disruptor n.

a type of energy weapon; a weapon that causes damage by disrupting the molecular bonds of its target


  • 1931 N. Schachner & A. L. Zagat Emperor of the Stars in Wonder Stories Apr. 1216/2 page image Arthur Leo Zagat Nat Schachner bibliography

    The disruptor rays had absolutely no effect upon these creatures. Matter was differently constituted hereβ€”earth forces were unable to break up these atoms. All was lost!

  • 1931 N. Schachner & A. L. Zagat Emperor of the Stars in Wonder Stories Apr. 1216/2 page image Arthur Leo Zagat Nat Schachner bibliography

    In great waves the green terrors advanced. Desperately the men searched about for some opening, some gap through which to seek escape. There was none. Enringed, they stood at bay, defenseless, now that the disruptor tubes, potent weapons of destruction on earth, were useless.

  • 1939 J. Williamson in Marvel Science Stories Feb. 43/2 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    Then abrupt uproar! Shrieks and loud commands. The snarl of cathode guns, and the thin cold hiss of disruptors. The crash of a shattering explosion.

  • 1947 E. Hamilton Star Kings in Amazing Stories xxiii. 142/1 page image Edmond Hamilton bibliography

    Do you dream he can conquer the Empire when we have the Disruptor to use in case of necessity?

  • 1953 A. Norton Last Planet (1955) 51 Andre Norton bibliography

    They set off at dusk, rations and bedrolls strapped under the single seat remaining in the stripped-down sled. And with the bedrolls was the single disruptor they had left.

  • 1973 P. E. High Come, Hunt an Earthman (1985) 98 Philip E. High bibliography

    This one was a disrupter [sic] beam and invisible.

  • 1985 M. W. Bonanno Dwellers in Crucible i. 23 Margaret Wander Bonanno

    His two lieutenants drew their disruptors as he casually produced a hypospray from a pocket of his uniform tunic.

  • 1986 L. M. Bujold Shards of Honor (1991) 8 Lois McMaster Bujold bibliography

    She heard the crackle of a nerve disruptor as she pitched backward into the ravine, stunner and comm link flying from her hands.

  • 1995 P. David Captain's Daughter ii. vii. 72 Peter David

    A disruptor blast sliced just above his head.

  • 1998 W. Shatner et al. Spectre Prologue 2 William Shatner bibliography

    Everyone else would be distracted by the flat red blister of a disruptor scar etched across the olive skin of her forehead.

  • 2015 B. S. Calhoun Lightning 339 page image Bonnie S. Calhoun bibliography

    Selah rolled to the side and fired her pulse disruptor. It blew the door open, which in turn hit the guy so hard it knocked him unconcious.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Schachner & Zagat 'The Emperor of the Stars', in Wonder Stories

Research History
Matthew Hoyt submitted a cite from a 1986 reprint of William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic"; Malcolm Farmer verified the first appearance in Omni in 1981.
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1939 cite from Jack Williamson's "After World's End".
Cyril Alberga submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Edmond Hamilton's 1949 "The Star Kings", but the meaning is a superweapon, rather than a handheld weapon like a blaster. Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the original appearance in Amazing Stories in 1947.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1997 cite from Lucius Shepard's "Vermillion".
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite for the form "disrupter" from a 1985 reprint of Philip E. High's 1973 "Come, Hunt an Earthman".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1996 cite from Bill Baldwin's "The Defiance".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Andre Norton's 1953 "The Last Planet"; Mike Christie verified the cite in a 1955 reprint.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1991 reprint of Lois McMaster Bujold's 1986 Shards of Honor".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1989 cite from Jack McDevitt's "A Talent for War".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1988 cite from L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s "In Endless Twilight".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1931 cite from Nathan Schachner and Arthur Leo Zagat's "The Emperor of the Stars".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2015 cite from Bonnie S. Calhoun.

Last modified 2023-09-07 12:02:58
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.