'Game of Thrones': A Traveler's Guide to Dothraki — How to Speak So You Don't Get Your Head Cut Off


Our long wait is (almost) over. A year after the Season 5 finale that launched a thousand fan theories, Game of Thrones is preparing to enter new territory in its sixth season, which debuts Sunday, April 24 on HBO. For the first time in its history, the series will venture completely off book, as the writers have lapped the release of author George R.R. Martin’s final two novels. So now, both readers and newbies will be on the same proverbial page when we return to Westeros, Dorne, and points beyond.

As viewers count down the days to Game of Thrones’ return, we here at Yahoo TV are launching our official countdown: #GoTIsComing. Check back here every day over the next month as we explore all of our favorite (and a few of our least favorite) people, places, and things about television’s most addictive show. From Direwolves and Dragons to the shows most hideous deaths and imperiled characters, we’re going to indulge or GoT obsession with the same fervor that Cersei imbibes alcohol. So raise a glass and toast the impending arrival of a long, cruel, and bloody Westerosi winter.


In the closing moments of Season 5, we see Danaerys surrounded by a tribe of Dothraki. Their intent is unknown, but it’s clear they will have more of a presence this year than we’ve seen since the first season. What can we expect from the fearsome horse lords?

Well, for one, we’ll return to Vaes Dothrak — last seen only briefly in the series’ fourth episode. In the Season 6 preview clip below, Danaerys looks humbled, but unharmed as she’s brought beneath the ancient Horse Gate. Vaes Dothrak is ruled by women — former wives of khals who have died — who possess great wisdom and prophetic powers. It’s the Dothraki’s only city since they are otherwise a nomadic people, riding across the the plains of Essos on horseback.

Riding is so much a part of their culture that their very name is derived from their verb to ride: dothralat. They organize into tribes, or khalasars, ruled by a khal. Though their primary means of trade revolves around tributes given to them by weaker nations, they aren’t thieves — merely proud warriors who believe that you don’t deserve what you can’t keep by force.

Have the Dothraki come to exact revenge on Danaerys for wounding their pride? Have the wise women of Vaes Dothrak convinced the khals to rally behind her? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, here are some helpful words, phrases, and notes about the language to use the next time you’re surrounded by a horde of bloodthirsty riders (and if you want the real deal, Living Language offers an actual course in Dothraki fluency).

achra: (adj.) Smelly
adakhat: (v.) To eat
annithat: (v.) To cause pain, to hurt
annithilat: (v.) To encourage, to invigorate, to entice
arakh: (n.) Curved sword
arranat: (v.) To shame, to cause to be merciful
arthasat: (v.) To fall
assikhqoyi: (n.) Sign, omen
athhilezar: (n.) Sex
athijezar: (n.) Woman-on-top sex

Helpful phrases

Hello: M’athchomaroon (or simply M’ath or M’ach)
Goodbye (be strong): Hajas!
How are you? (Do you ride well?): Hash yer dothrae chek?
It is known: Me nem nesa.
Happy birthday (great day of blood): Asshekhqoyi vezhvena!

athzhilar: (n.) Love (romantic or sexual love; a private word)
ave: (n.) Father
azhasavva: (n.) Blessing
charolat: (v.) To listen
chiori: (n.) Woman, short form of chiorikem, for wife
dalfe: (n.) Cow, beef
diaf: (n.) Skull
dirgat: (v.) To think
dis: (adj.) Simple, plain
driv: (adj.) Dead

Like the Inuit, Dothraki have 50 different words for snow and plenty of words for sword strikes. Among them:

Ildo: a strike
Chiftikh: a weak hit, glancing blow
Gezrikh: a feint or decoy strike
Hlizifikh: a wild but powerful strike
Hrakkarikh: a quick, powerful, accurate strike
Kolverikh: a straight thrust
Verikh: a defensive strike

elainat: (v.) To plant
eme: (n.) Smile
enta: (n.) Baby, infant
erinat: (v.) To be kind, to be good
esinalat: (v.) To be different
eyak: (pl. n.) Everyone
evolat: (v.) To start
ezolat: (v.) To learn
ezzolat: (v.) To teach
fasqoyi: (n.) Destiny
foz: (adj.) Old
fozak: (n.) Elder

The Dothraki make wooden swords — presumably for practice — so the idea of wood is often used to describe something that is fake. That’s why dreaming, or thirat atthiraride, literally translates to “to live a wooden (fake) life.”

gango: (n.) Belly
gezri: (n.) Snake
gizikh: (n.) Honey
gizikhven: (adj.) Sweet
haf: (adj.) Soft, quiet
haj: (adj.) Strong
haqeqqe: (adj.) Exhausted
havazh: (n.) Sea
havzi: (n.) Cat
havziven: (adj.) Lazy

Swear words! Use them on your lousy boss (and hope they doesn’t know Dothraki too).

Cricket (to call a weak person): Chiftik
Garbage (a general swear word): Graddakh!
Go to the sea! (take a hike): Es havazhaan!
You make me itch: Yer affesi anni

heske: (n.) South
hoyalat: (v.) To sing
iddelat: (v.) To welcome, to make someone drink
iffi: (n.) Victory
imesh: (adj.) Young
ishish: (adv.) Maybe
izven: (adj.) Forbidden
jasat: (v.) To laugh

The Dothraki aren’t particularly romantic, but if you want to whisper sweet nothings to your man, you could say shekh ma shieraki anni, or “my sun and stars.” To a woman, you would say, jalan atthirari anni — “the moon of my life.” You may want to abandon Dothraki traditions come wedding time, though: It is said that anything less than three deaths on the day of the nuptials is considered a bore.

jilat: (v.) To be right, to be correct
jelli: (n.) Cheese
jimma: (n.) West
jiz: (n.) Chicken
kazga: (adj.) Black
khezhat: (v.) To be sad
kisha: (pl. n.) We
kristasof: (n.) Grandmother
lajak: (n.) Fighter, warrior
laqat: (v.) To cry, to weep
laqikh: (n.) Tear, tears
layafat: (v.) To be happy

Words that don’t exist in Dothraki: Please and follow. Technically, they don’t have a word for thank you, either. But they do use a phrase, san athchomari yeraan — literally, “a lot of honor to you” — that is a close approximation.

mahrazh: (n.) Man, short form of mahrazhkem for ‘husband’
mai: (n.) Mother
me orzo!: (phrase) It’s a trap!
mhari: (n.) Headache
navat: (v.) To urinate
nayat: (n.) Girl
nevak: (n.) Guest
nevalat: (v.) To sit
niyanqoy: (adv.) Together
nizhat: (v.) To be tough
ohara: (n.) Daughter
ohazh: (adj.) Heavy
okeo: (n.) Friend, trustee
ozzirven: (adj.) Firey, flashing

Dothraki’s creator, David Peterson, chose the word for friend based on a beloved family cat. The handwriting on the shelter paperwork for Oreo looked like Okeo and the name stuck.

qemmosor: (n.) Clothes
qosar: (n.) Spider
qosarvenikh: (n.) Lie, trap, deception
rahsan: (adj.) Bright
rizh: (n.) Son
shekh: (n.) Sun
shillat: (v.) To trust
simonof: (n.) Grandfather
sorf: (adj.) Dirty
thom: (n.) Juice

Count to 10 in Dothraki! At, akat, sen, tor, mek, zhinda, fek, ori, qazat, thi.

The fifth (mekak) season finale of Game of Thrones had more than 8 million (ori yor) viewers.

However, since the Dothraki don’t really deal in numbers that big, they’d probably just say yorosor, the Dothraki equivalent of “bazillions.”

titha: (n.) East
valshe: (n.) North
velzerat: (v.) To stall, to procrastinate
vilajero: (n.) Battle
vilajerosh: (n.) Game
vitihirat: (v.) To watch, to observe

The word dothralat has three different meanings: To ride (a horse), to ride alongside, to have an erection.

vorsa: (n.) Fire
yeni: (n.) Failure
yer: (pl. n.) You
zasqa: (adj.) White
zheana: (adj.) Beautiful
zifichelat: (v.) To steal
zir: (n.) Bird
zoqwa: (n.) Kiss

Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Read more of our #GoTIsComing coverage:

‘Game of Thrones’ Peril-o-Meter: Who Dies Next?

‘Game of Thrones’: 11 Classic Tyrion Lannister Insults For Every Occasion

‘Game of Thrones’: Everything You Need to Know About the Direwolves of House Stark

‘Game of Thrones’: 10 Characters Who Were Recast

‘Game of Thrones’: 10 Best Dragon Moments

‘Game of Thrones’: 10 Characters We Want to Come Back to Life

‘Game of Thrones’: 10 Characters Who Really Need to Die

‘Game of Thrones’: Bran Stark Is Back (and He’s All Grown Up)

Quiz: ‘Game of Thrones or Donald Trump?

‘Game of Thrones’: Who Is on Arya’s Kill List?