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a Dalek



Coined by Terry Nation in 1963 for his script The Daleks on Doctor Who. Accounts of how he devised the word vary. Within the Doctor Who universe, the word is related to the name of the people from whom the Daleks evolved, the Kaled people.



Dalek (plural Daleks)

  1. (science fiction) A member of a race of extraterrestrial mutants who appear in the television programme Doctor Who and are known for travelling in metallic shells, having monotone, mechanically distorted voices, repeating a limited number of phrases, and being bent on exterminating other beings mercilessly.
    • 1964, David Whitaker, Doctor Who and the Daleks, chapter 6 (based on the tele-script by Terry Nation):
      'But Alydon,' I persisted, 'the Daleks aren't human beings. They're just evil, half creatures, half machines, determined to destroy you.'
    • 1987, Barry Norman, The Movie Greats‎, page 144:
      [] what kind of courage it must have taken for Hawkins, an actor renowned for the quality of his voice, to go back onto the set to deliver lines in that oesophageal monotone, what he called his "Dalek voice".
    • p. 1996,, Together with English Core, fourteenth edition (Rachna Sagar Pvt. Ltd., ISBN 81-87414-92-8), page 234:
      This synthesizer is by far the best I have heard, because it varies the intonation, and does not speak like a Dalek.
    • 2000, Rosie Parnell (Rosie White), The Crit: An Architecture Student's Handbook (co-written with Charles Doidge, Rachel Sara), page xii:
      My voice still insisted on disappearing into my shoes every time it happened so that I sounded like a Dalek, but with a bit of experience behind me I felt marginally more confident.
    • 2003, Siân Preece, Country Cooking Countdown, in Scottish Girls About Town (2004), page 19:
      One man was skiting around on a big, wheeled camera like a Dalek, dodging the scurrying assistants and clipboard-wielders, []
    • 2006, Gareth Roberts, I Am a Dalek, chapter 9:
      Then the Dalek turned and picked off the other passengers one by one. It screamed... 'Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!'
    • a. 2010, Peter Bazalgette, quoted in the Funniest Thing You Never Said: 2, page 333:
      Gordon Brown sounds like a Dalek with about three stock phrases... Remember, Daleks always want world domination but they always lose.
    • 2011, Colin Neill, Turas: A Story of Strangers in a Strange Land, page 166:
      And Peter was so focused too: like a Dalek in a track suit.
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