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Ferengi on Star Trek: The Next Generation
Ferengi on Star Trek: The Next Generation

In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Ferengi are an alien race notable for their devotion towards capitalist profit and their constant efforts to swindle people into bad deals. They are often shown as being somewhat of a nuisance, and plots involving them are usually comedic ones.

The Ferengi come from the planet Ferenginar, in the center of the Ferengi Alliance located in the Alpha quadrant. Their name likely is derived from the Arabic word Faranj or Ifranj, "Franks", which the Arabs used to describe the European merchants in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean and by extension, all westerners. The name mas also derive from a colloqial Italian word ferengi, meaning literally "Yankee Trader", which directly describes their usual behavior.

The Borg know the Ferengi as "species 180."



Ferengi are somewhat smaller than humans. They have orange-colored skin, unusually large ears (more so in males than in females), sharp teeth, double foreheads, ascending ribs, upper and lower lungs, and a four-lobed brain that cannot be read by the telepathic powers of Betazoids or Vulcans. The ears, at least in males, are erogenous spots; the Ferengi colloquially use the word "lobes" much as the word "balls" is used in modern English (as in, "I didn't think you had the lobes for that").


Ferengi culture is based entirely on commerce, and the two-hundred eighty-five Rules of Acquisition comprise the sacred code on which all of Ferengi society is based. They were first written down by Gint, the first Grand Nagus. The title "Rules of Acquisition" was chosen as a clever marketing ploy (since the rules are merely guidelines) and Gint numbered his first rule as #162, in order to create a demand for the other 161 Rules that had not yet been created.

In addition to the Rules, the Ferengi also recognize the five Stages of Acquisition: infatuation, justification, appropriation, obsession, and resale.

The laws and society of the Ferengi are extremely sexist. Women are forbidden to make profit, wear clothes, talk to strangers, or travel. Selling one's mother for gold-pressed latinum, the principal form of legal tender, is an act that would be looked on with admiration in Ferengi society.

The quest for profit even reaches into Ferengi religion. It is common for Ferengi to pray for financial success. The Ferengi believe in an afterlife which is based on the profit earned in life. There are two possible eternal fates: for the successful, the Divine Treasury lies ahead (provided one can bribe one's way in); the financial failures spend eternity in the Vault of Eternal Destitution.

Ferengi males are neither buried nor cremated when they die. Rather, the dying male puts his body up for auction to the highest bidder and the dead body is carved up into little pieces that are vacuum-dessicated, preserved and packaged for sale as mementos of a worthy life.

Ferengi cuisine consists of insects and other small invertebrates, such as "tube grubs," either served alive or jellied or juiced. Ferengi women traditionally soften food for members of their family by chewing it.


In the Star Trek television shows, Ferengi are always shown speaking in English, but they are known to have their own language. There exists an unofficial constructed Ferengi language.


According to legend, in ancient times the Ferengi and the Gree vied for control of their planet.

Before uniting under a Nagus, Ferenginar was divided into warring Commerce Zones. This was known as the "Barter Age."

In about the 9th Millennium B.C.E. Gint started writing the Rules of Acquisition laying the basis for Ferengi society.

In 1947, a Ferengi craft from the 2370s crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. This was humanity's first contact with the Ferengi.

At some point between 1947 and 2151, the Ferengi purchased warp drive from the Breen.

In 2151, Ferengi raided the starship Enterprise (NX-01), but were quickly defeated. Their racial identity remained unknown to the humans.

In 2355, the (still unknown) Ferengi fought Jean-Luc Picard at the Battle of Maxia.

In 2364, official first contact was made between the Ferengi Alliance and the United Federation of Planets at the planet Delphi Ardu .


The leader of the Ferengi government holds the title "Grand Nagus".

  • Grand Nagus Gint (c. 9th Millennium B.C.E.)
  • Grand Nagus Yost
  • Grand Nagus Drik
  • Grand Nagus Frek (invents the 4th Rule)
  • Grand Nagus Brolok
  • Grand Nagus Oblat
  • Grand Nagus Smeet "the Obvious"
  • DaiMon Vurp (the only military dictator)
  • Grand Nagus Untz
  • Grand Nagus Twim (outlaws time travel)
  • Grand Nagus Zek (?-2375)
  • Grand Nagus Rom (2375-?)

Other notable Ferengi


Ferengi characters made occasional appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and frequent appearances in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (because Quark, Rom, and Nog were recurring characters). Despite to the nature of Star Trek: Voyager being set so far from known space, they made a few appearances in this series as well; one instance was a continuation of a TNG plot in which a pair of Ferengi were stranded on the far side of a wormhole. The Ferengi made one appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise, though the humans in that episode did not know what race they were, in order to preserve the established continuity that humans first met them much later.

The Ferengi were initially intended to replace the Klingon empire as the "enemy" race of the Federation in TNG. However, in their debut in the first-season episode "The Last Outpost", their comic behavior and appearance underwhelmed audiences. As a result, Paramount negated these plans; the Borg would take the Ferengi's intended place.

External links


  • Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe , Legends of the Ferengi (1997), ISBN 0671007289. The authors worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for several years and established most of what is known about the Ferengi. This book was intended to be, at the very least, semi-canon and contained valuable exclusive insights into the Ferengi.

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45