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"In 1977, it took about eight months for a slightly faster more refined mechanism to put punk in the window of Holt Renfrew. It's gotten faster ever since."
- William Gibson

Kzinti Lesson - Propulsion As Weapon  
  The power of a craft's means of propulsion repurposed as an offensive weapon.  

This is also known as the Kzinti Lesson, as described by Larry Niven:

"A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive."

This is often used as a canonical example because the human beings were trained to be nonviolent; they were incapable of using weapons to harm others. Except for one crew member...

The Captain hurried, knowing that the Telepath couldn't stand this for long. “How do they power their ship?”
“It's a light-pressure drive powered by incomplete hydrogen fusion. They use an electromagnetic ramscoop to get their own hydrogen from space.”
“Clever… Can they get away from us?”
“No. Their drive is on idle, ready to go, but it won't help them. It's pitifully weak.”
“What kind of weapons do they have?”
The Telepath remained silent for a long time...
“None at all, sir.” The Kzin's voice became clearer; his hypnotic relaxation was broken by muscle twitches. He twisted as if in a nightmare. “Nothing aboard ship, not even a knife or a club. Wait, they've got cooking knives. But that's all they use them for. They don't fight.”

...

A twist of a large white knob turned the drive on full, and he slipped into the pilot seat before the gentle light pressure could build up.
He turned to the rear-view telescope. It was aimed at the solar system, for the drive could be used for messages at this distance. He set it for short range and began to turn the ship.

...

The other ship began to turn away from its tormentor. Its drive end glowed red.
“They're trying to get away,” the Captain said, as the glowing end swung toward them. “Are you sure they can't?”
“Yes, sir. That light drive won't take them anywhere.”
The Captain purred thoughtfully. “What would happen if the light hit our ship?”

...

Someone had steered the ships much closer together. The Kzinti ship was a huge red sphere with ugly projections scattered at seeming random over the hull. The beam had sliced it into two unequal halves, sliced it like an ax through an egg. Steve watched, unable to turn aside, as the big half rotated to show its honeycombed interior.

Technovelgy from The Warriors, by Larry Niven.
Published by Worlds of If in 1966
Additional resources -

The Warriors was published in 1966, so there are surely earlier examples in science fiction. For example, the Sardaukar used the attitudinal jets on a troop carrier as flame-throwers in Frank Herbert's Dune, published in 1964.

The repellor rays from Armageddon 2419 AD by Philip Frances Nowlan are sometimes cited, but the story distinguishes disintegration rays.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Warriors
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to The Warriors
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

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