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The Ferengi were an extremely capitalistic race from the planet Ferenginar, which may have also been home to the Gree (though this could have only been a myth used to illustrate the 3rd rule of acquisition. (DS9 novel: Legends of the Ferengi)
A Ferengi's entire existence revolved around the acquisition of wealth, even above family and friends, according to their sacred Rules of Acquisition.
The Ferengi were physically distinguishable by their large ear lobes (larger and more pronounced on males than females), which gave the Ferengi keen hearing. Their lower ear lobes also served as erogenous zones.
Ferengi eyes were much less sensitive compared to that of a Human. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky) The scoop-like ear was, however, highly sensitive and was a product of evolution in the thin atmosphere of Ferengal. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet) The Ferengi species also had poor vision. They were considered short but "highly energetic." (TNG video game: Echoes from the Past) Ferengi biology included special cells called pyrocytes. These could provoke deadly allergic reactions in other species if exposed to them. (TNG episode: "The Price") They tended to generate a sharp fermented scent. (DS9 novel: The Big Game)
There were rumors among Human children that the sharp teeth among Ferengi were a sign that the species were cannibals. However, this appeared to had been a misconception and an amusing one to those who knew the species well. (DS9 novelization: Emissary)
Their physiology was noted as being very different from other species to the point that they were able to survive certain forms of stab wounds that would have kill Humans or Klingons and leave Romulans in a critical condition. (DS9 novel: The Big Game) They were used to heavier atmospheric pressures when compared to Humans. (DS9 novel: Fallen Heroes)
They were considered a greedy people and highly dishonest. (DS9 novel: Antimatter) Greed was never enough amongst Ferengi with true members of their kind believing that they combined greed with pure corruption with a passion for staying out of other peoples' business unless there was profit to be made. (DS9 novel: Vengeance)
Some believed the concept of money and the particular manner it flowed from other sources into the possession of the Ferengi was an implicit factor in any conversation with the species. Their reputation meant that it was held that the species never did favors without either receiving payment or because they had an ulterior motive. (DS9 novel: Valhalla) As such, they were noted for being an acquisitive race. (DS9 novel: Trial by Error)
One tactic used was the art of Kraggnish whereby a Ferengi attempted to get their enemy to think that their rival was their friend and dying to do them a favor when in actual fact the Ferengi was only dying to see the latinum in their pockets. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
Suspicion was considered a natural state of mind amongst the Ferengi who tended to hold a sharp mind. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet) Ferengi proudly lay claim to holding the most highly developed sense of self-preservation in the known galaxy. When a warning was heard, they took cover first and asked questions later. When feeling threatened, a common act was to back up near the wall with the reason being so that no one attacked them from behind. (DS9 novel: The Siege) They were considered holding a particular instinct towards self-preservation. (DS9 novel: Fallen Heroes) The cowardice of the species was noted to be legendary amongst other races. (DS9 novel: The Long Night)
Business and CrimeEdit
A Ferengi's word was worth nothing without profit. (DS9 novel: The Long Night) Their culture had a caste system based on profits. (TNG video game: Echoes From the Past) Caste-tattoos sometimes featured on the forehead of a Ferengi. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet) All Ferengi were answerable to the Ferengi Commerce Authority. (TLE novel: The Art of the Impossible) Businessmen were expected to memorize their business account going back five years. (DS9 novel: Vengeance) Under their law, any deal fairly and lawfully made meant that any Ferengi seeking revenge, especially unprofitable revenge, was committing an illegal act. (DS9 novels: , The Siege) As such, business was considered the priority before revenge. (DS9 novel: Antimatter) A highly placed legal position included that of the Ferengi Supreme Contract Arbitration barrister. (DS9 novel: Fallen Heroes) The simple act of not wanting to start a business was seen as sacrilege amongst their kind. (DS9 novel: The Long Night) Ferengi without a head of business were even believed to hold no future. (DS9 novel: Saratoga)
Contracts and regulations were seen as being sacred items within their civilization. Breaking contracts was seen as the greatest taboo within their society. Such violations can bring about the loss of standing with the offender potentially getting their business license revoked and all their assets being seized to pay the victim with the government getting a cut. Though guided by the Rules of Acquisition, additional legal books provide further guidance on specific regulation's and covered all aspects of business as well as social conduct. Despite this volume of guidance, Ferengi law was noted for ironically being flexible with all aspects of the legal system being subject to interpretation. As such, even the lowest ranking functionary was capable of freely interpreting the law if they felt necessary to do so. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Stealing was against the Ferengi code of honor. (TNG video game: The Transinium Challenge) Yet, at the same time, it as not considered a big deal amongst their species. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky) Though kidnapping was seen as an old business practice. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet) In their legal system, their courts did not distinguish a line between breaching a contract due to greed and breaching it because the act was illegal. Both cases led to a swift and severe punishment of the offending party. (TNG novel: Balance of Power)
A Ferengi business was noted to never close. They often kept many hidden resources that they were able to tap at a later date. No Ferengi ever admitted that if they were broke that the fault lay on them and that reason for such a failure lay somewhere else. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble) They were considered practical businessmen who always believed that no matter how good their business was going that their "marks" might figure out the rules of their game. At which point, their customers would storm the Ferengi's ships with torches and pitchforks. In fact, a standard business practice was to always build an tunnel or bolt-hole into their establishments as a means of escape. (DS9 novel: Vengeance)
All of their kind were unable to resist the idea of bargaining. One practice made by the Ferengi that was considered an archaic form of scams was the use of insurances. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky) Their physicians did not bother with pleasantries such as a bedside manner unless they were paid extra. (DS9 novel: Saratoga)
Some considered that Ferengi tend to hold a protective view towards their mates. They preferred to keep them unclothed as a sign of submissiveness and some speculated as a strange way of making them less provocative. Medical experts in the Federation theorized that this was perhaps indicative of a low birth rate and high chances of genetic reason being the reason why they were so protective of their females. Others, however, believed that Ferengi psychology may had evolved in a way that it was seen as a great sign of prestige of taking a female from another. This was further linked to the other theory that a lack of clothing was seen as an open challenge to rivals to attempt to seize a Ferengi's female. These theories were based on initial observations of interactions with the species that required confirmation or to be disproved. (FASA module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual)
- The above section was based on early analysis of Ferengi culture after extended initial contact and thus may contradict other sources.
Male Ferengi had high libidos with their tastes not restricted to their own species. (LUG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Core Game Book) One common habit seen among their kind was the pestering of non-Ferengi women with some wondering what was the fascination of their species with female aliens. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet) Ferengi were known to parade their most lewd sexual thoughts to others in a constant attempt to outdo one another by proving who was more base. (DS9 novels: , The Siege) It was believed that male Ferengi did not live with their mothers. (DS9 novelization: Emissary) They gained great deal of pleasure when females touched their ears which were known erogenous zones. (DS9 novel: Fallen Heroes)
Some female Ferengi were quite comfortable with their nudity and took the wild eyed stares of others as compliments. They enjoyed being naked as they believed they had great physical forms and because their men desired them in such a manner. The practice of keeping multiple naked female Ferengi were seen within their harems. (DS9 novel: Antimatter)
Profit and LossEdit
- "Look rich, be rich." -- old Ferengi proverb
Within their society, power and wealth were equated as being the same quality. By displaying wealth, a Ferengi displayed their power and in turn commanded respect. Poor families were thus considered a handicap in their civilization. This focus on business acumen meant that they were more impressed with those individuals with these qualities instead of ancestry. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet) In fact, the goal of almost every Ferengi was to become incredibly rich. (DS9 novel: Valhalla) Their focus on profit meant that the Ferengi looked down on the obsessions of justice, honor, logic, compassion or warrior pride which they saw as being foolish notions. Greed was an exalted trait and seen as a noble virtue. (LUG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Core Game Book) They held a story similar to that of the Terran "boy who cried wolf" fable. In the Ferengi version, a boy cried "Audit" so many times that when a real Auditor arrived, no one believed him. (DS9 novel: Vengeance) "Charity" was considered a particularly rude swear word among Ferengi. (DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Cathedral) They lacked a word for "admiration" in their language. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
Initial impressions of the social characteristics of Ferengi society indicated that the species had a pack based mentality. Dominance was equated to the acquisition of wealth and the head of the pack had to contend with constant challenges to their command from the lower ranks. (FASA module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual) A basic unit within their society was that of the family business that was headed by a male head. He managed the direction of the household who are encouraged and expected to exploit labor from the rest of the family. Those of lower status work as employees of others until they can afford to establish their own operations. Any addition to the family business were expected to be exploited to the same extent as the other employees. Their society was male dominated with females not even allowed to hold a business license. (LUG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Core Game Book) The standard pose of subservience involved squeezing their hands. (DS9 novels: , The Siege) One old adage that was considered a source of eternal wisdom was that; children should be worked and not seen. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky)
Ferengi claimed that they did not work but rather operated by a trading, bargaining and selling. The secret of their success on the bargaining table was the fact that any Ferengi already knew what they wanted before they entered into a deal. This provided them a key advantage as whilst other parties studied the game rules, a Ferengi already knew what they needed exactly out of the bargain. (DS9 novel: Fallen Heroes) They were noted to always hold a major business deal in the making. (DS9 novels: , The Siege) In addition, whilst they were acknowledged as being greedy, Ferengi were known to know the value of reinvestment with the goal of achieving greater profits in the future. This was used as a way of distinguishing them race from the Cardassians who tended to be misers by comparison. (DS9 novel: Warchild) An old proverb of their people when facing a losing situation was; to fold our tents like the Gortz and silently steal away. This saying was only used when a Ferengi needed to make a particularly dire point. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
Most members of the species wore their pockets on the inside of their clothes. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky) It was believed that they held a fairly underdeveloped sense of humor. (DS9 novels: , The Siege) A unique specialist aspect of the Ferengi language was similar to Human Morse code, known as B'Zal. This was a pattern of lights in the darkness designed to reveal codes that only another user could identify. (TNG episode: "Bloodlines") Ferengi energy whip included. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky, DS9 episode: "Ferengi Love Songs")
Though extremely materialistic, the species did have some forms of poetry. This included an epic about a price war that almost wiped out three whole families. It read, "Though cities burn, and all the land's consumed by ravening fire,/Go forth, my son, and buy them out! Acquire! Acquire! Acquire!" (DS9 novel: Warchild)
Ferengi were never noted for being a greatly spiritual race and never openly showed their religious side. Despite this being the case, this did not mean that they did not have their own religion. Its dictates held that Gain was a sacred matter whilst Loss was a device of the devil. Thus, the concept of loss was seen as an act of supernatural retribution and though few Ferengi were believers all feared such an act. The act of being broke was considered a sin amongst Ferengi. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
They were noted to hold a pantheon of gods. (DS9 novel: The Big Game) Modern Ferengi believed in a number of evil spirits though they did not believe in superstitions as their age old ancestors though at the same time still feared them. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
Ultab was one such ancient deity that personified self-doubt. He was considered a demon of self-doubt and its dark shadow that was commercial failure. His arrival meant that many that suffered from such times believed that they had done something wrong to warrant his presence. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
Most Ferengi believed in the Great Material Continuum, a spiritual belief that guided them when they accumulated wealth. Only those that followed the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition were said to travel the "river" that is the Great Material Continuum. 
Those that profited in life and accumulated well were said to be allowed a place in the Divine Treasury. However, those that failed to do so were doomed to suffer within the Vault of Eternal Destitution as punishment for not following the profit-driven ways of the Ferengi. (DS9 episodes: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River", "The Dogs of War") When a Ferengi died, they went to the Divine Treasury. (DS9 novel: Vengeance)
Priests such as those that were part of the Charismatic Fathers of Profit and Loss wore long blue-and-yellow striped robes of office and sometimes were a rare sight for outsiders. (DS9 novel: The Laertian Gamble)
- "The dead don't deal." -- old Ferengi adage
Their society were different from Humans to the point that whilst their customs may seem wrong they had worked for the species for a long time. (DS9 novel: The Long Night) Their sacred death rituals often saw a Ferengi lying on their deathbed where they said that they could not go as they had a deal to close. (DS9 novels: , The Siege)
Two Ferengi closed a business deal by pressing the backs of their hands together, then bringing in the palm to clasp their own chest or shoulder. The maneuver signified mutual suspicion and distrust, yet a willingness to work together honestly for the betterment of both parties. The ritual began with contact and agreement, albeit with undertones of confrontation, followed by a reminder that each Ferengi is motivated by his own greed and is co-operating for self-serving reasons. No successful Ferengi would respect anyone not motivated by their own greed; that would signify they were mere servants, agents of another’s wealth. 
Ferengi commonly greeted one another by putting their wrists together, hands apart, with fingers curled inward; this appeared to be their equivalent of the Human handshake. The grasping gesture of course signified that the person making it was a true Ferengi, always ready to acquire. A Ferengi acting in some form of service or submission would usually bow low, or even kneel, with their face raised, and make the same gesture. When used in concurrence with the excessively low posture, it signified the individual as yet possessed nothing - and was therefore subordinate to the wealthier, more successful Ferengi - but it also served as a visual hint that they expected payment for any services they performed; the hands were waiting to be filled. The cultural connotations of displaying open hands were echoed again in the "obscene" gesture of a person waving empty hands above his head; obviously, overtly signifying you possessed nothing was a disgustingly deviant action. 
- "An angry man is an enemy, and a satisfied man is an ally." -- Ferengi saying
Their society was believed to had evolved to form a different set of values with traits such as cheating and stealing not being considered bad so long as the perpetrator was not stupid enough to be caught. To them, there was nothing worse to their standards than stupidity. As such, acts of dishonesty and thievery were approved by their society. Yet, concepts of justice and honesty were traits that were mocked amongst Ferengi. They also did not approve of courage either. (DS9 novelization: Emissary) Despite this being the case, they were considered to hold honor but a very different kind of concept of it compared to other species. Ultimately, they were more concerned with profit rather than rules. (DS9 novel: The Big Game) Ferengi believed that their centuries of prosperity in the galactic community was due to the fact that their race knew how to turn any circumstance into a profitable deal. (DS9 novel: Fallen Heroes) They had their own definition for what constituted "civilized" behavior though recognized the at this was not accepted by other species. (DS9 novel: Valhalla) They also had a universal reputation as being perfect hosts. (DS9 novel: Warchild)
Food and Drink
- See main article: Ferengi history.
|This article or subsection has an associated category.||Ferengi|