cloaking device n.

a device for rendering something invisible or undetectable

SF Encyclopedia

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Star Trek

  • [1966 P. Schneider Balance of Terror (Star Trek episode) (transcription)

    Commander We grow visible. Attend the cloaking system…. Romulan Cloaking system on, sir.]

  • 1968 D. C. Fontana Enterprise Incident (Star Trek episode) (transcription) D. C. Fontana

    I believe the Romulans have developed a cloaking device which renders our tracking sensors useless.

  • 1971 J. Blish Star Trek 4 102 James Blish

    You knew of the cloaking device that we have developed.

  • 1971 J. Blish The Enterprise Incident in Star Trek 4 98 James Blish

    We might be able to find out how the Romulans' new cloaking device works. The Federation must have that information.

  • 1980 D. F. Glut Empire Strikes Back 133

    Could a ship that small have a cloaking device?

  • 1984 D. Duane & P. Morwood The Romulan Way 50

    I saw the ship drop out of warp and raise its cloaking device; we're under its phasers right now.

  • 1985 M. W. Bonanno Dwellers in Crucible viii. 191 Margaret Wander Bonanno

    My last atonement for the loss of the cloaking device.

  • 1986 J. M. Dillard Mindshadow i.11 J. M. Dillard

    Cloaking devices, Captain…It would explain why we detected no vessels in the immediate area.

  • 1989 A. Asherman Star Trek Compendium 109/2

    But the entire affair has been a hoax, to gain possession of the Romulan cloaking device (there is, of course, no such thing as the Vulcan death-grip).

  • 1989 N. Pollotta & P. Foglio Illegal Aliens xxiii. 270

    Disguised how? Camouflage? A jamming field? Or is it some sort of cloaking device that bends our scanner beams 180 degrees around the target?

  • 1996 W. Shatner Star Trek: Return 251 William Shatner

    Fortunately, the Borg had not determined the weaknesses of the latest generation of Romulan cloaking devices.

  • 1998 Interzone Feb. 44/1

    At some point, a careless alien tourist would drop a ray gun where it could be picked up by a local constable, or a rookie pilot would accidentally turn off the cloaking device, momentarily revealing an alien dreadnought in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

  • 1999 M. J. Reilly Ice Station 486

    His eyes scanned the lines ahead and he found the word he was looking for: We call it a cloaking device…Jesus, he thought. A cloaking device. A system that rendered an aircraft invisible.

  • 2001 J. Fforde Eyre Affair 96

    I was going to ask Mycroft if I could have the cloaking device fitted to my Speedster but I was too late; enthused by my interest he had trotted off.

  • 2001 G. Mesta Starcraft #2 xxix. 473

    I'm equipped with a personal cloaking device, sir. A Dropship can take me to the fringe…

Research requirements

antedating 1968

Earliest cite

D. C. Fontana, in the Star Trek episode "The Enterprise Incident"

Research History
Michael Dolbear submitted a 1996 cite from William Shatner's "The Return". David Ferguson submitted a cite from a 1989 edition of Alan Asherman's "The Star Trek Compendium". Cameron Hayne pointed out that "cloaking device" was first used in the episode "Balance of Terror", first transmitted Dec 15 1966; we would like to verify this in the script for that episode. (The novelization by James Blish of this episode, in "Star Trek 1" uses "invisibility screen" rather than "cloaking device"). Murry McEntire submitted a 1971 cite from the James Blish novelization (in "Star Trek 4") of D.C. Fontana's "The Enterprise Incident". Chris Murrian submitted a 1987 cite from Diane Duane and Peter Morwood's “The Romulan Way”. Jesse Sheidlower confirmed that "Balance of Terror" uses "cloaking system"; the first use of "cloaking device" is from Dorothy C. Fontana's script to the 1968 episode "The Enterprise Incident".

Non Star Trek cites:
Douglas Winston submitted a 2001 cite from Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill's "Spirits White As Lightning". Douglas Winston submitted a 1989 cite from Nick Pollotta and Phil Foglio's "Illegal Aliens". Katrina Campbell submitted a 1980 cite from Donald F. Glut's "The Empire Strikes Back". Michael Dolbear submitted a 2003 cite from Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair". Michael Dolbear submitted a 1999 cite from Matthew J Reilly's "Ice Station". Michael Dolbear submitted a 2001 cite from Gabriel Mesta's "StarCraft #2: Shadow of the Xel'Naga".

We would like cites from non-Star Trek sources antedating 1980; or from Star Trek sources (on paper) antedating 1971.

Last modified 2020-12-20 18:37:51
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.