The 6 Most Popular Star Wars Words

9 02 2010

Star Wars has bestowed pop culture with countless gifts. From films to TV shows, books to comics, memorable characters to enduring quotes, Star Wars is one of the defining pop culture phenomenons in history. No matter where your interests lie, Star Wars has something to offer. Like sports? Check out The Top 10 Star Wars Sports Crossovers. Love cats? There are billions of cat/Star Wars mashups.

As a writer, I like words. What has Star Wars contributed to the English language? Besides an infinite number of planet, spaceship and species names, Star Wars has created some of the coolest words not found in your trusty Merriam-Webster. Here’s a list of the top 6 Star Wars words that deserve a spot in our everyday lives:

  1. Datapad: first introduced in Timothy Zahn’s 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, the datapad made its way onto the screen in the Prequel trilogy. Basically a super-advanced PDA, the datapad has since appeared in almost every Star Wars story. With real-world gadgets like the iPad, Kindle and Netbook, why not just use the collective term “datapad”?
  2. Transparisteel: the window of the future. A completely clear metal, transparisteel makes up anything that would normally be glass: windows, viewports, helmet visors, etc. And it even becomes opaque to counteract super bright lights and explosions! Wouldn’t home specifications sound so much cooler if they included lines like, “double-paned, sliding transparisteel windows”?
  3. Snap-hiss: Another Zahn creation, this onomatopoeia is exclusive to Star Wars, and a fan favorite, showing up in countless books and comics. I mean, how else do you describe that most magnificent of sounds, the ignition of a lightsaber? Until lightsabers become a reality, I can see snap-hiss becoming a popular exclamation, à la, “Snap-hiss! That movie was awesome!” Use it, it’ll catch on.
  4. Bacta: The Star Wars answer to super-aspirin. A cure-all, bacta is (usually) in liquid form; submersion in bacta heals wounds (as seen in Empire Strikes Back after Luke’s encounter with the Wampa on Hoth). No post-battle dialogue is complete without a mention of bacta patches, bacta tanks and even bactade. Start calling Neosporin “bacta” and your Star Wars friends will love you.
  5. Sabacc: The Star Wars equivalent to poker, sabacc is the go-to game of chance in any Star Wars tale. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are legendary players and Expanded Universe authors have spent a significant amount of time detailing specific rules, variations and strategies. Poker is so 2010…sabacc is for badasses.
  6. Hydrospanner: The Star Wars Swiss-Army knife. First mentioned in Empire Strikes Back, the hydrospanner is the most used tool in the galaxy. No one really knows what it does, but whether fixing a droid or tinkering with a spaceship, characters always reach for their trusty hydrospanner.

These are just a few of the many Star Wars words that have risen above the rest to become staples in Star Wars lore. What are your favorite Star Wars words? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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One response

10 02 2010

The Hydrospanner is the SW version of the Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver

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