torcher n.

a pilot of a spaceship with a torch drive



  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Sky Lift in Imagination Nov. 8/2 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    He held a torcher’s contempt for the vast distance itself. Older pilots thought of interplanetary trips with a rocketman’s bias, in terms of years—trips that a torchship with steady acceleration covered in days.

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Sky Lift in Imagination Nov. 19/1 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    The idea that anyone but a torcher could work a torch ballistic did not sink in.

  • 1956 R. A. Heinlein Time for Stars vii. 72 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    I stood two watches down in the damping room, whereupon Chief Engineer Roch stated in writing that he did not think that I would ever make a torcher as I seemed to have an innate lack of talent for nuclear physics.

  • 1956 R. A. Heinlein Time for Stars viii. 83 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Another school pointed to the companion equations for length and mass, maintaining that the famous Michelson-Morley experiment showed that the length transformation was ‘real’ and pointing out that the increase of mass was regularly computed and used for particle-accelerator ballistics and elsewhere in nuclear physics—for example, in the torch that pushes this ship.

Research requirements

antedating 1953

Earliest cite

R. Heinlein 'Sky Lift'

Research History
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1968 reprint of Robert Heinlein's "Sky Lift"; Derek Hepburn verified this in its first magazine appearnace in 1953. Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Robert Heinlein's 1956 "Time for the Stars".

We would like cites of any date from other sources: particularly other authors than Heinlein.

Last modified 2022-02-22 22:50:43
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.