Why Does Riker Keep Calling Troi Imzadi In Star Trek?
"Imzadi" - the word we keep hearing Jonathan Frakes' Will Riker call Marina Sirtis' Deanna Troi - is a Betazed word meaning "beloved."
In this final season of Star Trek: Picard, we’ve heard Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) called Troi (Marina Sirtis) “Imzadi” quite a few times; to the point where in “Surrender” Troi jokes with her husband, “I should’ve taught you another word.” The Betazed word dates back to the very first screen appearance of these two characters, and it’s a term of endearment that translates roughly into “beloved.”
The first time we hear the word, it’s actually being spoken in Riker’s head. In the premiere episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, when Riker is surprised to be reunited with Troi, she says “imzadi” to him twice while speaking to him telepathically:
“Do you remember what I taught you, imzadi? Can you still sense my thoughts? … I too could never say goodbye, imzadi.”Deanna Troi
While it isn’t heard quite as often as, say, the Klingon word “Qapla” in Star Trek, “imzadi” does pop up throughout TNG a bit more than you may realize. In “Haven,” Riker and Troi discuss the word a bit more at length, with Troi clarifying “imzadi” can be meant in a platonic sense. It’s a fitting note, considering Riker and Troi continue to circle each other throughout TNG but without pulling the proverbial trigger.
In fact, by the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation, it looked like Troi may have found a new imzadi. Starting with “Parallels,” Troi began dating Worf (Michael Dorn) and they were still in a relationship by the time of the series finale, “All Good Things.” There’s never any on-screen explanation given for their split, though if nothing else it would seem likely Worf’s assignment to Deep Space Nine would have become an issue.
In the first two movies to feature the TNG crew, as far as what’s on the screen we get no indication that this old Star Trek friends have gone from non-platonic imzadi to the other kind. Any ambiguity is erased in 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection when their courtship becomes obvious, and one of the first scenes in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis is their wedding. That film would also feature the darkest use of the word so far.
Both Tom Hardy and Ron Perlman make their Star Trek debuts in Nemesis, and in a scene clearly meant to mirror a sexual assault, both Shinzon (Hardy) and the Reman Viceroy (Perlman) refer to Troi as “imzadi.”