a weapon that disintegrates its target
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.
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?
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.
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.
Just as the door went down they fitted the last piece back into the disintegrator and swung the barrel around. ‘I'll aim.’
At that moment an officer appeared and struck down the disintegrator…before it could be fired again.
Where a disintegrator beam falls, solid matter is rendered suddenly and violently positive. It tears itself into a fog of monatomic particles.
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.
G. P. Serviss, Edison's Conquest of Mars
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.