energy gun n.

a weapon firing a beam of energy n.; = ray gun n.


  • 1917 Motion Picture Magazine Apr. 99/2

    In ‘The Intrigue’, a Pallas picture…, soldiers meet their death as a result of a terrific electrical discharge from a huge energy gun, a purely imaginary contrivance.

  • 1941 A. E. van Vogt Seesaw in Astounding Science-Fiction July 67/2 A. E. van Vogt

    Energy guns!…That’s always been their problem: how to get their weapons close enough to our shops to destroy us.

  • 1947 E. Hamilton Star of Life in Startling Stories Jan. 26/1 Edmond Hamilton

    The energy-guns were in effect small generators capable of ejecting concentrated streams of protons.

  • 1949 A.E. van Vogt Weapon Shops of Isher in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 32/1

    He was so obviously disconcerted, so fascinated by the showcases with their energy guns. And he gave an account of a weapon shop having appeared in a street in the little city in which he lived

  • 1951 I. Asimov In Good Cause in New Tales of Space & Time 30 Isaac Asimov

    The babble of distant voices, the brisk crackle of energy-guns muted by distance to nearly nothingness, and the hurried click-clacking of police hoppers.

  • 1952 K. F. Crossen Caphian Caper in Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec. 36/2

    As Manning predicted, within twenty four hours one of the Caphian ships appeared and settled to the ground just out of the range of an energy gun. The Rigelian appeared and faced toward them.

  • 1965 J. Brunner Altar On Asconel 10 John Brunner

    It was small wonder that Ulwyn had been agitated; across his back Vix wore an energy gun which would probably have been capable of razing the gatehouse with a single bolt.

  • 1967 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Aug. 26/1

    Graydal and Demring must needs use their energy guns at minimum intensity for flashcasters. And even so, they often stumbled.

  • 1984 I. Asimov In Good Cause in Nightfall & Other Stories 181 Isaac Asimov

    And now there was a faint commotion, barely heard from outside the Secretariat. The babble of distant voices, the brisk crackle of energy-guns muted by distance to nearly nothingness, and the hurried click-clacking of police hoppers.

  • 2012 D. Lee & M. Lackey She Blinded Me With Science in C. Martin et al. World Divided x. 154 page image Mercedes Lackey Dennis Lee bibliography

    All she could see through the fog and the pain were the open mouths. She couldn’t see the relatively tiny muzzle of the energy gun.

Research requirements

any evidence 1917

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from Kendell Foster Crossen's "The Caphian Caper".
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1985 reprint of John Brunner's 1976 "Interstellar Empire"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1965 first edition of "The Altar on Asconel".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1969 reprint of Poul Anderson's 1967 "Starfog" which Mike Christie verified in the original publication.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1984 reprint of Isaac Asimov's "In A Good Cause", and subsequently verified the cite in the 1951 original appearance in the Raymond Healy anthology "New Tales of Space and Time".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from A.E. van Vogt's "The Weapon Shops of Isher". This novel incorporates the earlier short story "The Seesaw": Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1983 reprint, and Mike Christie verified that the term was used in its original publication. (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1941).
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Edmond Hamilton's "The Star of Life".
The OED found a 1917 example from a database.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2012 cite.

Besides antedatings, we would like cites of any date from other sources.

Last modified 2021-04-14 21:30:48
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.