photon torpedo n.

in the fictional universe of the Star Trek franchise: a ship-based weapon in which a destructive force is generated by a collision of matter and antimatter

Originally on Star Trek, and still primarily used in reference to it.

Memory Alpha

Star Trek


  • 1968 R. Hamner & G. L. Coon Taste of Armageddon in J. Blish Star Trek 2 22 Robert Hamner Gene L. Coon

    I wanted to bounce a couple of dozen photon torpedoes off them for a starter.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ii. 194 bibliography

    The Enterprise is equipped with a second type of offensive weapon, called photon torpedos, which are energy pods of matter and anti-matter contained and held temporarily separated in a magno-photon force field.

  • 1971 J. Blish Star Trek 4 62 James Blish

    Set photon torpedoes two, four and six for widest possible scatter the three highest intercept probabilities.

  • 1984 D. Duane My Enemy, my Ally vi. 85 Diane Duane bibliography

    What the hell are they doing here? Mr. Chekov, arm photon torpedoes, prepare to lock phasers on for firing. Mr. Sulu, prepare evasive action but do not execute.

  • 1985 M. Larson Pawns & Symbols vi. 82

    Wouldn’t mind spending some time there collecting specimens—if I had a healthy supply of photon torpedoes and a reliable scanner alarm.

  • 1986 D. Carey Dreadnought! iii. 35 Diane Carey bibliography

    Star Empire…carries five dual-mount phaser banks, four banks of photon torpedoes.

  • 1989 D. Dvorkin & D. Dvorkin Star Trek: Next Generation: Captains' Honor i. 19 David Dvorkin Daniel Dvorkin bibliography

    Thermal radiation indicates that it came from the explosion of a starship by photon torpedo.

  • 1989 D. Dvorkin & D. Dvorkin Star Trek: Next Generation: Captains' Honor viii. 157 David Dvorkin Daniel Dvorkin bibliography

    As soon as that area rotated back into view, photon torpedoes flashed out from beneath the Centurion ’s saucer and into the area of weakened M'dok deflector shields.

  • 1990 D. Kramer-Rolls Home is Hunter ii. 9

    And our ship’s phaser banks, and the photon torpedoes.

  • 1996 J. Gunn Joy Machine ix. 131 James E. Gunn

    If we had a diversion from the Enterprise. Phasers. Photon torpedoes.

  • 1996 W. Shatner Return ii. 14 William Shatner

    They were low-yield photon torpedoes.

  • 1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity v. 66 Greg Cox bibliography

    Photon torpedoes loaded and ready to go.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother's Keeper i. v. 61 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    Phasers, disruptors, photon torpedoes…none of those technologies had been invented yet.

  • 2012 R. Reid Year Zero xvi. 254 page image Rob Reid bibliography

    It took about fifteen minutes to get the truth about the aliens across to him. [...] ‘So now what?’ he finally asked dejectedly. ‘Is he gonna blow us all up with a photon torpedo?’ I shook my head. ‘He can’t harm us directly. So he needs to get us to destroy ourselves somehow. And it’s a safe bet he’ll be using the shipment that he booked right after he figured out that I’m not a Guardian.’

Research requirements

antedating 1968

Earliest cite

S.E. Whitfield, Making of Star Trek

Research History
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2012 cite from Rob Reid.

Added to the OED in March 2006 with an earliest date of 1968.

Last modified 2021-11-18 16:57:20
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.