This article is from the Final-Fantasy and other Square Soft Games FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Nick Zitzmann) with numerous contributions by others.
This glossary covers many of the acronyms, etc. used in this FAQ & the
alt.games.final-fantasy newsgroup, as well as some other things found in
Final Fantasy games.
(NOTE: In the glossary, when referring to Final Fantasy games, I'm using
the Japanese sequel numbering, not the American numbering. For a
conversion table between the two, please read article 4.1.3.)
FF: Short for "Final Fantasy".
NES/DMG/SNES: NES is an acronym for "Nintendo Entertainment System," DMG
is "Dot Matrix Game Boy," and SNES is "Super Nintendo Entertainment
System". These are the American names of Nintendo's products. (They're
called "famicoms" in Japan.)
CT: Short for "Chrono Trigger".
PSX: Short for "PlayStation". The extra letter comes from its
development name - the PlayStation started out as an experimental CD-ROM
drive for the SNES back when Nintendo announced that they would use
CD-ROM technology in their products. Nintendo backed out of the deal
during the development, so Sony ended up releasing the PlayStation as a
SoM/SD: Short for "Secret of Mana". (SD is short for "Seiken Densetsu,"
or "Legend of the Holy Sword" in English.)
HP: Hit Points. In most RPGs, the characters hit point amount determines
how much physical damage they can take before they get taken out of
MP: Magic Points. Characters who cast magic spells use these for their
energy when they cast the spells.
GP: Can be either Gold Points, or Gold Pieces. They are the units of
currency in most of Square's games.
Achtzehn (from Xenogears): "Achtzehn" is a German word, meaning
"eighteen". It most likely represents the eighteenth step in the Hebrew
sephiroth, which refers to the world of humans. (See "Sephiroth" and
Aegis Shield (from various FF games): Athena (Minerva's Greek
equivalent) used this shield in battle.
Aeris/Aerith (from FF VII): The word "Aerith" is a derivative of the
word "Earth". (See "Terra".)
Aire Tam Storm (from FF VII): The word "Airetam" is the word "Materia"
Alpha and Omega (from Xenogears): The opening quote from Xenogears came
from a quote from the new testament, from Apocylapse/Revelations 22:13:
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the
Alexandr/Alexander (from FF VI & VII): Alexander was named either after
King Alexander of Macedonia, or Tsar Alexander I of Russia. The former
conquered all of the known world in the 4th century BC, and had several
cities made in his name (such as Alexandria, Egypt). The latter was the
tsar who helped Britain end the reign of Napoleon I in France during the
19th century. Judging by the summoned monster's Russian architecture,
Alexander was most likely named after the latter of the two...
Andvari (from Xenogears): Andvari was a dwarven character who appeared
in an Icelandic epic story, the Volsunga Saga. In the story, Andvari had
a horde of gold which was taken from him by the giant/trickster god,
Loki. (See "Fenrir.") After his gold was stolen, Andvari cursed the gold
as well as anyone who received it.
Anima/Animus (from Xenogears): The Anima is Karl Jung's feminine aspect,
while the Animus is Jung's masculine aspect. Both represent respectively
feminine and masculine traits in human behavior.
Anima Relics (from Xenogears): Xenogears's anima relics were named after
ten of the original twelve tribes of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi,
Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and
Benjamin. Actually, one of the anima relics, Dinah (which replaces
Benjamin on the list), is named after the daughter of Jacob.
Aphel Aura (from Xenogears): "Aphelah" is the Hebrew word for darkness,
and "ora" is the word for light. But when the genders are switched
around on the two words, they become "aphel" and "orah," meaning a
change from darkness to light.
Asura/Ashura (from SaGa/FFL I, SaGa II/FFL II, and FF IV): The Asura is
from Indian (Hindu) mythology, and literally means "those who were
denied ambrosia". The legend says that the father god, Brahma, married
the goddess Shatarupa and created two races of people, the Daityas and
Adityas. Both races working together extracted the essence of
immortality from the seas, but the Adityas kept the essence to
themselves. The Daityas then became the gods' enemies, and became known
as Asuras. According to the story, the Asuras' conflicts with the gods
then became the origin of all conflict.
Aveh, Kislev, Nisan, and Shevat (from Xenogears): All of the major
cities in Xenogears (except for Solaris) were named (loosely) after the
Hebrew names for months, taken from the Bible. This includes Tammus,
which was called "Thames" in the USA version of Xenogears (see
Ayla (from Chrono Trigger): Ayla's name, story, and physical description
were derived from a character by the same name in the 1980 novel "The
Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean M. Auel. In this novel, a natural
disaster causes Ayla to leave her home and eventually be taken up by the
Clan of the Cave Bear, a clan in which she works her way to the top and
ends up becoming humanity's future.
Behemoth and Leviathan (from a number of FF games): In Judaism, before
God created the void, there were two demons: The demon of earth
(Behemoth) and the demon of water (Leviathan). These demons are said to
exist even to this date. ("The Leviathan" was also the title of a book
by Thomas Hobbes, a philosopher of the 17th century who believed very
strongly in an absolute monarchy.)
Beowulf (from FF Tactics): The story of Beowulf is told in a traditional
Nordic epic poem. Beowulf, according to legends, helped King Hrothgar
rid his territories of a monster named Grendal, and Grendal's mother.
After doing so, he returned to his homeland where he reigned as king.
When a dragon was awakened in his homeland, though, he was expected to
defeat it. He wins, but dies after the battle.
Bismark (from FF VI): Bismark was probably named after Otto von
Bismarck, a Prussian chancellor who united all of the German states
(except Austria) into one unified German country in the 19th century. He
is most famous for saying that "nations aren't formed out of speeches
and compromises, they are formed out of blood and iron."
Black Cauldron (from FF VII): Hades's attack, "Black Cauldron," comes
from Celtic mythology & traditional stories. The Black Cauldron, as
defined by the Celts, was a magic cauldron which could re-animate the
dead if their bodies were boiled inside the cauldron. A popular
retelling of the story of the Black Cauldron can be found in the second
book of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, called "The Black
Cauldron". (The whole Prydain Chronicles is based on Celtic mythology.)
Brigandier (from Xenogears): "Brigand" is another word for "pirate".
Cain/Kain and Abel (from FF IV and Xenogears): In the Old Testament,
Cain was one of the original sinners, who broke the commandments when he
slew his brother, Abel.
Carbuncle (from every FF game after FF VI): A carbuncle is a skin
inflammation filled with pus, as well as another name for a red gem.
Cecil (from FF IV): We'd like to imagine that Cecil was named in honor
of Cecil Fielder, an American Baseball player who played one season on
the Hanshin Tigers in Japan before coming back to the USA to play on the
Detroit Tigers (and on his first season back he hit a whopping 51 home
runs, thus dominating the major leagues). Probably not, though.
Celes (from FF VI): Celes probably got her name from the Roman goddess
of grain and harvests, Ceres ("Demeter" in Greek mythology). According
to Greek myth, Ceres's habits and work schedules were what caused
seasons to happen - her daughter, Persephone, was taken by Pluto to be
his wife. Jupiter would allow Persephone to be with Ceres half of the
year (between late March and early September) and be with Pluto the
other half; therefore, when Persephone was with Ceres, she would be at
work and crops would prosper, and when Persephone was with Pluto, Ceres
would confine herself to mourning and crops would be affected. Thus, the
seasons are created - Spring and Summer when Ceres is at work, and Fall
and Winter when Ceres is sequested in mourning.
Chaos (from FF I): In Greek/Roman mythology, before anything, there was
nothing but Chaos, where everything was mixed together. Then, out of
Chaos came Gaia (Earth), and then Uranus (the sky), and thus, Order came
from out of Chaos. This is where we get words like "chaotic," which
basically mean "disorganized". In FF I, however, Chaos is portrayed as
the ultimate evil, which is not necessarily true every time. (See
Cid (from almost every FF game): It's most likely that Cid was named
after Rodrigo Diaz (1043-1099), aka "El Cid", a national hero in Spain's
Castile region. As a military leader, Cid never lost a battle, and won
victories for both the Christians and Muslims inhabiting Spain at the
time. After switching alliances several times, Cid managed to take over
the rich kingdom of Valencia, which he ruled until his death. His legend
was documented in an 11th century poem, called "The Song of Cid", as
well as the 1637 play "Le Cid" by Pierre Corneille.
Cloud (from FF VII): A bunch of suspended particles which appear in a
planet's atmosphere. On Earth, for instance, clouds contain suspended
water particles. (You've always wanted to know that, right?)
Cockatrice (from just about every Square game, really): It is said in a
legend that, when the moons are just right, a chicken somewhere will lay
an egg. On that night, a snake will appear and curl itself around that
egg. When the egg hatches, a fearful monster called a "Cockatrice"
emerges from it. The monster, half bird and half snake; has the powers
of the Gorgon, and can turn people into stone just by people looking at
Crescens (from Xenogears): Saint Crescens was a companion of Saint Paul
during the early years of Christianity. Crescens was supposedly a bishop
of Galatia (now modern-day Turkey), according to the New Testament, and
is listed as one of the seventy disciples of Christ by the
Crono (from Chrono Trigger): Taken from the word "Chronos," which refers
to simple wristwatch time. That leads into things like Chronologies
(history, time by time) and Chronic (occurring and getting worse over a
period of time).
Crusader/Jihad (from FF VI): The Crusades were a series of major wars
fought during Europe's middle ages (around 1000-1200 AD) against the
Muslims, who had invaded the Byzantine Empire, which included Israel
(the Jews' and Christians' holy land). The Crusaders were the people who
fought in any of these wars. In the end, though, the Muslims won the
Crusades by taking over the Byzantine Empire, and turning it into the
new Ottoman Empire (which lasted until the end of World War I). (Note:
"Jihad" literally means "struggle" in Arabic.)
Cyrus (from Chrono Trigger): Cyrus was named after Cyrus the Great, who
was probably the most famous among the kings of the Persian Empire.