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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 the mid-22nd century there were 173 rules, and by the 24th century there were 285. (ENT: "Acquisition"; DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "Body Parts"; VOY: "False Profits") 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")

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.

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")

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"
9 Opportunity plus instinct equals profit. DS9: "The Storyteller"
10 Greed is eternal. DS9: "Prophet Motive"; VOY: "False Profits"
16 A deal is a deal. [2] DS9: "Melora"
17 A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Ferengi. [3] 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. [4] DS9: "The Siege"
33 It never hurts to suck up to the boss. [5] DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "The Dogs of War"
34 War is good for business. [6] DS9: "Destiny", "The Siege of AR-558"
35 Peace is good for business. [7] TNG: "The Perfect Mate"; DS9: "Destiny"
45 Expand or die. [8] 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"
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"
94 Females and finances don't mix. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace"
95 Expand or die. [8] 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… [9] 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. [10] 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. [11] 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"
Unknown A man is only worth the sum of his possessions. [12] 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. [13] DS9: "The House of Quark"
299 After you've exploited someone, it never hurts to thank them. That way, it's easier to exploit them next time. [14] VOY: "False Profits"
Exploitation begins at home. [15] VOY: "False Profits"
(The unwritten rule) When no appropriate rule applies, make one up. [16] VOY: "False Profits"
When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits… kill the messenger. [17] VOY: "False Profits"
Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity. [18] DS9: "Bar Association"
Always inspect the merchandise before making a deal. [19] DS9: "The Abandoned"
Money is money, but females are better. [20] DS9: "Life Support"
Why ask, when you can take? [21] DS9: "Babel"
Good things come in small packages [22] DS9: "Move Along Home"
A good lie is easier to believe than the truth. [23] VOY: "Shattered"
If that's what's written, then that's what's written. [24] DS9: "Favor the Bold"
- A distracted policeman is an opportunity. [25] DS9: "The Sound of Her Voice"


  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. Legends of the Ferengi concludes Rule #16 with "…until a better one comes along."
  3. 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.
  4. Legends of the Ferengi concludes Rule #31 with "…insult something he cares about instead."
  5. 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".
  6. Quark stated a corollary: "only from a distance, the closer to the front lines, the less profitable it gets"
  7. 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!"
  8. 8.0 8.1 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.
  9. This rule was interrupted before it could be finished.
  10. This rule was actually only called "one of the high numbers" by Quark; he only thought it was rule 194.
  11. 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 ENT'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").
  12. Though not given a number, this rule was clearly official, among the first 173, and considered "the most important one" by Krem.
  13. Personal rule of Quark's. Rom noted there was no such rule, to which Quark replied that there should be.
  14. Is likely a purely fictional rule, as it was quoted by Neelix, who had no previous contact with Ferengi, and it did not exist by the time the target Ferengi 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.
  15. 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.
  16. According to Arridor.
  17. Invented by Arridor. According to Star Trek Online, this is rule 257.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. A personal rule quoted by Nog despite its direct contradiction to rules 94 and 229.
  21. 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).
  22. Quark told the Wadi delegation visiting his establishment that this was an old Ferengi saying.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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. Legends of the Ferengi
13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money. Legends of the Ferengi
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. Legends of the Ferengi
41 Profit is its own reward. Legends of the Ferengi
44 Never confuse wisdom with luck. Legends of the Ferengi
52 Never ask when you can take. Legends of the Ferengi
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. Legends of the Ferengi; Star Trek: The Next Generation - Birth of the Federation (Ferengi Opening)
60 Keep your lies consistent. Legends of the Ferengi
65 Win or lose, there's always Hupyrian beetle snuff. Legends of the Ferengi
68 Risk doesn't always equal reward. Star Trek Online
77 If you break it, I'll charge you for it. Star Trek Online
79 Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge. Legends of the Ferengi
82 The flimsier the product, the higher the price. Legends of the Ferengi
85 Never let the competition know what you're thinking. Legends of the Ferengi
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. Legends of the Ferengi
97 Enough… is never enough. Legends of the Ferengi
98 If you can't take it with you, don't go. I, Q
99 Trust is the biggest liability of all. Legends of the Ferengi
100 When it's good for business, tell the truth. Ascendance
101 Profit trumps emotion. The Long Mirage
104 Faith moves mountains… of inventory. Legends of the Ferengi
106 There is no honor in poverty. Legends of the Ferengi
108 Hope doesn't keep the lights on. Sacraments of Fire
113 Always have sex with the boss. Legends of the Ferengi, The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
121 Everything is for sale, even friendship. Legends of the Ferengi
123 Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum. Legends of the Ferengi
135 Listen to secrets, but never repeat them. Ascendance
141 Only fools pay retail. Legends of the Ferengi
144 There's nothing wrong with charity… as long as it winds up in your pocket. Legends of the Ferengi
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. Legends of the Ferengi
177 Know your enemies… but do business with them always. Legends of the Ferengi
181 Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit. Legends of the Ferengi
189 Let others keep their reputation. You keep their latinum. Legends of the Ferengi
192 Never cheat a Klingon… unless you can get away with it. Legends of the Ferengi
193 It's never too late to fire the staff. Cathedral
193 Trouble comes in threes. Star Trek Online
202 The justification for profit is profit. Legends of the Ferengi
216 Never gamble with a telepath. The Laertian Gamble
218 Always know what you're buying. Legends of the Ferengi
218 Sometimes what you get free costs entirely too much. Malibu DS9: "Baby on Board"
223 Beware the man who doesn't make time for oo-mox. Legends of the Ferengi
235 Duck; death is tall. Twilight
236 You can't buy fate. Legends of the Ferengi
242 More is good… All is better. Legends of the Ferengi
243 Always leave yourself an out. Sacraments of Fire
255 A wife is a luxury… a smart accountant a necessity. Legends of the Ferengi
261 A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. Legends of the Ferengi
266 When in doubt, lie. Legends of the Ferengi
267 If you believe it, they believe it. Star Trek Titan: Taking Wing
284 Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi. Legends of the Ferengi
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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