ion gun n.

an energy weapon that emits ions

Also in use since the 1930s to describe an actual ion-emitting device used in physics, materials science, etc.


  • 1935 J. W. Campbell, Jr. Conquest of the Planets in Amazing Stories Feb. 32/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    By dawn the Polshins were inspecting old atomic cruisers, looking again at the old ion-guns that had swept death through a thousand corridors in past years.

  • 1943 ‘H. Clement’ Attitude in Astounding Science-Fiction Sept. 24/1 page image Hal Clement bibliography

    You’re free to try any smuggling you want, but be careful. They already know what an ion gun looks like, and we have been told that they’re very good at guessing. We don’t know, of course, what articles besides weapons they don’t want us to have; so be careful in taking anything you think they might object to. I'm going to take this load up.

  • 1951 J. Vance Overlords of Maxus in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 51/2 page image Jack Vance bibliography

    He’s committed murder…. Just an hour or so ago with an ion gun.

  • 1963 B. Aldiss Impossible Star in World of Tomorrow Aug. 159/1 page image Brian W. Aldiss bibliography

    He moved toward his suit. Reluctantly, he climbed into it, menaced continually by the ion-gun.

  • 1979 J. M. Ford Stone Crucible in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine Aug. 62 page image John M. Ford bibliography

    Ye canna shoot me with an ion-gun.

  • 1997 J. Whitman Army of Terror (Star Wars: Galaxy of Fear) 55 page image John Whitman bibliography

    We’ve got a portable ion gun. It’s used to fight off attacking airships.

  • 2003 R. Vajra Shootout at Nokai Corral in Analog Science Fiction & Fact Mar. x. 107/2 Rajnar Vajra bibliography

    ‘Any of you Dust Devils care to astonish us with your profound knowledge of energy weapons? How about you, Dave? Then kindly lose the smirk and listen up. Go ahead, Chou.’ ‘Sure, John, but I hardly consider myself an expert. Here’s what I do know: basically an ion-plasma cannon, or “blast-torch,” is a semi-portable rocket engine combined with an ion gun and a tracking system.’ Larker could tell from the blank looks that he’d already left everyone but Davies a mile behind.

Research requirements

antedating 1935

Last modified 2022-03-11 15:53:02
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.