Klingon n.

in the fictional universe of the Star Trek franchise: a member of a humanoid alien race, characterized by authoritarian brutality and a strict code of honor; (also) the language of this race, now widely studied as an artificial language

[invented by Gene L. Coon for the Star Trek episode ‘Errand of Mercy’; named after Wilber Clingan, a former colleague]

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  • 1967 G.L. Coon Errand of Mercy (Star Trek episode) (transcription) Gene L. Coon

    We are to proceed to Organia and take whatever steps are necessary to prevent the Klingons from using it as a base. Ibid. The Klingons are a military dictatorship. War is their way of life. Life under the Klingon rule would be very unpleasant.

  • 1967 Ludington (Michigan) Daily News 17 Mar. 14

    The placid planet of Organia…deals with the threat of invasion by the hostile Klingon armies.

  • 1968 G. Roddenberry in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ i. vii. 116 Gene Roddenberry bibliography

    A Klingon warship is attacking us with photon bolts, and there are near misses going on all around us…explosions.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ix. 257 bibliography

    Physically, the Klingons are slightly oriental looking, dark complexioned, with bushy eyebrows that arch up at both ends. The men, without exception, are bearded. They have no patience with women.

  • [1984 Starlog May 21/1

    I’m sure Leonard Nimoy wouldn’t sacrifice a good take for improper Klingonese, but we did the best we could to keep the language accurate.]

  • 1985 M. Okrand Klingon Dictionary i. 13 Marc Okrand bibliography

    The system of writing Klingon…in this dictionary has been developed so people who already know how to read English will have a minimum of difficulty.

  • 1985 B. Hambly Ishmael i. 9 Barbara Hambly

    And the Klingons are very skillful about things like that.

  • 1996 Linguistics & Science Fiction Sept. 2/2

    There’s an added bonus for real Star Trek fans in the form of…an interactive point-and-click guide to the Klingon language.

  • 1997 W. Shatner Avenger iii. 21 William Shatner

    The planet’s name was Chal, a Klingon term for Heaven.

  • 1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity ii. 24 Greg Cox bibliography

    Not even a Klingon really wanted to know the day of his own death.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother’s Keeper iii. ii. 19 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    He glanced at the base of the memorial spire, where the names of the Klingons’ victims were inscribed.

  • 1999 C. Pellegrino & G. Zebrowski Star Trek Next Generation: Dyson Sphere ii. 29 George Zebrowski Charles Pellegrino bibliography

    The natural universe, as every Klingon knew, was itself a fearful antagonist.

  • 2000 Linguistics & Science Fiction Jan. (unpaged)

    While ViA’s device cannot translate Klingon to Romulan, it does interpret seven other languages.

Research requirements

antedating 1967

Earliest cite

G. L. Coon, Star Trek episode 'Errand of Mercy'

Research History
New Entry in the OED in September 2003, with earliest dates of: 1968 (race), 1985 (language), 1968 (adjective)

Last modified 2021-09-11 13:02:30
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.