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Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, False profits

A copy of the Rules of Acquisition, cheapest binding possible

For additional meanings of "Rules of Acquisition", please see Rules of Acquisition.
"He goes to the Rules of Acquisition. Unabridged and fully annotated, with all 47 commentaries, all 900 major and minor judgments, all 10,000 considered opinions. There's a rule for every conceivable situation."
– Arridor, 2373 ("False Profits")

The Rules of Acquisition were the sacred precepts upon which all Ferengi society was based. They were first written by Gint, the first Grand Nagus. In theory, "[e]very Ferengi business transaction is governed by [these rules] to ensure a fair and honest deal for all parties concerned." (DS9: "The Maquis, Part I") By the mid-22nd century there were 173 rules (ENT: "Acquisition"); by the 2370s there were 285. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "Body Parts"; VOY: "False Profits"); and supposedly 289 by the 2380s. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

Gint's lifetime or when the Rules of Acquisition were first created was never mentioned on-screen. However, in "Little Green Men", it is stated that it "took [ten thousand years] to establish the Ferengi Alliance", which might imply Gint lived circa 8000 BC, if he is considered the founder of the Alliance. As for inaccuracy of the numbers of the rules, the discrepancies may be the result of later changes to the rules, or Krem may simply be incorrect (he says himself he does not have the "lobes" for business) this may be exemplified when Krem quoted the 6th rule slightly differently, and calls the 95th rule the 45th.

Considering that that the one who brought up the 289th rule existence was a member of "Nova Fleet" and doesn't seem like the sort of rule Rom would make, it is more than likely that rule was made up by Jeef in defiance of Rom's rule as Grand Nagus.

In 2370, the Ferengi government was debating an amendment to the Rules. (TNG: "Bloodlines")

In 2371, Grand Nagus Zek authored a short-lived revised edition of the Rules, after having his state of mind altered by the Bajoran Prophets. It contained rules very different in character from preceding versions, instead promoting honesty and charity. Upon recovering, Zek ordered the destruction of all copies of this work. (DS9: "Prophet Motive")

In 2380, while the Ferengi were considering joining the Federation, Captain Carol Freeman swindled Grand Nagus Rom, quoting the eighth rule of acquisition. This impressed Rom as it proved that there were those in the Federation who respected Ferengi culture and he wouldn't be signing "with a bunch of suckers and rubes." (LD: "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place")

Official rules[]

Number Rule Source
1 Once you have their money, you never give it back. DS9: "The Nagus", "Heart of Stone"; PRO: "First Con-tact"
3 Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to. DS9: "The Maquis, Part II"
6 Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.[1] DS9: "The Nagus"; ENT: "Acquisition"
7 Keep your ears open. DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets"
8 Small print leads to large risk.[2] LD: "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place"
9 Opportunity plus instinct equals profit. DS9: "The Storyteller"; LD: "Hear All, Trust Nothing"
10 Greed is eternal. DS9: "Prophet Motive"; VOY: "False Profits"
16 A deal is a deal.[3] DS9: "Melora"
17 A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Ferengi.[4] DS9: "Body Parts"
18 A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all. DS9: "Heart of Stone", "Ferengi Love Songs"
21 Never place friendship above profit. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"; PRO: "First Con-tact"
22 A wise man can hear profit in the wind. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"; VOY: "False Profits"
23 Nothing is more important than your health… except for your money. ENT: "Acquisition"
31 Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother.[5] DS9: "The Siege"
33 It never hurts to suck up to the boss.[6] DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "The Dogs of War"
34 War is good for business.[7] DS9: "Destiny", "The Siege of AR-558"
35 Peace is good for business.[8] TNG: "The Perfect Mate"; DS9: "Destiny"
45 Expand or die. [9] ENT: "Acquisition"; VOY: "False Profits"
47 Don't trust a man wearing a better suit than your own. DS9: "Rivals"
48 The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
57 Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them. DS9: "Armageddon Game"
59 Free advice is seldom cheap. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
62 The riskier the road, the greater the profit. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "Little Green Men", "Business as Usual"; LD: "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place"
74 Knowledge equals profit. VOY: "Inside Man"
75 Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum. DS9: "Civil Defense"
76 Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies. DS9: "The Homecoming"
91 Your boss is only worth what he pays you. LD: "Old Friends, New Planets"
94 Females and finances don't mix. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace"
95 Expand or die. [9] VOY: "False Profits"; ENT: "Acquisition"
98 Every man has his price. DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight"
102 Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever. DS9: "The Jem'Hadar"
103 Sleep can interfere with…[10] DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
109 Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack. DS9: "Rivals"
111 Treat people in your debt like family… exploit them. DS9: "Past Tense, Part I", "The Darkness and the Light"
112 Never have sex with the boss' sister. DS9: "Playing God"
125 You can't make a deal if you're dead. DS9: "The Siege of AR-558"
139 Wives serve, brothers inherit. DS9: "Necessary Evil"
168 Whisper your way to success. DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River"
190 Hear all, trust nothing. DS9: "Call to Arms"
194 It's always good business to know about new customers before they walk in your door.[11] DS9: "Whispers"
203 New customers are like razor-toothed gree-worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back. DS9: "Little Green Men"
208 Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs"; PRO: "First Con-tact"
211 Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them. DS9: "Bar Association"
214 Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach. DS9: "The Maquis, Part I"
217 You can't free a fish from water. DS9: "Past Tense, Part I"
223 Unknown, but presumably concerned the relationship between "keeping busy" and "being successful". DS9: "Profit and Loss"
229 Latinum lasts longer than lust. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs"
239 Never be afraid to mislabel a product.[12] DS9: "Body Parts"
263 Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum. DS9: "Bar Association"
285 No good deed ever goes unpunished. DS9: "The Collaborator", "The Sound of Her Voice"
289? Shoot first, count profits later.[13] LD: "Old Friends, New Planets"
Unknown A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.[14] ENT: "Acquisition"

Unofficial rules[]

The following sayings were either not given a number, not explicitly stated to be a Rule, or were not part of the generally-accepted Rules by the Ferengi Commerce Authority.

Number Rule Source
286 When Morn leaves, it's all over.[15] DS9: "The House of Quark"
299 Whenever you exploit someone, it never hurts to thank them. That way, it's easier to exploit them next time.[16] VOY: "False Profits"
Exploitation begins at home.[17] VOY: "False Profits"
(The unwritten rule) When no appropriate rule applies, make one up.[18] VOY: "False Profits"
When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits… kill the messenger.[19] VOY: "False Profits"
Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity.[20] DS9: "Bar Association"
Always inspect the merchandise before making a deal.[21] DS9: "The Abandoned"
Money is money, but females are better.[22] DS9: "Life Support"
Why ask, when you can take?[23] DS9: "Babel"
Good things come in small packages[24] DS9: "Move Along Home"
A good lie is easier to believe than the truth.[25] VOY: "Shattered"
If that's what's written, then that's what's written.[26] DS9: "Favor the Bold"
- A distracted policeman is an opportunity.[27] DS9: "The Sound of Her Voice"
42 !doit


  1. As late as 2151, the rule was quoted as being slightly different. "Never allow family to stand in the way of profit" (where profit replaces opportunity). (ENT: "Acquisition")
  2. This rule originally came from the reference book The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
  3. Legends of the Ferengi concludes Rule #16 with "…until a better one comes along."
  4. In the first draft script of "Body Parts", the seventeenth rule was said to simply be, "A contract is a contract is a contract," without the added clause involving species.
  5. Legends of the Ferengi concludes Rule #31 with "…insult something he cares about instead."
  6. Brunt stated a variation of this rule (without referring to it by number) with "It's never too early to suck up to the boss".
  7. Quark stated a corollary: "only from a distance, the closer to the front lines, the less profitable it gets"
  8. Although spoken before the production staff's creation of the Rules of Acquisition, Par Lenor stated something quite similar to this rule: "Peace is good for trade … unless you happen to be an arms merchant!"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rule of Acquisition #95 was quoted as Rule #45 in ENT: "Acquisition". It might be possible though, that in the roughly two hundred years between the two episodes, the arrangement of the Rules of Acquisition slightly changed. Alternatively, it may have been decided that the rule bears repeating. Indeed, this may be self-referential. The rule was first mentioned in Legends of the Ferengi. Quark notes that the phrase was inspired by a Breen.
  10. This rule was interrupted before it could be finished.
  11. This rule was actually only called "one of the high numbers" by Quark; he only thought it was rule 194.
  12. In DS9: "Body Parts", it is suggested in a dream of Quark's, that the Rules of Acquisition themselves are merely guidelines, and the book was mislabeled by Gint so as to sell more copies than the "Suggestions of Acquisition." However, this may be no more than Quark trying to justify breaking rule #17, since this rule is obviously higher than Star Trek: Enterprise's "original" 173 rules. It could also be noted that the Grand Nagus has the power to change the Rules of Acquisition, so it is still possible this rule changed position over time. (DS9: "Prophet Motive")
  13. While given a numerical designation, this rule was quoted by a rogue Ferengi lower decker who was a member of Nova Fleet. While it is possible that Grand Nagus Rom had added this rule to the list following the Dominion War, its legitimacy is debatable, given the source.
  14. Though not given a number, this rule was clearly official, among the first 173, and considered "the most important one" by Krem.
  15. Personal rule of Quark's. Rom noted there was no such rule, to which Quark replied that there should be.
  16. Is likely a purely fictional rule, as it was quoted by Neelix, who had had no previous contact with Ferengi, and it did not exist by the time Kol became stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Neelix claimed at the time that Kol had been away for a long time to suggest that new rules had been written. It could be consistent if Neelix had found some encrypted appendix in the Ferengi shuttle that Kol had not read.
  17. Arridor and Kol taught the Takarians this saying. It was not stated whether it was an official rule or not. According to Star Trek Online, this is rule 110.
  18. According to Arridor.
  19. Invented by Arridor. According to Star Trek Online, this is rule 257.
  20. This saying was quoted by Brunt to Quark. It is unknown whether it was an official rule or not. According to Star Trek Online, it is rule 240.
  21. Not quoted word for word, but when Sisko asked if such a rule existed, Quark acknowledged that there was. Quark may have been referring to the apocryphal Rule 218 (see below). According to Star Trek Online, this is rule 272.
  22. A personal rule quoted by Nog despite its direct contradiction to rules 94 and 229.
  23. As told to Odo by Quark when the latter illegally used replicators in empty crew quarters. He seems to have been paraphrasing the apocryphal Rule 52 (see below).
  24. Quark told the Wadi delegation visiting his establishment that this was an old Ferengi saying.
  25. This un-numbered "rule"'s provenance derives merely from Janeway quoting it as something "the Ferengi say". It may not, therefore, have been a genuine rule. The apocryphal Pocket DS9 title The Long Mirage, however, explicitly describes it as a rule, but does not give it a number.
  26. Rom said this to Quark when urging him to complete a very important mission that could end with the two being killed. From the implicit understanding Quark displayed, and the lack of prior reference to any "written" materials, it's likely that this was in fact a rule, probably referring to the finality of a business contract, here used out of this original context. According to Star Trek Online, this is rule 227.
  27. Quark says this to Jake in the opening of the episode upon noticing Odo's love for Kira is a distraction.


Background information[]

The Rules of Acquisition were invented by executive producer-writer Ira Steven Behr at the beginning of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (beginning with "The Nagus") (Star Trek Encyclopedia, 4th ed., vol. 1, p. 267) and were mentioned throughout the Star Trek spinoffs.

In the first draft script of "Rejoined", the eighty-first or seventy-first Rule of Acquisition (Rom wasn't sure which) was said to be, "What's good for the boss is good for the worker."

Similarly, in the first draft script of "Body Parts", the 153rd rule was stated to be, "People will buy anything… especially junk."

The authors of the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 267) identified "Exploitation begins at home.", from the episode "False Profits", as one of these rules.


Deep Space Nine writers Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe expanded upon the Rules and Ferengi culture in the non-canon books, The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition and Legends of the Ferengi. A number of additional rules have also appeared within Pocket Deep Space Nine titles.

The following rules are derived from non-canon sources:

Number Rule Source
2 The best deal is the one that brings the most profit. The 34th Rule
2 Money is everything. Strange New Worlds 9: "The Last Tree on Ferenginar: A Ferengi Fable From the Future"
8 Small print leads to large risk. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
Canonized in LD: "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place"
13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money. Legends of the Ferengi
14 Sometimes the quickest way to find profits is to let them find you. Fortune of War
19 Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Legends of the Ferengi
27 There's nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman. Legends of the Ferengi
39 Don't tell customers more than they need to know. Ascendance
40 She can touch your lobes, but never your latinum. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
41 Profit is its own reward. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
44 Never confuse wisdom with luck. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
52 Never ask when you can take. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
53 Never trust anybody taller than you. Twilight
54 Rate divided by time equals profit. (Also known as the "Velocity of Wealth") Raise the Dawn
55 Take joy from profit and profit from joy. Raise the Dawn
58 There is no substitute for success. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition; Star Trek: The Next Generation - Birth of the Federation (Ferengi Opening)
60 Keep your lies consistent. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
65 Win or lose, there's always Hupyrian beetle snuff. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
68 Risk doesn't always equal reward. Star Trek Online (since removed)
77 If you break it, I'll charge you for it. Star Trek Online
79 Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
82 The flimsier the product, the higher the price. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
85 Never let the competition know what you're thinking. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
87 Learn the customer's weaknesses so you can better take advantage of them. Star Trek: Elite Force II
88 Vengeance will cost you everything. The Poisoned Chalice
89 Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
89 [It is] better to lose some profit and live than lose all profit and die. Strange New Worlds VI: Best Tool Available.
97 Enough… is never enough. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
98 If you can't take it with you, don't go. I, Q
99 Trust is the biggest liability of all. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
100 When it's good for business, tell the truth. Ascendance
101 Profit trumps emotion. The Long Mirage
104 Faith moves mountains… of inventory. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
106 There is no honor in poverty. Sacraments of Fire
108 Hope doesn't keep the lights on. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
113 Always have sex with the boss. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition; Legends of the Ferengi
121 Everything is for sale, even friendship. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
123 Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
135 Listen to secrets, but never repeat them. Ascendance
141 Only fools pay retail. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
144 There's nothing wrong with charity… as long as it winds up in your pocket. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
147 People love the bartender. Fearful Symmetry
151 Even when you're a customer, sell yourself. The Long Mirage
162 Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
177 Know your enemies… but do business with them always. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
181 Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
183 When life hands you ungaberries, make detergent. Hollow Men
184 A Ferengi waits to bid until his opponents have exhausted themselves. Balance of Power
188 Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit. Star Trek Online
189 Let others keep their reputation. You keep their latinum. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
192 Never cheat a Klingon… unless you can get away with it. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
193 It's never too late to fire the staff. Cathedral
193 Trouble comes in threes. Star Trek Online
199 Location, location, location. The Soul Key
202 The justification for profit is profit. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
212 A good lie is easier to believe than the truth. Star Trek Online
216 Never gamble with a telepath. The Laertian Gamble
218 Always know what you're buying. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
218 Sometimes what you get free costs entirely too much. Malibu DS9: "Baby on Board"
219 Possession is eleven-tenths of the law! Balance of Power
223 Beware the man who doesn't make time for oo-mox. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
227 If that's what's written, then that's what's written. Star Trek Online
235 Duck; death is tall. Twilight
236 You can't buy fate. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
240 Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity. Star Trek Online
242 More is good… All is better. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
243 Always leave yourself an out. Sacraments of Fire
248 The definition of insanity is trying the same failed scheme & expecting different results Shield of the Gods
255 A wife is a luxury… a smart accountant a necessity. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
261 A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
266 When in doubt, lie. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
267 If you believe it, they believe it. Taking Wing
272 Always inspect the merchandise before making a deal. Star Trek Online
284 Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
287 Always get somebody else to do the lifting. WildStorm DS9: "N-Vector"
288 Never get into anything that you can't get out of. WildStorm DS9: "N-Vector"
290 An angry man is an enemy, and a satisfied man is an ally. Antimatter
291 The less employees know about the cash flow, the smaller the share they can demand. Betrayal
292 Only a fool passes up a business opportunity. Star Trek: Elite Force II
293 The more time they take deciding, the more money they will spend. Stowaways
294 A bargain usually isn't. The Pet
305 Always be considerate. (Not a real Rule, of course, but quoted by Quark.) Twilight
431 When the shooting starts, let the mercenaries handle it. Star Trek Online
Time is money. (Not a real Rule; Quark considered it one of the "few pieces of sound business advice that he'd ever heard uttered by a hew-mon.") Sacraments of Fire
You get what you pay for. (Another Human saying that Quark sometimes set store by.) The Long Mirage
If they can't be bought, get ready to fight. (A rule proposed by Grand Nagus Rom in response to the Hur'q invasion.) Star Trek Online
It's not smart to turn down a deal with the Grand Nagus. (Another rule Rom proposed when Brunt tried and failed to double-cross him and Quark.) Star Trek Online

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