- "Over here sand blows, over there sand blows. Over there a rich man waits, over here I wait."
- ―The Voice of Shai-Hulud, from the Oral History[src]
As with many Fremen terms and words, Shai-Hulud is more than a descriptive term for a physical entity. Specifically, it often alludes to the Fremen belief that the sandworm is a physical embodiment of the One God that created and governs the universe. Thus to the Fremen Shai-Hulud is a sacred term that is usually spoken with a tone of awe, fear, or respect.
Linguistically, Shai-Hulud has many poetic translations, all of which speak of the size, age, and power of the sandworm. Among the noted translations are:
- "Old Man of the Desert"
- "Old Father Eternity"
- "Grandfather of the Desert"
Arabic Shayʾ-Khulud translates as "Thing of Eternity" or "Thing of Immortality", consisting of Shayʾ "thing of" (in construct state) and Khulud "eternity" or "immortality".
Shai Hulud play a massive role in Fremen culture. The Fremen are known to ride sandworms and even capture them, their teeth being made into Crysknifes, the Fremen weapon of choice.