shapeshift v.

to change shape, by a natural capability, and adopt the form and sometimes abilities of an animal or other being

  • 1970 K. Roberts Mayday in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Nov. 19/1 page image Keith Roberts bibliography

    Compton Holywell was over two miles away; by the time she reached it she thought her lungs were going to burst. She’d been meaning to shape-shift and fly back, but she hadn’t dared; patrols of her own people were out already, quartering the entire area, hunting angrily for whoever had been wildcatting.

  • 1980 J. D. Vinge Hunt of the Unicorn in Basilisk 20 page image Joan D. Vinge bibliography

    His sister Arwyn had not been able to shape-shift before Braide’s curse; and so she could not now.

  • 1986 S. Dexter Mountains of Channadran 262

    The lizard’s shrunken, emptied body lay only a few inches from his face. Tristan watched it a long while, expecting some new trick, but apparently this time the transformation was real and final. Cheris had shape-shifted for the last time.

  • 1990 A. McCaffrey & J. L. Nye Death of Sleep (1992) 55 Anne McCaffrey Jody Lynn Nye bibliography

    He’s so young, he doesn’t know yet that it’s considered bad manners by his people to shape-shift in public.

  • 1993 SFRA Review Jan. 103

    Elementals of various first world clans who can shapeshift from monstrosity to human form.

  • 1994 I. McDonald Necroville (1995) 68 Ian McDonald

    The car shapeshifted, slimming and streamlining itself, pressing itself close to the black skin of the highway, growing spoilers and tailfins.

  • 1996 SFX May 96/2

    Hit a button and it shape-shifts back to normal.

  • 2018 S. Kenyon Stygian 224 Sherrilyn Kenyon bibliography

    ‘Awesome. Trapped here with you. No wine. No beer.’ He scanned him with a look. ‘And you can’t even shapeshift into a woman. Damn, I pissed off the wrong god last night.’

Research requirements

antedating 1980

Earliest cite

Joan Vinge

Research History
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1992 reprint of Anne McCaffrey and Jody Lynn Nye's 1990 "The Death of Sleep".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1986 cite for the variant "shape-shift" (as "shape-shifted") from Susan Dexter's "The Mountains of Channadran".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1980 cite from Joan D. Vinge.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2018 cite from Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1970 cite from Keith Roberts.

Last modified 2021-11-01 21:57:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.