a character who is not portrayed in depth; (esp.) a character whose main plot function is to be killed
After the red shirts worn by security personnel in Star Trek, who were often killed on duty.
1985 Major Inconsistancy, in Usenet newsgroup net.startrek 28 May
You’re right, Redshirts are never allowed to survive an episode.
1994 SFRA Review July–Aug. 43
The weakest part of the book was the use of the dreaded ‘redshirt syndrome’.
2001 Entertainment Weekly 10 Sept. 83
Redshirt Blues…is an amusing riff on the hapless Starfleet crewmen whose uniforms invariably mark them for untimely deaths.
I am every secondary character and minor character and walk-on and redshirt.
River of Gods xlvi. 466
Before he was cast, the role was essentially a cipher, a working-class man of unspecified age and ethnicity, whose earliest character sketches described him as a ‘red shirt,’ a term used by ‘Star Trek’ fans to denote a supporting player who gets killed off quickly.
On ‘Lost,’ the Castaway Who Stands Out Without Even Trying in N.Y. Times 14 Mar.
Abnett smiled wryly. ‘So I get to be the redshirt on this one.’
2015 SciFiNow (#114) 25/1
Do shots every time the Enterprise has a tech failure or a Redshirt gets killed.
2016 SFX (#276) Aug. 110/4
Follow the daily disasters and misfortunes of a hapless redshirt.
Last modified 2021-01-09 20:34:05
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.