ray v.

to fire a ray at

Cf. the scientific sense ‘to treat with or examine by means of X-rays or other radiation’ (OED: 1898).


  • 1930 E. E. Smith Skylark Three in Amazing Stories Aug. 406/1 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    That air-blast is probably what saved us, as they destroyed our vessel with atomic bombs and hunted down the four men of our crew, who stayed comparatively close to the scene. They rayed you for about an hour with the most stupendous beams imaginable—no such generators have ever been considered possible of construction—but couldn't make any impression upon you. Then they shut off their power and stood by, waiting. [Ibid. 408/1] ‘Ray it for a time; he will probably open the shield for a moment, as the other one did,’ then, after a time skipped over by the mind under examination, ‘Cease raying—no use wasting power. He must open eventually, as he runs out of power. Stand by and destroy him when he opens.’

  • 1930 J. W. Campbell Black Star Passes in Amazing Stories Quarterly Fall 509/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    So the ships had been rayed apart, and when Arcot had left, their burning atmosphere had been evolving mighty tongues of flame shooting a mile into the air.

  • 1934 F. K. Kelly Famine on Mars in Astounding Stories Sept. 94/1 page image Frank K. Kelly bibliography

    The people at the stations wouldn’t have let the shell go by. They’d have rayed anything that big.

  • 1942 I. Asimov Black Friar of the Flame in Planet Stories Spring 18/1 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    Order the guns placed in readiness and aimed along the avenues. Any Human attempting to pass the cordon is to be rayed mercilessly.

  • 1947 H. Guth Earthbound in Planet Stories Winter 88/2 page image Henry Guth bibliography

    We rayed the thing out of space as a menace to navigation.

  • 1949 J. H. Schmitz Agent of Vega in Astounding Science Fiction July 55/1 page image James H. Schmitz bibliography

    However, it wasn’t the first time he’d seen a Zone Agent check in from the Emergency Treatment Chamber of his ship, completely inclosed in a block of semisolid protective gel, through which he was being molded, rayed, dosed, drenched, shocked, nourished and psychoed back to health and sanity.

  • 1952 D. Pickles Letter in Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec. 132/1 page image Derek Pickles

    I am sick of demands for Captain Future; having read most of them from sheer force of circumstances (during the shortage but of all the overgrown Captain Marvel characters that have rayed their way through the pages of the pulps CF took some beating.

  • 1968 A. Norton Zero Stone 12 page image Andre Norton bibliography

    I caught a second man reaching for Vondar. But the one already struggling with him I dared not ray, lest I get my master too.

  • 1987 I. Asimov Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain lxxxvii. 321 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    Well, for starters, I’ll say you got hold of the stunner and rayed them both, then held the stunner on me and made me take you to the airport because you didn’t know its location.

  • 1990 P. Anderson Inconstant Star in L. Niven et al. Man–Kzin Wars III 292 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    He can try raying us…. He must have an industrial laser.

  • 2015 J. Riley Story Thieves 161 James Riley bibliography

    Move even an inch, and you get rayed.

Research requirements

antedating 1930

Earliest cite

Doc Smith, "Skylark Three", in Amazing Stories

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1942 cite from Isaac Asimov's "Black Friar of the Flame".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Henry Guth's "Earthbound".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from a letter by Derek Pickles to Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1962 reprint of James H. Schmitz's "Agent of Vega", which Mike Christie verified in its 1949 first printing.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1934 cite from Frank K. Kelly's "Famine on Mars".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1984 reprint of E.E. 'Doc' Smith's 1934 "Skylark of Valeron".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1930 cite from John W. Campbell, Jr.'s "The Black Star Passes".
Jacek Dobrzyniecki submitted corrected bibliographical information for many of the early cites.
Jacek Dobrzyniecki submitted a 1968 cite from Andre Norton's "Zero Stone".
Jacek Dobrzyniecki submitted a 1987 cite from Isaac Asimov's "Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain".
Jacek Dobrzyniecki submitted a 1990 cite from a Poul Anderson story in a Man-Kzin Wars volume.
Jacek Dobrzyniecki submitted a 2015 cite from James Riley's "Story Thieves".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1930 cite from E. E. Smith's "Skylark Three".

Last modified 2022-03-03 20:19:54
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.