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Star Trek: Why Do William T. Riker And Deanna Troi Call Each Other Imzadi?

If there is a romance that outshines all others on "Star Trek," it is the relationship between William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi series was always famously geared toward episodic stories rather than serialized character arcs. Riker and Deanna were one of the few allowed to flourish and have since become a fan-favorite couple. One of the ways this was represented was the term of endearment the two share.

Established in the very first episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Deanna refers to Riker as "Imzadi" when the two meet aboard the Enterprise. The two had shared a previous relationship before the series began, and Deanna uses the term that, when roughly translated, means beloved. The word is derived from the Betazed language, and the counselor uses it freely to refer to Enterprise's No. 1. 

The relationship between Riker and Deanna was not initially supposed to persist throughout the series but Imzadi remains. Riker later uses the term freely himself to address Deanna when their relationship becomes more serious. Frakes and Sirtis enjoyed the relationship between their characters so much that they did not listen to creatives who wanted to cut the Riker and Troi romance. Instead, they became icons in "The Next Generation," as did their calling card.

Imzadi has had a full life

Imzadi has had its own continuity throughout the lifespan of "The Next Generation," so much so that it has become as iconic as the romance itself. The word represents the long-standing love between William T. Riker and Deanna Troi, for better or worse. The couple makes their relationship even more official at the beginning of "Star Trek: Nemesis" as they tie the knot. But that isn't their happy ending. As portrayed in "Star Trek: Picard," it is far from it. In the intervening years, when the pair was away from viewers' television screens, they endured tragedies that no one should. Riker and Troi's son, Thad, contracts a genetic disease unsolvable by any legal means. The only cure is augmentation, which is outlawed by the Federation because of the Eugenics War. Thanks, Khan.

This tragedy puts a decisive wedge between the two to a point where Riker wastes no time in getting distance from his wife. But as this is "Star Trek," the bad times don't last forever. Throughout their adventures, they find closure and even get a callback to their favorite word. As Riker and Deanna make amends, he calls her Imzadi once more when he is close to death. Of course, Riker lives to fight another day and the popular couple sets off into the galaxy once more.