deflector n.

a force field that protects something (such as a spaceship or a city) from potentially harmful objects or energy; a beam of energy that repels such objects; cf. shield n.

Also in combinations, as deflector beam, deflector screen, deflector shield.

  • 1931 M. J. Breuer On Board the Martian Liner in Amazing Stories Mar. 1086/1 page image Miles J. Breuer, M.D. bibliography

    They were talking about reaction-motors, meteorite deflectors, three-dimensional sextants, and such things with a fondness that only the two of them felt.

  • 1935 J. W. Campbell Conquest of the Planets in Amazing Stories Mar. 68/2 page image John W. Campbell, Jr.

    The magnetic deflectors of the fort would have been loaded to the uttermost.

  • 1945 ‘M. Leinster’ First Contact in Astounding Science-Fiction May 11/1 Murray Leinster

    The blasters are those beams of ravening destruction which take care of recalcitrant meteorites in a spaceship’s course when the deflectors can’t handle them. They are not designed as weapons, but they can serve as pretty good ones.

  • 1949 A. Coppel Runaway in Planet Stories Spring 33/2 Alfred Coppel

    In those days no one had ever heard of deflectors, and a free passage through the Belt was a one in a thousand chance. Yet, being young and a bit cocky, I was willing to attribute it to my own spacemanship.

  • 1956 S. Carson Seed of Tomorrow in Fantastic Universe Apr. 79/2 page image Sam Carson bibliography

    Ti-5’s serpentine bulk was hovering just outside the atmosphere. Presently they saw tiny flames far below as rockets raced toward them. As Ti-5 set the deflectors Donn swore. Rocket after rocket, some of quite formidable dimensions, swerved away and vanished.

  • 1968 G. L. Coon Arena (‘Star Trek’ script) 3 Nov. 9

    We’ve returned fire with all phaser banks. Negative against his deflector screen.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘˜Star Trek’™ ii. ii. 195

    The Enterprise is also equipped with navigational deflector beams which…sweep far ahead of the vessel’s path through space.

  • 1970 R. Silverberg Tower of Glass in Galaxy Mag. June 83/2 Robert Silverberg

    In flight, an automatic deflector field surrounds the ship to ward off all oncoming free-floating particles, which of course could be enormously destructive at such velocities.

  • 1980 J. C. Haldeman II Perry's Planet i. 2

    The Enterprise, now with full deflectors, rocked slightly under each impact.

  • 1985 M. W. Bonanno Dwellers in Crucible ii. 44 Margaret Wander Bonanno

    Vulcan cities were deflector screened against the worst weather.

  • 1998 I. Stewart & J. Cohen Code of the Skydiver in Interzone Oct. 23/2 page image bibliography

    Blimp technology would only divert the snowstones: there was no way to impart sufficient energy to fling them out of the system altogether. Eventually, then, they must return, to be diverted again. And one day, perhaps, a snowstone would arrive when the deflectors had temporarily failed, and snowstrike would devastate the planet.

  • 2008 A. M. Steele Galaxy Blues in Asimov’s Science Fiction Feb. 99 page image Allen Steele bibliography

    In the blink of an eye, the big freighter was gone, with little more than a last glimpse of its forward deflector array.


Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Miles Breuer, in Amazing Stories

Research History
Ralf Brown located, and Douglas Winston and Lawrence Watt-Evans independently submitted, a cite from a reprint of Robert Silverberg's "Tower of Glass"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1970 first magazine appearance.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from Alfred Coppel, Jr.'s "Runaway".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1977 reprint of Leigh Brackett's "The Veil of Astellar": we would like to verify it in its first publication (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spring, 1944)
Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 cite from Sam Carson's "Seed of Tomorrow".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1987 cite from Thomas R. McDonough's "The Architects of Hyperspace".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1946 reprint of "First Contact" by Murray Leinster (pseud. of Will F. Jenkins): Mike Christie verified this in its first publication (Astounding, May 1945)
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1931 cite from Miles J. Breuer in Amazing Stories.
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1935 cite from John W. Campbell in Amazing Stories.

Suggested by Randy Hoffman.

Last modified 2021-01-03 04:04:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.