There two excellent parodies contain either the phrase "Klingons on the starboard bow" or "Klingons off the starboard bow". How many times, if ever, did this exact phrase occur in The Original Series? I can't help but wonder if, like "beam me up Scotty", it was zero.

  • 3
    Only going forward cos we can't find reverse!
    – JK.
    Nov 22, 2021 at 21:14
  • I bet the line can be heard in "Yesterday's Enterprise." Nov 23, 2021 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


There are actually two questions here. I shall take them in order.

How many times is the literal phrase "Klingons on [or off] the starboard bow" spoken in Star Trek: The Original Series?

Zero. There is, however a single mention of the ship's "starboard bow" in TOS: Charlie X where we're told:

UHURA: Sir, something off our starboard bow. The message says they're from Thasus.

This is close enough that it could be the trope originator.

How many times were there actually Klingons on the ship's starboard bow?

At least once in the TV series. In TOS: Elaan of Troyius a Klingon ship is sighted on a parallel bearing of

"mark seven three point five"

which would place it on the ship's starboard bow.

  • How did you verify these?
    – J. Mini
    Nov 24, 2021 at 22:38
  • @J.Mini - I used Chakoteya to find each instance of the word "starboard" for the first part, and each instance of the word "Klingon" for the second half, then skimmed through each episode mentioned, just to double-check.
    – Valorum
    Nov 25, 2021 at 6:16

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