A brief lesson in proper Trek terminology.

School circle, on me.

It goes like this: Certain Star Trek terminolgy is specific to a particular era. For example, when we’re talking about Captain Kirk and his merry band from the 23rd century?

Pro tip, yo. Break this rule at your peril, would-be writer of Star Trek stories.

Here endeth the lesson.

7 thoughts on “A brief lesson in proper Trek terminology.

  1. Funny because it is true! Thankfully I rarely find any such glaring errors in the Star Trek books I read. The biggest problem I have is the projected technology doesn’t always seem advanced enough when writing about the 23rd & 24th centuries. Look how far we have come in just 100 years so thinking ahead 200 to 300 years the writer should wow us with really cool future Trek tech.


    1. I happened to be reading something earlier last evening and it just jumped out at me. I’m like, “REALLY?” The thing is, I’m not familiar enough with the author of the piece in question to know whether this person should’ve known better. 🙂


  2. Also, they didn’t use the term “warp core” or “warp reactor” in the original series — although both were used in Enterprise, so technically they could’ve been around in the 23rd century. In TOS they generally said “matter-antimatter reactor” (which is the correct technical term even in the 24th century — it’s formally the M/ARC, the matter/antimatter reactor chamber), or more frequently just “the engines” or “the warp drive.” There was an “engineering core” mentioned in the animated “Beyond the Farthest Star,” but that sounds more like the central area of the engineering section than a reference to the reactor itself.

    Similarly, the expressions “take us out of warp,” drop out of warp,” and “drop to impulse” were never used in TOS; the closest we got was “Took the ship out of warp speed” in “The Mark of Gideon.” The order was generally more along the lines of “switch to impulse” or “reduce to sub-warp speed,” though in the second pilot it was “neutralize warp.”


    1. Terminology with respect to equipment is one thing, but I tend to be more forgiving of “colloquial” terms like “drop out of warp” etc. “Away team” in particular has always been the one that sticks out, because it’s just so “very” TNG, with Roddenberry’s attempt to downplay many of the military comparisons that were so prevalent with TOS.


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