inertial damper n.

a device or system that partially negates the effects of inertia, used especially to protect those on board a spaceship from the effects of rapid changes in acceleration

Apparently coined by Star Trek writers. Memory Alpha: ‘According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (2nd ed. [1994], p. 205), inertial dampers were “invented” by Star Trek writers to explain how the crew avoided becoming “chunky salsa” when starships accelerated or decelerated.’

Memory Alpha

Star Trek

  • 1992 Cost of Living (episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation) (transcript of episode)

    The inertial dampers shouldn’t fail without kicking in the automatic bypass. I want to know what went wrong.

  • 1992 E. H. Wong Rescue in Aboriginal Science Fiction Winter 75/2 page image E. H. Wong bibliography

    Look how fast they start, stop, and accelerate… They must use inertial dampers, too, to quickly achieve sub-relativistic velocities.

  • 1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity v. 73 Greg Cox bibliography

    Kirk felt a slight tug of centrifugal force as the Enterprise spun around on its axis, then leaped forward at warp speed, pushing the limits of its inertial dampers.

  • 1998 W. Shatner et al. Spectre ii. 22 bibliography

    The ship’s artificial gravity field and inertial dampers compensated for the buffeting.

  • 1998 W. Shatner et al. Spectre xix. 226 bibliography

    With a gentle lag of the inertial dampers, he felt the St. Lawrence bank to port.

  • 2005 D. Ward & K. Dilmore Home Fires in Breakdowns 24

    What I wouldn’t give for a Starfleet-issue inertial damper right about now.

Research requirements

any evidence 1992

Earliest cite

"Cost of Living", an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

Research History
Suggested by Jeffrey Glen Jackson.
Cite submitted have tended to be from Star Trek related works: Adam Buchbinder submitted a 2005 cite from Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore's "Home Fires"

Non-Trek sources:
Ralf Brown located non-Trek cites in etexts of the following works:
Anderson Gentry, "The Crider Chronicles" (2005)
John Ringo, "When the Devil_Dances" (2002) and "A Hymn Before Battle (2000)
E.S. Strout, "Blue Shift" (in Planet Magazine #33, March Quarter, 2002)
We would like to get cites from printed editions of these works (and any others not listed).

Last modified 2020-12-27 10:24:49
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.