Looking at dictionary.com, "trek" is defined as "to travel or migrate, especially slowly or with difficulty."

Given the connotation in the second definition, was there an actual known reason that this specific term was chosen among all of the possible synonyms?

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    Its actually difficult to get to the stars...
    – user931
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 4:18
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    And, even warp ships were slow.. mind it, they were confined to certain part of galaxy.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 4:20
  • I remember when the show was new or newish -- it came out when I was too young to watch (beyond bedtime and as silly as it sounds now, too sophisticated although I guess even now it has adult themes that many would not want their pre-teen exposed to) and I recall that the word "Trek" gave a lot of people trouble -- I think people pronounced it "track" sometimes. Anyway, it is unfamiliar, more exotic word than journey, more "futuristic" in a way so perhaps that was the basis of Gene's decision.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


Not sure if there's a better reasoning quoted in some source, but as per Memory Alpha:

According to various sources, when Gene Roddenberry was deciding what to call what has come to be known as Star Trek, "Wagon Train to the Stars" was one of the names he toyed with.

Obviously, wagon train does have a connotation of "slowly migrate with difficulty", so in that context the choice of "Trek" fits pretty well.

The above (sadly un-sourced) Memory Alpha info matches the info on Wikipedia:

Roddenberry had extensive experience in writing for series about the Old West that had been popular television fare earlier in the 1960s and the 1950s, and he pitched his new show to the networks as "Wagon Train to the stars."

The source for the Wikipedia info is listed as "25th Anniversary television special"

Interestingly enough, the original title seems to have been given a new life in "Star Trek: Wagon Train to the Stars" - a novel #1 (of 6) written by Diane Carey for "Star Trek: New Earth" series.

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    If you're looking for source, the phrase "wagon train to the stars" is used several times in "The Making of Star Trek" by Stephan E. Whitfield. Gene Roddenberry used it to describe the show a number of times and apparently used it to pitch the show. In the sound recording of "Inside Star Trek" I believe he uses it there as well.
    – Tango
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 4:59
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    @Tango -make that comment a real answer :) Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 22:25
  • Okay, it's done.
    – Tango
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 23:00
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    That name sounds like it would be hoaky even by the 1960s standard. I'm glad they changed their mind...but why did they eventually decide NOT to use that name?
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 13:25
  • Wait, this answer insinuates "Wagon Train to the Stars" was considered as an actual title, whereas Tango's answer rather sounds like it's more of a "XYZ in space" kind of reference, with XYZ being another show named "Wagon Train". While those two statements are not mutually exclusive, they also sound like one might be based on a misunderstanding. The path from "You could think of it as Wagon Train to the Stars." over "He referred to his show as 'Wagon Train to the Stars'" to "He called his show 'Wagon Train to the Stars' at first" is short. Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 16:32

Gene Roddenberry repeatedly said he was going to make a "Wagon Train to the stars" show. Wagon Train was a popular western show on TV in the 1960s. (He was quoted as using this phrase many times in The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield.) The basic plot was a few men leading a number of settlers in a wagon train to the west. On the way, they'd face hardships and adventures and come across Indian tribes and outlaws and other types of people. It was a show about exploration.

His idea was lasers or blasters instead of six-shooters and space ships instead of conestoga wagons.

Westerns were very popular at this time. While pitching the show to network executives, he used that comparison and phrase over and over. The title Star Trek reflects that. It's about movement, with an implication of exploration.

So it played on the popularity of westerns and gave the implication of movement and exploration. It also tied in with the way he pitched it to the networks.

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    FWIW, William Shatner's Memories also recounted the same story of it being pitched as "Wagon Train to the Stars".
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 14:28

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