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"A Klingon's honor means more to him than his life!"

The Klingons (tlhIngan in Klingonese) were a humanoid warrior species that originated from the planet Qo'noS (pronounced Kronos), an M-class planet in the Beta Quadrant. One of the major powers of the galaxy, the Klingons were a proud, tradition-bound people who valued honor and combat. The aggressive Klingon culture had made them an interstellar military power to be respected and feared.

History and politics[]

Main article: Klingon history
Kahless (clone)

A clone of Emperor Kahless

Recorded history begins with the story of the creation of Kortar and his mate, who were recognized as the first Klingons. Together they were responsible for destroying the gods who created them. (VOY: "Barge of the Dead")

Kahless the Unforgettable founded the Klingon Empire some time in the 9th century through the performance of many heroic feats. He unified the Klingon people when he killed the tyrant Molor. Kahless came to be revered in Klingon society to the point of near-deification, and many aspects of Klingon culture came to revolve around an emulation of Kahless' life. (TNG: "Rightful Heir")

According to an early draft of "Rightful Heir", Data gave the exact date of Kahless' death as 1,547 years ago (from 2369), or AD 822. Also, according to DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire", the Earth calendar year of 2373 coincides with the year of Kahless 999.

The warrior ethos had been an important aspect of Klingon society since the time of Kahless, but the warrior aspects became much more dominant beginning in the early 22nd century. Over time, the warrior caste gained greater prominence to the point where the Klingons widely came to be regarded as a "warrior race." (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Judgment")

Klingon cranial ridges dissolve

A Klingon's cranial ridges dissolving

The Klingons' relationship with Humans and the Federation was rocky at best. Following the disastrous first contact between the two species during in the Broken Bow Incident, tense rivalries and unavoidable conflicts often developed between the two races. (ENT: "Broken Bow"; TNG: "First Contact") In the year 2154, the Klingons gained access to the genetic material of Human Augments and tried to adapt this genetic engineering to improve themselves. The test subjects did gain increased strength and intelligence, but then, their neural pathways started to degrade and they died in agony. One of the subjects suffered from the Levodian flu, which was modified by the Augment DNA to become a fatal, airborne, mutagenic plague that spread rampantly through the Empire, from world to world. In the first stage of this plague, Klingons lost the ridges on their foreheads and began to look more Human. With the help of a Klingon scientist named Antaak, Dr. Phlox of the Earth starship Enterprise was able, using the DNA of Captain Archer, to formulate a cure that halted the genetic effects of the virus in the first stage. This retained the changes in appearance, along with some minor neural re-ordering. The neural ordering caused changes in the emotional make-up of the Klingons. For example, the infected started to feel fear. Even though the infected did not develop any stage-two characteristics – such as enhanced strength, speed, or endurance – they did not die from it. This left millions of Klingons changed. These alterations were even passed on to their children. (ENT: "Affliction", "Divergence")

In the 2250s and 2260s, groups of Klingons with and without ridges had been encountered by the Federation. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello"; TOS: "Errand of Mercy") By the 2270s it had become more commonplace to encounter Klingons with forehead ridges than not. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, et al.) Klingons did not discuss the circumstances of this mutation with outsiders and, by the 24th century, the reason for smooth-forehead Klingons was not widely known outside the Empire. (ENT: "Affliction", "Divergence"; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

The true number of Klingons that were afflicted by the virus was unclear, as was the means of cranial restoration. Klingons appearing between 2154 and 2270 on Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series have been shown without the forehead ridges. When the Klingons Kang, Koloth, and Kor reappeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, however, they sported forehead ridges which they did not have during their appearances on The Original Series.

At the same time, all Klingons shown on Star Trek: Discovery, set within the same aforementioned timeframe, were bald with ridges. The producers, designers and artists have claimed that they have biologically evolved hairless in order to expose sensory pits (like in a "Python"), which allows them to sense prey.[1][2] The bald tidbit would later be discredited starting in season 2 where Klingons started sport hair again.

By 2223, relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire degenerated to a point of relentless hostility, which lasted for several decades. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "First Contact")


T'Kuvma, a Klingon leader in 2256

The lingering tensions between Klingons and Humans continued to rise, eventually leading to the Battle of Donatu V, near Sherman's Planet in 2245 and the Battle of the Binary Stars in 2256, which was provoked by T'Kuvma in order to unite the squabbling Great Houses against the Federation. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles"; DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars") This resulted in the first Federation-Klingon War, where the Klingon Empire successfully invaded and occupied nearly twenty percent of Federation space. (DIS: "The War Without, The War Within")

Later, another conflict erupted into the Federation-Klingon War of 2267. The Organians quickly intervened and ended the war after only four days of fighting. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles", "Errand of Mercy") Over the next several decades an uneasy peace developed, broken only by brief but fierce skirmishes and conflicts. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) A true and lasting peace finally came in 2293, with the signing of the Khitomer Accords, thanks to the efforts of Chancellor Gorkon and the Human Starfleet officer James T. Kirk. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Unification II"; VOY: "Flashback"; DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited") Since then, despite several periods of rocky relations (see Federation-Klingon War (2372-73)), the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been steadfast allies, especially in the face of Dominion aggression in the 2370s. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "By Inferno's Light")

Apocryphally, the game Starfleet Academy further explores the conflict between the Federation and Klingons in the years leading up to the Khitomer Accords. In the game, a series of border skirmishes are resolved when it is discovered that an unknown alien has been behind attacks on both Federation and Klingon border planets. This then helps to establish the foundation of the Khitomer talks.

Qo'noS burns

Qo'noS on fire during the Civil War

The Klingon relationship with the Romulan people was extremely erratic. The Klingons typically regarded the Romulan Star Empire as a "blood enemy" since at least the 23rd century. Sporadic Romulan attacks against Klingon colonies, such as the Khitomer Massacre, and interference in Klingon affairs, including the Klingon Civil War, continued to sour relations between the two peoples. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident"; TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Enemy", "Sins of The Father", "Redemption II")

Parallel universes[]

In the mirror universe, the Klingons were one of the races subjugated by the Terran Empire. (DIS: "Vaulting Ambition") By the 24th century Klingons and Cardassians founded the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and eventually defeated their Terran occupiers. (DS9: "Crossover")

In the alternate reality, in 2233, the crew of the USS Kelvin briefly considered whether a particular lightning storm effect, observed by the Kelvin near the edge of Klingon space, might be Klingon in origin. Starfleet discarded this possibility. The phenomenon preceded the arrival of the Romulan mining vessel Narada from the prime universe. The Narada attacked and obliterated an armada of 47 Klingon warbirds in 2258. (Star Trek)

Klingon patrol officers 1, 2259

Klingon patrol officers

By 2259 in the alternate reality, after Starfleet's first contact with the Empire, the Klingons had conquered and occupied two planets known to the Federation and fired on Starfleet ships half a dozen times. Tensions between the two powers were high and an all-out war was considered inevitable. During that year, before surrendering to the Federation, Khan Noonien Singh destroyed three D4-class patrol ships on the Klingon homeworld, killing the crews of the vessels. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

According to Daniels, the Klingons joined the Federation by the 26th century in one possible timeline. (ENT: "Azati Prime")


"Even half drunk, Klingons are among the best warriors in the galaxy."

Klingon society was extremely complex. Before its decline in the mid-22nd century and again in the late 23rd century, Klingon society was based on a feudal system organized around traditional Great Houses of noble lineage, to which various parts of the population owed fealty. The Great Houses are traditionally represented in the Klingon High Council, which was led by a Chancellor, replacing the heredity leader of Emperor.

The decline of Klingon culture was demonstrated in the acts of the Klingons themselves. They stopped caring about their weapons to the point that they let them rust and even stopped caring for true honor. (ENT: "Marauders", "Judgment") Sometime after the augment virus took hold of the Klingon Empire, a new regime took control, turning the Empire into an authoritarian state that kept tabs on all who served. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars"; TOS: "Errand of Mercy") The old ways returned in the latter 23rd and early 24th centuries respectively.

Males traditionally dominated public life in the Empire, assuming the leading roles in politics and the military with only rare exceptions. (TNG: "Redemption") There were three notable exceptions to the prohibition of women serving on the High Council. In 2257 L'Rell rose to High Chancellor and Dennas served on the High Council. The third instance occurred in 2293 when Azetbur became Chancellor of the High Council after her father, Gorkon, was assassinated (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). Women traditionally dominated the household and the management of the family's affairs. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited") Klingon women were treated as equals, except in politics and matters of inheritance. Law prohibited them from serving in the High Council and they could not take control of their Houses unless they had the money and no male successors of the lineage. Otherwise, Klingon women were expected to exhibit the same physical prowess and lust for blood and honor as the men.

Klingon society functioned through a system of family reputation and honor. Tradition was an integral part of their lives and breaking from observances was considered a grievous insult to society, an insult not forgotten easily. An offense usually brought shame to the offender's name for several generations. The highest shame was discommendation, an action by the High Council to officially strip a Klingon of his personal or family honor. Bloodlines and relations were also taken very seriously by any "true" Klingon. Lines comprised more than mere family members. (TNG: "New Ground")

The military was integral to Klingon society, as it provides opportunities for warriors to die in battle. For the same purpose, the Empire often seeks to expand through conquest. Discipline was strictly enforced, by one's superiors and subordinates both; the latter may assassinate his superior and take his place. This gives Humans the false impression that there are no rules, but in fact, this can be done only under certain conditions, dereliction of duty and cowardice among them, and the challenge can be made only to a direct superior. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor", "Sins of The Father")

An integral part of tradition was the various rituals that marked milestones in a Klingon's life or the history of the Empire. Most notable of the rites was the Rite of Succession, which a future leader of the Empire had to complete with a valid Arbiter of Succession (Captain Jean-Luc Picard, in the case of Gowron) overseeing the proceedings. Before the Rite could begin, there was another elaborate ceremony needed to confirm the death of the previous leader. This was known as the Sonchi ceremony. (TNG: "Reunion") Individual Klingon warriors were expected to go through the Rite of Ascension to be recognized as a full adult. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor") If the house that an individual Klingon belonged to was dissolved or fell into dishonor, he could be adopted into another house through the R'uustai or alternative ceremonies that symbolically marked the joining of kinship and allegiance. (TNG: "The Bonding"; DS9: "Sons of Mogh", "Soldiers of the Empire", "Sons and Daughters"). The Right of Vengeance, allowed Klingons to seek redress for the deaths of their family members by engaging the one responsible in single combat. The right was so important, that even the discommended could claim it against important political figures, as the discommended Worf was able to challenge Duras (a candidate for the title of Chancellor. (TNG: "Reunion")

Klingons were extremely territorial. According to the first known Klingon linguist, there was no such thing as an "insignificant corner of Klingon space". (ENT: "Bounty")

The use of the darsek as monetary unit in ENT: "Bounty" and TNG: "Firstborn" also suggests the Klingon Empire to be a currency-based economy, i.e., a monetary society, to some degree. Illustrator Ricardo Delgado – while doing early sketches of key Deep Space 9 sets – illustrated a Ferengi ATM machine, for the station's Promenade, which even included a symbol for Klingon currency. (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, pp. 157-158)



Worf de-evolved

Worf's transformation into a de-evolved Klingon

Like their Human, Cardassian, Vulcan, and Romulan counterparts, Klingons and many of the Milky Way's species all shared a common ancestry back to the ancient humanoids and the DNA code they produced and seeded across the galaxy. Though each evolved under separate conditions from each other, their shared DNA allowed these species to remain roughly compatible and viable with each other. (TNG: "The Chase", "Genesis"; VOY: "Distant Origin", "Threshold")

Possessing extreme strength and speed, early Klingons were quite large, weighing up to 200 kilograms. They were armored with an exoskeleton, with spines and bony plates protruding from their sides, upper arms, and back, arms ended with clawed pincers. On their face were venom sacs, filled with bio-acidic compound and spitting glands inside their mouth that were used for defense and to mark territory. Along with these sacs, these early Klingons had two mandibles protruded from their lower jaw. (TNG: "Genesis")

The script for "Genesis" more accurately described the de-evolved Worf: "This is the first time we get a real look at the de-evolved Klingon. His HEAD has been utterly transformed – his RIDGES are huge and curved, bristling with sharp edges and pointed angles. The ridges extend downward, encasing his entire face. His jaw and mouth region are protected by the same hard, black chitin-like material, and a LARGE MANDIBLE is snapping open and shut. Worf is hunched over, his body bulkier, more powerful, uniform torn in places. This is a Klingon from millions of years ago – prehistoric and terrifying."

These prehistoric males used vocalizations to frighten other predators, mark its territory, and commence its mating process. These early Klingons mating rituals involving biting its intended mate, to induce pheromone production in the sebaceous glands. Once the mate was ready, the pheromones drew the male Klingon back to its location. (TNG: "Genesis")

The Modern Warrior[]

Modern Klingons developed a varied line of physical attributes, ranging from well pronounced cranial ridges to what was best described with the dysphemism "pointy-headed", as coined by Harry Mudd.

The 1977 reference book Starfleet Medical Reference Manual names the Klingon species as the Klingonoid biped or Homo Sagittarii, from the planet "Klingonii" also known as Epsilon Sagittarii B. The reference book also states that Klingons are bred for efficiency in a strict, government-supervised selective breeding program.


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Like most humanoids, the essence of the Klingon anatomical form consisted of a head, neck, torso, and four limbs.

Internally, the Klingon anatomy was markedly different from that of other humanoids. There was a great deal more multiple redundancies in their organs, a principle they called brak'lul. This allowed Klingons to survive severe injuries in battle. They had twenty-three ribs, two livers, an eight-chambered heart, three lungs, two urinary tracts, and even redundant neural function as well as multiple stomachs. Some geneticists believed that the extra organs, notably the third lung, evolved to give Klingons greater stamina on the battlefield. Klingons had relatively little knowledge of their own biology and their medicine was very poorly developed. This was largely due to their warrior traditions – a Klingon who was wounded was expected to be left to either survive through his own strength, die, or undergo the hegh'bat, a form of ritual suicide. (TNG: "Ethics"; VOY: "Lineage"; DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?") Conversely, their society having dueled and killed each other for generations taught them what is immediately lethal for their species. (TNG: "Reunion"; DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")

The most distinctive feature of the modern Klingon was a sagittal crest, beginning on the forehead and often continuing over the skull. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, et al.) Klingons head shape differed between individuals, with some having skulls that extended backwards into an elongated cone shape. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "Choose Your Pain", "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad") The cranium, itself, was encased in an exoskeleton, which possessed a feature known as the tricipital lobe. (TNG: "Descent")

The lower half of the face tended to follow a familiar humanoid appearance, and even the ridges on the back of their heads if any tend to be less pronounced and slight, leaving the general shape as Human skull and covered in more skin than bone (see Chang for example), it was in these regions where hair was most likely seen to grow. Eyebrows tend to grow in a more diagonal direction than other humanoids, but also had noticeably diagonal suborbital ridges where eyebrows otherwise existed.

Klingons ears included both external auricle and pinna and recessed pinna. External auricle structures tended to be rounded, and the recessed pinna tended to come to a point before forming into the back of the head, Klingons of the alternate reality had pointed auricles of a similar size and shape to the recessed pinna, with slight ridges along the top. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Klingon eye

Klingon eye

Klingon eyes were generally round in size and shape (consisting of varying shades with white sclera). They may flash more white of their eyes which they use to intimidate a rival or enemy. (TNG: "Reunion"; DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind") Other Klingon eyes had large corneas, pink sclera, and almost gem-like reflective quality to them. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", et al.) Klingons, especially females, were said to lack tear ducts. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) However, for males Klingon myth stated that Kahless once filled the ocean with his tears, and at least one Klingon, Kurn, produced tears. (TNG: "Birthright, Part II"; DS9: "Sons of Mogh")

They also had more physically pronounced cheeks, and a vertical ridge that went down their chin into their neck which expanded into ridges on their upper chest and shoulders and between the breasts of at least the females. The neck structure varied from smooth flesh to flesh containing pits and bony structures that led up the side of their head, and down the back of their head and spine.

T'Kuvma's nose

Klingon nose

Klingon noses tended to vary having between several slight horizontal ridges on the brow of their noses, or a single vertical ridge or crack from the top of the brow to the tip of the nose to being wider and flatter, nearly flush against the forehead. They also had heavier ridges over their nostrils, compared to the two minimally ridged or un-ridged nostrils. The nose tended to lay flatter on the face than in other Klingons as well and wider. (TNG: "Heart of Glory"; DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

Klingon teeth typically consisted of two sharp fangs (incisors) with crooked or sharpened teeth (it was said they sharpen their teeth, often before going into battle). (VOY: "Unimatrix Zero"; ENT: "Broken Bow"; DS9: "Apocalypse Rising") However, not exclusive, others had pronounced thick lips with sharp teeth, with each tooth being considerably larger size. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", et al.)

Klingons of both sexes usually had hair on their heads while male Klingons often had facial hair as well. (TOS: "Day of the Dove"; TNG: "Redemption") Hair was usually long, curly and wavy, described as thick and luxuriant. (TNG: "Schisms") Accelerated hair growth was often experienced by Klingons during puberty, or jak'tahla, along with severe mood swings and unusual aggressive tendencies. (Star Trek: Insurrection) Klingon hair greyed with age. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited") Other Klingons were completely bald, lacking facial hair. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", et al.) For Klingons with hair, cases of receding hairlines or full or partial baldness existed during 2160s, and later in the 2260s through 2290s (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek Into Darkness; ENT: "Divergence"; TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles", "Day of the Dove"; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations") Klingons as young as those who had reached the Age of Ascension, typically did not wear beards. (TNG: "Birthright, Part II"; DS9: "Sons and Daughters", "You Are Cordially Invited", "Penumbra") Klingons of the alternate reality vary from balding and no facial hair, to those with long hair and beards. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Some Klingons also had sharp thick talons on their hands that make up the end of their digits.

The chest of the Klingon males appeared to be largely smooth and slick, while the females had a large chest area with ridges that came down to the top of their breasts across their shoulders. The backs of these Klingons were highly covered with ridges from shoulder to shoulder and across the small of their back radiating from highly defined and thickly ridged spines. The sides of the abdomen of at least the females appeared to be highly defined with rib-like ridges as well. The buttocks region was even heavily ridged. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars", "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum", "Into the Forest I Go")

Klingons had ridged spines, chests and feet (though these ridges and other armor like structures extend out covering almost the entire back, sides and abdominal region on the 'pointy-headed' Klingons). (TNG: "Ethics"; DS9: "Sons of Mogh"; ENT: "Broken Bow") After birth, some Klingon infants experienced a pronounced curvature to the spine, a form of scoliosis, which was correctable by surgery. This "defect" tended to run in Klingon families, especially among females. Federation medicine, fortunately, advanced beyond that, allowing an additional choice of treatment involving genetic modification of the fetus. (VOY: "Lineage")

For scenes from "Ethics" featuring actor Michael Dorn as Worf, Michael Westmore designed Klingon feet and a Klingon spine. He based the spine on the length of Dorn's actual spine, but made each single Klingon vertebra the same size as two Human vertebrae. "At the base of the spine," said Westmore, "I built a small auxiliary brain, which controlled the lower part of Worf's body [....] The producers [also] wanted me to come up with a makeup device for Worf's feet that would make the Klingon anatomy even more interesting than it already was. So I constructed a series of spines that ran down the front of Worf's feet and built a makeup appliance that looked like a horn [....] the whole effect turned out very well." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 69)

Augment virus[]

Marab's anatomy

The anatomy of a Klingon male afflicted with the Augment virus

Klingons afflicted with the augment virus, propagated by a mutation of the Levodian flu was inadvertently created by Klingon researchers who were attempting to bio-engineer enhanced warriors using DNA from genetically-modified Human embryos left over from Earth's Eugenics Wars. These Klingons lost their cranial ridge features, and were in essence, remarkably similar in appearance to modern Humans. (ENT: "Affliction", et al.)

Though the cure for the virus had been distributed throughout the Empire, the afflicted Klingons' DNA had been altered by the virus, and condition was passed onto the descendants of the infected. Initially there were millions of Klingons who had to live with the disfigurement for well over a century. (ENT: "Divergence"; TOS: "Errand of Mercy", et al.)

Though Human in appearance and distinguishable primarily by tricorder readings alone, Tribbles were still able to single out and identify these Klingons. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles")

While Kang, Koloth, and Kor all bore the mark of the augmented Klingons, their inexplicable appearance in DS9: "Blood Oath" in the modern Klingon form, as told by Michael Westmore, at that time was "The producers explained to the actors that Klingons live to be very old and their new look was part of the aging process." (Star Trek: Aliens and Artifacts, p. 128)


Klingon pregnancies normally ran thirty weeks, but with mixed species, gestation times were shorter. As early as seven weeks (at which point a Human fetus doesn't even have legs) a fetus with a single Klingon grandparent was already able to kick the uterine wall hard enough to be felt externally. (VOY: "Lineage") Klingons were said to have a different, not fully compatible number of reproductive organs than Humans. (DIS: "Choose Your Pain") However, basic anatomy does actually appear to align between Humans and Klingons. (DIS: "Into the Forest I Go") Whenever Klingons interbred with other species they showed characteristics of both species.

The comment about number and compatiblity of genitalia was stated by Captain Lorca as part of an insult to L'Rell, and may be entirely baseless in fact.

The odds against Klingon-Human conceptions were rather high. However, when successful, Klingon and Human metabolisms sometimes clashed, causing biochemical fluctuations in the mother, which may lead to fainting. Klingon traits remained dominant for several generations, even with a single ancestor; therefore, a child even ¼ Klingon still possessed forehead ridges. It is possible to see the eventual phenotype of a hybrid while the fetus is still gestating using a holographic program and projection. If early enough in development, genetic manipulation can be taken to remove Klingon DNA from the developing fetus. (VOY: "Lineage")

Hybridization revealed that Klingon DNA tended to be more dominantly expressive in the physical appearance of their offspring.

This was found to be especially true in the case of hair color and appearance of cranial ridges, especially with Humans. (VOY: "Lineage"; TNG: "Reunion", et al.) In the case of Romulan-Klingon hybridization, the ears were the only visible telltale indication of their non-Klingon heritage. (TNG: "Birthright, Part II")


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Skin colors ranged from olive, brown, and black to pearlescent/metallic across the entire spectrum of the rainbow, varying from purple, pink, burgundy red, yellowish tan, dark orange, umber brown, grey, blue, dark green, coal black, and chalky white. Their skin had a shimmery slick metallic semi-reflective sheen to it. Albino Klingons were often considered outcasts in Klingon society. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

Klingon children matured far more quickly than Human children. At the age of only one Earth year, a Klingon child had the appearance a Human child had at about four. By the age of eight Earth years, a Klingon attained the maturity a Human did not reach until about age sixteen. (TNG: "Reunion"; DS9: "Sons and Daughters") Rop'ngor was a common childhood disease among Klingons. (TNG: "Up The Long Ladder") When Klingon children began growing into adults, they went through jak'tahla, a Klingon form of puberty. (Star Trek: Insurrection) Like other mammalian species, Klingon females were capable of lactating to breast-feed infants. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor")

Klingons tended to live for over 150 years. Even into advanced old age, Klingons were usually still strong enough for combat, but were still susceptible to various mental conditions associated with old age. (DS9: "Blood Oath", "Once More Unto the Breach")

Klingons were notably stronger than most humanoids, at least as strong as Vulcans. They might have even been stronger, as the half-Klingon B'Elanna Torres was able to wrestle with the Vulcan Vorik on equal grounds and eventually defeat him, despite the fact that he was larger than her. However, despite their endurance and general robustness, Klingons had a considerably lower tolerance to the cold than Humans. (VOY: "Blood Fever", "Displaced"; DS9: "Change of Heart", "Take Me Out to the Holosuite")

The Klingon sense of smell was notably acute; in fact, it was powerful enough to be used effectively to track down prey during a hunt. Their sense of smell was also suggested to play an integral role in their mating practices. (TNG: "Birthright, Part II", "Genesis")

Doctor Julian Bashir once sarcastically noted that the natural odor produced by Klingons was comparable to an "earthy, peaty aroma with a touch of lilac." (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations") To Humans and Vulcans alike, Klingon ships smelled bad. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; ENT: "Sleeping Dogs") For example, Leonard McCoy once referred to the environment of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, operated until recently by Klingons, as having a "stench." (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

During the writing of "Sleeping Dogs", the idea of Klingons being unhygienic was added to with a scripted but ultimately omitted reference to Klingon lice.

Although Co-Producer and former Science Consultant André Bormanis gave Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (while they were writing ENT: "Observer Effect") a note which stated that a Klingon latrine would lose its stench after hundreds of years, Garfield Reeves-Stevens believed an exception could be made for the Klingons. In agreement, Michael Okuda respectfully disputed Bormanis' note in an audio commentary for "Observer Effect", based on the comment McCoy makes about the Bird-of-Prey stinking in The Voyage Home. However, Okuda also erroneously attributed the remark to Montgomery Scott.

Klingons such as Kurn had the instinctive ability to sense the decision to kill by looking into the eyes of their opponents. (DS9: "Sons of Mogh") Worf despite being raised by Humans on Earth, retained this ability when he sensed Martok's warrior spirit returning enough to win their duel without killing Worf. (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

Klingon blood in zero gravity

Klingon blood floating in zero gravity

Klingon blood could contain ribosomes that were compatible for transfusion with a Romulan. (TNG: "The Enemy") Klingon blood varied in color from dark red to more of a lightish pink. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, DIS: "Point of Light")

Oxygenated Klingon blood has usually appeared red in a class M atmosphere. However, Klingon blood appears pink/violet in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Pink Klingon blood also reappeared in the Star Trek: Discovery season two episode "Point of Light", in scenes set on the Klingon homeworld. For The Undiscovered Country, in the scenes where free-floating Klingon blood droplets are shown in zero gravity, though, the blood was lit red, in red alert conditions. The film, as originally written, instead included green Klingon blood, though this was changed due to Vulcan blood commonly being said to be green. (audio commentary, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Special Edition) DVD) The Klingon blood was colored lavender specifically for ratings and plot purposes. (citation needededit) In essence, the purple blood was intended to show up as clearly alien. (Star Trek Monthly issue 110, p. 62) Steven-Charles Jaffe commented, "ILM did a wonderful job with the floating CGI blood." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 43) In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Colonel Worf was able to visually differentiate Klingon blood from Human blood after Colonel West, disguised as a Klingon, was identified as an impostor by his crimson colored blood. However, a Klingon-language drinking song featured in "The Way of the Warrior", as translated in the script, mentions the river Skral running crimson red as a result of a battle that left blood standing ankle deep. With the exception of Star Trek VI and Discovery, Klingon blood has always been red in every instance that it has been shown, including in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek Generations, and episodes of all other Star Trek television series. By way of explanation, Larry Nemecek posited, "Perhaps, in hindsight, the blood globs we saw in ST:VI were interacting in an odd and visible way amid toxins in the malfunctioning atmospheric system of Gorkon's heavily damaged ship!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 110, p. 62). One thing the pink blood from The Undiscovered Country and Point of Light have in common is that they presumably both appeared in the Klingon's native atmospheric conditions.

Klingon nutritional requirements were typical of most humanoids, whereas, Dr. Pulaski once noted that, while their food was considered by most to be unpalatable, usually, "what kills us, kills them." (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor") One exception of this observation was the tea used in the Klingon tea ceremony, which was toxic to the point of being deadly to Humans, and capable of seriously sickening Klingons, as it did. (TNG: "Up The Long Ladder")

Religion and tradition[]

See also: Klingon religion
Klingon death ritual

Klingon death ritual

Ritual was a very important element in Klingon society.

Klingons did not believe in fate; however, they did appear to believe in some form of luck. (DS9: "Rules of Engagement", "Tears of the Prophets")

A Klingon who was unable to fight, and hence unable to live as a warrior anymore, had the traditional obligation of committing the hegh'bat, which was the Klingon ritual suicide. Tradition dictated that the eldest son or a close personal friend must assist. That person's role was to hand the dying Klingon a knife so that he could plunge it into his heart, remove it, and then wipe the blood on his own sleeve. (TNG: "Ethics")

Klingon rituals included the R'uustai, a bonding ceremony which joined two people together in a relationship similar to brotherhood. (TNG: "The Bonding") Klingon tradition held that "the son of a Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade." (TNG: "Ethics")

If a Klingon warrior struck another Klingon with the back of his hand, it was interpreted as a challenge to the death. Klingon warriors spoke proudly to each other; they did not whisper or keep their distance. Standing far away or whispering were considered insults in Klingon society. (DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")

According to Worf, taking hostages was considered by Klingons to be a cowardly act. Although, there was an incident in which a Klingon aimed his disruptor at the Enterprise-D's warp core, thus taking the ship hostage, in effect. (TNG: "Heart of Glory")

When choosing a mate, it was traditional for a female Klingon to bite the male's face, allowing her to taste his blood and get his scent. Males were also known to bite the face of the female they were interested in. (VOY: "Blood Fever", "Prophecy", "Infinite Regress")

A Klingon can divorce their mate by backhanding them across the face and saying “N’Gos tlhogh cha” which means “our marriage is done”. (Star Trek Adventures: “the Klingon Empire Core Rule Book)

It was likely that this tradition stems from both a more primitive time in Klingon evolution, and modern Klingon instinct. When Worf was devolving due to Barclay's Protomorphosis Syndrome, he did this to Deanna Troi and later tracked her down by her pheromones. (TNG: "Genesis") B'Elanna Torres, a half-Klingon who preferred Human culture and traditions, did so instinctively to Tom Paris while under the effects of pon farr, transferred through a telepathic mating bond. (VOY: "Blood Fever") The fact that instinct drove B'Elanna to do something she normally wouldn't do speaks to how ingrained it was in Klingon biology, far deeper than simple tradition would suggest.

Worf once told Wesley Crusher that, per Klingon mating rituals, "Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects. And claw at you." Of men, Worf said, "He reads love poetry. He ducks a lot." (TNG: "The Dauphin") Klingon daughters traditionally were given a piece of jewelry called a jinaq when they became old enough to select a mate. (TNG: "Birthright, Part II")

It was at the suggestion of Worf actor Michael Dorn that Klingon foreplay was represented as rough, as first established in TNG: "Justice" and "Hide And Q". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 42) Director Cliff Bole intended for an aggressive behavior he thought up while filming TNG: "The Emissary" – specifically, a female digging her nails into a male lover's hand so much as to draw blood – to be a typical Klingon mating ritual. "I was wondering what these people do," Bole related, "and I had the image of bones breaking and felt that's what they do when they get it on." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182) Writer Ronald D. Moore further developed Klingon dating in DS9: "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places", which deeply explored the subject. The considerable strangeness of Klingon mating practices enabled him to emphasize how alien a society the Klingons were. "I wanted the courting to be non-Human," he explained. "I didn't want it to be something that people could really relate to how they courted. I wanted it to be a fascinating, otherworldly courting relationship that was ritualized and that had all these sort of romantic elements." Moore was additionally interested in portraying Klingon courting as having a grand scale and a ferocious intensity. "It wouldn't just be that uncomfortable situation of two people sitting on a porch together [....] I also wanted to get the violence of their sex in." Due to some people having the opinion that this was encouraging violence towards women, though, the ferocity of Klingon mating became somewhat controversial. "I took a bit of stick for that," Moore admitted, "but my attitude was 'Who cares?' I just thought that was the worst kind of politically correct response [possible] [...] [and] preposterous." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 20, pp. 85-86)

Ronald D. Moore, who has defined much of Klingon culture, has commented at length on Klingon philosophy. When preparing the script for "Sins of The Father", he wrote a memo defining his take on the Klingons. He compared them to "the Samurai of feudal Japan, the Vikings, and the Hell's Angels." (AOL chat, 1998) While writing for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he elaborated more. (AOL chat, 1997) (AOL chat, 1997)

See also: Klingon mythology.

Long hair was important part of the ancient traditions of Klingons as told in the legend of Kahless; it was said he took a lock of his long hair thrusting into the caldera of the volcano of Kri'stak, where it began to burn, and then after plunging it into the lake of Lusor, he molded and twisted into his legendary Sword of Kahless, which he used to kill the tyrant Molor, and then gave it the name Bat'leth, the sword of honor. (TNG: "Rightful Heir") To grow a beard was an ancient tradition, to Klingons in the 24th century especially it was a symbol of courage, which they were against shaving (though they were okay with a trim). Klingons did not like having too much hair removed either, letting it continue to grow, and only a little bit of trimming. (TNG: "The Quality of Life", "Schisms", "Family").

Science and education[]

As of the 2150s, the warrior caste had a dominant role in Klingon society, causing science and education to be neglected virtues. Nevertheless, Kolos' father was a teacher and his mother a biologist at a university. Antaak, on the other hand, was disowned by his father when he chose to become a "healer", i.e., a doctor. In 2149, he was an expert in metagenic research and attended an Interspecies Medical Exchange conference, albeit in disguise, as the Klingons were not invited. By 2151, Klingons possessed technology to encrypt intelligence data within an operative's DNA. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Judgment", "Affliction")

As of 2154, medical research was not considered "a priority" for the Klingon High Council, which was why the Empire did not possess the medical expertise to confront the Augment virus without assistance. (ENT: "Affliction")

By the late 23rd century, the Klingon Empire sent out expeditions, one of which made first contact with the Ventaxians in 2297. Hired Klingon craftsmen went on to construct homes on Ventax II. (TNG: "Devil's Due")

As of 2365 and onward, Klingon vessels had dedicated science stations. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor"; DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

In 2369, Kurak was a warp field specialist from Qo'noS. While she was a brilliant expert in the field of subspace morphology, her efforts went unappreciated by her fellow Klingons. (TNG: "Suspicions")

Although the concept of a healer tending a warrior's wounds after a glorious battle was considered sufficiently honorable to be mentioned in songs (e.g., Dr. Bashir and Worf at Internment Camp 371), Klingon medical expertise kept having a bad reputation in the 24th century. In 2367, Lt. Cmdr. Hobson of the USS Sutherland remarked that no one would ever suggest a Klingon to be a good ship's counselor, as he considered them unsuited for such a position. In 2374, Klingon General Martok preferred to be treated by the Human Dr. Bashir, opining that "Klingons make great warriors, but terrible doctors." In 2376, when Lewis Zimmerman was faced being treated by an "obsolete" EMH Mark I, he claimed he would be "better off being treated by a Klingon field medic". In one particularly extreme case, the crew of Kohlar's battle cruiser, a Klingon generational ship, lived with the Nehret, a fatal virus, for over a century, without ever even considering it might be an actual illness, instead believing it was simply "old age" that kills those unlucky enough to not die in combat. (TNG: "Redemption II"; DS9: "By Inferno's Light", "A Time to Stand"; VOY: "Life Line", "Prophecy")

Chancellor Martok at least seemed willing to utilise native Klingon scientists, ordering Doctor K'Ruvang, himself the empire's "house geneticist" to find a way to defeat their ancient blood enemy, tribbles. He found a way to slow their reproduction, before his experiments went wrong. With the help of Rok-Tahk, a virus was devised to reduce their reproduction and size. (PRO: "A Tribble Called Quest")

In the year 2404 of an alternate timeline that diverged in 2378, Klingon scientist Korath created the chrono deflector, a time travel device. (VOY: "Endgame")


According to Quark, Klingons achieved warp drive sometime after 1947. By the year 2152, Klingon vessels were capable of warp 6. (DS9: "Little Green Men"; ENT: "Judgment")

It was stated in the Star Trek: Star Charts (p. 55) that Klingons had achieved warp capability in the year 930, which was a reference to the Boreth monastery being built shortly after Kahless' death. However, Quark specifically stated in "Little Green Men" that the Ferengi would have had warp drive before the Klingons, had he delivered warp technology to Ferenginar in 1947. However, it is possible that Quark did not actually know when the Klingons developed warp drive. See Little Green Men - Trivia for more information.

As of the early 2150s, Klingon vessels were comparatively advanced. In contrast to their Earth Starfleet counterparts, Klingon ships were equipped with photon torpedos, deflector shields, tractor beam emitters, and had thicker hulls reinforced with a coherent molecular alloy. However, as of 2151, Klingons had no knowledge of holodeck technology. (ENT: "Unexpected", "Sleeping Dogs", "Judgment", "The Augments")

By 2256, cloaking screens began to be used on Klingon vessels, such as the Sarcophagus, but Starfleet was quickly able to penetrate them. As of 2268, the Klingon D7 class battlecruiser design was used by the Romulans. In 2269, Starfleet assumed at least Cmdr. Kor's IKS Klothos to possess effective cloaking capability against their sensors, a technology thought to be uniquely Romulan the previous year. Kor would later reminisce that, when his ship was equipped with a cloak, it was still a new piece of technology for the Klingons, understood only by a handful of engineers in the Imperial Fleet. By 2285, at least one more Klingon ship was definitely using a cloaking device. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello"; TOS: "The Enterprise Incident"; TAS: "The Time Trap"; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

In "The Enterprise Incident", Spock specifically mentions the Romulan cruisers to be of Klingon design. This, as well as the fact that, around the same time, Klingons appeared to have gained effective cloaking capability against Starfleet sensors, a technology previously thought unique to the Romulans, led to speculations about a short-lived Romulan-Klingon technology exchange.

As of 2367, Klingon transporter systems had a range of 20,000 kellicams, which was a common Klingon unit of length measurement as early as 2285. (e.g., Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; TNG: "Redemption")

See also[]



Klingon space[]

Food and beverages[]



A list of all appearances of Klingons (excluding the regular appearances of Worf and B'Elanna Torres).

Background information[]

The Klingons are the only non-Federation species to have appeared in twelve films. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, they attempt to attack V'ger and are vaporized. They appear in the simulation of the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. They are the primary villains after the Genesis technology in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the primary vessel is a Klingon Bird-of-Prey and the Klingon ambassador appears early on, to have Kirk extradited. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a Klingon ambassador is featured again, on Nimbus III, and they also appear as secondary villains, as a young brash Klingon officer chases Kirk for the glory of defeating an infamous enemy of the Empire. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, General Chang is the primary villain as a Klingon and they also appear throughout the film during the peace process of the Khitomer Accords.

In all TNG movies, Worf appears despite his commitments to Deep Space 9, and the Duras sisters appear in Star Trek Generations. At least three Borg drones seen in Star Trek: First Contact are also of Klingon origin.

Star Trek: Picard is currently the only series in which no Klingons appear (though an image of Klingons from a TNG episode does appear in first episode during a news report). Martok’s skull appears in season 2; and Worf appears in Season 3.

The Klingon ships once again appear in the Kobayashi Maru scenario in the film Star Trek. Their full appearance was cut from the film, their prevalence up to then leading Damon Lindelof – who worked on the movie as a producer and a writer of the film's screenplay – to remark, "What Trek film would be complete without Klingons? The answer is... ours." (deleted scene "Klingons Take Over Narada" audio commentary, Star Trek (Special Edition and Three disc Blu-ray)) Klingons were shown on Ketha Province of Qo'noS in Star Trek Into Darkness. Klingons do not appear in Star Trek Beyond however in Star Trek Beyond - The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow, it is revealed a Klingon was intended to appear in the film, but ultimately cut.

Alex Kurtzman has explained that if Worf is ever introduced into Star Trek: Picard, he would look the same as he did in previous shows, and explained that Discovery Klingons differences are regional racial differences like the differences between Romulans is explained in Picard.

"No, he's got to look the same," Kurtzman says. "We're not changing that. It's funny, because you'll see by the time you get to [Picard's] third episode, there are different kinds of Romulans that look different, depending on their territories. You'll see some Romulans that are just about the ears, you'll see some with the ears and deeper ridges in their foreheads... so I have to believe that there are different iterations of Klingons, depending on where they are from." [3]


In the novel Summon the Thunder, part of the Star Trek: Vanguard series, the Klingons who had a Human appearance (descendants of the victims of the Klingon Augment virus) are referred to as "QuchHa", or "the unhappy ones". They usually served in their own units although they also were known to mix with the rest of the fleet on occasion.

"Against Their Nature", the first installment of "Star Trek: Klingons - Blood Will Tell", an IDW Comics series which tells the stories of "Errand of Mercy", "The Trouble with Tribbles", "A Private Little War", and "Day of the Dove" from the Klingon point of view, suggests that, while Phlox and Antaak's cure removed Augment strength and Augment intelligence, those affected retained the superior ambition of Augments, and as such these Klingons were largely responsible for the Empire's expansion in the century between Star Trek: Enterprise and TOS, eventually becoming powerful enough to achieve a majority on the High Council.

In the novel Pawns and Symbols, Klingons are discovered to be color blind in the Human sense, unable to distinguish red from black. It is also discovered that their vision extends into the ultraviolet, to 32,000 Ångströms.

In the novel Ishmael, the Klingons are described as having been economically conquered and uplifted by the Karsid empire. The Klingons then rebelled and overthrew the Karsids, obtaining their high technology. This was given as one reason for why the Klingons were the way they were, and also how they could have developed star-faring technology given their current social structure.

In Star Trek Online, most Klingons are once again enemies with the Federation by 2399, having taken advantage of the Romulans by conquering much of their territory in the wake of the death of Shinzon and then the destruction of Romulus. The Klingons have also conquered the Gorn, the Orions, and the Nausicaans. Evidently, Klingons are seen joining Starfleet, if unlocked. The Federation-based mission "Past Imperfect" gives a possible answer to how the Augment virus' alterations was eventually cured by revealing that the mad Klingon Admiral B'Vat had kidnapped Miral Paris and brought her to the past, where they used her Klingon/Human DNA to manufacture a cure.

In the online game Star Trek Timelines, includes all three types of Klingons appearing from their various respective eras accurately portraying each character's respective and different physiological differences in appearances. Kor, Koloth, Kang appear reflecting the 23rd century TOS era "Human-augment" part of the history, T'Kuvma appears representing the 23rd century era Klingon/Federation war, characters such as Chang, Kruge, Colonel Worf representing the 2270s-90s period, characters such as Gowron, Worf, Martok, Alexander, B'Elanna Torres, and Duras Sisters appear reflecting the 24th century.

The Discovery related event which introduces T'Kuvma and involves Katherine Janeway (including a 24th century Klingon variant Janeway) is described as such "The USS Shenzhou has arrived in the 24th Century, engulfed in a destructive temporal anomaly. Starfleet has yet to make contact with the crew, but the anomaly has brought all manner of things from the Shenzhou's time into the present day..." [4]

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