Beam Me Up: Talking About Star Trek

Every time a new adaptation of Star Trek is released, there's plenty of buzz about what is one of the most enduring and iconic science fiction franchises. Rather than a glossary of Klingon terms, we've rounded up some of the more relevant English terms that get bandied about when there's a Star Trek media frenzy.

For more, check out the full article: Beam Me Up: Star Trek Vocabulary

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. stun
    make senseless or dizzy by or as if by a blow
    Regardless of whether these weapons are set to stun, blast aliens, or wrangle ghosts, the question is this: Are zap-guns plausible? – Inverse Science (July 22, 2016)
    This word comes from a very specific Star Trek phrase that became a part of popular culture: “Set phasers to stun!” This was actually a decent thing to do, since the alternative was setting them to kill. If a Starfleet officer hit someone with a phaser set on stun, it knocked them unconscious, similar to how a linebacker can stun a quarterback. People are also stunned by bad or shocking news. To be stunned is to be knocked out: literally or metaphorically.
  2. fleet
    group of aircraft operating under the same ownership
    When the Enterprise hosts an officer from the Klingon fleet, the crew faces an instant culture-clash. Worf is sensitive to other Klingons perceiving him as weak or “too human,” but the situation quickly moves beyond mere social awkwardness. – The Daily Dot (August 20, 2017)
    Originally a fleet was a group of ships in the navy, but since Star Trek’s space forces are modeled on naval tradition, words like fleet (and first officer) were borrowed by writers. The Enterprise isn’t just part of a fleet of spaceships: it’s part of Starfleet, the organization that sent the Enterprise on its five-year mission. Starfleet is often mentioned in the term Starfleet regulations, which Spock is often quoting and Kirk is often ignoring.
  3. galaxy
    a collection of star systems
    The two soon find that they have passed through a wormhole that has deposited them on the other side of the galaxy. –Science (September 8, 2017)
    The universe is everything that exists. A solar system is a group of planets orbiting a sun, just like Earth and Mars and Jupiter and the rest orbit our little sun, or Sunny, as I like to call her. The unit in-between is the galaxy: a galaxy is made up of many solar systems. As best I can tell, the adventures of Star Trek take place all or mostly within our galaxy, the Milky Way.
  4. mission
    an operation that is assigned by a higher headquarters
    The ship, and its crew, are mysterious hybrids, but with just 10 days to go before the CBS All Access debut of the new show — which is actually a prequel that takes place in a universe about a decade before the five-year mission at the heart of the original series — producers have revealed a few new secrets behind the warship's design. –SYFYWIRE (September 14, 2017)
    The opening lines of Star Trek’s original series are famous: “Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." A mission is a purpose and goal: a reason for doing something. You could say you’re on a mission to find the perfect cheeseburger. People on a religious mission are dedicated to helping (and possibly converting) people.
  5. hybrid
    a composite of mixed origin
    Mr. Spock is one of the world's most loved and most enduring sci-fi characters. A green-blooded, human-Vulcan hybrid, he was Captain Kirk's loyal aide, and his conscience, and second in command of the Star Ship Enterprise. –International Business Times (February 27, 2015)
    A hybrid combines two things: a restaurant could be a hybrid of Mexican and Chinese food, while a hybrid car runs on both gas and electric. Animal hybrids include the mule (the offspring of a donkey and horse). Mixed dog breeds could also be called hybrids, such as the labradoodle (Labrador and poodle) and puggle (pug and beagle). Mr. Spock is often referred to as a hybrid because his father is a Vulcan and his mother is an Earthling.
  6. prime
    of or relating to the first or originating agent
    For the uninitiated, the prime directive was a Star Trek philosophy which prohibited members of the United Federation of Planets from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. In other words, it was a basic understanding that one civilization or race wouldn’t screw with the development of another. – Cruise Radio (August 4, 2017)
    Anything prime is the best or highest example something. In Star Trek, the prime directive states that Starfleet ships shouldn’t be meddling in other planet’s cultures just because they feel like it or think they know better.
  7. torpedo
    a long cylindrical self-propelled underwater projectile
    In ‘Star Trek,’ photon torpedoes were matter-antimatter weapons on starships. In real life, photons are microscopic particles of light that have a wide range of scientific applications from manufacturing to medicine to communication. – Detroit Free Press (August 18, 2011)
    By the 1700s, the word had gained its more contemporary meaning: as a type of explosive, in the shape of a cigar, launched from a submarine.
  8. crystal
    a rock with regularly repeating internal structure
    Koolmees documented the involved project on his K-Money Industries website. Dilithium, the crystal that powers Federation starships, is stubbornly fictional, so Koolmees build the dilithium chamber to hold his home server instead. –CNET (July 18, 2017)
    Dilithium crystals power the Enterprise, but only the dilithium part is made-up. Crystals are real solids found in nature that have geometrical patterns described as crystalline.
  9. engineer
    a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve problems
    For María Regina Apodaca Moreno, 22, of all the crew members of the starship Enterprise it was chief engineer Scotty who was her inspiration. –Mexico News Daily (August 24, 2017)
    Engineers design and build many things, but in Star Trek, the engineer has a more literal job: taking care of the engines.
  10. enterprise
    a purposeful or industrious undertaking
    While transporting two passengers to their home planet, the Enterprise team loses its way.New York Times (Aug 4, 2017)
  11. logic
    the branch of philosophy that analyzes inference
    Originally a fleet was a group of ships in the Navy, but since Star Trek’s space forces are modeled on naval tradition, words like fleet (and first officer) were borrowed by writers. –Daily Breeze (September 8, 2017)
    Logic is a specific type of reason that can be demonstrated or proven. Mr. Spock, like other Vulcans, is devoted to logic, as opposed to emotion.
  12. neutral
    having no personal preference
    The Kobayashi Maru fake-out massacre that opens the film still kills an audience. While Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) observes from his science station, Captain-in-training Saavik (Kirstie Alley) attempts to navigate a Neutral Zone rescue mission with catastrophic political Klingon consequences. – Film School Rejects (September 8, 2017)
    To be neutral is to not have a side: neutral parties aren’t rooting for anyone, whether in politics, war, or sports. In Star Trek, the Neutral Zone is an area of space not controlled by the Federation, Klingons, or Romulans.
  13. trek
    any long and difficult trip
    The writer and director was also responsible for another successful reboot in the form of the recent Star Trek series.The Guardian (Sep 12, 2017)
  14. regulation
    the act of bringing to uniformity
    The appearance of "an object of unknown origin" seems to kickstart the events of Star Trek: Discovery. This object is found "on the edge of Federation space," and it seems that the USS Shenzou is venturing a little further than Starfleet regulations would usually allow. –Movie Pilot (May 18, 2017)
    Regulations are rules, especially specific rules for a particular group or organization. Captain Kirk is well-known for flouting Starfleet regulations.
  15. warp
    bend or twist out of shape
    When Jean-Luc Picard was in command of the starship Enterprise, characters from the various TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and even Voyager could move to the silver screen at warp speed. – Inverse (August 23, 2017)
    When something is warped, it’s distorted or bent. The Enterprise’s engines warp space to go faster than the speed of light.

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