when and where is first occurence of word "zap" ? Online Etymology dictionnary mentions comic strip Buck Rogers but without any precise date or quotation

  • "Zap" was used as a character name by Samuel Taylor Coleridge back in the early 1800s. No telling where that came from. But I've always assumed that the sci-fi term came from the sound of an electric spark. – Hot Licks Jul 13 '20 at 21:25
  • thank you very much – Jacques Notaise Jul 15 '20 at 0:37

The term earliest appearance appears to be from 1929 as a noun. The comic strips “Buck Rogers in the Twenty-Fifth Century" were published from 1929 to 1967 and, apparently, used the term quite often.

Zap: (noun)

(orig. US) an excl. used to describe the force of a sudden impact:

1929 P.F. Nowlan in Wash. Post 7 May 16/3: Ahead of me was one of those golden dragon Mongols, with a deadly disintegrator ray... Br-r-rr-r-z-zzz-zap.

Zap: (verb)

(orig. US milit.) to kill, to defeat.

1942 [US] Berrey & Van den Bark - The American Thesaurus of SlAng.


Here is a strip from 1933 where the term zap as a verb is used:

enter image description here

From (rolandanderson.se)


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