I've always been curious how names and words are created in literature. Having finished the main Dune books last year, I was thinking how the term "Kwisatz Haderach" came about. Did Herbert make it up, or does it have some history or explanation to it?


Kefitzat Haderech is a Jewish phrase that means "contracting the path".

Herbert defines Kwisatz Haderach as "the Shortening of the Way" (Dune: Appendix IV), clearly meaning to reference the Hebrew here.

As seen in this answer on SFF, a large quantity of names in Dune are inspired by words from Semitic languages such as Hebrew or Arabic.

  • Islam is a religion, not a language, so it doesn't make sense to talk about "Islamic words". – Rand al'Thor Jun 29 '17 at 0:06
  • @Randal'Thor names in the Koran whatever language or origin they may have. – Himarm Jun 29 '17 at 0:08
  • 1
    If you mean words from the original (not translated) version of the Koran, then say Arabic words. Islam still isn't a language. – Rand al'Thor Jun 29 '17 at 0:10

It's from the Hebrew phrase "Kefitzat Haderech", which literally means "contracting the path".

This is even more likely considering "Kwisatz Haderach" means "Shortening of the Way" in Chakosba, a language in Dune.

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