A chevron is a V-shape, often used in architecture as a fret. Early Ancient architecture features them heavily, both in interior and exterior starship design and on standalone pieces of technology.
All known original Ancient Stargates have nine chevron-shaped lights distributed evenly around them, which are used to indicate the current stage in the dialing process - though some variants created by other races can have different amounts or none at all.
The Ancient ship Destiny incorporates chevrons into both its interior and exterior design. The entire ship is shaped like a chevron, and many rooms inside it feature chevrons painted or engraved on the floor, usually facing the key feature of the room. This may suggest that the chevron was a symbol of their race, or had some other significance to their culture. It may also be that chevrons were used on Destiny because its mission was to follow the Seed ships, and chevrons are an obvious symbol of the Stargates.
Since the discovery of the Ancient Stargate in Egypt and the formation of Stargate Command; the chevron symbol has been used widely by the Tau'ri to represent the Stargate Program. It is used as part of the SGC logo, as well as on the unit badges of all SG team members. The Tau'ri also have a custom of referring to the number of glyphs used in a Stargate address as the number of chevrons - and gate technicians have a custom of reporting the process of inputting the glyphs into the Stargate the following manner:
- "Chevron One, encoded."
- "Chevron Two, encoded."
- "Chevron Three, encoded."
- "Chevron Four, encoded."
- "Chevron Five, encoded."
- "Chevron Six, encoded."
- "Chevron Seven, locked."
In 1995, when dialing Abydos for the first time, a technician named Jenny shouted out the chevrons locking in a lengthier manner: "Chevron _ is holding", when the symbol came up on the screen and "Chevron _ is locked in place", when it locked. (Stargate)
In 2004, when the Atlantis expedition arrived in Atlantis, Dr. Rodney McKay attempted to emulate this procedure upon first dialing the gate; Dr. Elizabeth Weir wordlessly discouraged him since the gate could be dialed in just a few seconds. (SGA: "Rising")
On Icarus base during the 9th Chevron dialing sequence in 2009, Sgt. Hunter Riley had a different approach. As the gate was dialing a symbol for the address he would announce the chevron was encoded, then identify it as being locked in place once it locked. (SGU: "Air, Part 1")
It is unknown why the Tau'ri take this approach, though it may be that in the aesthetic design of the Milky Way Stargates, it appears as though the chevron is physically reading the glyph underneath it. It is unknown if this is how the Stargate actually does determine the position of the dialing wheel but, based on the designs of both later and earlier Stargates, it is unlikely. It may also be because the Tau'ri gate does not have it's original DHD, so has to be dialled by spinning the wheel of glyphs. Which is normally an emergency manual measure.
Behind the scenes
- In Stargate Infinity, Stargates have seven chevrons.
- In the original movie Stargate, the top chevron is different from the rest of the chevrons on the Stargate but only from the front. This has no effect on dialing, it just serves to indicate and lock the point of origin. The reason it is unlike the other eight chevrons is unknown.
- In the movie, each one of the seven chevrons used in dialing the address moves when the desired glyph is positioned under it. In the series, only the top chevron moves (once for each glyph in the address), while the others light up without moving as their corresponding glyphs are encoded.