.

That said, I will be the final arbiter of which words make it into the lexicon, and would prefer to keep it as sanitary and sourced as possible.

Composite words are fine with me - I'll add the words you sent me via PM.


Regarding Aun't'au'retha, I'm on complete concordance. I believe the first time it appeared was in Fire Warrior, and I like the idea of 'retha' meaning various things depending on caste-context.

I've added "Cease" to the meaning as well, as "Cease Fire (Shooting)" seems contextually acceptable for 'mu'mont'.

H'ai mesme 'hee vash
It is likely that "h'ai" and "'hee" are the words for "we are" and "in a", respectively, following syntax that the rest of the sentence uses.

I'm thinking "'hee" has roots in "he", where "he" are "without number" and "hee" is "one of many / in a [particular]". Seems to fit well.

Tentatively added.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#9 » Aug 25 2013 04:04

A few more possible ideas for the list are

He'mal'shan: "unlimited insect army" (Tyranids)

Y'ro: "one mind" can mean agreement but can also have a submeaning in referance to a Hive Mind intelligence.

Aun'sho'la: "celestial energy being" (daemon)

Aloh'taal "cold preserve" (cryo freeze/sleep)

Ko'taal: "worthy of preservation" (important location/object/person)

I also have a question in relation to the word Io, in the definition the word is in reference to the location instead of flora. As I took it that ment a food processing factory or something similar. Yet in the rest of the lexicon whenever io is used it is reference to flora such as Ko'io and Ko'io'nai. I'm not sure which definition is accurate as the same word is being used to express two different types of plant?
We must master ourselves before mastering our enemy.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#10 » Aug 26 2013 12:41

I just want to pop in and say three things:
  • First, thank you for all of the participation. Keep up with the feedback!
  • Second, as it currently stands, this glossary should be considered ATT Lexicon Mk. Zero. We've started with a copy of previous community lists, and we're going to flesh it out and make it live up to ATT's standards!
  • Lastly, citations for words, or explanations about word derivations, are really helpful. For instance, for the life of me, I don't know where 'Jikita' comes from. Is it a fan made word? Is it canonical? I don't know! Facts like that are something I'd like this list to actually be able to tell us.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#11 » Aug 26 2013 09:22

Going back to the "gue'ron'sha": its context is a comment being made by an observer about the huge numbers of Imperial armour that appears to be everywhere. The referral to a Tank Suit may be the translation as this is spoken of in the same italicised boxout in the Farsight supplement. The Tau language may mean therefore literally a "human - armoured(?) - with gas", or Tank Suit, which would perhaps be giving us the idea of an Imperial walker vehicle with exhaust emanating.

Hope that made sense; I'm suffering from a bad headache atm.


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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#12 » Aug 26 2013 06:57

One or two more from the FS Supplement:

ghoro'kha: meaning "Death Hail". Reference = the Ork assault on Arkunasha which was so dense the Tau named it "ghoro'kha". P.14 FS Supplement

shio'he: meaning "the slit between the eyes of a Tau", or "nostrils". Reference P.58 supplement, after Farsight is escaping the Warp Rift where he receives the vision of the "Eye of Terror", with daemonic forces pouring through the Great Star Dais: "As blood began to trickle from the shio'he between his eyes, O'Shovah lost consciousness"

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#13 » Oct 12 2013 01:34

Got another one

R'varna: The name of a Commander and the new Riptide variant. It means "Burning Rain". ... Rvarna.pdf

Also- does anyone remember the 5 seasons of T'au? I think it was in the Apoc Redux.
~Good Hunting

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#14 » Oct 12 2013 03:56

Calmsword wrote:Also- does anyone remember the 5 seasons of T'au? I think it was in the Apoc Redux.

Checked in : Farstrike Battlesuit Force
There is 4 teams (Sarkeln Heroes), each with name from seasons on Tau world:

But don't know which season is (Mon'la may be the "winter" because of the grey/shadow idea of "Mon", Ka'sa the summer/a wet season, with the "hit" idea of either the burning sun or the falling rain)

If Tau is a single sun world and has seasons, astrophysic said it has an rotation axis like earth or the like, and so 4 seasons based on sun zenith position: hot/cold and 2 intermediate, not 5.
In the tropical zone and polar, intermediate seasons are not obvious but exists. 5 seasons may result for weird climate, and so very unlikely to be observed on all the planet.

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#15 » Oct 12 2013 05:55

FSE Supplement P.93: "Da'lthe'vral" meaning "Mirrorcodex". The explanation in the FSE supplement is that Farsight attempts to codify the main tenets of what he learns about each alien species he encounters, incorporating it into his "Da'lthe'vral".

"Vral" means 'undercut'.
"Da" means 'darkness' or 'absence of light', or in this situation I would understand 'previously unknown [information]'

The meaning of "lthe" is not determined with equal certainty, but with the concept of the Mirrorcodex being that an FSE army has greater knowledge of their opponents and therefore is more prepared to fight them (Seize the Initiative) and to do it better (Preferred Enemy rule), I would perhaps tentatively suggest that the 'lthe' could be further broken down into "l" meaning 'to drop [lessen?]', "t" meaning 'of' and "he" meaning 'all', we could have the "Da'lthe'vral" meaning effectively "the lessening of previously unknown information which gives advantage to the Tau against their enemies". In other words, "greater knowledge overcomes one's enemy" or "The Art of War"?


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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#16 » Oct 12 2013 07:29

Kael'yn hit the nail on the head; here is a little more info I posted about Apocalypse Reloaded, five years ago (!!!). That said, I can't seem to find any reference to T'au having five seasons. Where does that come from?

As for mirror -- alongside the Mirrorcodex ("Da'lthe'vral"), we've also got j'karra, meaning simply "mirror". Maybe j'karra is the noun "mirror", while "Mirrorcodex" is, as Eigle lays out, a more poetic use of the concept of a mirror in adjective or verb form?

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#17 » Oct 13 2013 03:19

Lyi'ot wrote:Kael'yn hit the nail on the head; here is a little more info I posted about Apocalypse Reloaded, five years ago (!!!). That said, I can't seem to find any reference to T'au having five seasons. Where does that come from?

If Calmsword can confirm the "5 seasons" thing, it's like someone in the writing staff follow "Rule of Cool" for describing an alien world with alien seasons (5) and alien months (6).
Too bad it is for Tau, the most "science-exact" fluff race of WH40K.
And people brainstorm about reasons for a small piece of fun ... (We are not Trekkies, but a minimum of coherency is welcome, or at least some "Word of God")

[spoiler="Mode Hardcore:ON"]Ok, let's try to figure reasons for 6 kai'rotaa (or maybe 5 seasons, but they will not be exact climatic seasons...):
-Tau primitive people were fascinated by stars and their sky have 6(5) bright constellations on the planet ecliptic. So they split the tau'cyr in 6(5) for each period their sun is in one constellation.
-Tau have a moon who made only 6(5) cycles each tau'cyr.

Our common calendar (gregorian ) and most of human calendars are split in 12 months because of mostly two, maybe three things:
-the Moon cycle (one year is a little more than 12 Moon cycles)
-the mathematical easiness to split 12 in 6,4,3,2 equal parts (the same reasons is here for near all the time divisions which don't follow natural cycles: 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds, and surprise: one second is more or less equal to one heartbeat or a half breath)
-the almost 12x30 days in one year.

Calendars are a product of astronomy and history, and since we don't know anything about these things for Tau, everyone can imagine everything...[/spoiler]

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Re: Living Tau Xenolexicon

Post#18 » Oct 14 2013 04:13

Well, we know that T'au has at least 2 moons and that the Tau are nocturnal by choice ( it was cooler in the evenings).

I think it's a 'alien alienness' factoid. Believing that the Tau are 'fascinated' by the stars makes sense based on available fluff and had a lunar(s) calendar. Additionally, on a world like T'au they may consider the transitional 'months' as seasons unto themselves.
~Good Hunting

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