filk song n.

a song in the filk style


SF Fandom

  • 1953 P. Anderson Zeitschrift für Vollständigen Unsinn Winter 22

    Barbarous Allen: A Filk Song.

  • 1955 Zed June

    The origin of the term ‘filk song’ is probably better known to most of you than it is to me; but for the benefit of johnnies-come-lately, I will repeat it. It was a typographical error in, or in correspondence about (this is not clear), Lee Jacobs' ‘The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Folk Music’. The term was tossed around in SAPS for awhile, then dropped but gleefully caught by Karen Anderson.

  • 1955 Zed June

    The blame/credit (choose one) for the first filk song is a little dubious. Like the man who tried to sit on two stools, it falls in the middle, between Poul Anderson who wrote a filk song called Barbarous Allen and Karen Anderson who egged him on and published it in Zed #774.

  • 2019 A. Farkas Filk in Iowa Review (vol. 49, iss. 1) 54 page image

    Karen Anderson claims ‘Barbarous Allen’ is ‘the first known song published as a filk song.’ The first filk song period? No. But with the qualification, I suppose she’s right.

Research requirements

antedating 1953

Earliest cite

K. Anderson 'The Zed'

Research History
Lee Gold submitted a 1983 cite from Rob Rose's "A Filker's Dictionary".
Paul Rubin sent in this URL:, This page includes a scan, supplied by Lee Gold, of a page from the December 1953 mailing of the Spectator Amateur Press Society, which contains a song by Poul Anderson, with the heading "Barbarous Allan. A Filk Song"

Added to the OED in March 2002. Earliest cite in the OED: 1959.

Last modified 2022-11-29 15:41:56
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.