A mentat is the name created for the human computers of the fictional universe in the book series Dune originally written by Frank Herbert. Has this book series become popular and common enough to use the word "mentat" in a written work outside the Dune universe?

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  • Did you try asking on the Writing SE? This question might be a good fit over there. According to Webster's, mentat is technical computing jargon now. Or rather it could be called computing terminology. webster-dictionary.org/definition/Mentat – Bread Apr 2 '18 at 23:24
  • and in Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia for now – lbf Apr 2 '18 at 23:43
  • google.com/… – Jim Apr 2 '18 at 23:59
  • 2
    It depends on your audience - I would suggest a very narrow familiarity .. I've read the book twice and forgot what it meant in your title. .. although I think a true science fiction fan would have remembered. Still, if you explain the word in an early paragraph and then use it throughout a longer piece I think that would be more formal than just coining your own made up word. It is not like there is a better word for what you mean and an essay on the subject could use a shorthand reference. – Tom22 Apr 3 '18 at 0:01

If you're using it as a word simply meaning a "human computer" I think it would need explanation as to its original reference. Even ardent science fiction fans who are familiar with Herbert's universe would think of the term as specific to Herbert's use, not your own. Bread's link to Webster regards its use as a name for a specific computer language, only. The word is not in common use as a term for a human computer.

  • My thoughts were along this track, though I've seen other words from his series pop up in other places. – B.fox Apr 3 '18 at 1:15

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