zap gun n.

= ray gun n.

Now chiefly historical or humorous.

SF Fandom


  • 1934 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 25 Oct. 3/2 (advt.)

    Buck Rogers Zap Gun 50Β’.

  • 1947 Fantasy Review Feb.–Mar. 9 page image

    ASF’s competitor-mags are stocked by professional pulp-writers with plots about lush, semi-clad damsels, greenish monsters with nasty notions, stalwart heroes with zap-guns.

  • 1951 Letter in Planet Stories Mar. 39/2 page image

    Mounting my worple (Gruzlaks are out of fashion), and slinging my Zap-gun across my muscular, sunbronzed shoulders, I gallop off into the purple dusk.

  • 1969 K. Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five iv. 65 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. bibliography

    Billy’s will was paralyzed by a zap gun aimed at him from one of the portholes.

  • 2012 N.Y. Times (National ed.) 25 May c6/2

    They break out the neuralyzers and the zap guns in their continuing mission to deal with the extraterrestrials hidden in our midst.

Research requirements

antedating 1934

Earliest cite

Fantasy Review

Research History
In the OED as a subsidiary sense for Zap: earliest cite is from Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" (1969)

The title of Philip K. Dick's 1967 novel "The Zap Gun" is an antedating.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1954 cite from "Reconnaissance" by P.W Cutler.
Bill Mullins submitted a 1947 cite from Fantasy Review.
Bill Mullins submitted a 1934 cite from a newspaper database.
Bill Mullins submitted a 1951 cite from a letter to Planet Stories.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.