disintegrator n.

a weapon that disintegrates its target

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1898 G. P. Serviss Edison’s Conquest of Mars in Los Angeles Herald 27 Feb. 22/2 page image Garrett P. Serviss bibliography

    The range of the mysterious artillery employed by the Martians was unknown to us. We did not even know the limit of the effective range of our own disintegrators. If it should prove that the Martians were able to deal their strokes at a distance greater than any which we could reach, then they would of course have an insuperable advantage.

  • 1902 G. Griffith Masters of the World in Liverpool Weekly Courier 19 Apr. 1/9 George Griffith bibliography

    If those expeditions are really armed forces, and their object is to takes these works by hook or by crook, of course we must [fight]…. Poor devils! I wonder what they’ll feel like when we turn the disintegrators on them?

  • 1925 N. Dyalhis When Green Star Wanes in Weird Tales Apr. 6/2

    Well it was for me that, in obedience to Hul Jok’s imperative command, I was holding my Blastor pointing ahead of me; for as I blundered full upon the monstrosity it upheaved its ugly bulk—how I do not know, for I saw no legs nor did it have wings—to one edge and would have flopped down upon me, but instinctively I slid forward the catch on the tiny Blastor, and the foul thing vanished—save for a few fragments of its edges—smitten into nothingness by the vibration hurled forth from that powerful little disintegrator.

  • 1928 P. F. Nowlan Armageddon – 2419 A.D. in Amazing Stories Aug. 432/1 page image Philip Francis Nowlan bibliography

    Then we saw the ship falling. It seemed to plunge lazily, but actually it fell with terrific acceleration, turning end over end, its disintegrator rays, out of control, describing vast, wild arcs, and once cutting a gash through the forest less than two hundred feet from where we stood.

  • 1940 R. M. Williams Raiders Out of Space in Amazing Stories Oct. 32/1 page image Robert Moore Williams bibliography

    Just as the door went down they fitted the last piece back into the disintegrator and swung the barrel around. ‘I'll aim.’

  • 1951 S. Merwin House of Many Worlds in Startling Stories Sept. 33/1 page image Sam Merwin, Jr. bibliography

    At that moment an officer appeared and struck down the disintegrator…before it could be fired again.

  • 1979 L. Niven Ringworld Engineers in Galileo July 57/1 Larry Niven bibliography

    Where a disintegrator beam falls, solid matter is rendered suddenly and violently positive. It tears itself into a fog of monatomic particles.

  • 2010 M. A. Martin Seize the Fire 395 page image Michael A. Martin bibliography

    Ereb is appalled at the very idea of executions. I think we can trust that her disc is some sort of transporter, and not a matter-disintegrator of some kind.

Research requirements

antedating 1898

Earliest cite

G. P. Serviss, Edison's Conquest of Mars

Research History
Alistair Durie submitted a 1925 cite from Nictzin Dyalhis's "When the Green Star Waned".
Alistair Durie submitted a 1928 cite for "disintegrator ray" from Philip Francis Nowlan's "Armageddon — 2419 A.D."
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from George Griffith's 1903 novel "The World Masters"; Simon Koppel verified this in the original serial publication in 1902.
Simon Koppel submitted an 1898 cite from G. P. Serviss.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2010 cite from Michael A. Martin.

Not in OED, but there is a 1929 example under "zap" int. def. 1.

Last modified 2021-04-14 20:08:54
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.