Is ‘light’ redundant in the word ‘lightsaber’?

By Foozy
Guest Contributor

Growing up as a kid in the 80s and 90s watching Star Wars, the term “lightsaber” was awesome, coupled with the noises, visuals and battles that took place with the awe-inspiring cinematic weapon for the sci-fi imagination. (Unfortunately, we only had those slide-out sabers from the mid-90s to have lightsaber duels at night, where after a minute or so, one of them would break).

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Now that I’m older, and being a stickler for words (and redundancies), the idea occurred to me, “Why do they call them LIGHTsabers?”

Would they not just be regular sabers in the Star Wars universe? I put some serious thought into it, and the first thing to stick out is the term “saber.” It’s basically some form of a metal blade, in some cases for fencing/dueling, but anyone who has seen a movie about war should have a good idea of a traditional saber.

Therefore, in the Star Wars universe, do we ever see a metal blade as a saber? Perhaps I missed a character once here or there in the films, and certainly I admit I don’t read the books, which I understand are not fodder for the films.

The primary reason I think George Lucas used the word “light” with “saber” to form one word is to help the audience understand the weapon. To help demonstrate, Lucas used the term “spaceship” and “starship” early on in A New Hope, but eventually we see the term cut to just “ship.” At least when Han Solo is introduced, he refers to the Millennium Falcon as simply a “ship.” There’s no confusion because we never see ships like on Earth floating in the oceans. They do continue to use terms like “consular ship” and “Imperial star ship,” but those are descriptive terms for spacecrafts.

So why keep the “light” in the term, especially throughout every film made since Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope? It must have been such a unique feature to the first film, that Lucas felt the term was an accomplishment in cinematic technology never-before seen. The original term for the weapon was “laser sword.” The name change to “lightsaber” obviously was the better choice.

My main problem is that there are no other sabers in any form that I know of. Hence, it’s simply the saber of this cinematic universe. Thoughts?

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